A rabbit's front teeth (the incisors) continue to grow throughout the life of the animal. Generally, the wear on the teeth through gnawing and eating is equal to the growth of the teeth, so the teeth stay the same length as seen below.
The first sign of teeth-related problems are often that the rabbit goes off its food and dribbles a lot – leading to a wet chin and front feet.
The main cause is poor diet leading to abnormal growth / wearing of the teeth, which results in them deviating and the formation of sharp spurs. These spurs can lead to laceration of the tongue.
The front incisor teeth may also be overgrown but it should be remembered that this is invariably related to problems with the back cheek teeth.
Dental care depends on the cause but can consist of:
- Clipping or burring to reduce the size of the incisor teeth
- Removal of incisor teeth under anaesthesia
- Correction of overgrown cheek teeth under general anaesthesia
- Radiography of teeth and extractions/treatment of cheek teeth if necessary
Early correction is essential as once the problem becomes chronic, there is little that can be done long-term.