Pet Dental Health Month – Rabbits

As we have said, February is Pet Dental Health Month. Dental and oral hygiene is a huge part of keeping your pet healthy, no matter what size or species.

This week we focus on rabbits.

What teeth should my rabbit have?

Rabbits have 3 different types of teeth which are unrooted and continually grow over their lifetime. Have a look at the types of teeth and their purpose below;

  • Incisors – These are used for picking up and slicing food.
  • Premolars – These are the chewing teeth after the gap behind the incisors.
  • Molars – These are the larger chewing teeth behind the premolars.

Your rabbit will have the following teeth (28 in total);

  • 6 incisors (including 2 upper peg teeth behind the main incisors)
  • 10 premolars
  • 12 molars

It is very common for rabbits to develop inappetence, slowing down of their guts and lack of faeces production. This may be a sign of dental disease amongst other problems so their teeth should always be checked. Common dental problems in rabbits can include;

  • Malocclusion – lack of alignment of the incisors or other teeth but leading to overgrowth or spurs developing
  • Separation of the gum or abscesses around the teeth or oral cavity
  • Resorptive lesions – erosions of part of the teeth sometimes due to diets being fed
  • Jaw length abnormalities – similarly can lead to malocclusion
  • Traumatic injury – this may affect the teeth or the jaw line leading to instability

Signs of a problem with your rabbit’s teeth or mouth might include the following;

  • Inappetence
  • Weight loss
  • Eye discharge
  • Facial swelling
  • Accumulation of soft faeces around bottom
  • Lack of grooming
  • Flystrike as a result of lack of grooming or faecal accumulation around the bottom

If you notice a problem with your pet and suspect it may be their teeth, then a vet consultation is always a good idea and should be your first step. They may suggest a dental under a general anaesthetic.

Preventative dental care top tips

  • Rabbit nugget diets as well as hay/grass and some vegetables.
  • It is essential to feed your rabbit a pelleted feed to ensure they are chewing and wearing their premolar and molar teeth down. It is important to mix this with hay/grass as well as some vegetables (if your rabbit can cope with these) to provide plenty of fibre and water content.
  • Dental/rabbit clinics with your vet practice
  • Your practice may run dental or rabbit clinics for your pet to attend and monitor their teeth. Problems can be picked up quickly and the vet/veterinary nurse will discuss the best treatment for your pet. Your rabbit may not allow you to examine their mouth, but vets and nurses are trained to know how to work with your rabbit and examine their mouth using an otoscope for a full dental assessment.

 

We hope you have learned more about your rabbit and their dental health.