Dental

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TORY93

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Hi Guys 👋

I am new here so sorry if I am not posting correctly.

I am looking for some advice.

I have a fit and healthy rabbit but she suffers with dental issues and has her back molars burred a number of times over the past few years. She recently went for a routine dental in March but it turned out one of her upper molars was loose and a chunk fell out. There is still some of the tooth there but mostly its just gum. The vet is expecting this to grow back.

Fast forward to today, I have been back to the vets as shes not eating, and have found out that the lower molar directly under the missing tooth has over grown and caused a cut on her tongue. I didnt get to see my usual trusty vet as he was on annual leave, the vet I saw told me to consider putting her to sleep.. this isn't an option for me or for her. She is otherwise a perfectly healthy rabbit. She was binking in the garden yesterday and jumps up my legs for fusses and runs around, shes not a critically ill animal.

My normal vet is back in tomorrow and ive got an appointment with him but I wanted to go prepared with research. Has anyone else experienced anything similar with their rabbits teeth? What was the outcome? Do you have any suggestions? Advice? Etc.

I was thinking about asking him to burr her lower molar down right to the gum so it matches the upper molar and then they can grow back together?

Please any advice welcome. Please don't tell me to put her to sleep. I know that this is apparently some how an option but not one I really want to explore right now.

Thank you all in advance.

Ps she is currently on 1ml metacam twice a day, she had a painkiller injection at the vets today and im syringe feeding her every 3-4 hours which she is taking like a champ.
 

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Hi, sorry no replies here think I'd bump it up now. I have some experience with overgrown teeth but not to the point I could advise here. From my understanding it sounds good to me what you thinking to file them down to the gums, I.d think maybe not just one lower but just both pairs so they could grow nice and straight and then you'd keep them trimmed after as usual. As far as I know rabbit can live even without molars so putting her down just because of that sounds completely unfair, I hope that your regular vet will be able to find some solution and she will be alright. Please keep us updated, hopefully more people will see your thread and will be able to comment from their experience
 

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Burring the bottom molar is a completely viable option and would be the normal routine treatment for this type of issue. So is tooth extraction if the upper molar doesn't end up growing back. Putting your rabbit to sleep is really extreme of the vet to even be suggesting and absolutely unnecessary when there are better and doable options available.

Detailed article on dental disease and treatment in rabbits:
Medirabbit: dental disease

One thing you might want to consider for your rabbit to help possibly prevent, or at least help lessen the amount of dental burring needed, is changing whatever hay you use to orchard grass, and it being the bulk of your rabbits diet. I know of one owner there in the UK, who's rabbit had to have a dental done every 2 months. She switched her rabbit to orchard grass and the rabbit was able to go a whole year without needing a dental again. It won't work for every dental issue, but certainly has possibilities. It's the high silica content in orchard grass that makes it more abrasive and so helps increase tooth wear.
 

TORY93

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Burring the bottom molar is a completely viable option and would be the normal routine treatment for this type of issue. So is tooth extraction if the upper molar doesn't end up growing back. Putting your rabbit to sleep is really extreme of the vet to even be suggesting and absolutely unnecessary when there are better and doable options available.

Detailed article on dental disease and treatment in rabbits:
Medirabbit: dental disease

One thing you might want to consider for your rabbit to help possibly prevent, or at least help lessen the amount of dental burring needed, is changing whatever hay you use to orchard grass, and it being the bulk of your rabbits diet. I know of one owner there in the UK, who's rabbit had to have a dental done every 2 months. She switched her rabbit to orchard grass and the rabbit was able to go a whole year without needing a dental again. It won't work for every dental issue, but certainly has possibilities. It's the high silica content in orchard grass that makes it more abrasive and so helps increase tooth wear.
Thank you for your reply, much appreciated. Im glad to hear that you also think its a suitable idea, you never know if youre being biased as the bunny parent but it was just totally unfathomable as she is completely healthy otherwise.

I have an appointment with my normal vet today at 12:15 so hopefully we can get it sorted.

