June 3, 2010

Malocclusion in Guinea Pigs

Filed under: Guinea Pigs — Dr. Amber Reed @ 5:30 pm

guinea-pig_bWhile guinea pigs make cute, gentle, and loveable pets, this particular species of animal is also prone to a variety of illnesses and diseases.  Making matters worse, many treatments for other animals including some antibiotics and medication are fatal to guinea pigs.  One such malady that commonly affects guinea pigs is malocclusion.  Malocclusion is a condition wherein the teeth of your guinea pig become overgrown causing various symptoms including pain, infection, lack of appetite, weight loss, cysts, and sometimes even death.

Malocclusion in guinea pigs can affect the front or back teeth and in most cases the condition goes unnoticed until other symptoms begin to appear.  The front teeth of a healthy guinea pig look like the teeth of a beaver; they are slightly longer than other teeth and they stick out the front of the mouth.  A guinea pig’s teeth will continue to grow for their lifetime so it is important to have the front teeth trimmed or filed by a veterinarian to prevent malocclusion.

When malocclusion in guinea pigs develops in the back teeth, many owners are unaware.  Unfortunately, when guinea pig malocclusion develops in the back teeth very serious health side effects occur.  Indeed, guinea pig malocclusion of the back teeth can even result in death as the back molars begin to grow into the gums and tongue.  Pain, cysts, jaw dislocation, and other negative symptoms of guinea pig malocclusion invariably lead to nutrition problems like anorexia.  In fact, sudden weight loss is the main sign of malocclusion of the back molars.

Unfortunately, by the time you have noticed a change in your guinea pig’s body composition, it may be too late to treat the condition.  Instead, veterinarians recommend regularly weighing your guinea pig so that you are immediately aware of any decrease in weight.  Other signs of malocclusion in guinea pigs include mouth infections, discharge from the eyes or nose, and upper respiratory illness.  If you notice any of these symptoms, visit your veterinarian immediately to learn how you can help your guinea pig.

About Dr. Amber Reed

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  1. My Guinea pig is 5yrs old and is not eating anything, moving , having hair fall , weak , nose discharge and having bad odour.

    His teeth are also overgrown and show symptoms of malocclusion .

    But the problem is , there is not vet in the whole state who is expert in exotics. The vet i show dont have any knowledge about guinea pigs and neither any specialized tools for them.

    Kindly advice me.

    Comment by Kanav — July 8, 2011 @ 11:53 pm

  2. Dear Kanav,

    It certainly sounds like their could be some dental concerns. I would start by asking for some pain control and possibly a course of baytril. Any modern vet should have a dental drill which can be used on an awake animal. A Better job can be done under general anesthetia. You dont have to be an expert to trim teeth. I would suggest vitamin c as well to give the immune system a boost.

    Comment by Janine — July 28, 2011 @ 9:23 am

  3. I had two guinea pigs in the past and they both had a condition of not eating, but they had lumps on their stomachs. I got them from the same pet shop and they both died young. The first one died at 3 and my second one died at 2. What condition did they have and how can I know if the same thing will happen to my 3rd guinea pig? Thanks for any advice.

    Comment by Concerned — March 12, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

  4. Hi. My guinea pig is about 3 years old. Her bottom left tooth is growing some kind of crust on it… *shiver*… It’s moving her bottom left tooth so that there’s a gap between the two teeth. The root of the bottom left tooth is super freaky looking. It looks kind of like a cavity. What could it mean? I know I need to see a vet, get it checked out, blah, blah, blah, but seriously, vet trips are super costly. Just please can the crust stuff spread or something????!!!!!!!! Please help! I love my guinea pig, Bonnie, so much!!!!! <3

    Comment by Lily — November 28, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

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