Degu with Odontoma - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-01-2006, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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Degu with Odontoma

Hello, I had some very sad news from my vet yesterday. My degu has been having respiratory problems and sneezing and clearing his nose lots. I initially thought it might be a cold, but when he did not get better, I took him to my local Exotic Vet. They treated him for infection with Bactrim (broad spectrum antibiotic) but he was still having difficulty. They changed antibiotics to Baytril and added an anti-inflammatory (Medicam). Still no help. I eventually had him put under to get x-rays and see if we could pinpoint the problem. During all this time he was not eating properly and losing weight. He has lost 40g in 3 weeks and still not eating enough... My latest appt, the vet told me he had Odontoma, which is an infection or 'cancer' of the root of one of his teeth, which grows into the sinus cavity and impedes breathing. The only cure is to remove the tooth, but he's so small they tell me there's a small chance he will survive. For now they are treating him with Theopholine (sp?) a bronchiodialator, which seems to help some. Odontoma is typically associated with Prairie Dogs, but seems logical that a Degu could get it. I'm worried that I might have to put him down...I am not sure that I could afford the surgery.
I am wondering if there's anyone out there with insights or who might have had a Prairie Dog who had successful surgery. Any help or words of encouragement would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-03-2006, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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Degu X-ray, Odontoma and Bloating

Here's a picture of Mr. Bo's x-ray. They have such cute little skeletons. If you look real close you can see his sinus is clogged. It should show up as a black space full of air, but it's grey (swollen).
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-04-2006, 02:11 PM
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I'm very sorry to hear that your degu is ill! I know how difficult it is to go have a degu who needs serious surgery. I've had two operations on my degus, one for an eye infection and one for cancer and both were successful. Its difficult because we are told the risks of operations are higher because they are small animals... BUT...I think that your vets sounds like he know what hes doing, to be able to dignose this in a degu. He sounds like one of the good ones!

I'm sure you won't want your degu to suffer, and its up to you to decide which is the best option for him. You will have support for which ever decision you make from many people here. BIG HUG!!

I also think you may have helped me, because my degu, Rum, has had very similar sounding problems for a while now, and has been on various antibiotics (Septrin and now Baytril, along with numerous injections, for a chest infection which refuses to clear up). Both he and his brother are notorious for having tooth problems too... I will be phoning my vet on monday!
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2006, 12:07 AM
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My opinion is that you should go for it. Your degu deserves the chance. It's best to try than to just put the poor creature down! Besides, I'm sure if it does survive, you'll be very much appreciated.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2006, 04:16 AM
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aaawwwwi'm sorry your degu and you are having to go through this

At the end of the day you have to do what you think is right for your degu. Degu's can and do survive surgery and its better to try and maybe give him a chance then not to at all in my opinion. I would discuss the options with you vet and maybe also ask about the cost etc.... As some vets can come to arrangements on payment and you might only need to pay a small amount each week instead of the full amount upfront. I'd definately talk to your vet though and see what their opinion is and go from there. Please keep us posted on what you decide


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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2006, 12:10 PM Thread Starter
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Hello All! Thank you for your words of encouragement and support. So far Mr. Bo seems to be doing well. He needs medication each day and he needs to be hand-fed but it's all worth it. He's much less wheezy with the broncio-dilator medicine, so maybe that's working. I'm going to bring him in for another set of x-rays at the end of the month to confirm that he has odontoma. They want to do a full set of top bottom and detail of the side to confirm his condition. I'm still thinking about the surgery...but my research is not turning up positive results. This is a Prairie Dog disease, and all the websites and information that I have found say that the surgery is rarely successful, and if it is, the PDs don't live for very long afterwards. I will discuss this information with the Vet and consider everything. I will keep my fingers crossed and keep giving my little one all the love he needs. He seems to be eating the Critical Care (ensure for Degus!) and likes it, so his weight is stable. I'll keep you all posted. Thanks again for all your thoughts and wishes and opinions. I appreciate it all!
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-25-2006, 11:36 AM
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I ran across this thread and as a Prairie dog owner am very familar with this diagnosis. I have had PD's with odontoma and it is a very very serious illness. Please discuss thoroughly the suggested surgery before you proceed and particularly what the life expectancy and quality is post operatively. I know for myself if we had put our pd through this procedure it would have been more for my benefit than my pds. It is a very traumatic surgery. Here is a link regarding Odontoma I realize it is directed to PD's but all in all it is the same disease no matter what pet is diagnosed with it. The treatment essentially is the same. Also question the use of theophyline as it can also increase the heart rate and blood pressure of a small animal resulting in more complications. I made this mistake myself with one of my pd's and on a second opinion with another specialist and found it was causing my little lady additional problems and he stated he would never recommend this for this disease. This vet is very experienced with Odontoma. Consider albuterol with nebulizer treatments if you can find someone who has one (usually someone with a child with asthma will have a neubulizer handy). This really helped my pd's with thier odontoma with much less complications then what theophyline can cause. My little gal got to where she had to prop or try to stand up to sleep and that's when we decided we couldnt put her through anymore discomfort. Good luck and hope your little one progresses well. Congrats on using the Critical Care as this is something I wouldnt even think of not keeping in my home continously. It is the best for an ill pet and helps to keep thier digestive system on track particularly with the antibiotics that can upset this balance. Try mixing it with a little baby sweet potatoe as a treat also. Also look into obtaining a snuggle safe if you dont have one already. It really helps for the sleeping hours. You can obtain them at petsmart or most pet stores.

