Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ringing in the New the vet

Happy 2010, everyone!

Sorry I've been MIA but it's been a crazy start to the new year and this is the first weekend I've had to settle down and digest everything.

Let's backtrack to the last week of 2009. Belle had begun showing some discomfort in her mouth, like something was stuck in her teeth. I thought maybe it was a piece of hay or lettuce, and didn't think much of it; she was still eating and behaving normally. But on New Year's Eve after I came back from work, I saw her discomfort had grown to the point of distracting her from eating. Now if you know my little girl, she is a total piggy when it comes to food and precious little can distract her when lettuce is present.

So with this new development, I was sufficiently alarmed. It didn't help that online research showed guinea pigs with mouth tumors that quickly spread to the rest of their body. It also didn't help that I was leaving on a week-long business trip on the following Monday. I had to find a vet fast.

Naturally, everyone was closed on Friday, New Year's Day. So I spent that day fretting over Belle and making a list of vet to call first thing the next morning to get an appointment. I was hoping to get a particular doctor in mind who's been recommended as a good vet for cavies (not all vets specialize in exotic animals, which guinea pigs are). The hospital originally said no because they were fully booked but after some pleading, they squeezed me in for an emergency appointment. Yay!

So Belle was off to her first vet visit at 9am. Dr. Herman was as great as everyone said and explained the best (teeth problems) and worse (tumor) scenarios. Belle would have to be anesthetized for the x-ray so we were told to leave her there and come back towards closing time when she would have recovered from it.

The doctor called around noon to explain the results of the x-ray, which was as she suspected -- malocclusion, which is the overgrowth of teeth. She trimmed it and that was it! Belle may have to undergo trimming every two months (ouch!) but I'm just relieved it's not tumor or something more serious.

Belle was obviously groggy and in discomfort from the teeth trimming (the doc gave pain meds) but it wasn't long before she was eating like her piggy self. Whew!

Come Monday morning, I left the Wheekers with my mom and sister to take care of and I was off to Vegas. More about that in the next post!


  1. "Whew!" is right! All's well that ends well, I'm sure glad Belle turned out to be okay and just needed to have her teefers trimmed! (Mocha has had to have that done a couple of times, but in horses they call it having their teeth "floated," for reasons unknown to me). I'm also glad you liked Dr. Herman. But talk about a stressful New Year's! Why is it that this sort of thing seems to happen the most on a holiday or weekend or eve of a trip? In your case, you hit the trifecta!! So glad they could squeeze you in on the 2nd.

    I wonder if Dr. Herman knows of something Belle could chew on or eat that would help keep her teeth trimmed w/o medical intervention. We have to do that for our mice, and almonds seem to do the trick. Might there be something that works for guinea pigs, so you wouldn't have to have Belle anesthetized every time?

    Give Belle a special kiss from her Auntie Laloofah, and tell her to quit scaring her mommy like that. ;-)=

  2. Belle gives a sweet wheek out to Auntie Laloofah for her love!

    Yes, if guinea pigs chew on hay or wood, they can keep their teeth trimmed naturally. Bert has loves hay and eats lots of it, and sometimes bite on his wooden hut and I suppose that's why he hasn't had any problem (knock on wood). Belle on the other hand doesn't eat as much hay and I can't coax her to chew on anything. I've bought lots of chew toys for them and they're only given a curious sniff and then ignored.

    I've read guinea pigs aren't supposed to eat nuts and seeds, so I'll offer more carrots and other crunchy veggies. Her favorite is lettuce though so we'll see how that goes! I too don't want her to undergo that painful ordeal again.

  3. Belle, Belle, Belle, you lettuce-snarfing prima donna you, ignoring your mother's entreaties to brush and floss and gnaw on things. And hay isn't good enough for you, eh? Well, see what happens? Now, you go munch your alfalfa and gnaw on your chewy toys like a good girl so you don't have to have more dental surgery or get braces! :-)

    I never would have guessed that guinea pigs shouldn't eat nuts and seeds! Carrots sound like a great idea, hopefully she'll enjoy eating those. Funny how she loves lettuce so much! Maybe it's her version of chocolate. :-)

  4. Pets and children love to get sick when the vet or doctor is out. Get better soon little GP