Information from Bunnyhugga readers on dental disease in their own rabbits, the symptoms, causes and treatment...
Benjamin Bunny, 5.5 lb (2.5 kg) ginger colored mini lop. He was "rescued" from a pet store. He will be 3 years old on 14th November 2010.
When we came home we noticed he had a impacted incisor that had broken below the gum line and had caused a ulcer on his upper lip. He was taken to the vet and put on a course of Baytril.
After he was a little over a year old, he stopped eating and I was hand feeding him until we could get to the vet. The Dr. found an abscess on his lower right jaw so they did dental and skull ex-rays and discovered a large tooth root abscess. Most likely developed after the incisor issues.
After seeing 3 Dr.'s his options were these:
Surgery (no guarantee the abscess would all be eliminated) Several surgeries at that!
Pain medicine daily and a course of twin pen injections every 3rd day.
Or euthanasia (horrible option)
Twin pen injections .5 cc every 3rd day (now at every other day) and .3 cc daily. And molar floats and incisor trims about every 3 to 4 months.
Benjamin is the first bunny I've had with any teeth issues. He is stabilized and eats us all out of house and home! He eats and is thriving, playing and interacting with people and other animals. I feed them a timothy based pellet, timothy hay (some flavored) plenty of fresh fruits and veggies and will nick a cookie if given the chance!
Charlie Toby, Lionhead mini lop cross, age 7 months.
I got Charlie from a friend and he went in for his neuter when I got him, when he was under I asked the vet to check his back teeth and they soon found he had large spurs on his back teeth, they were cutting into his tounge and cheek and must have been in a lot of pain. There was no visible sign of any teeth problems and without his teeth being checked he may not be here today.
Once he was put onto the correct diet with timothy hay and high quality pellets he now has no spurs and is in great condition now, just goes to show a big love and care changes a bunnys life.
Daisy, 4 lb (1.8 kg) black and white dwarf lop. She will be 7 years old in July 2011 and was bought as a baby from a garden centre.
Daisy was diagnosed with dental disease when she was around 1 year old. She stopped eating one day so I took her straight to the vet and he told me her back teeth had spikes or "spurs" on them which were cutting into her cheeks and tongue and causing her pain. This was the first time I had ever heard of dental disease in rabbits.
As the problem was with the back teeth, Daisy had to have a general anaesthetic to allow the vet to file the spurs off her teeth. When she came home, I had to syringe feed her liquid food every 2 hours until she started eating properly again the following day.
Since that first time, Daisy has been to the vet every 2 to 3 months. We've totalled around 30 operations so far, costing between £70 and £100 each time depending on the amount of drugs and aftercare required.
We can now judge pretty well when Daisy starts to be in pain from her teeth. She eats a bit slower, dribbles a bit and generally seems distracted and subdued. These are signs that might easily be missed in a hutch rabbit and we are lucky that we are able to have Daisy in the house with us and can call the vet and book her in for an op before the spurs get to the stage where they might cause an ulcer. Spurs on the back teeth are difficult to see unless the rabbit is under anaesthetic and the vet can get a proper look at them. Our vet is very good and now just takes our word for it that she needs the op.
Between ops, Daisy is the happiest, bounciest rabbit you could meet. Her dental disease is in no way a reason to end her life. She is a very fussy hay eater and this doesn't help but we believe her dental disease was caused partly by poor diet as a baby (our own fault) and is partly hereditary, as dental disease is common in dwarf lops.