Monday, 5 March 2018

Pet of the Month hall of fame - Colin ( Jan 2018)

Colin is a polish dwarf rabbit owned by vet Joanna. He recently had to come in for dental work.
Colin had been eating less food than normal, but otherwise appeared well. An examination of his teeth with a small scope inserted into the side of his mouth showed long overgrown and uneven teeth - some with sharp spurs where they had worn unevenly. Colin underwent a general anaesthetic and his overgrown molar teeth were rasped down using a metal tool rather like a nail file. A special drill was used to cut off his long incisors at the front of the mouth. Colin also needed to have his tear ducts flushed. In a healthy eye, tears are constantly produced to bathe and protect the eye, and are drained away via the nasolacrimal canal (tear duct), a tiny, mucous-membrane-lined tube. If the tears are unable to drain, they 'overflow' resulting in constantly wet fur and skin on the face. This can cause irritation and lead to skin infections. There are a number of things that can cause the tear ducts to block and in Colin's case it is related to his dental problems.

Following the procedure the nurses observed him closely and kept him warm. As soon as Colin was awake they syringe fed him some special liquid feed (above picture) to encourage him to start eating by himself and to help keep his digestive system moving. Colin went home later the same evening and is now back to enjoying his favourite food - raspberries!

The best way to keep your bunny's teeth healthy is to offer plenty of fresh hay each day - this should make up the largest part of their diet. It helps the teeth to wear down in an even fashion as they constantly grow. Unfortunately, Colin won't eat hay- even though he's been offered all the different varieties! Every 6 weeks we have to use the specialist drill to trim his front incisor teeth, which he tolerates very well (you can even look to have these permanently removed). We also have a look at his cheek teeth (molars) so that we can monitor their growth and catch any signs of problems early.

Well done Colin!


A note on gut stasis;

Rabbits have a delicate digestive system that requires large volumes of coarse fibre to ensure contast gut motility. When that motility slows down, the rabbit is vulnerable to digestive upsets in the caecum, and complete stasis of the gut - called gastrointestinal stasis ( GI Stasis). It is often associated with another problem i.e something makes your rabbit feel unwell (pain, bad teeth, stress, inadequate diet).

Symptoms include;

* not eating, combined with reduced and smaller harder droppings.
* Reluctance to move or appear hunched up.
* If you can hear loud crunching noises from the rabbit's mouth, the rabbit is experiencing acute pain.

Urgent! Your rabbit needs to be seen as soon as possible if they are not eating as they do deteriorate quickly.


Prevention is better than cure!

- Feed plenty of high fibre food every day.
- Ensure your rabbits have access to unlimited fresh hay that is freely available at all times.
- Rinse greens and herbs, and leave residual water on them.
- Ensure that they have eaten.
- Check droppings every day - be alert to changes ( reduced amount, change in size, shape, texture).
- Spend time and get to know your rabbit's rhythms and natural patterns, then you'll know when something isn't right.


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