I will look into the orchard grass too, thank you for the tip :) shes quite a fussy hay eater but im willing to try anything x
 

Shmibunny

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You are right. There's no reason put her to sleep. I would not see the vet who suggested it again or at least not put much trust on anything they say. As others said, burring and molar extraction are viable options. Teeth problems are fixable.

I wonder how are her gums around the affected tooth? My Lionhead girl had a really weird overgrown molar out of nowhere a couple years back that fractured at the base before being trimmed and the gum looked inflamed/infected. No antibiotics were given at the time (the tooth was loose and the vet "removed" it and assumed all would heal up once the bad tooth is gone). The tooth grew back kinda weird and yellowish and some weeks later began our very long road of dealing with a nasty tooth root abscess.

Long story short, all is well now. During her surgery for the abscess, a specialist succesfully removed her problematic molar -- the front one on the upper left side in her mouth. It has not grown back. So on that side, the front lower molar is missing its "pair," but the way a bunny's jaws move while chewing hay are enough to keep it in check. Only once has the lower molar grown an edge at the front, a few months after the removal. Wanting to spare her yet another anaesthesia, our local vet put a file in her mouth, let her chew a second against it, and that was it. This isn't usually how bunny teeth are burred but for that slight edge at the very front it worked, and she has not needed any kind of tooth trims since (over 2 years ago).

So I just wanted to bring up the idea that antibiotics early rather than later can be really helpful if there's any kind of gum issue associated with a problematic tooth/tooth removal, and that a missing molar might not always cause issues down the line.

More hay, less pellets, more willow sticks/tunnels, apple tree sticks, and hard things to chew could maybe help?

Good luck!
 
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TORY93

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You are right. There's no reason put her to sleep. I would not see the vet who suggested it again or at least not put much trust on anything they say. As others said, burring and molar extraction are viable options. Teeth problems are fixable.

I wonder how are her gums around the affected tooth? My Lionhead girl had a really weird overgrown molar out of nowhere a couple years back that fractured at the base before being trimmed and the gum looked inflamed/infected. No antibiotics were given at the time (the tooth was loose and the vet "removed" it and assumed all would heal up once the bad tooth is gone). The tooth grew back kinda weird and yellowish and some weeks later began our very long road of dealing with a nasty tooth root abscess.

Long story short, all is well now. During her surgery for the abscess, a specialist succesfully removed her problematic molar -- the front one on the upper left side in her mouth. It has not grown back. So on that side, the front lower molar is missing its "pair," but the way a bunny's jaws move while chewing hay are enough to keep it in check. Only once has the lower molar grown an edge at the front, a few months after the removal. Wanting to spare her yet another anaesthesia, our local vet put a file in her mouth, let her chew a second against it, and that was it. This isn't usually how bunny teeth are burred but for that slight edge at the very front it worked, and she has not needed any kind of tooth trims since (over 2 years ago).

So I just wanted to bring up the notion that antibiotics early rather than later can be really helpful if there's any kind of gum issue associated with a problematic tooth/tooth removal, and that a missing molar might not always cause issues down the line.

More hay, less pellets, more willow sticks/tunnels, apple tree sticks, and hard things to chew could maybe help?

Good luck!
Hi Lila Bird

Thank you sooo much for your reply. It is very interesting to hear that your bun had an issue with her lower tooth so soon after the extraction but has not had one since as the situation i am in is very similar, perhaps it takes them a while to get used to the tooth being missing and once she gets used to eating on that side the issue might subside 🙏.

I did ask the useless vet i saw yesterday about potentially putting her on antibiotics and her reply was "oh she has been on baytril in the past i dont think that's needed here" which i didn't think was right but I couldn't force it out of her. To be honest she wasn't much good, I said to her I wanted to put her on metacam 1ml twice a day and she said no thats too much do 0.5ml twice a day, I said to her immediately after the dental she was on 1ml twice a day for a few days and she was fine and she got all flustered and said oh well maybe do that then .. she really was not good.

