Sunday, January 22, 2017

Guinea Pig Molar Trims and Malocclusion

Broccoli here, everyone. I've got to tell you all about the latest chapter in my ongoing dental problems. The humans recently noticed that when I eat, I would occasionally open my mouth very widely and tilt my head. That, along with a 50 gram weight loss, led them to take me to the veterinarian to get checked out.

Give it to me straight, doc. Will I be able to continue chewing on things normally?

The veterinarian said I needed a molar trim. Guinea pig teeth are constantly growing, and we need to wear them down by eating consistently. If the teeth start getting too long, that makes it harder to eat, which means they get less worn down and grow even longer. It's a nasty cycle that can get worse and worse if left untreated. Fortunately, our cavy savvy humans know that regular weigh ins are the best way to detect problems, and seeing a minor but consistent weight loss made them more vigilant for other issues.

The technical term for overgrown teeth is malocclusion. Guinea Lynx gives the following malocclusion warning signs checklist:
  • Does your guinea pig seem to work at chewing like he has something caught in his mouth that he or she is trying to unstick?
  • Is there exaggerated ear movement when he chews?
  • Is there discharge from the eyes or nose (can indicate an abscess)?
  • Does he seem to chew to one side?
  • Are the front teeth even and lined up?
  • Does he eat at the same rate/speed the other pigs eat at?
  • Can he rip and tear?
  • Can he eat the peel as well as the apple from an apple slice?
  • Does he chew (carrots in particular) and let little pieces drop out of his mouth?
  • Does he pick up a pellet in his mouth and let it drop out again?
  • Does he show great interest in food, yet not eat?
  • Is he steadily losing weight?
  • Is he drooling?
If your guinea pig shows these warning signs, make sure you take them to the vet as soon as possible to get checked out. After my molar trim, I'm back to eating normally, and feeling good!

1 comment:

  1. Uh-oh. One of us definitely fits some of this description. Was the molar trim scary?