As members of the rodent family, guinea pig teeth grow constantly. With that in mind, they need to wear them down constantly so that they remain healthy. If teeth do overgrow then they do not line up with the surfaces of the opposing teeth. This means that food then cannot be eaten easily or at all. Eventually the teeth will become so overgrown that the guinea pig will end up starving.
Check the following guide for signs of teeth problems:
One of the more obvious signs of teeth issues can be weight loss. As you can see the piggie on the left is virtually bone thin. This is a rescue guinea pig – however hopefully if you are weighing your guinea pig regularly you will notice the weight decrease well before your guinea pig is at this point of starvation.
Teeth are so important to guinea pig health. Regularly check the front teeth to see if they are at odd angles rather than straight or if they have sections missing, broken or protruding.
The front teeth are an indication of rear teeth health. You cannot easily see these. If the front teeth are as oddly fitting as those in the photo, you would suspect the same or worse with the rear teeth.
A good vet is then needed and the teeth can be corrected if given the right treatment.
Using the tabs below, click on the heading that best describes your guinea pigs condition to guide you through some possible scenarios and what action you need to take.
This is just a guide and nothing can replace expert advice from a great vet. However there is a myriad of knowledge that you can acquire that will help you know when to seek a vet or when to take other steps.
If your guinea pig is not moving and not responding to you in any way, this is a medical emergency. You need to get your piggie immediately to a vet.
There are several possible causes ( See below) – but the one that is most common and that you need to immediately rule out is heat stress.
Firstly, examine your guinea pigs teeth. Offer your guinea pig some tasty items such as long stems of fresh grass – all piggies love this. If you piggie can eat this speedily then teeth issues are less likely.
Has your guinea pig been eating – have you seen your piggie eat? Has food been left in the cage? It is possible that one piggie is eating all the food while the unwell piggie does not want to eat?
Guinea pigs with teeth issues look like they race straight for their food and even start to eat. However if you watch how they eat in comparison to your other piggies, you may notice the food goes very slowly into the mouth, or often they will look like they start but in fact then give up and walk away. They come to realise they just can’t eat it.
Check the guide for Teeth on this website here. You will not be able to see the rear molars but just taking a look at the points on this page will help identify what is the problem.
Vitamin C Deficiency
Guinea pigs with vitamin C defienciency also commonly have teeth issues. They break easily, are not solid but brittle, often discoloured.