Dental problems are one of the major health problems suffered by rabbits. This is usually caused by an incorrect diet due to a lack of fibre in the diet. Rabbits are good at hiding pain and do not show vulnerability due to being a prey animal this means that dental problems can often go unnoticed.
Rabbits suffer from dental problems unlike other pets as their teeth continuously grow throughout their lifetime. While owners are reminded to make sure their pets are feed a diet containing fibre this is not only because it is good for them but helps to wear down their teeth. Teeth that are not worn down can start to grow into the mouth causing the roots to get pushed back into the jaw and skull.
All breeds of rabbits suffer from dental problems, but some breeds are known to suffer more than other breeds this is because of the different features of the breed. Rabbits that have rounder faces suffer the most due to having smaller mouths due to the shape of the face causing the teeth to be squished closer together. Most seen in the lion head and dwarf breed. Some lop rabbits also suffer problems with teeth that are ill aligned due to genetic problems in their breeding. This will often need managing and sometimes trimming of teeth by your vet.
How to care for your pets’ teeth?
The best way to care for your rabbit's teeth is to make sure they receive the correct diet. While we all like to treat our pets the best thing we can do for our bunnies is to make sure they are receiving a while balanced diet of grass and hay.
The recommended diet for your rabbit’s daily diet included:
Grass or hay at least the size of the rabbit’s body.
Fresh leafy greens a small handful.
A small number of nuggets, not muesli style it can cause obesity as well as dental issues.
Provide plenty of safe smooth wooden chew objects. There are lots of different ones available to purchase on the market. Also great for adding enrichment!
We recommend getting your teeth checked yearly as humans do to check for any problems. Most vets now offer plans for health checks during the year with a vet nurse. I recommend building the health check into the yearly vaccination appointment as not to be missed but it also helps to reduce the stress to your bunny. We know most do not like the vets or going in their carrier. Like humans age also has an impact on your pet’s teeth and can cause dental issues we recommend more regular checks as your rabbit ages.
If you have any concerns or notice any dental issues, we always recommend getting these checked by a veterinary professional sooner rather than later.
Common signs of a tooth problem?
Not all signs will be present with teeth issues, so it is important as owners to keep an eye on your rabbit’s overall health you will know changes in your rabbit's usual behaviour. Some of these signs might be present.
A dirty bottom (grooming becomes difficult and painful)
Diarrhoea or soft faeces
A bumpy jawline
A runny nose
What treatment will my rabbit need?
Depending on the kind of tooth disease your rabbit is suffering from will depend on the cause of treatment needed. It is most likely to include pain relief, antibiotics, surgery and changes to your rabbits’ diet veterinary assessment will decide on what is needed depending on the severity of the problem.
The most common dental problems are
Overgrown teeth front or back teeth (Back teeth suffer from spurs)
Tooth root abscesses
Theses are a major problem which many rabbits struggle to overcome. Most require antibiotics, surgery to drain and remove the tooth.
We are always here to try to answer any questions but remember we are not trained vets. We hope our advice helps you to care for your rabbit's teeth so you can enjoy a happy rabbit.