Rabbit Malocclusion

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Alfredo's Mum

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Hi,

My bunny is going on 6 months and we have been seriously thinking about getting his incisors extracted. Issue is that all the "exotic" vets in our area we wont be able to afford it. He is really good at eating his hay, and the first teeth trimming we went to said that as long as he is eating hay and chewing toys it should keep his teeth down and we would not have to worry about coming in every 3 weeks if he can do those things to keep them short. Issue is we have a very stubborn bun on our hand. Since the first day we brought him home he never showed any interest in any of the toys we got him. We have dangle tosy willow balls, balsa chews, apple wood sticks, and even tows with hay in them but to no avail, he has zero interest. Any suggestions in the mean time to either get him to chew/interact with his toys or other methods to keep his teeth short till we can afford a teeth extraction? All suggestions are welcome and your help is greatly appreciated
 

John Wick

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Keep in mind that there are incisors and molars to maintain, so if there is an ability to maintain the incisors, does that also apply to the molars? And if that's the case, incisor extraction will not solve much (and will cause more stress for you and your rabbit) because the molars are not maintained and will still need grinding. I notice you named this malocclusion, so unsure if maintenance concerns apply to molar. I can't speak from experience, but I think extraction is a bit drastic for a rabbit who is still growing and teeth are healthy.

One of my rabbits, Wick, had 13 molar/incisor grindings within 1 year (before he was 2yo; he's now almost 5yo and hasn't had a molar grinding in a long time). His jaw is misaligned, and he has an underbite. From my experience reading and discussing with Wick's exotic vets, it's not really toys that are going to contribute a lot to teeth maintenance-- it's hay eating. Wick does not chew on toys, likely because of his teeth positioning, but I believe increasing his hay consumption and him getting through his growing months, he is maintaining all teeth well on his own.

I know you mention he's good at eating hay... is it possible to make that even better? Offer more places to eat hay (typically increases hay consumption, in my experience) and really stretch the periods in the day where only hay is available (i.e. non-hay food items like pellets and veggies are only given in one or two discrete times in the day, very spread apart).

incisor.png
... just to give you an idea, rabbits with misaligned teeth don't need extraction in some cases. As you can see, Wick's incisors do not match up and his top pair are much shorter than standard due to his underbite. This spiking would occur so often when he was younger, but now it rarely occurs (we are going on over a year without grinding at this point).
 

Alfredo's Mum

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Keep in mind that there are incisors and molars to maintain, so if there is an ability to maintain the incisors, does that also apply to the molars? And if that's the case, incisor extraction will not solve much (and will cause more stress for you and your rabbit) because the molars are not maintained and will still need grinding. I notice you named this malocclusion, so unsure if maintenance concerns apply to molar. I can't speak from experience, but I think extraction is a bit drastic for a rabbit who is still growing and teeth are healthy.

One of my rabbits, Wick, had 13 molar/incisor grindings within 1 year (before he was 2yo; he's now almost 5yo and hasn't had a molar grinding in a long time). His jaw is misaligned, and he has an underbite. From my experience reading and discussing with Wick's exotic vets, it's not really toys that are going to contribute a lot to teeth maintenance-- it's hay eating. Wick does not chew on toys, likely because of his teeth positioning, but I believe increasing his hay consumption and him getting through his growing months, he is maintaining all teeth well on his own.

I know you mention he's good at eating hay... is it possible to make that even better? Offer more places to eat hay (typically increases hay consumption, in my experience) and really stretch the periods in the day where only hay is available (i.e. non-hay food items like pellets and veggies are only given in one or two discrete times in the day, very spread apart).

View attachment 55438
... just to give you an idea, rabbits with misaligned teeth don't need extraction in some cases. As you can see, Wick's incisors do not match up and his top pair are much shorter than standard due to his underbite. This spiking would occur so often when he was younger, but now it rarely occurs (we are going on over a year without grinding at this point).
Hi,

Thank you so much for your insight. What you said will help me a lot. We have a few forms of ways that he eats hay, we have a tissue box of hay, hay in his litterbox, and a few small boxes and toilet paper rolls of hay.

When we got his teeth trimmed the first time they said that his molars are in really good shape and to keep and eye on his incisors. Within 2 weeks they were already overgrown. We called them out of concern but they right away told us that removal is the best way to go. We are not completely sure what is wrong because the vet just went to teeth extraction right away.

