trim the incisors of your rabbit yourself !!!
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A healthy occlusion has the
top incisors slightly overlapping the bottom incisors. The latter should rest
between the first and second pair of incisors, the second pair being located
right behind the maxillary (upper) incisors.
presentations of different rabbit dental disorders
Never trim the overgrown incisors of your
rabbit with a pair of small wire cutter or with nail clippers
It is painful, crude and, sooner or
later, a source of serious dental problems !!!
The use of a rotary tool, e.g. Dremel, for self-treatment
of incisors, is also dangerous without proper training or precise teaching by
a veterinary professional. How is it possible to restrain a rabbit safely,
open its mouth, file the incisors and make sure that the temperature of the
tooth does not become too high, see the level of filing, avoid to
touch/damage the tongue ? What about pain relief ?
Trancing is not the solution to keep
the rabbit calm. It may wake up, turn over unexpectedly, try
to fight or escape while its incisors are trimmed with a Dremel tool. Better
not imagine the consequences…
These pictures were taken for illustration purposes only and
were reworked in the computer (Photos:
Self-correcting incisor problems cause a tremendous
distress and pain to the rabbit. Self-trimming the teeth of a rabbit inevitably
has disastrous consequences. Frequently observed dental problems resulting
from self-trimming with a cutter or a nail clipper include:
Sharp edges, that can hurt the rabbit
when eating or grooming;
Stress fracture or longitudinal
cracks in the tooth, either in the visible part or under the gum line;
Tooth growth stopping due to damage
of the tooth root (endodontic diseases);
Exposure of the dental pulp resulting
in pulpitis (inflammation of the most internal part
of a tooth, the dental pulp);
Abscessation and changes of the
surrounding tissues and the alveolar bone.
Fracture of the jaw bone;
Pain due to the sudden concussion of
the dental pulp and nerves in the periodontal and periapical tissues
surrounding the tooth root, due to the enormous amount of energy released
into the tooth during the clipping.
If malocclusion of the incisors is present, the alignment
often worsens with regular self-trimming, and drastic dental work is required
when professional help is finally sought. Sometimes the problems may have
become so bad that the rabbit has to be euthanized.
Correction of dental disorders should be
done by an experienced veterinarian only
The size of the oral cavity of the rabbit is small, and
motion range of the jaws is limited. This makes examination of the oral
cavity with an othoscope on a conscious rabbit difficult. Dental problems or
lesions can easily be overlooked. The full evaluation of dental problems and
their treatment (trimming of incisors, coronal reduction, etc) is only
possible on an anesthesized rabbit, using proper instruments like incisor
gags and cheek pouch retractors, or a table top gag... If the case that a
rabbit is allergic to an anesthetic drug or anesthesia is not possible due to
health problems, trimming of overgrown incisors can be done on a conscious
but sedated rabbit.
Incisors and molars have a high growth rate, about 11-12
cm a year throughout the life of a rabbit. This means that trimming of
abnormally growing incisors may be needed every 4 to 6 weeks, sometimes even
every 3 weeks. Surgical removal of the incisors may be an option to avoid
regular visits to the veterinarian, more so to avoid the onset of soft tissue
damage, abscesses and/or secondary problems like dacryocystitis and blockage
of the sinuous nasolachrymal duct. Regrowth of the
removed tooth is rare.
exceptional circumstances, a veterinarian may instruct the owner how to file
the incisors when a rabbit suffer from severe dental problems that needs
regular trimming and surgical removal is not an option. This situation should
remain the exception.
A special thank you to Kim Chilson, for sharing the story as well as pictures of her
beloved Georgie rabbit
A special thanks to Dr. C. Morales and
Debbie Hanson for the pictures of malocclusion from Stella
Thank you to to
Kaspi for his help and demonstration of the dangerous clipping methods in
Thank you also to Flora, and the other
rabbits that remained anonymous