As Dr. Marnie Knight starts an annual exam on her long eared patient, she moves from looking at the overall condition of the animal to examining the mouth. As soon as she opens the mouth she is quick to say “Yes, its time. Look at those big teeth. We’re going to take care of these”. Her patient’s incisors have grown too long and Dr. Knight is going to trim them to insure her that the mouth remains healthy.
Rabbit’s teeth grow continuously. They are usually kept worn down by the act of chewing and grabbing food with the mouth. However, sometimes a rabbit’s teeth can become overgrown. This can be due to trauma, infection or simply brought about by congenital reasons (the rabbit was born that way). While problems can occur with any teeth in the mouth, Dr. Knight has noticed the problem in this patient’s incisors.
The incisors are the teeth located in the front of the mouth and they are used primarily for grabbing food and cutting it. If they grow too long or become maloccluded, they can actually do the bunny harm. In fact, they can become so uncomfortable they keep the rabbit from eating. Dr. Knight trims back the teeth to insure that here patient never gets to this stage.
She begins by sedating her patient so that the animal is not stressed and she can perform a complete exam of the mouth. She then inserts a mouth speculum to keep the teeth in position as she performs the procedure. She begins to trim the teeth. After examining the rest of the mouth and insuring everything is OK, Dr. Knight helps her patient recover from anesthesia.
Veterinarians who work primarily with animals such as rabbits, snakes and turtles are called exotic animal veterinarians. Dr. Knight has been practicing at the Exotic Bird Animal Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida for over 9 years.
You can go behind the scenes at the Exotic Bird Hospital and see Dr. Knight and her colleagues as they go through their day treating exotic pets such as birds, rabbits, turtles and snakes. Just go to the “Meet Exotic Bird Veterinarians” article.
Dr. Knight practices at the Exotic Bird Hospital in Jacksonville Florida. You can learn more about her practice by visiting their website.