She has a willow tunnel which she has completely abliterated, ive just ordered some fresh orchard grass from small pet select as she usually has Timothy hay and ive also ordered some extra supplies in prep for the dental, more recovery food, fibreplex etc.

I'm really hoping that today's visit goes better. I do only have one vet that I trust so im hoping he sees it the same way as me. The vet is saw yesterday said "i don't think he is going to say anything different" so its making me nervous but im trying to hope for the best. If he isn't willing to help (which I hope/think he will) ill ask for one more dental to be done there to buy me some time and then go get a 2nd opinion or something.

Appointment is in less than an hour so I will let you know how it goes.

Thank you again for your help, the thing about the bottom tooth overgrowing a few months after the extraction and then not having an issue since is really interesting and quite promising so I really appreciate that so thank you x
 

TORY93

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Little update. Had an appointment at 12:15 with my usual vet, we had a good long chat and went through everything. He said he absolutely agreed with me about going through with a dental to really file the lower molar down. He is taking xrays too. I had a call about 30mins ago to say they were just about to put her under anesthesia.. xrays first and then the dental. Im hoping I should hear back in about an hour and a half or so.

Really hoping that (a) she wakes up, that's always the scariest part to me. I can deal with all the vet trips, medicine and syringe feeding through the night but the waiting for the call to say she is awake is honestly the worst and (b) I hope the plan works and the upper molar and lower molar grow back at the same time and this won't happen again so soo. Fingers crossed.

Thank you to everyone that has replied x
 

TORY93

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Hi guys, me again.

Sorry for spamming but thought id provide an update.

She stayed in and they did an emergency dental today because her tongue was really badly cut because of the teeth.

Xrays are showing that her upper molars are coming through so that's good news :)

The bottom molar that's paired with the missing upper molar was burred right down to the gum line..hopefully this will allow both the upper and lower to start growing through at the same time 🤞🏻

She also has the same issue on the right hand side but not as bad. She has one missing upper molar (it broke off it wasnt extracted) which is also due to grow back. The xray shows that the upper molars on the right side is growing quicker than on the left side so its lower molar partner has also been burred down but not as far down as the gum line its been burred down about half way to allow time for the upper to grow.

I'm pleased with how it all went. Picked her up this evening, shes had some recovery food, is on 1ml metacam twice a day and ive also got a pain killer to inject into her twice a day to help with the pain.

Shes taken her first dose of metacam and recovery food since the dental and she took it like a champ so im hoping she will continue to improve and this works for her future.

Thank you all again for your help and advice its much appreciated, I feel a lot better and I'm hoping my rabbit will feel better soon too.

Ps I have also ordered some orchard hay so I hope that helps with keeping her teeth trimmed.
 

Shmibunny

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Glad to hear the trim went OK. Hope her tongue will heal soon. I always like to hear updates. Besides, these threads may help someone else in the future. Remember to keep your bun well-hydrated while she's on metacam and medications.
 

TORY93

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Hi Guys, so we went for a check up today to see how things are going and I had mixed news.

Good news
Top right molar has come through and Is starting to grow. Bottom right molar is also growing so hopefully they will meet.
Top left molar has not come through yet, bottom left molar is growing very slowly so hopefully the top one will erupt soon and we will have a bit of luck.

Not so good news
While she was under (10 days ago) the vet also neatened up her 2nd and 3rd molars on the lower left side and cut a triangle out of them (he explained it well to me but I cant really relay it without messing up the explanation) as a preventive measure to buy some more time between dentals, the 2nd and 3rd molars have grown so quickly in 10 days that the triangle he cut out has grown back plus a bit more and it is just about to spark off to the side. He said it is very very minor at the moment and if he had seen it in any other rabbit, young/old/dental history/no dental history he would not do a dental at this stage as it is very minor .. but the cause of concern is how quickly those 2 teeth have grown in 10 days. He said there is a chance the growth could slow down or that she may not have been eating effectively due to the recent dental and as she recovers she may start eating effectively again which will also slow down the the growth of the begining of the spark. She was on pain relief injections for 3-4 days which knocked her out a bit and she wasn't coming out of bed or eating much.. so I guess the lack of tooth grinding during this period could of caused it. She is slowly beginning to start to eat more hay and if I feel like shes not eating enough hay I will pick her up and hand feed her hay so that shes getting as much as she can along with fresh grass cuttings twice a day.

