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Dr. Dan
Dr. Dan, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 9034
Experience:  13 years with dogs, cats, exotic, wildlife and zoo animals, PLEASE rate my service when satisfied.
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We have a small lop eared rabbit 4 years old. He is having

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We have a small lop eared rabbit 4 years old. He is having trouble eating in that when he puts a piece of cabbage or dandelion leaf in his mouth he chews away normally but it takes ages and it does not break down easily
He had his front teeth cut back due to problems 2/3 years ago and from then we always cut his up and he has used his back teeth to chew and break down the food and then swallow OK
We have been giving him critical care food by syringe during this time but cannot continue to do so as we believe this masking the problem
He has been to the vet who said his teeth were irregular and under anaesthetic had them "filed"
He is losing weight but still running around the garden and looks healthy and happy
In a nutshell it seems he can chew without discomfort but does not seem to be able to get it into a state to swallow normally
The Vet says there is not much more they can do so we need to make a decision so he does not start to suffer
This morning we stopped giving him the care food to see what happens
Advice please
Thank you for your question, I'm Dr. Dan and I'll try to help you.
I'm sorry your rabbit is having this problem. Because of the way you are describing him eating and the fact that his back teeth (molars) were irregular then definitely there is still a tooth problem but below the gum line. One of the main issues that will cause this problem are abscesses at the roots of the tooth. The abscesses cause pain and cause the teeth to grow at abnormal rates. If your vet is not comfortable with jaw xrays and rabbit jaw surgery they may be right there isn't much left that can be done. I would recommend finding a vet who is comfortable with rabbit jaw surgery or I would recommend one of 2 other things. The first is put him on pain medications and continue the critical care, if he cannot maintain his weight then it's time to euthanize. The other option is to euthanize soon. It would be terrible to have a mouth so sensitive you can't eat and then slowly starve to death.
I hope this helps, if not please feel free to ask more questions.
Dr. Dan
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Many thanks Dr Dan, your advice has been very helpful.

Just one small point Dusty does not appear to be in pain. We have felt around his jaw with a little pressure and he does not flinch at all and he chews with vigour so a bit puzzled so a comment from you on this point would be welcome

We are now grating/blending carrots and cabbage and he eats this OKish

However, all your points are well made and noted

I'm glad I could help... however remember if you have a sore gum or a toothache pressing on your jaw or face will not illicit pain either. Rabbits don't cry or paw at their face or even pull away when they hurt, they just stop doing what hurts, even if that means chewing!
Dr. Dan
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