While 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.