The picture attached is his teeth, poor boy this is only just 3 weeks after his teeth trimming 😔, we have an appointment for this Thursday and I'll be sure to ask if they know what is causing him. He has a pretty gnarly underbite (maybe malocclusion??). It makes me so sad to see him this way. But even with his teeth like this he eats hay non stop.

20210525_193530.jpg
 

John Wick

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That is a lot of growth in 3 weeks. It seems his underbite is enough that his top and bottom aren't even touching each other to grind when eating? Do you recall/know if they touch each other when grinded down? I wonder if they are filed down a certain amount, some friction might be possible.

With the picture, I can see why the vet mentioned removal.
 

Alfredo's Mum

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That is a lot of growth in 3 weeks. It seems his underbite is enough that his top and bottom aren't even touching each other to grind when eating? Do you recall/know if they touch each other when grinded down? I wonder if they are filed down a certain amount, some friction might be possible.

With the picture, I can see why the vet mentioned removal.
Unfortunately I can't remember if they touched or not. But they did trkm it very short. I'll send a picture after Thursdays appointment
 

John Wick

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It won't work if the underbite is causing a complete misalignment, but I know something Wick's first vet did (the one he saw for all grindings) was grind a bevel on his bottom incisors that encouraged the top incisors to catch onto the bottom incisors and grind against them. If something like that would be plausible, that small detail might help?
 

acholke

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I just came here to say our angel bunny Peppers looked so similar to yours & had a bad case of maloclussion. He passed a year & a half ago but near the end of his life we had his under control. We went in for routine teeth trimming and after about 2 years of that, they became aligned enough to wear down on their own. We also contemplated removal but we decided to atleast try trimmings with another vet (our 2nd opinion) as the first said to have them removed, and the breeder would have put him to sleep. It was a little time consuming and did cost about $25 a month (went but every 4 weeks) but I think it was worth it for us.Screenshot_20180715-201343_Gallery.jpg
 

JBun

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Hay eating actually doesn't have much of a wearing effect on the front teeth, as that is primarily a molar grinding action. The front teeth are used for stripping and cutting, and would get the most wear on things like chewing up grass mats, willow toys, chewing the bark off of apple branches, or chewing at compressed hay cubes. But even if your rabbit is good about wanting to chew these things, it may not be enough to keep the incisors worn down enough in a case of severe malocclusion. And this would mean regular dental trims regardless, though if your rabbit did chew on any of these things, it could help at least delay dentals somewhat.

You could try those things I mentioned above, particularly the plain grass hay cubes, as those could be a pretty constant incisor chewing activity. Then see if your rabbit will actually chew them and if they seem to make any difference at all.
 

Cinn-a-bun

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Hi,

My bunny is going on 6 months and we have been seriously thinking about getting his incisors extracted. Issue is that all the "exotic" vets in our area we wont be able to afford it. He is really good at eating his hay, and the first teeth trimming we went to said that as long as he is eating hay and chewing toys it should keep his teeth down and we would not have to worry about coming in every 3 weeks if he can do those things to keep them short. Issue is we have a very stubborn bun on our hand. Since the first day we brought him home he never showed any interest in any of the toys we got him. We have dangle tosy willow balls, balsa chews, apple wood sticks, and even tows with hay in them but to no avail, he has zero interest. Any suggestions in the mean time to either get him to chew/interact with his toys or other methods to keep his teeth short till we can afford a teeth extraction? All suggestions are welcome and your help is greatly appreciated
I know about that. I too have a rabbit that would not chew on toys.
Then I bought this from Chewy she loves it.
 

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Alfredo's Mum

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I know about that. I too have a rabbit that would not chew on toys.
Then I bought this from Chewy she loves it.
unfortunately I have this for him, he took an interest for a couple weeks but again he's super stubborn and decided he didn't like it anymore :/
 

John Wick

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unfortunately I have this for him, he took an interest for a couple weeks but again he's super stubborn and decided he didn't like it anymore :/
It can be a struggle to find things, and I also hope things have been going OK with your rabbit.

For my Wick, aside from thin, short sticks of willow from clipped-up willow baskets, he will strip wood from smaller fresh apple sticks. I had a set for about 6 months that were essentially "display", but one day he suddenly decided "sure" and started stripping them. Since then, I get them occasionally. He is still selective of when he wants it, but those that are more "fresh" (as opposed to packaged and at a pet store) tend to be more successful with him.
 
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