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Dental Issues

There are a variety of dental issues which can affect your rabbit. Malocclusion of the molars and incisors is very common in rabbits, especially dwarf rabbits. Molar abscess can cause infection that travels throughout their nasal passages and even their eyes.

Malocclusion: A misalignment of the teeth.

Symptoms: You should always check your rabbit's incisors to make sure they are not overgrowing--it will prevent them from eating. Weight loss, drooling, swelling of their cheeks and overall lack of appetite are the main symptoms.

What your vet may do: If the incisors are overgrown, they can be trimmed. This can sometimes be done without anesthesia. The teeth could have to be trimmed as often as every 4 weeks. In those cases, extraction may be recommended. Incisors are not needed to chew, just to grab food(and bite). Rabbits can live healthy, full lives without incisors. If their molars have points, they can grow into their tongue or cheek and cause a lot of pain for your bunny. The rabbit will have to be anesthetized for grinding down the points. It is more rare to remove a molar(unless there is an abscess) as complications can arise. X-rays may be taken to see whether the roots of the teeth are growing up into the nasal cavity--both ends of a rabbit's teeth can overgrow(root and tip).

Treatment: Providing a rabbit with a balanced diet of hay can do wonders for preventing overgrown teeth, but in some rabbits, their genetics simply override environment. Keep an eye on the growth of their incisors and bring them in for trims when needed. If their incisors were removed, tearing lettuce and other greens into smaller pieces can help a rabbit eat.

Costs: Trims are expensive and considered minor surgery. X-rays will be around $90 per view, more if they required anesthesia. A molar trim can run up to $300. Pain meds also may be given after molar trims.


Properly aligned teeth should stay short.

spur upper.jpg

Photo of a molar spur courtesy of Hope Animal Hospital.

Molar Abscess

Symptoms: Drooling, lack of appetite, mouth odor, swelling in their face, runny eyes or nose.

What your vet may do:The vet will check the rabbit's teeth with either a speculum or otoscope. They may need to anesthetize your bunny to get a better look inside their mouth. X-rays may be taken. The abscess may cause sepsis if not treated and it will need to be surgically excised. Antibiotic beads may be placed inside the pocket to cure the infection. Having a rabbit specialist is very important as this is a difficult surgery requiring specific expertise.

Treatment:Make sure the rabbit is eating. Syringe feeding will probably be necessary at first as this is major surgery and their mouth will be sore. Make sure they stay hydrated, subcutaneous fluids may be necessary(injections of ringer's lactate under the skin.) Give any antibiotics prescribed until they are gone. Give pain meds as needed.

Costs: This is major surgery and quite expensive, upwards of $300.

A good article on dental problems at National House Rabbit Society

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