понедељак, 30. јануар 2012.

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Bunny Teeth Care | Trimming Rabbit Nails



Bunny Teeth Care Trimming Rabbit Nails



Earlier, in post What Kind Of Food to Feed Your Bunny With?, I talked about importance of rich diet programme as part of bunny teeth care. If you haven't read it, maybe it is best you start from there, or from the very first post: Bunnies as Pets. All owners know about need for nail trimming, for those buns can scratch!

Lets take a short view of which teeth problems am I going to write today, and what measures of bunny teeth care do we have. Later I will write more about it. After discussing bunny teeth care programme, I will explain nail tripping techniques.

Bunny Teeth Care
Bunny Teeth Care - malocclusion

  • Malocclusion,
  • Molar spurs,
  • Teeth loosening,
  • Gum infection,
  • Teeth root infection,
  • Root extension farther into jaw.
First, let me say that bunnies have incisors (4 front teeth: 2 in the upper and 2 in the lower jaw) and molars (teeth located in the back of the jaws). Molars are not easily visible and reachable, while molars can be seen easily if you separate bunny lips. 
NOTE: Bunnies' teeth are growing continuously whole life (hipsodonts) and they need to be wear off. Feeding your bunnies with food rich in fibers (hay, wood), or giving them toys which are safe for them to bite the, will do the job. This works for normally occluded teeth.

Malocclusion is term used to describe situation when teeth are not meeting well. Either upper teeth are growing over lower, or it is other way round. In both cases there is an issue: teeth wearing off (sharpening while chewing food) is being compromised. If they can't sharpen their teeth (wear off), teeth will continue to grow. The same thing can happen in case of normally occluded teeth (if bunnies are not feed with proper food). This is why proper bunny teeth care is important.
I hope you understand the importance of giving to your bunny something he/she can bite and sharpen their teeth.
Malocclusion can be inherited (teeth are in malocclusion from the very start of growing up), or earned after jaw trauma.
If not wear off regularly, incisors AND molars will continue to grow. Incisors can grow outside of the mouth, or inside (hurting opposite gums, or tongue.). Teeth can sometime be so curved, they brake up. It is understandable that overgrowth teeth are not useful. Many dentists will use trimming as first teeth care solution. In practice this was proven to be not that successful as thought before. Teeth will continue to grow, and procedure has to be done every 2 to 4 weeks. It is stressful for your bunny, of course. Leading world veterinarians agree that pulling maloccluded teeth out is the best solution.
Molars (important for grinding the food after it being cut into pieces by incisors) won't overgrow in this way, like shown on picture (incisors overgrowth on the picture). Here we will see molar spurs (spikes, extensions) originating from molar edges (not aligning to upper/lower teeth). These molar spurs can grow into gums, or into tongue. Also they can grow that long so they make pressure on tongue not allowing bunny to move his/her tongue. It is then causing huge pain to your pet, not allowing him to eat anything. So, the main symptom is weight loss, and gas accumulation in intestines (this can cause ileus- lethal complication).

Teeth loosening is something not that rare, that affects elderly bunnies. It can cause root extension deeper into mandible/maxilla. If not treated, in time, teeth root can penetrate sinus, and is often followed by infection (mostly fecal bacteria from feces which has been pushed between loosen tooth and gums).

Gums and teeth root infection is caused mostly by bacteria moving under the gingives trough small fractures in the teeth (they can be caused by repetitive teeth trimming). This is one of the reasons veterinarians are recommending teeth extraction nowadays.

How to prevent bunny teeth going wild? 
What is proper bunny teeth care?


Bunny teeth care- biting
 In case of no malocclusion, the best thing you can do is to check your bunnies mouth every 7 days to have an overview on teeth growth! Feeding your bunny to fiber rich food is essential. Give some proper toys which he can bite and use to sharpen his teeth. I will repeat that it is crucial for your bunny to have rich and different diet programme every day. Also, lots of toys for biting and chewing is as important in bunny teeth care strategy (see TOYS). Seeing the veterinarian from the first day you got the bun is great investment in bunny's health and thus his long and health life!

Bunny teeth care - trimmer
Teeth examination:
Just like it is normal thing to examine your own teeth from time to time, it is the same thing with bunnies. Just, you need to do it more often. Their teeth are growing really fast, and in a week they can go from good into bad!
Checking incisors is easy job. You just need to hold your bunny tightly, and move his lips so you can see first 4 teeth (2 upper, and 2 lower ones).


Checking molars is, on the other hand, tricky. It is better to check them indirectly, buy looking for secondary signs of molars disorders:

  • swelling,
  • drooling,
  • laud grinding,
  • bad odor coming from the mouth,
  • eating disorder,
  • weight loss.
Treating teeth disorders (bunny teeth care in general):
As I stated earlier in this post: some veterinarians choose to trim bunnies' teeth. Others choose pulling them out as the best and long lasting solution. It is surgical procedure with little incision into the gums. It is important to pull out the whole root (their teeth roots are much longer than in human species). Antibiotics are per scripted for next 10 days. Healing is fast (bunnies are able to take food from 4 to 12 hours after the procedure). 
What after loosing teeth? Your bunny will adapt fast! Pellets will be his favorite food, since they are small and they pick it easily of the floor. You will have to cut hay into 2 to 3 inches long pieces for easy grabbing with their lips (they are not able to cut hay without teeth- you have to do it for them). Long term prognosis (your bunny is happy, and able to eat. pain is gone! Procedure is up to 100% successful.).

Long rabbit nails bother you? How to perform trimming rabbit nails?


This is not about some disorder. It is normal, common thing to see nails grow up, and be cut down! We all do it. The tricky part comes if your bunny is one of those which will do anything to get out of your hands. Well, my Gary is that type. He doesn't enjoy being tide up, and hate nail trimming (cutting). Most of rabbit hate it. Some of them will lie calm.
What to do if you have non-cooperative bunny? Just insure you have control over his legs, so he doesn't hit and scratch you while trimming his nails. You can to that by folding him into a towel, while keeping nails on his front legs little above the towel edge. Use trimmers for trimming dog nails (even regular nail clipper will do). Insure not to cut too far (watch for red line under the nail). If you cut the nail too far from the nail edge, there is chance you will hurt live tissue, and cause pain and bleeding. If there are few drops of blood in claws after cutting nails, put some antiseptic solution to prevent infection.
Now you know everything about trimming rabbit nails. Not the hard. The hardest part of it is take control over your bunny.
If you are interested in how to treat their fur, and should you bathe your pet, I suggest you to visit this post: Bunnies: Moult, Bathe and Fur Care.

Did you find Bunny Teeth Care | Trimming Rabbit Nails post useful? If so, tell me. If something is left unexplained, please ask.

Next time I will talk more about proper toys for bunnies to wear their teeth, and playing with your bunny. Stay tuned.
Thank you!





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