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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11508
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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Hi there, I have an 9 year old netherland dwarf who is having

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Hi there, I have an 9 year old netherland dwarf who is having issues eating. I have taken him to his vet (several times) in order to sort out the issue. It started 1 week ago when over the weekend I noticed he wasnt eating. I also noticed a laco of stool so I immediately started to feed critical care to him with a syringe until I was able to contact my vet to take him in. She did an oral exam and noticed a molar on the bottom left had grown up and started to poke into the top gum. I agreed to have her preform a molar trim on him. That evening I went back to pick him up and the vet informed me that they had been able to trim the problematic tooth but as they were going to trim the rest he went into cardiac arrest. The procedure was aborted and they were able to bring him back. He came home that night very loopy but alert. He was drinking water and had a few nibbles of timothy hay. I continued with the vets recommended dose of critical care and he was also given metacam for pain. His procedure was thia past monday and it is now Saturday. He hasnt eaten on his own at all. I spoke to the vet, and she examined the mouth and said it looked fine and the teeth were even (this was on thursday). I was told to continue to give the critical care and meticam and give him some romaine lettuce to increase water intake. Today (saturday) the vet called to check in. I explained that he still hasnt attempted to eat on his own, he sometimes looks like he pulls his head to the left while he eats the lettuce but it was not as severe as it was last weekend. She perscribed an antibiotic to cover a possible underlying infection and said she'd like to attempt trimming the rest of the teeth (which were not as bad as the one tooth). I do not feel comfortable having my rabbit undergo suegery again especially since he did not tolorate it before. I ended up replacing the pellets in his dish and he eagerly went to sniff them and attempted to nibble but didn't get far with the kibble. I have crushed them into bite sized pieces and have seen him eat 2 of those small pieces on his own but that was several hours ago. He has had about 15cc of critical care today and has had some lettuce (which he eagerly and willingly eats) and a nibble of some hay. He is due for another feeding of critical care (he is fed several times a day with small ammounts to avoid bloating). Please help me figure out why he still refuses to eat. He sniffs his food as if he is interested then just hopps away. I dont know if its pain in his jaw or if hes being stubborn or if there is anoher reason. The vet isn't sure why he hasnt tried to eat on his own either and didnt see internal issues onthe xrays that were taken when he was initially brought in.


Very concerned rabbit parent.
Hello and welcome .

Unfortunately the vet you requested is not on-line at the moment but my name is Scott and I am an experienced small animal veterinary surgeon and have had many years experience of treating rabbits. I will be very pleased to work with you today and will try my best to answer your question to your satisfaction.

Please give me ten minutes or so to think through your particular problem, prepare an answer, and then type things up. I will then get back to you and we can then talk things over ...


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for you help, I am eagerly awaiting assistance with this problem


Actually I see the expert you requested has just come on-line so I will withdraw to let them answer the question.

Good luck with your rabbit ...



Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Someone please just help me figure out how to help my rabbit.


I apologize for all the confusion. Joan, the expert you requested, has asked me to help you. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a biologist with over 30 years experience breeding and showing rabbits, including Netherland dwarfs. I'm sorry to hear of Bunny's problem. Some additional information will be helpful.

Did the vet x-ray the teeth, or just the digestive system?

I have never heard of all of a rabbit's teeth needing trimming. Do they actually look to you like they are causing a problem?

What is the name of the antibiotic?

Is the vet you saw a rabbit specialist or a local vet who treats mostly dogs and cats?

Thank you.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I believer she did both. She sees a fair amount of small animals/exotics in her practise. I asked when I first started to see her and approx 1 out of 5 visits is for a small animal . I only saw the abdominal xray at the time she was explaining what had happened during the procedure. I was too upset to remember to ask if she did dental xrays. Last year we did both at his annual exam so I would make the assumption she did an xray of his mouth this time around. Initially when I saw he was not eating I attemted to rule out oral or digestive issues. His favourite treats were eagerly sniffed and licked but he would not bite. I saw this previously when he had a fractured orbital bone which was almost 5 years ago. He has soft tummy gugrles and is taking in water.on his own. The meds he is taking are baytril .35ml twice a day and the meticam .2ml 2 times a day. I should also note he has been licking things exssively. Hes always been a sassy but affectionate little boy but the licking is much much morenthan before. Everything is licked excessively. He doesnt exhibit any stomach problems. He is passing stool, smaller than normal but I attribute that to his reduced food intake. He passed stool about a day after I brought him back home from the vet. He only sits hunched over or stretched out after his feedings, which is why I reduced the ammount and am doing it more frequently throughout the day to try and achieve the recommended daily intzke of 40cc. He is .96kg at the last weigh in down from about 1.2kg in march.

Thank you for getting back to me. As you probably know, 9 years is a very advanced age for a Netherland dwarf. You took excellent quick action in providing the Critical Care. The reason i asked about dental x-rays is that it is unusual for a molar to overgrow. a more common problem is an abscess or other problem with the root. The molar then has to be removed. If there is an abscess, it isn't likely to respond to an oral antibiotic. I hope your vet ruled that out. Because Bunny is interested in his food, but won't eat it, I suspect he is in pain. It is probably related to his teeth, in one way or another. The filing itself usually results in a sore jaw.

Unfortunately, there isn't going to be an easy answer. You are wise to be leery of another procedure. It's quite likely that he would have a problem again. Rabbits are not good surgical candidates at best - due to the anesthesia - and at age 9, Bunny is at even greater risk. I would continue to feed him the Critical Care until his jaw has had plenty of time to heal and he has finished the course of Baytril. See if he'll eat the Critical Care on his own from a dish. Many rabbits will. That will make it easier for you.

