Guinea with post-op maloclusion trimming/eating problems

User avatar

Post   » Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:04 pm

My guinea pig Chester had his molars & incisors trimmed yesterday. Unfortunately, the problem was so bad that a bridge had formed over his tongue. He didn't eat for one day & deteriorated rapidly. By the time we got him to the hospital, he was in pretty bad shape, dehydrated & hypoglycemic. They first stabilized him with IV glucose, then he was anesthetized for the trimming (I am sad now to read that the anesthesia is very bad for guineas, but that's what the vet recommended)
He was sent home with an antibiotic, reglan along with Critical Care formula. Meds & water are being administered orally without issue, but the Critical Care mixture is sticking to the rear of his mouth in clumps and he appears to be worsening. We have extracted as much of the compact Critical Care mixture as we can and given him water - but we are worried his massive weight loss (600g) hasn't left much more energy stores for him. He was weighing 1200 grams in December, he's now just over 600.
We're thinking he's still in quite a bit of pain from his surgery (it was done Friday at 11am) & pain from the ulcerations that were on his tongue caused by the overgrown teeth. The vet is closed tomorrow. We had planned to take him in Monday for a re-check, but we're afraid if we can't get that criticare down him, he won't make it.
Any suggestions for getting the criticare down? We are going to try making it much thinner next feeding.[/img]

User avatar

Post   » Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:07 pm

You may have to mix more water in with the Critical Care to make it a bit runnier until he has more strength. You are syringe feeding it to him right??

There are quite a few posts in this forum on how to syringe feed successfully.

User avatar

Post   » Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:12 pm

Have you read ?

You may need to mix the CC better, with 1.5 parts water and 1 part CC. Mixing in a small amount of baby food for flavor helps sometimes. What size syringe are you using?

Is he on pain meds? If he is in pain, he won't eat.

Which vet did you see?

User avatar

Post   » Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:17 pm

Did you read over ? I tried to collect most of the tips there. You are right that it is vitally important to get food into him.

This weight loss did not happen overnight. It happened over several days time. I am sure you now know how extremely important regular weighing is so you don't miss such a drastic weight loss.

Pain medication can also make a huge difference. See if you can get some meloxicam for him (perhaps call an emergency vet -- if you see one, get another subcue to keep him going).

I know how worried you are.
Last edited by Lynx on Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar

Post   » Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:18 pm

Yeah, we're going to try making the mix thinner. We are using a 10cc syringe. The vet did not prescribe pain meds. Not sure why.
We followed the instructions for syringe feeding & thought we were doing the right thing.
He normally eats the regular pellets, timothy hay, & various treats (carrots, celery, spinach, etc.)
We feel helpless. At this point, he looks very weak & not moving around. :(

User avatar

Post   » Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:19 pm

We have some melaxocam, I will cut dose in half & give. It was prescribed in December for a minor leg injury.
Yes, if we can make it through this, the scale will be purchased.

User avatar

Post   » Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:21 pm

Do you have 1cc syringes? I think a 10 cc syringe is too big.

Do you have a good emergency vet nearby? As I posted, you could at least get some subcutaneous fluids into him and pain meds.

User avatar

Post   » Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:41 pm

You need to get a scale so you know how much food to get into him. You may need to feed him every hour. I agree with Lynx. You need to get a smaller syringe or he may choke.

Pain meds are important. Esp. after teeth surgery.

He didn't lose all that weight overnight. You need the scale on hand to weigh them weekly at home.

User avatar

Post   » Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:45 pm


User avatar

Post   » Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:48 pm


User avatar

Post   » Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:54 pm


User avatar

Post   » Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:55 pm

Did you cut off the tip of the syringe? That helps. The vet or vet tech didn't show you how to handfeed?

I know of these ER vets in SD:

Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital
Jeffrey Jenkins, DVM
Armando Burgos, DVM (speaks Spanish)
(619) 260-1412
2317 S. Hotel Circle, Suite C, Mission Valley, San Diego
24-hour page for emergency calls.

Todd Cecil, DVM
(619) 462-4800
5232 Jackson Drive, Suites 102-105, La Mesa

Dr. Cote is recommended as an exotics vet for regular office hours.

Cote Animal Hospital
8915 Towne Centre Dr Ste 110
San Diego, CA 92122

User avatar
I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Sat Jan 20, 2007 11:45 pm

Yes, always cut the tip off the end of a 1cc syringe - otherwise you can't get the critical care through it.

