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Dental trouble

22 10:15:28

QUESTION: We have a four year old house rabbit Dixie who is a Netherlands Dwarf.  For three years he suffered with runny eyes but apart from that Dixie is lively and outgoing with a good appreciate.  Ten weeks ago he became slightly withdrawn and had a runny rose.  We took him the vet who diagnosed him with spurs in his molars.  We booked him in for the operation to have the spurs filed and eye ducts flushed, the operation was successful and he returned to his usual self. Just this week he has gone off his food he still follows us in to the kitchen and gets excited when we put his food down but then he nibbles on a few bits and then dismisses the rest of the food. We were obviously concerned so we returned to the vets.  Our vet has told us that he will need a further operation (just 9 weeks since the last op)this time they have advised that putting our bunny under anesthetic this frequent is a concern and suggest this op is he last time they would recommend such operation.  Reading between the lines they seem to be suggesting that we put him to sleep.  As you can imagine we are deviated it just seem such a waste he is only 4 and is otherwise healthy and full of life.  Were just looking for a second opinion is this really the end for our much loved bunny?

ANSWER: Dear Kate,

The vet is suggesting you put Dixie to sleep for MOLAR SPURS?!?  If that is really and truly what they are hinting, then....

Someone needs to give that vet a good slap upside the head. That is just beyond ridiculous, and tells me that the vet does not take Dixie (or perhaps rabbits in general) seriously as patients.  I'm betting he would not recommend euthanasia for a golden retriever who had chronic dental problems.

That just makes me so angry.

You need to find a different, better vet who is more experienced and confident with rabbit dental problems.  Yes, molar spurs are often a recurrent problem, but they can be controlled in various ways.  First, they need to be filed.  But outdoor playtime and chewing on real grass (no pesticides or fertilizers, of course!) can help, as can plenty of hay and all kinds of other things.  

He may need an occasional molar filing.  So what?  That's not a reason for a death sentence.  SHAME SHAME SHAME on that vet!!

Please find another vet here:

and I'd never go back to those other nimrods.  We've had bunnies who have to have their molars filed every few weeks, and they do fine.  We even trained ourselves to do minor filings ourselves, armed only with a Revlon nail file.  (This isn't for the novice, but an experienced rabbit vet can do this, too.)

I hope this helps.  Noserubs to Dixie!


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks so much for this i am going to get a second opinion  i am trying to locate a decent rabbit vet in my area (Liverpool UK).  In the meantime Dixie is still off his food the vet has supplied us with two sachets of recovery liquid feed, he's very independent and hates being force fed by syringe.  Can you give us an idea of some foods we can give him in the meantime to keep his strength up? Thanks again Kate

Dear Kate,

I don't know if you're up for a drive, but the vet BEST rabbit dental expert in the UK (and right up there in the WORLD) is in your neck of the woods. Sort of:

Dr. Harcourt-Brown is fantastic.  If you can get your bunny to her, he'll have the best of care.

In the meantime, you can make pellet fluff to force feed him:

1.  cover his alfalfa-based pellets (no seeds or other bits) in a bowl with clean drinking water

2. warm in the microwave for about 15 seconds.

3.  Allow to cool and absorb the water, and then "fluff" with a fork.  

4.  Add additional water (or chamomile tea) until it's a pudding-like consistency.

You can feed this with a wide-bore dropper, a bit at a time, to keep him strong.

I hope this helps.