Celia Haddon - Cat Expert

Understanding animals through their behaviour

GUINEA PIGS AND THEIR TEETH

teeth

Guinea pigs’ teeth grow throughout their life, so if they don’t have enough to chew the teeth grow too big. Dental problems are common (de Knegt 2012).  Sometimes the incisor teeth don’t fit together properly – malocclusion. More commonly the cheek teeth are not worn down enough and the back end of the tongue can get stuck in the teeth causing difficulties in chewing and swallowing (Capello 2006). Once the guinea pig stops eating, or eats very little, its whole gut slows down – which is a veterinary emergency in itself.

C. Caroline Hensley.

C. Caroline Hensley

Symptoms of tooth problems are slobbering, difficulty chewing, weight loss, digestive problems and failing to eat. Because guinea pigs are so small, their teeth are difficult to see and they may need a light anaesthetic so that a vet can get a an Xray and provide treatment. It’s really important that the vet doesn’t miss the cheek teeth, as can sometimes happen. After treatment, the guinea pig may still refuse to eat, or fail to eat enough to wear down its teeth, because its mouth hasn’t healed, so it is important to speak to your vet about this possibility.

Tooth problems usually reoccur unless there are changes made to put more fibre into the diet (Dupont 2005).  Vitamin C deficiency can cause tooth pain and adding fresh vegetables to chew helps wear down the teeth (Rhody, 2014). Increase the provision of good dry Timothy or meadow hay and also give some chew sticks. Read What should I feed my guinea pigs.

 

REFERENCES

Capello, V., (2006), ‘Diagnosis and treatment of dental disease in small rodents,’ Proceedings of the North American Veterinary Conference, vol 20, 1707-1710

Capello, V., (2009) ‘Diagnosis and Treatment of Dental Disease in Guinea pigs and Chinchillas,’ Proceeding of the SEVC
Southern European Veterinary Conference 2009. Available at www.ivis.org/proceedings/sevc/2009/eng/Capello1.pdf  Accessed 3 January 2014

Dupont, G., (2005), ‘Dentistry in exotic animals in private practice,’ Proceedings of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association 2005. Available at www.ivis.org/proceedings/wsava/2005/35.pdf    Accessed 3 January 2014

De Knegt, s., (2012), ‘Welfare assessment in young pet rabbits and guinea pigs in the Netherlands,’ Dissertation Utrecht University, 1-67

Rhody, J. (2014),’Vitamin C supplements for guinea pigs,’ in ed. Brown, S., Small Animal Health Series,  Available at www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?A=2750 Accessed 3 January 2014.

COPYRIGHT.

These notes are my copyright. I am also usually happy to have the exact words reproduced on websites, in return for a link, my name, and if permission is asked beforehand. I like to check the websites where it might be used. Email me via this website for permission which will usually be given. Organisations wishing to use them in print should contact me via this website. Copyright © 2007 Celia Haddon. All Rights Reserved.

Safety notice.

All normal safety precautions should be taken when dealing with animals. The advice in this section should be taken only at the owner’s own risk. All sick animals should be seen by a vet.

General advice of the kind found in this website is no substitute for an individual consultation with a vet or qualified behaviourist working on a vet’s referral.

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