MALOCCLUSION OF THE INCISORS
Today, we want to focus on one of the most common form of dental disorders: Malocclusion of the Incisors. It is extremely easy for the owners to diagnose and can be treated safely with the help of a rabbit-savvy vet. We hope to share some useful tips to help owners manage this rather common condition.
Our rabbits have 4 front incisors which can be easily seen by gently lifting and parting their lips. Their purpose is to pick up food into their mouth and facilitate grooming. Healthy incisors are even and trimmed. They should be aligned in the front and on the side such that one should not be longer than the other. They should not be sharp or pointy.
If a rabbit has uneven incisors, they should be treated by a rabbit-savvy vet. For mild condition, the vet may prescribe trimming as a form of management. The procedure should be done under anesthesia and the safest method is through the use of a high speed water-cooled burring tool. DO NOT trust a vet who uses scissors or clippers as this can crack the teeth and cause root infection.
However, our rabbits do have ‘open-rooted’ teeth which are continuously growing. Trimming provides immediate relief but if required every 3-4 weeks, can be very stressful. In cases where the rabbit is healthy, it is best to consider permanent extraction. It is a more invasive surgery but if well-managed, the rabbit will recover and be able to eat his normal diet without the incisors.
It is important for all owners to monitor their rabbits’ incisors regularly. However, it is important to note that even with perfect vision, you can only see the 4 front incisors. You will still require a rabbit-savvy vet to look into the remaining 24 molars. Let’s be proactive in monitoring our rabbits’ health so they can live a long and healthy life!