So up until recently, my bunnies had not had dental issues. I guess I’d never even thought about them before. But if you have a tooth or dental issue it’s usually painful.
When a rabbit goes into GI Stasis and stops eating, one of the first causes your vet will check for is a dental issue. I can remember the vet going over the causes they had eliminated when Baby and Gracie went into GI Stasis and dental issues were always the first one mentioned.
So Dino at one point last year went to the vet for a check up and the vet noticed that he had dental issues. Over time he has developed 3 dental issues that need to be addressed every month. Yes I said every month. He has a tooth (upper tooth) where the outside of it forms sorta like a spur that grows up and toward his gum. If it’s not filed down it would eventually grow into his gum and cause a lot of pain and it would certainly stop him from eating if left untreated. The second issue is a tooth that is growing a spur toward the inside of his mouth that if left untreated would start to cause injury and pain to his tongue. Again he would stop eating. The third issue is a few teeth in a row that are growing toward his gum that need to be kept in check and filed down.
Normally rabbits would be fed enough sturdy hay and stiffer food that usually keeps their teeth in check. As rabbits teeth continue to grow their entire life, they never stop growing and the food, hay and treats in their diet normally can keep the teeth in check and grind them down. Dino has never, ever been a chewer like my girls are/were. The girls would chew on sticks, hay cubes, willow wreaths or whatever you give them. Dino has never showed an interest in any of those. He prefers soft things to eat and soft hay which could be why he is having dental issues as his teeth are not getting ground down properly.
So think about it, if your bun had a dental issue how would you know. How could you tell. Check out this chart to see what I am referring to. Overgrown teeth or dental spurs are not something you can easily detect or see so its important to be aware they do exist and your bun needs to be checked for them.
For the first few visits for the dental treatment the vet would treat him (Dino) while awake. But on the 2nd or 3rd visit he put up such a fuss while awake he got all crazy and poor vet really struggled with him. So now the vet sedates him each time. I would not normally recommend putting your rabbit under every month because there can be side affects to it, but its the only way his teeth can be treated and they must be ground down. Its a lot for him to go through but he seems to be getting more used to the routine now. He doesn’t like it but it must be this way.
So while at the vet recently to have Dino’s teeth filed down, I asked the vet tech Sarah and my vet Dr. Parr if they could take some cell phone photos of my little guy to share, and share they did! It can be a little hard to see but check these images out of problem teeth.
In the first pic it looks like the front has been filed already. On the middle pic, the teeth on the left are overgrowing the teeth behind them. The third pic is a tooth already ground down.
So below in the first pic is Dino’s right lower teeth which have points and needed to be ground down. The second pic below shows his front teeth in perfect shape and length. In the third pic his left lower teeth are not aligned and need to be filed to keep them in check.
These pics are not my bunnies but show some issues to give you an idea of how rabbit teeth can get out of hand quickly and can cause pain and eventually GI Stasis if left unchecked and treated. The first one has VERY long rear lower teeth with extremely sharp points toward the tongue! The second pic has lower teeth malaligned (very similar to Dino). The third pic is the back teeth on the malaligned side grow too long, causing his front teeth to wear at an angle. Last pic is upper teeth growing sideways into cheek.
Its really hard to see in these pics the seriousness of the conditions of these buns. They may be suffering without the parents even knowing it. So take note of the warning signs of dental issues and DON’T hesitate or wait to take your bun in to have him or her checked.
Its also worth noting that after Dino has his dental appointments, he is put under/sedated and when I bring him home later that night and twice the next day I give him pain meds by mouth just in case he has any discomfort. He loves the stuff and literally licks it off the syringe without any chasing or fuss. Here is a pic of him taking the meds. See my post on giving meds by mouth.
Warning Signs of dental issues….
The important things for you to remember are these when thinking about your own rabbit. Does he or she like to nibble or chew on sticks, branches, treats, stiffer hay and thick stems? If you answer no, then really pay attention to your bunny’s eating habits and be sure to have your vet check his or her teeth every year at annual checkup or sooner if you notice a change in their behavior regarding this. If your rabbit suddenly stops chewing on these types of things take notice and take him or her into the vet for a check. Did your bun always run when you bring the food, pellets or hay in but has stopped being so happy to see food – another sign. Has your bunny seemed to not care when you offer food or treats lately? Another warning sign of dental issues. If the bun has lost interest in certain foods or treats it maybe because its too hard for him or her and hurts its mouth to eat them. So pay attention to the warning signs and seek the help of a rabbit savvy vet. If the bunnies teeth are overgrown from not being ground down by food or hay, its just a matter of time before they stop eating and go into GI Stasis which can be fatal. Know the warning signs and be sure to take your bunny in for at least an annual exam each and every year – after all you want to keep your bunny healthy and happy…. now you are informed and hopefully you will remember this info in case your rabbits shows signs of dental issues or dental pain.
Dino is so happy after his dental treatments and your bun will be too.
If you have a specific question about your rabbit, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.