Garibaldi is Sick: Vet Visit 1


Gari's pearly whites

Owner’s blog:

This post is going to be about Garibaldi Rous’ medical condition involving his teeth and our trip to Texas A&M University School of Veterinary Medicine for the diagnosis. If you haven’t been following the developments so far, you can follow this link to fill yourself in.

Gari's not-so-pearly whites

Contrast the two photos shown above. The first shows Garibaldi’s glorious teeth in December, 2011. Nice and straight. The bottom photo shows his teeth on Sept. 9, 2012. You can see that his bottom teeth are no longer straight. I wish I’d known that this is an important sign of tooth problems in capybaras so I could have been watching for it. As it is, it happened incrementally so that I thought it was the same thing as humans needing braces. It isn’t. According to his vet, this is a signal of infection in the tooth’s root that causes the tooth to become loose and allows it to rotate.

But I’m jumping ahead of myself.

Rick hugs Gari in the car

It’s a long drive to the vet school in College Station. According to google maps, it is 118 miles between here and there, so we had to leave fairly early in the morning for our 1 pm appointment. Rick rode in the backseat with Gari while I drove. You can tell Gari wasn’t feeling well because he let Rick hug him. Of course, being in the car always makes Gari nervous but having Rick with him helps.

Rolling in the mud

We got there a little early. Instead of going straight in, we decided to let Gari stretch his legs in one of the large animal clinic’s livestock paddocks. Lucky for Gari, the paddock had a leaky faucet and some nice mud puddle. Lucky for us, there was a hose to wash him off with afterward.


The misery begins

This is Gari with our veterinary student. She took his history and a bit of his physical and she stayed with us most of the time he was going under. This time, Dr. Hoppes, our vet, decided to give him a bit of a nasal spray tranquilizer before he got his shot. That worked to calm him down fairly well. If there’s one thing Gari is, it’s a fighter. He tried with all of his might to stay awake.


Out like a light

Finally, just when Dr. Hoppes was about to give him another dose of anesthesia, we got him to lie down in his bed and he went under immediately. He might look like he is comfortably relaxing in the above photo, but actually he is unconscious.


Getting ready for xray

One of the good things about going to the vet school is that there are lots of specialists and equipment. They had him hooked up to all the latest technology to monitor his breathing, pulse, body temperature and the oxygen content of his blood. Then it was off to xray.


xrays of Gari's teeth

I have to admit, I don’t really understand this image of his xrays. I took this image of the computer screen with my camera. Later I’ll have them give me the real xrays, which are digital, as you can see. Once I have the full set of images, I think it will make a lot more sense.

At any rate, the news wasn’t good. There are dark pockets near the base of some of his molars on the bottom right and also his right, lower incisor. Those dark pockets indicate infection. I don’t think this infection is the same thing as a cavity since it is outside of the tooth itself.  According to the vet, that infection allows the tooth to become loose and rotate.

Some of Gari’s molars have rotated quite a bit. One of the rotated molars had developed a sharp point that was digging into Gari’s tongue. That is what caused his mouth to foam.

At this point, Dr. Hoppes told me Gari will need to see the veterinary dentist. However, the dentist is not available until Nov. 19th at the earliest. He is out of town. In the meantime, they needed to file down the sharp points on Gari’s teeth so that he can eat.

The video shows the vets working on filing down some of the points of his teeth.

The problem only affects the teeth on Gari’s right side, and it is worst on the bottom molars. The teeth on his right side are perfect.

The question is, why did this happen? Dr. Hoppes says this is most likely due to diet; Gari is not eating enough tough, abrasive food, such as grass. I can’t argue with that. This is probably partly due to his being kept indoors when he was young so that he didn’t learn normal grazing habits. And then there is the terrible drought that our part of Texas has been experiencing for the two years Garibaldi has been with us. To put it mildly, the grass here is not lush.

A second possibility could be that Gari hurt his mouth on the right side somehow and that caused him to avoid using that side for chewing. This would have caused the teeth to wear improperly, which would have caused him to use them even less. It is easy to see how a vicious circle can develop where the teeth get worse and worse and he uses them less and less.

Currently, Garibaldi is taking pain killers and antibiotics. Hopefully this will bring the infection under control while we wait for him to see the veterinary dentist. Dr. Hoppes thinks the dentist will want to pull some teeth but I am really hoping it won’t come to that.

