Carlie - 4.5yrs old ; Malocclusion

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Post   » Wed Apr 17, 2013 5:43 pm

Well hello GuineaLynx!
Its been a couple of years, I think.

I just thought I would post-- partly for my own education, but also because these forums (even through my silence) have helped inform me and I'd love to add my story to the files ---about what I'm going through with Carlie.

Carlie will be 5 years old this August. (As will her brother, Dash. Alice and Esme have just turned 5 this spring).

I noticed over the last month that she had been losing some weight-- (she has ALWAYS been a small sow to begin with, under two lbs) --and kept my eye on her. She was still eager to eat, screaming for treats... totally normal goofy behaviour.

About 1.5 weeks ago I noticed that she was not interested in hay anymore. I started feeding her some veggies during cuddle-time and realized she was having a hard time eating.

(She had lost a good bit of weight at this point).

I started feeding Critical Care that I had on hand, and made a vet appointment for last Wednesday.
She had her chompers looked at, and as I anticipated-- her back molars were long. There was just enough space that she could move her tongue in the gap, but it was probably starting to get stuck (not completely entrapped).
The vet said that the bottom of her jaw felt a little bumpy...elongated roots. Her eyes are clear and fine, so its unlikely the top is posing any issue.

I raised her weight by 50-70g between appointments..through vigorous Critical Care feedings. I'll upload videos later, and talk more about that process if anyone is interested ;)

So she had her teeth op this morning. Went in like a champ, came out like a champ. The vet (who I love. seriously. If you are in the Halifax, Nova Scotia area Dr. Suzette Dibblee at the Fairview Animal Hospital knows exactly what she is doing and is the kindest woman I've ever met) said that she drilled down a good amount of her back molars, and trimmed the front teeth a touch because they'd started to get long just from the lack of roughage recently.
The left side of the top molars were a touch long too. (longer than the right top side, anyhow).

The procedure finished around noon.. and when we picked her up at 3 she was munching away at her pellets and hay. She hasn't shown any interest in hay in well over a week.

She's been eating all night.

So. The vet expects that she will require trimmings now and again, but its just a waiting game to see how long we can go between each $500 vet bill.

She is to have .07ml of metacam once a day for the next two days... just in case of some jaw pain. (her cheek also got a tiny nick from the drill, though it only bled half a drop).

I'll continue supplementing with CC as long as it takes for her to eat normally and gain weight on her own.

She is still a little bit sleepy, tonight. I forget how long it took Dash to completely shake his post-neuter exhaustion. Carlie just seems quiet. (excited at the prospect of treats)..but quiet. I guess I can't blame her.

I've read a fair bit on GL about taking pigs off pellets.. so they are encouraged to eat/chew more hay. Helps with grinding down those teeth. My vet is all for this idea, she believes pellets are unnecessary. Thoughts?

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Post   » Wed Apr 17, 2013 6:13 pm

Aaaand because I can't help myself.........

Sitting on my shoulder..last summer. (she never sits still. unless she is perched on my shoulder.)

PULLING the syringe out of my fingers. (this morning before procedure). She is certainly eager.

Sitting on my toes, post-feeding.

Nummy veggies.

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Post   » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:33 pm

What a cutie she is! I hope with the ability to chew again, she is able to maintain her teeth at the proper length. I am actually surprised she can eat on her own. Trimming can be painful and sometimes it take lots of hand feeding and time (and pain medication) before a pig can eat on its own.

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Post   » Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:28 pm

She is gorgeous! Am so glad she is feeling better. Jessie loves to eat straight after a teeth filing too. Hoping she starts to put on lots of weight and keeps it on. A real cutie.

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Post   » Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:37 pm

Wow, that is great she is eating so soon! Hope that keeps up!
I would reduce her pellets for sure to encourage more hay. What was she getting prior?

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Post   » Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:54 pm

She's been quieter later this evening... eager for her CC feeding... and weighed 1lb 4.4oz afterwards which is the highest yet!
She hopped around for a little bit after that, but other than that has just napped.

The others seem to have called it a night, too. ;)

( I have all 4 pigs in one cage... they always have lots of Orchard Grass, which is definitely the staple of their diet, and I will fill their dish (Oxbow Cavy Cuisine) every night before I go to bed. )

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Post   » Thu Apr 18, 2013 7:11 am

Great to hear she seems to be feeling better; eating and putting on weight.

Not sure how to advise re. pellets, as they do help the pig put on weight.

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Post   » Thu Apr 18, 2013 7:46 am

Glad to hear that Carlie is eating and putting the loss weight back on. Raising her weight by 50-70g between through CC feedings is a real feat. I too had a pig lose weight and it's a real battle to get them to put on even 20-30g.

My personal veiw on pellets is that I keep to 1/8 cup or less as I find my girls will over eat and munch on less of he hay/grass. Also, I worry that they may develop stones even though I feed them KM pellets.

Meanwhile, continued gd wishes to Carlie, she's a real cutie pie.

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Post   » Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:30 pm


Eating lots of food on her own (comparitively to pre-op..).
But hay is still of little interest.

I am still feeding CC (though less often due to my schedule, and she is taking less... her weight is staying the same. 3-4 times today, has been 5-6 the last several)

I might pick up a small bag of alfalfa to see if she shows interest in that? Hoping its just her feeling "off"...

She is still opening her jaw wide occasionally, like there is something back there. Again...hoping it is just discomfort (muscles from chewing poorly for a while?) but my fear is dislocated jaw.

