Guinea Pig Oral and Dental Health Care

Closeup of a guinea pig's cheek teeth before and after veterinary care. Left: Green arrow points to an unevenly ground tooth that is blocking the tongue. The blue arrow points to the back of the tongue. Center: Close up of the dental problem. Right: View inside the mouth after the lower teeth have been filed. There is a much larger gap for the tongue to move normally during chewing.

That way you will get the most professional advice about guinea pig teeth care.

As prey animals, guinea pigs have evolved to hide any signs of illness, as long as possible in order to avoid becoming the main targets of the dangerous predation. This can make it difficult to recognize an illness or ailment. The best way to check for them is to place the cavy carefully on its back and check the belly. Their feet should be clean-looking and not red or irritated; with no broken or extraordinarily long nails. Check their teeth for length and evenness (see section below). It is also important to check their eyes and nose, to make sure that there is no mucus or crust there. These are signs of an upper respiratory infection, or URI, and can be deadly if left untreated.

Guinea Pigs have continually growing and erupting teeth

Guinea pigs have large, ever-growing teeth that require attention and care to keep them healthy
Guinea Pigs have continually growing and erupting teeth. They have an elodont dentition which consists of aradicular hypsodont incisors and cheek teeth. This dynamic (changing) relationship between the upper and lower teeth can result in malocclusion development. In the guinea pig, the growth rate of these aradicular hypsodont teeth may not be equal with the eruption rate. This results in greater curvature of the cheek teeth. The severity of malocclusion of the cheek teeth may not be as easily identified as in the chinchilla or the rabbit. The guinea pig may not have palpable protrusions at the ventral aspect of the mandible, or at the lateral aspect of the maxilla as in the chinchilla or the rabbit. The inability to diagnose these malocclusions early can dramatically reduce the effectiveness of treatment.

Feeding long stem hay and fresh vegetables helps with normal occlusal wear and in maintaining normal occlusion.

Guinea pig oral exam

The extraoral (outside the mouth) exam provides some indication of problems that may be found on the oral exam. We observe for facial symmetry and discharges from the face or chin. We look for sores in the mouth and the general shape of the cheek teeth. Anesthesia will be required for a full oral exam.

According to Margherita Gracis DAVDC, "published data show that only 30% of oral mucosal lesions are detected during the initial (non-sedated patient) exam, and 50% in anesthetized patients." It is suspected that these problems exist in chinchillas and rabbits as well.

Dental formula for guinea pigs and chinchillas; 2(I1/1 C0/0 PM1/1 M3/3) = 20

I stands for incisor teeth.
C stands for canine teeth.
PM stands for premolar cheek teeth.
M stands for molar cheek teeth.
The formula is designated as fractions to indicate the upper and lower dental arcades.
The 2 in front of the formula is for the left and right upper and lower dental arcades.

Diagnostic Imaging

Survey skull radiography is the basic diagnostic tool used to complement the oral exam. Radiography helps us understand the prognosis, determine the level of dental care needed, and whether treatment is logical or feasible. Early diagnosis and treatment can also improve the long term prognosis.

Computed tomography (CT scans) has been shown to be useful in rabbits and chinchillas, and would be beneficial for guinea pigs as well. Magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasonography may help with the evaluation of soft tissue structures of the head. These imaging modalities are all available to us in Milwaukee.

Guinea Pig Care: Diet and Feeding Tips | Petco

Common dental problems may begin to appear in your aging guinea pig during this time. Their teeth grow throughout their lifetime and need to be ground down through a proper diet. If the teeth grind down improperly, it can trap the tongue and lead to painful and complicated problems eating. Also, some teeth can become brittle or loose and fall out. As teeth grow back, they can grow in crooked and must be trimmed by a professional. You can help your cavy by chopping their vegetables and fruits into bite sized pieces. However, this does not remedy dental issues. If you suspect your cavy may have dental problems, please seek care from a veterinarian immediately.

You probably see them eating all day long