Just like humans, guinea pigs are susceptible to a wide variety of dental problems. As a responsible pet owner, you need to be aware of the dental problems that can affect your pigs and seek emergency veterinary treatment for them if they develop problems with their teeth. Here are three serious dental problems that your pigs may suffer from.
Like other types of rodents, guinea pigs have open-rooted teeth. This allows their teeth to grow constantly throughout their lives. If your pigs don't wear down their teeth, their teeth will grow too much, which leads to malocclusion. Malocclusion means that their teeth are misaligned and their bite is thrown off. If your pig has this condition, you will notice that they are unable to close their mouth due to the size of their teeth.
Malocclusion is a big problem because it makes it hard or even impossible for your pig to chew their food. This can lead to weight loss, and if your pig's teeth are not treated in time, they may even die from starvation or gastric stasis.
To treat this problem, your vet may trim your pet's teeth to return them to a normal size. It will then be important to make sure your pet has access to chew toy is like wood blocks so that their teeth do not become overgrown again. If the malocclusion is very severe, the teeth may need to be extracted. Your pig's teeth will grow back in time, but until they do, you will need to hand feed them soft foods such as a paste of pellets and water.
Elongated roots are another problem that may affect your guinea pig's teeth. Like malocclusion, this problem is caused by the unique nature of guinea pig's teeth. Pigs with this condition have tooth roots that grow backwards into their jawbone. This can cause serious problems when the roots put pressure on their eyes or brain.
Elongated roots can make your pig's eyes bulge, which makes them more vulnerable to eye problems like corneal abrasions or infections. The discomfort associated with this condition may make your pig not feel like eating, so you may notice that your pig is losing weight. It is this disinterest in food that is the most serious problem, because if your pig goes 12 hours without eating, they may die.
There is only one treatment available for elongated roots. Your vet will file down your pig's teeth to make them shorter than normal; this works by relieving some of the pressure that their roots are placing on their jaw and other tissues. This treatment may need to be repeated when the teeth grow back.
Guinea pigs need to chew hard objects to file down their teeth, but doing so can sometimes lead to broken teeth. They can also break their teeth in a fall or other accident. If your pig has this problem, you will notice that they are not interested in their food, and if you take a look at their teeth, you will notice that one or more of them is chipped or broken.
While your pig's broken tooth will eventually grow back, it can cause serious problems in the meantime. If the broken edge of the tooth is sharp, it may cut the inside of your pig's mouth, which can lead to infections.
Your vet can treat this problem by trimming the broken tooth. Trimming the tooth creates a smooth edge that will not cause any injuries, and in no time, your pig's tooth will grow back. If your pig isn't eating due to the pain in their tooth, you will need to hand feed them until the tooth grows back to make sure that they don't lose weight.
Your guinea pig can suffer from many dental problems, including malocclusion, elongated roots, and broken teeth. If you notice the signs of any of these problems, take your pig to an emergency vet right away for a pet dental treatment.