15 Sep Rabbit teeth are designed to gnaw!
Dental problems are one of the most common problems among rabbits. A normal set of rabbit teeth include 6 incisors, two of which are peg incisors and 20 molars. The peg incisors are located in the top jaw behind the upper incisors. The incisors are designed for tearing food and cutting it into pieces. The molars on the other hand are there to grind the food. Unlike dogs and cats, rabbits’ teeth continue growing throughout their lives; the incisors can grow up to 2.5 mm per week. The right kind of food will ensure the correct balance between loss due to wear and tear and the new growth.
Problems arise when teeth do not wear down as they are supposed to. This can affect incisors as well as molars. Sometimes both of them at the same time. When incisors do not wear down enough and continue growing you get what we call “incisor overgrowth”. The incisors that continue growing, try to find a way out and curl around. They can injure the lips of the rabbit. The rabbit also has difficulty eating its food. When the molars are not sufficiently ground down, “spikes” form. And because there is no gradual grinding taking place, the edges of the teeth get longer compared to the rest of the tooth. And these spikes prick the rabbit’s tongue and cheeks. This causes a lot of pain and discomfort for the animal. In serious cases the molars can even form a bridge in the mouth. The roots of the molars can also grow into the bone and put pressure on the eyes or create swellings in the lower jaw.