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Guinea Pigs/Guinea Pig Not Eatting


My daughter's guinea pig isn't eating (very little) and doesn't come out of his igloo as much as he use too.  We looked at his teeth, they don't look bad.  Any help you can give us will be greatly appreciated.

Cavy teeth side view
Cavy teeth side view  

cavy teeth front view
cavy teeth front view  
Loss of appetite is always a bad sign. You don't say how old he is, but sometimes this is an indication of an old pig that's beginning to fail.  The problem with the teeth is often not the front teeth but the back ones that we can't see.  Just as with humans the front teeth are just used to bite a chunk of food, but the chewing process happens in the back teeth.

If there's a malocclusion or misalignment in those back teeth they have problems chewing and digesting their food. This doesn't happen often, but is a possibility. Here's a picture of how the teeth are aligned and you can see how important it is that they're making proper contact.

If there is a malocclusion a vet can file the back teeth to help them chew. The only problem is that there's no guarantee it won't happen again.

If he's willing to eat a piece of carrot or lettuce that's a good sign that he may not have a problem with his teeth. And sometimes the weather can affect the appetite as well.  

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Pat VanAllen


As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.


Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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