A friend can help you through a rough spot

We will probably get in to see the dentist on Nov. 29th or 30th. Garibaldi is feeling pretty good right now. He is able to eat better than he has in the past few weeks. He hates being force fed his pills and I am so glad he is a non-biter! I dissolve the pills, which are a special peanut butter flavor that he supposed to like but doesn’t, in critical care and use a 60 ml syringe to force feed him. He hates that. Well, he’d better get used to it because I’m keeping him on antibiotics until he goes back. He cannot end up another Maple WoMER.

Maple eating

In case you are wondering, Maple seems to be doing fine. She goes back to her vet on Tuesday to get her eye sewed shut, assuming there is no more infection. Seriously, there better not be, I really cannot afford it.


20 comments to Garibaldi is Sick: Vet Visit 1

  • Cathy

    Gari and Maple are very lucky to have you take such great care of them – hope Gari is feeling much better 🙂

  • Kathryn

    Lots of love to everyone, especially the two sickies 🙂

  • Donna

    Thanks for sharing the updates on Gari. And thank you for taking such good care of your furry family. We all look forward to lots of positive updates on Gari and Mape WoMER’s health.

  • Ann M. Bednarek

    My Dear Gari, This blog made me feel sad and happy. Sad, because my heart breaks to see you hooked up to all those contraptions and to see you in pain. Happy because you have wonderful Melly who loves you and makes sure you get the best care there is, and knowing your eating and feeling much better. It was kinda neat to see the inside of your mouth. Interesting. Also glad that Maple feels better. You all have been thru alot. Lets hope the badness is over,and life gets back to normal. Loving hugs and kisses to all of you. Ann M. Bednarek <3

  • francine

    I’m so glad Gari’s problem was caught early. And…tiny bright side, look what information he’s providing us about capy teeth!

    Maple looks great!

  • I’m going to start eating more hay, Gari. I already eat a lot of grass, and my favorite is bamboo. Maybe we should both learn to chew rocks, too. That doesn’t seem nearly so crazy now, does it?

  • Amy

    You are such great parents. I’ll keep watching for all the good news to come!

  • Ken Klibaner

    Thank you for the update. I hope that he will be good as new very soon!

  • Tammy

    Well we are so glad to hear your updates on Gari and Maple….I am hoping that they both get back to their old selves soon…..

  • Laurie Coppola

    So sad to think of him having these problems, but seeing Maple doing so well, I have faith in the vets in your area. All digits crossed for Gari to not need a lot of surgery, and for Maple to be infection free, so she can get her eye sewn shut!

  • Margie

    It is certainly sounding much better for Gari. I am very happy for all of you. And here’s hoping that Maple’s visit to the vet turns out well too.

  • b salapek

    This is terrible! fixing my teeth is costing me a fortune too! The dentist told me that I have to get an implant of my bottom molars & if I don’t have something for the top molars to nash against the top molars can fall out of their sockets! I will buy some of your merchandise for my nieces for Christmas, they have hamsters & love to hear about you. I’m hoping for the best possible outcome for you! Glad you are feeling a little better!

  • Glad that Maple is recovering & hope there is no infection and that all goes well on Tuesday.
    Poor Gari, he’s having such a hard time now. I know how difficult it was to give my guinea pig Critical Care and a capy is SO much bigger. I hope the infection goes away & that the dentist doesn’t have to remove any of his teeth. Get well, Gari! Continuing to keep you & your household in my prayers.

  • Nic

    Will Gari get capy braces because his teeth aren’t alined?

  • Cheryl

    Hope Gari is feeling a bit better with the teeth filed down. Maple too. I had a bunny with molar problems that needed teeth filing. Several guinea pigs and bunnies of mine have needed Critical Care via syringe feedings. It depends on their personality and liking of it I think-some fought it, others ate it like a trooper. Keeping all of you in our prayers here.

  • rosenatti

    Keeping my fingers and webbed toes crossed for positive news.

  • alex

    Gari, please get better.

  • Milana

    Poor Garibara! That tooth cutting into his tongue in the video looks really uncomfortable. You guys are in my thoughts and I hope Gari gets to feeling better soon. He can pull through this.

  • De

    I adore Gari!!!!! He is GORgeous! I am sorry you were sick, sweetheart, but you will get the best care and TONZ of love while you recover…..and Molly, I’m glad you are better too! Hugs & Kisses for you all!

  • […] you’ve read about my two previous visits to the vet (Vet Visit 1 and Vet Visit 2)  then you know what kind of problems constantly growing teeth can cause. In my […]

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