With the update on Titus and the his family who are dealing with challenging dental diseases, many owners want to know how they can prevent dental disorders in their rabbits. Today, we will like to share some tips to improve dental health so no rabbit will suffer the pain of a toothache:
Chewing hay is the single most important activity to keep their teeth healthy! We recommend long stalky hay such as first cut Timothy or oat/wheat/barley blends. If your rabbit is picky, mix in some softer cuts or nice smelling grass or herbs for variety. Change out your hay daily and give plenty as that will encourage your rabbit to eat more.
Leafy vegetable contains fiber that is good for the rabbits to chew and grind their teeth down. This is a great option for rabbits who may eat lesser hay. Consider feeding the stalks first which is most fibrous! A good variety will include chye sim, xiao bai cai, lettuce and wheatgrass! The sound of crunchy veges are sure melodies to our ears!
While you are massaging your rabbit’s body, do include their cheeks and jaws too! They are always eating so these areas are especially sore. Feel for their jaw bone and gently press on it to get used to how they feel. Overtime, you will learn more about their structure and if there is any swelling, pain or sensitivity, you will be able to detect it quick.
Whenever you are holding your rabbit on his back, make it a point to peek at his front teeth (incisors). These are the only 4 teeth you can easily monitor without a tool. Make sure they are even, white and not curving or overgrown. Do it regularly and you will be able to detect malocclusion of the incisors which can be very painful and uncomfortable.
A rabbit savvy vet will have the right tools to monitor the health of your rabbit’s teeth. This include a proper otoscope to look into the remaining 24 teeth which are very prone to spurs and ulceration. Some even have it hooked to a monitor for a clearer view! An experienced vet is also able to handle your rabbit to minimize stress.
Dental issues can develop fast and furious within months. In addition to engaging a good vet, you also need to diligently plan their checks. For young and healthy rabbits, an exam once every 6 to 12 months should suffice. If the rabbit is senior (above 5) or has pre-existing condition, we recommend every 3 to 6 months or as dictate by the vet.
Not all owners are prepared for the additional cost for diagnostic such as X-rays. However, is is extremely useful if you suspect your rabbit has dental disorder. The results can uncover skin deep problems invisible to our eyes which could be life saving for rabbits with root infection. Without X-ray, our rabbits might suffer in silence.
It is very possible that no matter how diligent an owner is, their rabbits may still be subjected to this disease. This is often due to poor breeding practices which has resulted in weakened bones and teeth. Hence, all owners need to be prepared mentally, financially and physically in caring for their rabbits through their dental woes.