Although the news started off well I cant help but feel saddened by the other news. We are going to monitor it on a weekly basis but I feel like we are fighting a losing battle if her teeth are growing so much so fast. I always thought rabbits tooth growth slowed down with age but hers seems to be speeding up?!

I'm currently feeding her orchard hay and fresh grass.. I also bought these ...https://www.viovet.co.uk/Beaphar-Dental-Easy-Treat-for-Small-Animals/c13009/ (I'll post a picture below too) ive never seem them before, they somehow apparently promote natural tooth wear but I have no idea how.. nowhere seems to be able to offer an explanation but I thought they can't hurt as a treat? Has anyone else tried this or know how they work?

Thought I would post as an update but also thought I'd see if anyone has any advice? Why are her teeth growing so much in 10 days? Its madness.. she used to go 10-12 months between dentals. I'm just living in fear and anxiousness that the idea of having her put to sleep is going to be raised again and I feel like we are on borrowed time and im just getting in to such a state over it all. I came home from the vets today and just cried for a solid 30 minutes. I dont know what more I can try to help with her tooth wear. Does anyone have any advice or tips/tricks? I'm willing to try anything.

Thank you.
 

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Shmibunny

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Thank you for the update. Sorry to hear it wasn't all good news. I don't have enough knowledge on this, but I hope someone can help you. You are doing your best for your bunny! This thing is still within fixable/manageable.

By triangle I am guessing (and I am totally guessing) the vet burred off some extra near the edge in a triangle shape so the spurs wouldn't reappear as fast? If you look up some numbers how fast bunny teeth grow, it's crazy, and no one probably exactly knows plus it can vary, but it kind of makes sense that the missing triangles would fill out quite fast as there's nothing to stop them growing back? Past that point though, hopefully they don't become an issue too soon.

Do you have apple sticks or some other hard things for your bunny to chew that he might like...? My girl, strangely, was willing to nibble some willow tunnel (the kind that looks like wicker) even when she couldn't/wouldn't eat any hay or pellets for weeks, and also on a few other occasion, when a bunny's been a little ill in my house, sometimes they will nibble a willow tunnel long before hay. I am not sure how much nutrition, fiber, or tooth wear this gives, but it's never caused problems at least.

Let's see if someone has some insight for you. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

You're in the UK and there are some amazing vets there... Your vet could possibly consult with whoever is the best of the best with rabbits in the UK for some ideas (unless they are one themselves.)
 

TORY93

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Thank you for the update. Sorry to hear it wasn't all good news. I don't have enough knowledge on this, but I hope someone can help you. You are doing your best for your bunny! This thing is still within fixable/manageable.

By triangle I am guessing (and I am totally guessing) the vet burred off some extra near the edge in a triangle shape so the spurs wouldn't reappear as fast? If you look up some numbers how fast bunny teeth grow, it's crazy, and no one probably exactly knows plus it can vary, but it kind of makes sense that the missing triangles would fill out quite fast as there's nothing to stop them growing back? Past that point though, hopefully they don't become an issue too soon.

Do you have apple sticks or some other hard things for your bunny to chew that he might like...? My girl, strangely, was willing to nibble some willow tunnel (the kind that looks like wicker) even when she couldn't/wouldn't eat any hay or pellets for weeks, and also on a few other occasion, when a bunny's been a little ill in my house, sometimes they will nibble a willow tunnel long before hay. I am not sure how much nutrition, fiber, or tooth wear this gives, but it's never caused problems at least.

Let's see if someone has some insight for you. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

You're in the UK and there are some amazing vets there... Your vet could possibly consult with whoever is the best of the best with rabbits in the UK for some ideas (unless they are one themselves.)
Hey, thank you for replying.

