Teeth peeve

Pets (Singapore) - - Ask The Expert -

It is best to find out how the crack hap­pened be­cause chipped teeth can be a se­ri­ous con­di­tion that could lead to pain and in­fec­tion. Do look around her cage and ac­ces­sories inside the cage. Look out for ex­ces­sive bit­ing and chew­ing of the cage bars, lit­ter trays, food bowls or any toys that are not rab­bit-safe. Re­move any sus­pi­cious items.

Also, avoid fruits or treats that are high in sugar, such as ba­nanas. The sug­ars are not good for your bun’s di­ges­tive tract and can re­sult in dis­tur­bances in gut func­tion. In ad­di­tion, ba­nanas are high in potas­sium, which can cause fur­ther com­pli­ca­tion to its kid­ney and mus­cle func­tions.

Chipped teeth can lead to pain as your rab­bit bites and chews on her food. Al­though they may not show it, rab­bits are very sen­si­tive to pain, which may re­sult in dis­com­fort, re­luc­tance to eat and con­se­quently, ab­nor­mal defe­ca­tion and worse, gut sta­sis. It is, un­for­tu­nately, not safe to file the teeth by your­self at home, so please con­sult your vet im­me­di­ately. It is es­pe­cially ur­gent be­cause you also men­tioned that there is a speck of brown at the crack of each tooth. This may in­di­cate dried blood, resid­ual food or even possible in­fec­tion that is track­ing along the nerve and blood vessel of each tooth. Such in­fec­tion can lead to dan­ger­ous tooth root in­fec­tion that can re­sult in ab­scess and bone in­fec­tion.

The vet will give your bun a com­plete den­tal ex­am­i­na­tion that may in­clude a il­lu­mi­nated scope that goes into your rab­bit’s mouth to sur­vey the teeth. This can be done with­out se­da­tion. How­ever, if there is sus­pi­cion of in­fec­tion that in­volves the tooth roots, then se­da­tion or gen­eral anaes­the­sia will be re­quired. Den­tal and skull x-rays may also be per­formed to check the in­tegrity of the den­tal roots, den­tal sock­ets and the bone around it. Your vet may also per­form den­tal fil­ing and re­con­struc­tive re­pair work to cor­rect the un­even den­tal crowns. An­tibi­otics and pain re­lief are of­ten pre­scribed to pre­vent in­fec­tion and fur­ther dis­com­fort.

My bunny was licking (in­stead of bit­ing) her ba­nanas re­cently, so I checked her teeth and re­alised her top in­cisors were badly chipped. It looks like there’s a speck of brown on the break of each tooth. Sur­pris­ingly, she still eats her hay and pel­lets fine. Is fil­ing teeth at home a vi­able op­tion, and how se­ri­ous must her con­di­tion get in or­der to jus­tify a trip to the vet?

EX­PERT: DR GRACE HENG Ve­teri­nary Sur­geon B. V (Sydney) Res­i­dent Vet­eri­nar­ian at The Joy­ous Vet

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