Traumatic Injuries to Rabbit and Rodent Teeth
Fractured incisor teeth and symphyseal
separation (the mandibles split apart).
We have seen rabbits and rodents that were injured within their cages, from other animals and from household accidents.
The cage injuries have resulted from the incisor teeth being caught in between cage wires (bars). These incisor teeth were often overgrown or maloccluded. These animals become frantic when their teeth are caught, which results in tooth fracture, jaw fracture or symphyseal separation (see above x-ray image).
Since rabbits and rodent species have continuously growing teeth, they can recover from teeth fractures provided the teeth do not die from the trauma. If there is bleeding from the teeth, the pulp may become infected, which can lead to tooth death.
Dr. Kressin can perform vital pulp therapy in an attempt to avoid these teeth from dying. If the teeth are significantly injured or they die, they fail to grow. A malocclusion typically develops. The problem can progress to anorexia and death.
Jaw fractures and symphyseal separations must be repaired meticulously. The precise (exactly correct) anatomic alignment of the jaws is critically important, or malocclusions will develop. The progression of malocclusions are fatal in species with continually growing teeth.
Tooth fractures must be treated by vital pulpotomy to avoid tooth death.
Dead teeth along with their occlusal counterpart should be extracted, especially with the incisors, to avoid life threatening malocclusion.
Periodic (8-16 weeks) occlusal adjustments are necessary for rabbits and rodents that have had cheek teeth extracted, especially if three or more were extracted from the lower or upper dental arcade without the extraction of their occlusal counterparts. This is to avoid malocclusion development.
Traumatic injuries may be more severe as shown below.
Symphyseal (mandibular symphysis) separation (or "jaw fracture")
in a young rabbit!
There is severe soft tissue swelling of the lips,
and complete mobility of the right and left mandible.
Soft tissue was debrided (cleaned) free of debris.
Teeth were scaled and polished using flour of pumice.
Lower incisor teeth were phosphoric acid etched.
A blue colored composite was applied
to bond the incisors together. This effectively
stabalized the left and right mandibles.
We have treated rabbits with jaw fractures. It is very important to treat these animals early to return their jaw function to allow normal food consumption.
Rabbit & Rodent Dental Care