Yes that exactly what he did RE cutting out the triangles. Everytime I try to explain it I end up messing it up lol. Yeah I guess it makes sense that they grow back quickly as they dont have anything to rub against, I didnt think about it like that, still very frustrating:(

She has some Burgess knaw sticks .. I'll post a photo but shes not overly interested. She has a hyacinth tunnel, ive recently replaced it as her previous one she had chewed/eaten it to basically nothing but she hasnt showed an interest in chewing the new one really.. she runs through it and pops her head out but I havent seen her chew it yet.. maybe it still tastes and smells new 🤷‍♀️.

I also ordered her these weird meadow hay pellet things which also claim to promote tooth wear based on the shape of them (I'll post a photo) theyre quite dry and crumbly though and she doesnt like them, she takes them from my hand and throws them to the side (she will eat her normal indoor rabbit pellets but thought id try these weird new ones to see if they helped but she won't even entertain the idea and I cant say I blame her they are very crumbly).

Just hoping that the beginings of this spark doesn't grow as fast as it formed 🤞🏻 I'm going to keep monitoring her hay intake and will hand feed her additional hay for as long as I need too if it helps with the wear of her teeth .. it would just be nice to know if it is actually helping. Poor little love.
 

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She has some Burgess knaw sticks .. I'll post a photo but shes not overly interested. She has a hyacinth tunnel, ive recently replaced it
My bunnies have never shown much (or any) interest in pre-chopped and pre-packed gnaw sticks for some reason. I think the sticks are just just so dry and dead by then. But they go wild for branches from my parents' apple tree (cut, rinsed with running water, and room-dried; wouldn't give too many or too fresh though). They also like bundles of ~20cm apple wood sticks from smaller pet shops & farms. Maybe you could find him some safe (grown without pesticide), "fresh" sticks. Some bunnies also may prefer one type of wood over another, but apple has always been a favourite in my house.

This is the kind of willow tunnel my bunnies really like. They eat it down to the last twig over time. I tend to keep it available just in the evenings or it's gone too quick.

I remember the specialist we went to saying it's the movement of a bunny's jaws when eating hay that wears the teeth down the best, as the teeth grind against each other in many directions (and this lucky fact is keeping my girl's front molar & edge in check even with a molar missing above). When eating pellets, the jaws mostly move up and down in an easy motion to crush the pellets. So hay and the grinding motion of proper chewing are important. I hope sticks may help too.

How much pellets is your bunny getting? Any room to lower the amount to encourage more hay eating? Are his teeth aligned OK?
 

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Diane R

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I wouldn't bother with those treats. They can be counterproductive. You need her to eat as much hay as possible. Chew toys will not do anything for the molars either. All you can do to extend the time between dentals is maximise hay eating, give very little other food.
 

TORY93

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I wouldn't bother with those treats. They can be counterproductive. You need her to eat as much hay as possible. Chew toys will not do anything for the molars either. All you can do to extend the time between dentals is maximise hay eating, give very little other food.
Hiya, I just mentioned the wooden chews etc as Shmibunny had asked the question.

I've been giving her a mixture of Timothy, and orchard hay in her toilet, big pile in her bed plus she has a wooden rack/tower thing full of hay, I change it twice daily and sprinkle dried herbs and dried dandelion in it .. she also has a handful of fresh cut grass twice daily. If I notice that she hasn't eaten much hay I will pick her up and hand feed her hay. I am trying my best to get her hay consumption up as high as I possibly can in order to help wear her teeth down.

What I dont understand it how her teeth can be growing as fast as they are in 7-10 days, I know rabbits teeth continuously grow but I thought the rate of growth slowed down with age but hers seem to be speeding up and I am concerned that the vets will not want to carry out such frequent dentals .. which I understand as the anesthesia may take a toll but she is an otherwise completely healthy rabbit (touch wood)
 

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I think the problem could be due to the sedative effect of the pain meds following her dental procedure, and it affecting her eating for so many days. That's one reason why I really don't like narcotic pain meds for rabbits, unless absolutely necessary when meloxicam alone isn't helping enough. Because the sedative effect of narcotics makes them too lethargic to eat well, which also slows down their digestion as well. Are you still giving narcotic pain meds or have you stopped those?
 