Though if that were the case you'd think they'd have noticed while they were filing her teeth.

And she is plowing through veggies at light-speed. Last week she was taking a noticably long time to get through a piece of green pepper... spitting out pieces.... however she is absolutely wolfing it down now. Along with the lettuce. And a bit of carrot. But apparently she doesn't really like carrots!! XD

Actually, now that I'm watching her go through this pile...she's really not doing the mouth/ear thing at all. She was this morning (about half as much as yesterday pre-op) , but she only did it twice since I sat down with her 30 minutes ago. She did do the ear/jaw thing to spit out ONE piece of pepper but that is it.

Okay. I've talked myself in a circle.
Just wanted to update.

I really just want her to eat hay.

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Post   » Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:08 pm

I think of something being lodged in her teeth/throat. She would be unable to chew with the back/forth motion they use if her jaw was dislocated (I believe).

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Post   » Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:47 pm

So the critical care has lost it's charm.
She isn't taking it willingly. Even mixing in green pepper juice. I also tried a little strawberry juice. She is excited for one bite and then done with it.

She dropped in weight (an ounce) overnight because I didn't wake to feed her.
Veggies are still awesome. She will eat them indefinitely.

She will also eat some pellets. But obviously not enough.
She got right excited when I put in fresh hay, Buried her face in it, and 10 seconds later went to lay down again.

On a hunch i brought her out to the front lawn, and she has been munching happily here for a while---- is this something I should be doing daily??

I'm discouraged that she resists the critical care with all of her might.
She's still doing a little bit of the "food stuck" mouth movements.
Could we attribute this to her being uncomfortable?

Today was supposed to be the last dose of metacam...

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Post   » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:37 pm

If she eats out on the lawn, I would take her out there as much as possible to munch on grass. That will be really good for the teeth since Hay still isn't a go.

Maybe she does the food stuck motion because everything still feels weird in her mouth and she needs to get used to how to move food around in her mouth again without the long molars (just my first thought).

When I had to handfeed Barnaby, he resisted everytime. He would get so mad he would bite the syringe and I would take advantage of this attack and move is just before he bit it so that I could push a bunch of critical care in his mouth. It was brutal and stressful but got him eating. Never once did he actually want to be fed like that, I just figured tough love was in order.

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Post   » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:08 pm

Thanks skinnypigs.. that was my first thought, too (her mouth feeling weird). Its just hard not to panic.

She will be really good for some feedings.. I have a video of her trying to tear it out of my fingers. But its like she is just.. in a bit of a funk now. I'll force her when I need to... as long as I can keep her system moving I shouldn't get so nervous.

Its supposed to get up to 15 degrees (celcius) tomorrow which is amazing. So we can spend some time on the lawn.

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Post   » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:14 pm

I like the idea of eating grass too. Start slow though. You don't want her too eat too much too soon (more each day).

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Post   » Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:43 pm

I was out of the house for 7 hours today (couldn't help and so when I got home, Carlie had dropped a lot in weight again.

I did not give her metacam this morning. (yesterday was supposed to be the last dose.. I thought I'd try without it).

She was eager for a couple bites of CC but then lost interest... so I brought down some veggies... and she is eating them with fervor.


She is making this awful noise... It sounds like hooting, but more whiny... like she is in pain. More congested than typical "hooting".

I took a video.. for audio purposes.

I gave her a metacam dose before taking this video... and now, 20 mins later, the noise has almost stopped.

I'll be calling the vet first thing monday morning. I will be home most all of the day tomorrow to feed/monitor her.

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Post   » Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:19 pm

He is just adorable!

Sometimes guinea pigs can make funny breathing noises because they have something lodged in their throat. A cough sometimes clears it and they sound normal. If the medication made a difference, perhaps fluid in lungs (though it does sound like a throat noise)?

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Post   » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:56 pm

I would definitely be getting her more metacam to help promote her to eat.
Is she still interested in the fresh grass each day?
My guys make that sound sometimes when they have ate their food too fast and I think something is kinda stuck. Always goes away, usually a cough happens.

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Post   » Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:29 pm

I never heard a cough but the noise has completely disappeared. About an hour or so after giving her the metacam.

I still need to force the CC into her every 4 hours... just to keep her weight stable.

She is still excited about veggies, and had a nice little wander/graze on the lawn with Esme this afternoon (we couldn't yesterday because of the rain). She made the happiest clucking sounds I've heard from her in a while!!

But hay is still a no-go. And she is interested in pellets but doesn't eat enough, obviously.

ETA: I've been really consistent/frequent with her feedings today even though they are forced--- and her poops have looked really, really good.

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Post   » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:31 am

Just got off the phone with the vet.

She says there has got to be something else going on.

If I am willing, she would like to do x-rays to see whats going on and if anything can be done.

And now I'm finding myself conflicted between whether or not it is worth it on a tiny, underweight piggy who is almost 5 years old. I hate saying those words. Because I don't know what all *could* be done, if it was something "treatable", that she would eat again.

But without x-rays there's no way to know if it is even a matter of just making her comfortable and sticking out hand feedings ..... or just letting her go.

She still has so much spunk and energy.

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Post   » Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:49 pm

I would do all I could if the piggy is still happy and lively. Don't give up on her if she isn't giving up. She could live for 2 or more years still. I know I would kick myself later if I didn't do everything, I know from experience that even when I did everything I still found things to beat myself up with but there is some comfort in knowing you tried.

Of course it is your choice :)

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