If he still won't eat after he finishes the antibiotics, you'll have to make a decision. You can go ahead and let the vet do the procedure as she wants to. You could continue to feed him Critical Care for the remainder of his lifetime. Or, you could consult a specialist at your state's veterinary teaching hospital. Your own vet can refer you there.

There is a possibility the Baytril is causing some stomach upset. That can lead to excessive licking. Any time rabbits are on an antibiotic, I like to provide some beneficial bacteria (probiotics). A brand called Bene-Bac is often available in pet stores and online. You can also use a human liquid formula, if it is nondairy. These are available in health food stores. Give some beneficial bacteria every day for a couple of weeks. After that, provide some twice a week.

I can tell how very much you love Bunny. The hardest part of loving our pets is watching them grow old and frail. You have given him some excellent care for him to have lived in good health to age 9. I understand that you want a quick way to help him, but I feel you deserve honesty. At this stage of his life, you will simply have to deal with this problem as best you can, and make some tough decisions. In summary, I would give him some more time, in hopes his jaw will feel better and that the antibiotics will help. Continue the Critical Care and add some probiotics. If he isn't eating after finishing the antibiotics, you'll have to decide whether to continue feeding Critical Care, have your vet do the procedure, or consult a specialist.

If you have more questions, let me know. I hope the outcome will be good for Bunny.


My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service only after you have all the information you need. Thank you!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I appreciate your honesty. He will not eat critical care on his own, but we have established a feeding routine where he is wrapped into a bunny burrito and syringe fed. Its less stressful for us both as he seems to be more relaxed in the wraping. His baytril is for 14 days and we are on day 1 and the metacam is for 10 days and it is now day 6. Should I request that she not preform another tooth trim until other oral problems have been ruled out? Should I ask her to check for abscesses or cuts elsewhere? I would have thought she would have checkd for all those already. I will continue with the critical care for as long as he needs it. I just hpoed there would be another solution to his problem.

I think it's important to talk to your vet about what was checked into. If no x-ray of the jaw was taken, I would request that. If it was already done, and abscesses and root problems were ruled out, then everything has been checked that should have been. If not, you can request those x-rays. I would also certainly give the Baytril a chance to work before doing anything else. Baytril is one of the safest antibiotics, but even it can cause digestive upset, so the probiotics are a good idea. It sounds like you have a good routine worked out for feeding. It's nice to see such a dedicated rabbit owner. You might want to read more about dental problems in rabbits.They are quite common. You can read more here:

We can hope that the Baytril will take care of some underlying issue, and Bunny will recover.

I wanted to add that it's possible Bunny's earlier injury led to some bone loss, and later to dental problems, including overgrown, misaligned teeth, and even loose teeth. If that's the case, filing the teeth may give good results. But again, you have to consider the risks of anesthesia.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I will certainly inquire about the xrays on Monday. I will also ask the vet if she feels like the previous injury could have caused issues and if she can suggest something, hopefully other than surgery. He is still quite alert and is actively seeking affection. He is trying his best to find an escape route from the quiet corner I have established for him beside my bed. He dozes a lot of the time but he has done tnat for quite a while, I assume its age related, and he is currently chattering his teeth in what I take as a content sound. He gets carried away and crunches louder at times but that has always been tne case with him. If he had dental issues and pain, would he still be acting so contentlyespecially with the quiet teeth chatter? I know rabbits try to hide illness which is why he is now being monitored very closely and in the quiet corner most of the day. When he does come out he explores the laundry pile and goes for a peek into the other rooms then settles in someones room, usually behind a basket for a snooze. He also tries to beg for his usual treets but has been restricted to only romaine lettuce as a nibble substitute.

It does sound like he's in good spirits. If the teeth chattering is something he's always done to show contentedness, that's good, too. The Metacam should be controlling the pain. I think you are doing everything right, and it sounds like your vet is on top of things, too. Your plan for action is right on target. I know it's hard, but you have done everything you can for now.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for you assistance Anna. It has been a difficult week but I am still hopeful for a full recovery. You have given some wonderful advice which I will certainly follow up with. Thank you again and warmest regards,



You're welcome, KP. I'm hoping for a full recovery, too.

I'll inquire as to how things are going in a few days.


If you're satisfied with the information you've gotten, I'd appreciate it if you'd take a minute to rate my answer so that I can receive credit for it. Thank you very much.
Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11508
Experience: 40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
Anna and 3 other Pet Specialists are ready to help you
Hello again,

Thank you for rating my answer. I just wanted to check in to see how bunny is doing, and if you've learned anything new.

I hope all is well.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Anna,

Thank you for checking back in. Bunny has started to attempt eating on his own again. Yesterday was the first time I noticed him going to his dish. He does seem to have a bit of difficulty with the chewing still (makes big chewing motions with his mouth) but he does take several mouthfuls of food. He went only 3 times yesterday to the dish and so far once this morning. I continue to syringe feed him on the advice of his Vet until he eats normally. I haven't seen him eat hay since his first day back home which is concerning to me and I'm not exactly sure how to encourage him to eat it. He's been sleeping and laying down a lot. I'm wondering if its because he just feels sluggish from the syringe feeds or if he's just bored. (He is still confined to his quite area) He continues to try and chew the carpet and door frames though, but the licking has slowed down a bit.


Again, thank you for checking in.



Thank you, KP. That's good news that Bunny is at least trying to eat on his own. The Critical Care is supposed to provide adequate fiber, so the fact that he's not eating hay shouldn't cause a problem. I've found sometimes that if you mist the hay with water, it brings out the scent and makes it more appetizing. Once you wet it, though, you have to remove it after a few hours. The moisture encourages mold and bacteria to grow.

I hope Bunny will continue to make progress, no matter how slowly.