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Overgrowth of premolars in a guinea pig


Animal diseases

Overgrowth of premolars in a guinea pig

The guinea pigs (Cavia porcelus) present recurrent problems of overgrowth of premolars on both sides of the jaw. These teeth grow and bridge the tongue that makes it difficult to eat food and, therefore, the daily life of the animal.

Next we will tell you more about this very interesting topic, so that you can be attentive to the health of your pet and detect when it is time to go to the veterinarian for a teeth check.

Overgrowth of premolars in a guinea pig


Dental problems in rodents are one of the most common pathologies in a veterinary clinic for exotic animals. And the growth of premolars is so fast and disproportionate that the prognosis is usually quite bad.


The first thing that is detected is that the guinea pig tries to get close to the food and smells it, but not the proof. In turn, it makes a very characteristic movement with the mouth, as if it wanted to swallow saliva and could not. For this problem he also has a continuous drooling, and the breath has a sour smell.

On examination, the animal will have lost, most likely, weight, and the pelvic bones will be marked. The corners of the mouth will be moist andhe will be reluctant to have his mouth explored, because manipulation hurts.

If this case occurs, the animal will have to be sedated to be able to explore the oral cavity with ease, and see if it really is an overgrowth of premolars. Because other possibilities would be:

  • Dental abscess.
  • Dental malocclusion
  • Deviation of the temporomandibular joint.

As a complementary test an x-ray of the skull can be performed to determine the diagnosis and cause of overgrowth. For example, oblique radiographs allow you to see each side of the head and observe the right and left mandibular branches. This will appreciate the growth of the roots of the affected teeth.

Laterolateral radiographs show the overgrowth of premolars. And a face-to-face radiography will allow to study the temporomandibular joint, looking for alterations.


Once overgrowth is confirmed, it is diagnosed as an “acquired dental disease” that It causes malocclusion and prevents the intake of hay. By not feeding properly, the teeth do not wear out as they should and the problem feeds.

Treatment for overgrowth of premolars in a guinea pig

To treat overgrowth of teeth in guinea pigs,What can be done is to cut and file the teeth.

First, the guinea pig is anesthetized, following the protocol of the veterinarian in question. The next thing will be to place a mouth opener and a cheek separator, so that you can easily access the oral cavity. Using a surgical file, the dental crowns will be lowered. And finally, the teeth will be trimmed with hemostatic tweezers.

premolar overgrowth

On some occasions, by correctly reducing the dental crowns a better occlusion is achieved and, therefore, normal wear of the teeth, delaying the reappearance of the problem.

The best way to prevent overgrowth from occurring again is to correct the guinea pig’s diet.. Rodents are animals that ingest large amounts of fibrous vegetables to help correct movement and occlusion of the mouth. This resembles what happens during the chewing of ruminants, crushing the vegetable and allowing proper wear of the teeth.

The big drawback is how badly many pets are to eat food that is not conducive to their species, usually due to ignorance or stubbornness of the owner.

Overgrowth of premolars is a very common pathology in those guinea pigs that eat anything but hay or good feed. It is often difficult to make the owner understand that these animals need a more balanced diet where fiber intake is the priority.

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