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Rabbit Dental Care
Dental disease is the most common reason that rabbits are brought to us for treatment. Adult rabbits have 28 teeth that grow continuously throughout their life. As the teeth grow and erupt at similar rates, any alteration to one tooth in the level of wear will cause things to go wrong.
Early signs of dental problems are:
• Reduced appetite
• Dirty bottom
• Change in food preference or favouring one type of food
• Dropping food or being unable to pick up food properly
• Matted coat as the rabbit is unable to groom properly
Front (Incisor) Teeth
Overgrown front teeth are very common, particularly in smaller breed rabbits and can be the result of poor diet or just due to poor jaw shape.
The teeth should wear against each other to allow the rabbit to bite pieces of food. If a tooth breaks, or abnormal growth occurs, the teeth don’t meet to wear down but continue to grow and can become very long. If this occurs they can be regularly trimmed short by a vet (which can be every 3-4 weeks) or the teeth can be removed under general anaesthetic.
Cheek (Molar) Teeth
Like the front teeth, the cheek teeth grow constantly
and are kept short by the rabbit chewing on its food.
• Dental disease can cause serious illness and pain if not detected
• We recommend a dental examination twice a year
• Eating hay and grass helps to keep the cheek teeth at the correct length
Treatment of sick and injured animals is obviously a very important part of our work, but we are great believers in preventative medicine.
It is common for spurs/spikes to form on the edges of these teeth, particularly in older rabbits or those with poor mouth shape. This can cause ulcers/wounds on either the tongue or the cheek which are painful and cause discomfort. This will prevent the rabbit from eating.
In extreme cases, teeth can overgrow causing the development of lumps on the lower jaw, abscesses, tear duct and eye infections and unfortunately this can lead to death or euthanasia.
If this occurs the rabbit will need a general anaesthetic to rasp the teeth.
Please bring your rabbit in to see a vet as soon as you notice any of the above symptoms. Your VIP Pet Healthcare Discount will apply to the consultation. The quicker the treatment, the better.
What can I do to prevent dental problems?
Feed your rabbit a high fibre diet. Provide plenty of hay and grass as well as access to good quality pellet food. The grinding action that happens when eating hay and grass helps to keep the cheek teeth at the correct length.