Recommendation to ALL rabbit owners:
Monitoring the weight of a rabbit
Dr. Amir Maurer
Companion and Exotic Animal Veterinary Center, Holon, Israel
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Rabbits, rodents and birds can suffer from a health problem over a prolonged period of time, without showing outward signs, without change of appetite. The disease - especially dental disease - will not stop progressing. The result can be devastating to the animal, with secondary effects on its health.
Secondary effects dental problems
1. Spurs, overgrown molars, deformed teeth can cause:
- Damage the gums and tongue, and possible secondary bacterial or yeast infections;
- Ptyalism (hypersalivation, slobbering) and secondary inflammation of the skn (dermatitis) and alopecia.
2. Elongation of the roots of incisors or cheek teeth can cause various problems:
- Compression or blockage of the nasolachrymal duct cause a runny eye or dacryocystitis;
- Infection of the dental root, with development of a root abscess or a retrobulbar infection;
- Infection of the root and deformation of the bone due to dissolution of bone (osteolysis) or osteomyelitis;
- Dysplastic changes, e.g., pseudo-odontoma, that lead to compression of the nasal cavity, difficult breathing,
sneezing or “reversed” sneezing;
- Discomfort and/or pain caused by the dental problem leads to a decreases appetite;
- Secondary renal failure, due to anorexia, hepatic lipidosis, septicemia.
3. Behavioral and diet changes due to discomfort or pain, such as a sudden aggressiveness or shyness, nibbling of furniture, changes in food habits, licking a long ignored salt block.
How can this be avoided
To avoid these tragic situations, it is worth buying a digital scale to weigh the animal at least monthly. The average of three measurements should be taken and noted- this is the stable weigh of a rabbit.
When there is a loss of 10% of stable weight - call for a vet exam.
This simple method is a great help to veterinarians as it allows to "catch" many diseases as they begin, especially dental disease.
Weighing the rabbit...
Since rabbits often move in the box, which affects the weight shown on the digital scale, it is best to take a few measurement and calculate the average:
Thanks to Yara and Kaspi for their cooperation.