Last edited by SwC; 03-25-2006 at 11:45 AM.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-25-2006, 02:17 PM
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Vets have an insurance plan also it comes in very handy and I suggest that every pet owner get it for thier pets, they are just like children and need to go the doctor sometimes, and it cost as much or maybe more than it takes for us humans
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-25-2006, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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Hi! Thanks for your comments! I have stopped the Theophyline as it is not helping at all. Mr Bo currently takes ovol to help with bloating due to gas because he is sucking air into his tummy instead of his lungs... His weight is stable!

I'm heading to the vet on monday for x-rays to determine which tooth it is in, and will ask about albuterol nebulizers to help with symptoms. They actually mentioned some sort of 'puffer' but were wary because any kind of steroid is very bad for degus. I'm going to ask anyways! Can't hurt!

So for now, I just have to keep up with the Critical Care (which he devours like a little piggly wiggly) and ovol for bloating. He seems happy enough, and doesn't seem to mind the sneezing/clearing of his nose too much. I haven't noticed any major progression of the disease with respect to more difficulty breathing. I'll keep my fingers crossed so far!

I'll try the baby sweet potatoes. I bet he'll like that. He seems to like rice krispies too! I'll check on the snuggle safe for sleeping. Anything for my little one if it helps him sleep.

Thanks again for your suggestions and kind words! It means a lot. I'll post more x-rays when I get them!
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-26-2006, 04:41 PM
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If you dont have a petsmart in the area you can find the snuggle safe's online easily at varying prices. Average is $20-25.00 US. Just pop in the microwave for short time and gives up to 12hours or warmth. Myself and the zoo crew here will have your little one in our prayers that its not odontoma as we have been there. Keep positive!
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-26-2006, 08:11 PM
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I wonder - can the 'snuggle safe' be frozen, as well as heated? Sort of like a gel pack?

I am looking for a way to keep the boys cool when summer gets here and it starts zoomin up to 80 in my apartment (I can't afford to run the A/C 24/7!). I've considered freezing ceramic tiles and slipping them under the floor of the cage to cool it down, but if these can be frozen...
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-26-2006, 08:23 PM
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Not sure about cooling. Maybe give PetSmart a call as I cant find anywhere on the product regarding cooling in lieu of heating.
May give you more of an idea as they do come in a couple of sizes. I used to use empty 2 liter soda bottles to freeze to keep my rabbits cages cooled here in florida but that would be too large for your needs.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 04:57 PM
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degus and prairie dogs

Well, I have prairie dogs and I am affiliated with several prarie dog rescue/rehabbers. This is very bad treated in some cases. Definately the website that the lady gave you is good info. Please make sure that you are definately using the critical care from Also you can purchase Bennebac, purchased from some pet stores, This has a good bacteria that will help you.

Their is a vet in Southlake Texas, dr. moore, that has had years or experience and very knowledgable. You can contact him and just let the tech know the call is from Canada. His number is 817-481-2014/ usa.
The most important part is going to be the pain management. They can live for years.

Could also join a group for prairie dogs. Lots of great info and picture of xrays ect. Will have to be okayed by a mediator. through

wish you all the best.
This is a very sad issue that has claimed the lives of several animals. They can live for years based upon the severity of it.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 07:24 PM
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If you should have difficulty getting the oxbow from the website your vet most likely has it if he treats alot of exotic herbivores, if he doesnt he can order it for you. Generally you have to call Oxbow directly to get it as dont believe they permit ordering of it online. But it also has what is needed to keep the digestive tract bacteria on a nature equal balance particularly if alot of antibiotics are being used. I wouldnt be without it in my household and keep a 1lb cannister in my freezer at all times. Joey also gave some good websites to check but I would definitely ask your vet to have someone very experienced with this type disease review the xrays just to be on the safe side. Alot of the pd specialist are more than willing to review them free of charge. I'd definitely call the number provided. Mine went misdiagnosised for along time and by then it was much to late sad to say.
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