Push it to the back molars, and only push the CC through when the pig is chewing on the syringe.

You can also syringe extra water in, separately from the CC. If the pig isn't drinking at all you need to give 60ccs per day.

Metacam is important, but not as important as handfeeding. Be sure you get at least 50cc of CC into the pig in a 24-hour period.

User avatar

Post   » Sun Jan 21, 2007 12:55 pm

Can you email Charybdis? I believe she's in San Diego and might be able to help you out with a subq.

Don't worry about how runny the CC is. It's more important to get food into him, as others have said.

Also, vets always trim molars under anesthesia.

User avatar

Post   » Sun Jan 21, 2007 2:14 pm

They go downhill sooooo quickly without food and water as I am sure you are discovering. The amount of weight they lose when they don't eat happens so fast too.

If your pig is too weak at this point to even make an attempt at swallowing you are going to have to try and get little bits into him at least every half an hour. When I have had pigs get to this point, I am just trying to get anything into them as often as possible. I have even used chewable vitamin C tablets dissolved in warm water just to get some kind of energy into them. My pigs like the flavour. I know the sugar isn't great for them, but if your pig can get up enough energy from the Vitamin C solution he might be able to take the CC better.

User avatar

Post   » Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:52 am

Hi All - Chester is doing GREAT now. He's gained weight, is chipper, wheeting and moving around quite a bit. We're still hand feeding him every 3 hours but the real saviour was....Gatorade! We all had the flu this week, one left-over bottle was in Mom's view around 3:00am and viola! He wants to eat regular food but his incisors were cut too short so hand feeding continues.

Thanks for all the help and advice - Chester is alive because of your help!

User avatar

Post   » Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:54 am

Pedialyte is actually better than Gatorade. Go Chester! Good luck.

User avatar
I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Tue Feb 06, 2007 5:07 pm

My pig became ill 3 weeks ago, took him in & he had severe malocclusion. His molars & incisors were trimmed. He nearly died but pulled through with diligent syringe feedings, antibiotics, etc.
Today I took him for a 2 week post op check & the vet said his incisors are being worn down uneven and also his molars are already growing across his tongue again & the back ones into his cheeks. She said he is most likely going to need ongoing syringe feedings and teeth trimmings will be forever. She believes he has a heredity (or possibly from an injury) jaw deformity. We adopted him as a 1 year old (or about that), so we don't know much about him. We have had him 2 years and never showed any symptoms of problems until Mid December when he started getting picky about which snacks he wanted. Until by Jan. he was only eating leafy greens and nothing hard, except hay & pellets.
Has anybody ever had this problem?? My vet basically said Chester's chance of becoming a "normal" happy piggy is very slim to none. I'm so sad.
You do have access to a very good dental vet who visits California from Arizona every couple of months - Dr. Lyons. If you can make it up to Manhattan Beach when he's here, it might be well worth the visit.

Pinta is very knowledgeable about teeth issues - you might email her also.


Post   » Tue Feb 06, 2007 5:24 pm

If the malocclusion is the result of genetics, it probably would have shown up sooner. Same thing with an old injury.

Most likely he's losing muscle strength in his jaw(TMJ). Very common in senior pigs and age related onset can happen at 3 years of age. Does his mouth hang slightly ajar when he's not eating?

Read up on Willie's case history on the Chin-Sling page which is under teeth in the Care Guide.

User avatar

Post   » Wed Feb 07, 2007 9:41 am

Jeffestes, my pig has teeth problems, too. If the incisors are wearing unevenly it suggests that he favoring one side when he chews. Having gone through the malocclusion experience (several times over), I encourage you to be proactive. I wish this summer I had been more proactive with my piggy. By proactive I mean doing massages to his jaw, looking into the possibility of his heart causing some of his teeth problems (and getting meds for it) and purchasing a chin-sling. My pig hates the sling (well, the putting it on part at least) but nothing else has worked yet. I regret not using the sling early on- Pinta made a good comment in another thread about using it as a first resort instead of last one. Now, since I have used it as a "last" resort, Ama has elongated roots which make eating even more difficult for him.

I would encourage you to weigh diligently (daily). When Ama loses weight, that is my cue that his teeth problems are back.

And consider buying out a syringe company. I have lost count how many syringes I have gone through in feeding him.:)

Post Reply
49 posts