Thursday, 12 June 2014

To burr or not to burr? When is a dental required?

We have been contacted by several people regarding something very interesting they have read on another page so here are our thoughts on dental issues in rabbits: 1) Incisor teeth should always be burred and not clipped. Clipping causes further damage to the tooth roots and should be avoided. It is also painful and should not ever be attempted as a DIY measure at home. We consider this to be barbaric. 2) Have regular dental checks with a rabbit savvy vet. (Don't forget we hold a rabbit friendly vet list e-mail us at hq@rabbitwelfare.co.uk) 3) Weigh your rabbits at home every week. 4) If your rabbits are eating normally, not loosing weight, not slobbering, , and have no abscesses that you can feel along the jaw then there is generally no need for the rabbit to under go a dental. The main reasons for a rabbit to require a dental are: A) A molar spur or significantly elongated molar tooth which is pressing in to the tongue or cheek and causing discomfort,change in food preference, ie avoiding hard foods, loss of appetite, slobbering. B) Misaligned teeth are sadly very common, and very few rabbit mouths will look good under inspection, however this does not mean that a dental is required. If in doubt, then have a check the following week or so to make sure that the problem has not worsened and that weight has been maintained. C) Abscesses or bone infection developing around teeth. This may not be detected with the naked eye, and is one reason why your vet may recommend xrays of your rabbit's skull

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Preparing for a trip to the vets

Lulu and Jake had their vaccinations last week, and as part of this had a full check. Our vet, Orlaith noticed that Lulu had the a spur on her molar. She was eating well, not slavering, so we booked her in today to have it burred. If she had been showing any signs of discomfort or not eating she would have needed it doing much sooner. So, we had 5 days to prepare Lulu for her dental today. We get a lot of calls to the helpline from people that have brought rabbits home from the vet who are not eating for example so we thought the following would be useful. Before any of this of course make sure you have a rabbit savvy vet. We hold a list of rabbit friendly vets and this is available to anyone from the helpline, 0844 324 6090 or by e-mailing us on hq@rabbitwelfare.co.uk 1) Carry case. Make sure you have a carry case that opens at the top. You do not want to be trying to get a rabbit out of a front opening carry case because they always splay their back legs and it ends up being a battle. Much easier if they are easily accessed from the top. Also, if you know your vet trip is a few days away, place the carry case in the rabbits' environment and let them get used to it, feed them in it, so that the journey to the vet is less stressful. 2) Food. On the morning of the vet trip make sure you give your rabbit her favourite breakfast. Take a packed lunch with you, of all of your rabbit's favourite foods (herbs and dandelions are a favourite. and some of their usual pellets) We do not recommend fruit as part of a daily diet, but after an operation we can relax a little bit, we want them to be eating asap so we need to tempt them. A juicy nectarine or bit of apple would not be something we would give every day, but it might be just the thing to get the rabbit to start to eat again on her own. And don't forget to have some critical care / recovery sachets to hand in case you need to syringe feed too. 3) Travel. Sounds obvious, but rabbits find car journey's stressful, so no loud music, and make sure the carry case is secure on the seat with the seatbelt secured through the handle. 4) Companion. If your rabbit lives with another rabbit companion, take them both to the vet. Bonded pairs should not be separated and it will be less stressful for them to be kept together. This can often help the recovery of the rabbit that is having the operation. 5) Back home. Your rabbit should be alert and eating before being discharged. Make sure you keep them warm overnight, so this might mean keeping them indoors unless it is very warm outside, and be vigilant. Make sure they are eating and drinking as normal, otherwise you will need to syringe feed. Rabbits that are in pain will not eat, so make sure that your rabbit has had pain relief if needed, and you have some to give at home in the days following the procedure. If in any doubt, ring your vet!