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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-28-2009, 11:30 PM Thread Starter
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more teeth problems

Mary Lou gets leaves and hay caught in her teeth. She has an underbite, and her top front teeth are very short. Her bottom teeth are discolored and have ridges at the top, but the bottom of the teeth look healthy. She is eating well, but I have to cut up hard foods, such as carrots, before she can eat them. I don't think she is ready for a dental yet, but how long can I let her bottom teeth get before she needs a dental? Mary Lou is one of my new fosters. This is a picture of her with a strawberry leaf caught in her teeth.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-29-2009, 10:49 AM
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Poor girl. How long is a tough question, we tend to do it as early as possible in hopes that the problem with correct itself if we can enforce proper occlusion for an extended period of time. This also usually means a quicker recovery and a shorter time under anesthesia. If she has an ongoing problem that can't be corrected, our vets have sometimes recommended removing the incisors. Rabbits with the incisors removed can still eat everything they normally would, but don't have occlusion problems to contend with.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-07-2009, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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I took Mary Lou to the vet yesterday. The vet said that Mary Lou also has overgrown cheek teeth. The vet clipped her bottom incisors, and warned that clipping her teeth could lead to abcesses, and that the clip was just a temporary solution. She wants to remove Mary Lou's front teeth. I am to take Mary Lou off of pellets and put her on a hay diet, to try to wear down those cheek teeth. I got an estimate of $189.76 for removing the incisors and grinding down the cheek teeth. I hope I can get the rescue organization to go through with the procedure.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-07-2009, 10:35 PM
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If this was our rabbit, we'd spring to file down the back molars first and then push hay to correct the issue. A lot of times the incisors only overgrow because the molars are out of whack, they're usually a secondary problem.

We actually had a rabbit this year that was found on the side of the road who's front teeth literally were so bad he couldn't eat at all. Our vet wanted to remove his incisors, but we were hesitant because it's a fairly serious surgery. We compromised by fixing his back teeth and really pushing hay. We had to do 2 followup trims as his front teeth grew out and corrected themselves, but 6 months later his teeth were back to new.

Granted, that may not work with every rabbit, but it seems like it gives them a chance to normalize first, if that makes sense?

We are as gods to the beasts of the fields. We order the time o' their birth and the time o' their death. Between times, we ha' a duty. - Terry Pratchett.

"Men have forgotten this truth", said the fox, "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-08-2009, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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Mary Lou and Oscar had been returned to the organization last fall, and at that time Mary Lou's front teeth were clipped, but I am not sure if her foster parent did it, or if a vet did it. I know she saw a vet at that time. I was told that I could clip her teeth myself, and I was told how to do it, but I wanted to take her to a vet because I didn't want to run the risk of making things worse for her. Her cheek teeth are only slightly overgrown, and I don't think they were ever clipped before, so I suspect that the front teeth might be the problem, but thanks for the suggestion, it gives me some ideas of what questions I should ask. I wish I knew what her teeth looked like last fall. I would feel better if her teeth were ground down before going through with surgery, but I feel that it is not my deision since I won't be the one to pay for it. She is outside where I can allow her to graze on grass for 10 hour a day, so I hope those cheek teeth will wear down. I would like to take a wait and see approach, and see she what happens before doing something permant like teeth removal. I have asked the organization if they would like me to take her to another vet for a second opinion, but I haven't heard back yet.


I am expected to pay for her medical bills, and then the organization pays me back, which is tough for me since I lost my job. If it becomes too stressful, I might just return her to her previous home, which I hate to do. Her previous foster mom is a wonderful woman who used to foster for the HRS when she lived in another state. Her house is small, and Mary Lou and Oscar (bonded pair) would have only a fraction of the room to exercise in than they have now. She has a small rabbit room where she has 8 other rabbits that she rotates out of their cages, so my pair would not be able to have the freedom they are used to. That makes it hard for me to give them up.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-08-2009, 08:27 PM
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Awww, poor Mary Lou. I feel your pain with the teeth problems... It gets pretty expensive. Your vet sounds cheaper than mine though- is was $120 just for Smudges spur trim!
Anyway, I just read somewhere that there is a kind of really course hay that is supposed to help with teeth problems, but I cant remember what its called. But maybe it would help if you gave her a different kind of hay that takes a little more chewing? Smudges hay has some pieces that are kinda stick-like that he really likes munching on, and it takes more chewing to eat. Maybe Mary Lou would like some of that to help keep her teeth down?
Just an idea... I hope you dont have to give her back!



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"For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.They are not brethen, they are not underlings; they are other nations caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth."
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-08-2009, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Jess. I will search the web to see if I can find out what kind of hay that is. I did get a bale of hay from a friend that has cows, and some of that is kind of stick like. I was also given advice to give her sticks, which she won't eat, but I was told that if I start out with giving her the new tips of apple branches and work up to the bigger stuff, she will get the idea. Just trying to figure out what to feed her is also a challenge, because I would get her to go back into her hutch at the end of the day by putting her pellets inside. Steel rolled oats seem to be doing the trick. Letting rabbits graze in the grass brings concerns about getting parasites, but I also learned that pumpkin seeds and squash seeds are a natural dewormer, but where do I get those seeds? I found out that they can be bought over the internet, they are sold as squirrel food. It seems like every challenge turns into a new learning experience. If everything always went well, I would be so ignorant! What did we do before we had the internet and sites like this one to share information with?
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-08-2009, 09:46 PM
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I went back to the site and checked, and it is Prairie Alfalfa hay, but you are only supposed to feed it to them for 2 days or so (because of all the calcium in it Im guessing), and it should help with teeth problems because it is like those stick-like pieces. This is just what I saw someone else say on another forum, so you might want to do a little research on it your self!
This year if I carve pumpkins for halloween, Ill be keeping the seeds for Smudge! Thats ALOT of seeds, LOL



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"For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.They are not brethen, they are not underlings; they are other nations caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth."
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-08-2009, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the information. This halloween I will be begging my neighbors for their garbage. ;^)
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-08-2009, 11:04 PM
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Other than using that one type of hay, you could try feeding grass hay mixtures rather than just one type. Diffrent types and cuts of hay require diffrent amounts of chewing and can wear the teeth diffrently. I feed my rabbits mixtures of diffrent grass hays, usually 25% - 50% timothy hay and then the rest will be things like brome, orchard grass, oat, bermuda grass.

Another benefit I found of feeding this way is that it gives the rabbits something to do as well. With the mixtures, my rabbits spend a lot more time digging through the hay to find the peices or types that they want. It keeps them busy and out of trouble and can help keep them from getting bored. It has also increased the amount of hay they eat.


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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-09-2009, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
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Good plan, Dragonrain. I have always heard that timothy was the best, but wild rabbits eat a variety of grasses, and I would think that a variety of hay would be healthier. I really don't know what kind of grass is in the bale of hay that I got from my friend. The grass in the rabbit yard is mostly bluegrass. I think I will look for meadow grass seeds to make their yard healthier. I wish I would have thought of that last spring.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-09-2009, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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I just heard from the organization. They trust the vet I took her to and want me to go ahead with the operation on Mary Lou's teeth. I think I will give the rabbits back after the operation, because the other woman is experienced with dealing with rabbit teeth problems. I have plenty of other stress to deal with right now. I might consider taking them back next spring. It has been great having them for the summer.
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