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Posts Tagged ‘rabbit’

Obesity in your older bunny

When our rabbits become older they lead a slower pace of life, unless we monitor and adjust feeding patterns accordingly, there is a higher risk of pets gaining weight and becoming obese.

Obesity can be a contributing factor in the case of other conditions such as arthritis, heart disease and pododermatiitis.

It can also be dangerous in cases of anorexia as they will metabolise fat which can be lead to hepatic lipidosis.

Rabbits should have a diet of high fibre pellets, add lib grass, hay and greens to prevent obesity and to lose weight.

Follow this link for a good guide on rabbit body condition scoring.

If you are concerned about your rabbit’s weight in their older age, why not book in for a geriatric check with one of our nurses. These appointments are available for rabbits over the age of 7 years old and are running during the month of November only.
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Dental disease in our ageing bunnies

Our older bunnies can suffer with ‘age-related’ conditions the same as other species. One common problem is dental disease, which can present in a number of ways, such as abscesses, malocclusion and tooth root conformation. Malocclusion may occur in an older rabbits due to a tooth root abnormality or missing opposing tooth.

Overgrown teeth in older rabbits is common and can penetrate the gums, cheeks, tongue and lips, which can cause ulcers or even oral abscesses. Rabbit’s teeth are continuously growing around 2-3mm a week. Therefore it is best to keep the diet as natural as possible to grind down their cheek teeth effectively. If your rabbit is not eating properly or losing weight, we recommend they are checked for abnormal dentition.

During November, we are offering free health checks for rabbits over the age of 7 years. These clinics are available with one of our veterinary nurses, at our Walnut Tree, Stoke Road and Willen branches. Call our reception team today to book an appointment for your rabbit.
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Rabbit Awareness Clinics

Join us for our Rabbit Awareness event at Walnut Tree.

During June, we are supporting Rabbit Awareness by offering FREE RABBIT HEALTH CHECKS. Our nurses would love to see your bunny friends. Availability on selected days.

Please call us on 01908 397777 to book an appointment.
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Great News! – Healthy Pet Care Plans now available for Rabbits

WE NOW PROVIDE A HEALTHY PET CARE PLAN FOR RABBITS!

This plan includes:
  • Your rabbit’s Myxomatosis and Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RVHD1) ANNUAL BOOSTER
  • 50% DISCOUNT off Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RVHD2) annual booster
  • 8 MONTHS PARASITE CONTROL during March – October
  • 15% DISCOUNT off all CONSULTATIONS
  • 10% DISCOUNT off DENTAL procedures
As well as many more benefits such as microchipping, nail clips with one of our veterinary nurses and discount on food and waiting room items.

All this for £7.50! (plus a £10.00 joining fee initially)



Click here to find out more or contact one of our team on 01908 397777
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Rabbit Dentistry

Rabbit
Dental disease is one of the most common health problems encountered in pet rabbits. Dental problems arise in rabbits due to inappropriate diet and lack of exposure to sunlight. There is likely to be a genetic predisposition in dwarf rabbits as these breeds suffer dental disease more commonly than other rabbits.

Pic: Rabbits with dental disease will often choose to eat soft food instead of grass or hay.



Rabbit
Assessing Dental Disease in Rabbits

Dental disease is initially suspected when a rabbit is displaying appropriate signs. These include reduced appetite, changes in food preferences and increased salivation. An examination can help confirm the suspicion of dental disease. Abnormalities such as facial swellings, overgrown incisors or horizontal ridges on the incisors can be detected at this point.

However, the oral cavity of the rabbit is very narrow and rabbits are unable to open their mouths wide. This makes examination of the cheek teeth very difficult in a conscious rabbit. A full dental examination therefore requires a general anaesthetic. This allows the mouth to be fully opened and the large cheeks to be moved to aside to allow visualisation of the cheek teeth.


Pic: Normal incisors (top) and incisor malocclusion (bottom). (Photos courtesy of Frances Harcourt-Brown www.harcourt-brown.com.uk).



Rabbit
Examination under General Anaesthetic

The cheek teeth are examined for overgrowth, changes in orientation and malocclusion. The mouth is checked for any ulcers or cuts from abnormal teeth.

Spurs on the cheek teeth can be removed at this point using a dental burr. Examination under GA allows the section of the tooth that projects into the oral cavity to be examined. However, unlike cats and dogs, the majority of the crown of the rabbit’s tooth is actually embedded in the bones of the jaw. This section of the tooth also needs to be examined to allow full assessment of dental disease. This requires dental radiographs. These can be taken whilst the rabbit is under anaesthetic and will allow us to assess the full extent of dental disease


Pic: Spurs on the cheek teeth causing trauma to the mouth (photos courtesy of Frances Harcourt-Brown www.harcourt-brown.co.uk).



Rabbit
Dental Radiographs in Rabbits

Left are two radiographs of the skull taken from two different rabbits during dental examination at Milton Keynes Veterinary Group. These radiographs show the long section of the crowns of the teeth embedded in the bones of the skull. This part of the crown is called the ‘reserve crown’ and is not visible during examination of the mouth. Rabbit 1 (top) does not have any evidence of dental disease. Rabbit 2 (bottom), however, has advanced dental disease. Many teeth are missing or have stopped growing. There are associated long term changes in the skull. These radiographs helped us to rule out dental disease in the rabbit 1, and to decide how to manage the dental disease in the rabbit 2.


Pic: Rabbit 1 (top) – normal dentition.
Pic: Rabbit 2 (bottom) – advanced dental disease.


Treatment Options

Rabbits with dental disease will usually require repeat dental procedures under general anaesthetic. During these procedures, the crowns of the affected teeth are shortened to prevent trauma to the mouth and allow the rabbit to eat as normal. Many rabbits will also benefit from dietary modification to increase their calcium and fibre intake. Sometimes, we will recommend procedures such as removal of incisors or cheek teeth. Some cheek teeth can have their growth arrested by ‘pulpectomy.’ These procedures can prevent or reduce the frequency of recurrent dental procedures. These procedures are recommended if appropriate to the particular case.


Other Health Problems associated with Dental Disease

Rabbits with dental disease will often develop other problems as a result of their ongoing dental disease. These include:

  • Infection in the nasolacrimal duct (called Dacrocystitis)
  • Facial dermatitis
  • Facial abscesses
  • Gastric stasis
  • Flystrike




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