You are here:

Guinea Pigs/Guniea pig overgrown molar problem


Hello there I have a female Guniea pig and I saw that she was losing weight about 3 weeks ago so I went to a vet and he said he knew a lot about Guniea pigs so he booked me in file down her molars. So he did that so that afternoon I pick her up and she still wasn't right and wasn't interested in anything to eat so I took her back and he check her teeth again and found that she had a spur on one of her molars so he told me to bring her back in a week so I did and he filed that molar down. And I went and got her and she still wasn't right. So I went to see another vet for a second opinion and he checked her teeth and said that looked ok for what he could see. And then I still was having trouble so he said that he would knock her outand have a good look at her teeth. And then when he did he said that her back molars were flat and that a Guniea pigs molars should be on a angle.

So he had to file down her teeth and he tried putting the angle back into her molars  and he also said that she did have a ulcer in her mouth too. but he said he couldn't get them perfect. So he said to me that she may need more dental but he didn't know and said that we would have to wait and see..

I am wanting to know that would they go back onto the angle as her teeth grow and as she grinds down her teeth????

And have you ever heard of there teeth being grind flat then growing back ok.

She had the dental about 7 days ago and she is still having abit of tribe eatting as when she is trying to eat the long grass she tends to use her foot to pull it out of her mouth again. Is that normal????

cavy teeth side profile
cavy teeth side profil  

cavy teeth front view
cavy teeth front view  
I'm sorry to hear you've had such a hard time with your pig's teeth.  To answer your last question about pulling grass out with their mouth, this is not at all uncommon.

You've obviously spent a great deal of money on dental work for her. I would however, recommend that if you ever have an issue with one of your pigs you don't doctor hop to find the solution. At least not until you've given the first vet the opportunity to see and fix the problem.

Too often when you go to another physician, be it human or veterinary, they will find something else wrong because that's what you're basically concerned about.  I am not indicating that they are not reputable physicians, but it puts them in a spot when you're asking them to repair something another did not do to your satisfaction.  

It's nearly impossible to do molar work without putting the pig to sleep, so I would expect not to see a perfectly normal behavior for the hours following a procedure. It takes a day or so to overcome the affects of anesthesia, even for humans.

To see cavy molars is nearly impossible without the proper tools due to the anatomical position of the molars and the way the lower jaw angles inward, causing the cheeks to collapse over the molars when you try to open their mouths to look. The vets have a special retractor they can put in the mouth to allow them to see what they need to.

The 'angle' on molars is not something you can file into position. The angle is determined by the angulation of the jaw.  I attached a couple of pictures for you to see how and why they grow as they do.  Typically when a pig has a tooth problem, other than just being overgrown in the front, it is the molars with have developed a spur on them. We feed hay, rather than grass to our pigs because the effort of chewing and grinding required is more than with just grass.

Of course they love grass and it's okay to feed but not in large quantities or on a daily basis. Guinea pig pellets usually give them enough roughage to use their molars to grind and help keep them properly worn. As for the teeth growing back, yes they will.

Guinea pigs are of the rodentia family. Rodentia referring to the teeth. They grow continuously all their lives.  When a front tooth is broken even to the gum line it grows back very fast. I once had a pig at a show and was ready to put him on the judging table when I noticed he had broken off a front tooth. This is the first thing the judges look at, are the teeth properly aligned and there.  I scratched him from the show, and within a week his tooth was completely regrown.

This applies to molars as well, which is why roughage is so important in their diet. They bite off a piece of hay, etc, with the incisors (front teeth) but chew it with the molars, just as we do when we eat.  So yes the teeth will grow back.

You can see by the picture how the angle is determined by the angle of the jaw. I'm not sure how a vet can file that away. They may file the tops, but to change the position of the angle is physically not possible.  

I would recommend you give her awhile to recuperate. If she is eating her pellets, she is okay. If she can bite and chew lettuce and carrots she's compensating. If she isn't eating you can give her a supplemental bottle of Critical Care, which is an animal version of Ensure.  It contains all the nutrients she needs to keep her going.

Don't try to force feed her. Put the CC in a water bottle and hang it next to her water bottle. She will be able to drink it, but also have the water she needs for hydration. You can also give her pieces of cantaloupe and watermelon. Cucumbers are filled with water and provide good hydration as well.

I hope this helps you. I realize that vet care is expensive, and it's not easy to find a cavy knowledgeable vet.  Please keep in touch and let me know how she is doing.

Guinea Pigs

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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.

©2017 All rights reserved.