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Hiya, I just mentioned the wooden chews etc as Shmibunny had asked the question.

I've been giving her a mixture of Timothy, and orchard hay in her toilet, big pile in her bed plus she has a wooden rack/tower thing full of hay, I change it twice daily and sprinkle dried herbs and dried dandelion in it .. she also has a handful of fresh cut grass twice daily. If I notice that she hasn't eaten much hay I will pick her up and hand feed her hay. I am trying my best to get her hay consumption up as high as I possibly can in order to help wear her teeth down.

What I dont understand it how her teeth can be growing as fast as they are in 7-10 days, I know rabbits teeth continuously grow but I thought the rate of growth slowed down with age but hers seem to be speeding up and I am concerned that the vets will not want to carry out such frequent dentals .. which I understand as the anesthesia may take a toll but she is an otherwise completely healthy rabbit (touch wood)
If I understood correctly, the teeth that grew fast were the teeth that were cut down a lot. That makes sense because they would not be grinding against anything. It is very frustrating having a dental bun but there is only so much you can do. If they need dentals frequently then that is what needs to be done. There isn't any choice really.
 

TORY93

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I think the problem could be due to the sedative effect of the pain meds following her dental procedure, and it affecting her eating for so many days. That's one reason why I really don't like narcotic pain meds for rabbits, unless absolutely necessary when meloxicam alone isn't helping enough. Because the sedative effect of narcotics makes them too lethargic to eat well, which also slows down their digestion as well. Are you still giving narcotic pain meds or have you stopped those?
Completely agree about the narcotics.. this is actually the first time i had been given them and she was on them twice a day for 3 days and she only got out of bed to use the toilet..she had her last dose at 9pm on 27th April but she was still a bit sleepy up until the evening of Thursday 29th April which would have been a good 5 days since her dental. She is still on the Metacam which she is fine with but she still isn't interested in her hay.. she eats all her veg and fresh grass and every time I go over to the food tubs she gets excited and jumps up my leg because she wants a treat but im trying to lay off of those. She's hungry and she wants to eat but she wants to eat tasty food and treats rather than her hay. Ive tried sprinking in dried herbs, dried dandelion.. yesterday I crumbled up the smallest treat and his it among the hay..she flew out of her bed and was rummaging through the hay because she could smell the treat but she wasn't eating they hay so I am holding her every 2-3hrs and hand feeding her hay for about 20mins at a time.

I think her recovery this time has been a lot slower than usual and I did wonder if that was to do with the strong painkillers she was on. I didnt realise until after her last dose that it was basically like morphine.. no wonder she didn't want to get out of bed!
 

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If I understood correctly, the teeth that grew fast were the teeth that were cut down a lot. That makes sense because they would not be grinding against anything. It is very frustrating having a dental bun but there is only so much you can do. If they need dentals frequently then that is what needs to be done. There isn't any choice really.
Hiya, her upper 1st right molar and upper 1st left molar broken off so their below partners over grew. On the 24th April the 1st lower molars (the missing ones partner's) were filed down to the gum line and this issue seems to be doing well at the moment.

Whilst she was under the vet looked at her teeth to see if there was any preventive filing he could do whilst she was under to delay the next dental. He filed down the lower 2nd and 3rd molars (these teeth have their partners) slightly and also cut triangles out of them to prevent them from sparking off. When we went for a check up on Monday 3rd April (so 9/10 days after the dental) the triangles he had cut out had already grown back plus a bit more so they are now in the early stages of sparking off again already.

Although not pleasant I will go through the dental nd recovery process with her for as long as needed. My fear is her age and the quickness of growth.. I don't want a vet to suggest putting her to sleep which happened to me a few weeks back. I dont want to lose her and I cant lose her.
 
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