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Forum HOUSE RABBIT Q & A Dental Problems

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    • Azerane
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      I’m starting to have suspicions about Apollo, I think he might have dental problems.

      Brief background, he’s 7 and 1/2, neutered. Had 2 seizures in early March (probably unrelated), had a roughly 12 hour stasis bout on March 15th and another on April 4th (which I put down to ingesting too much fur from moulting).

      Now I’ve noticed on three separate occasions in the last week or two that sometimes when he eats his pellets he is in pain. He gets the tiniest amount of pellets, less than a teaspoon once a day. He starts eating them, all of a sudden he stops still and his stomach pinches in really tight. Then he might move away and not go back to them but be fine, or 10 seconds later resumes eating again. On two of the occasions I’ve noticed that he’s dropped pellets from his mouth because they’ve been damp when I’ve picked them up to try feeding them to him. So either it’s a dental issue, or something about eating pellets hurts his stomach really quickly perhaps when they swell up inside, but they don’t swell that fast. Happy to hear other suggestions that I’m not thinking of.

      (Edited to add that I’ve added a video of the behaviour a couple posts down)

      Dental problems seem the most likely, I’m thinking the stomach pinching could just be a pain reaction. Pellets are the hardest food he eats, he has not slowed down with hay eating at all although he did mysteriously start eating the seagrass mat attached to the cage a few weeks ago that he’s never really bothered with before. I noticed when he started that but I had no reason to suspect dental changes at the time.

      Obviously it’s Easter weekend now, and Apollo is acting perfectly well otherwise but after the long weekend I think I’m going to have to get him booked in for a teeth check. I wish I could have five perfectly healthy pets for even just 12 months straight. It’s been one new health problem per month this year which is very unsustainable for my bank account 😛

      Sorry I guess this isn’t really a question, I like to be able to discuss things, or at least write them down to better keep track of them and share the journey I suppose.


    • LBJ10
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      Poor Apollo. That does seem to be the most logical explanation. I suppose the only way to know is to have his teeth checked. Hopefully he will be OK until next week.


    • Azerane
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      Thankyou, I’m eagerly awaiting the chance to ring the vet tomorrow morning. I’ve just fed their evening pellets and he had a really bad pain response tonight (after none last night).

      I recorded a video and uploaded it as an unlisted youtube video so I could share it with you (it was too big for me to upload direct to BB). The part that confuses me is the strange body cramping/stretching. After you see him drooling face on you can see the stretch from that angle before seeing the stretch from the side. It’s quite pronounced. I’m hoping it’s still dental and not something way more complicated. Would appreciate any thoughts.

      Video: https://youtu.be/_OWi271OOAk

      He starts to get uncomfortable around 30 seconds in.


    • Wick & Fable
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      I would feed singular pellets at a time — he may be going in with the healthy teeth gusto but his bite actually isn’t matching so he suffers as a result. For example, Fable vacuums up several pellets at a time, similar to what he did in the video, before/while fully chewing and swallowing. In contrast, Wick with his malocclusion only eats pellets one at a time, in addition to other food presentation things I need to consider as well:

      Care: Importance of Presentation Pt. 2 from Rabbits

      Care: Malocclusion & Veggie Presentation from Rabbits

       

      The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.


    • GlennTheLionhead
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      Aww poor Apollo. He’s such a cutie in that video by the way.

      Nellie recently had a dental and Glenn had a dental about a year ago and if I am being honest neither of them displayed the symptoms that Apollo is showing in the vid, except for drooling, I agree that drooling is pretty characteristic of dental problems. The last time I was at the vet they told me that it’s usually ulcers that cause the pain so I wonder if it could be his food reaching his ulcers, which hurts so he spits it out and then there’s a residual stinging sensation left behind causing the clenching action? I have read (probably somewhere on this forum in the past) that every bun reacts differently to the pain and some will really push through the pain and keep eating, so it could be that he’s trying his hardest to eat the pellets through the pain. With that said, in my own experience with buns it’s the hay that they stop eating first, I think this is because since they chew hay with the molars the hay would come into contact with the ulcers.

      I guess that’s just some info based on the experience I’ve had, I hope your vet is able to get a good look at him and hopefully come up with some helpful solutions! Keep us posted.


    • DanaNM
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      Poor Apollo! That video is interesting… I agree a teeth check would be a good first step, keep us posted!

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • Bam
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      I think it’s wise to start with having his teeth examined. Ulcers on the side of the tongue or the insides of cheeks could probably explain the weird pain reaction he has.

      My Vilde ate hay voraciously and had big beautiful poops until one day when he just stopped eating. He was just a few weeks from turning 7. It turned out he had horrible teeth with several “dead” roots, but no ulcerations. He was extremely short-nosed though. Apollo has a much longer face, which is great.

      He really is a beautiful bun!


    • LBJ10
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      After watching the video, I think the others are right. It could be the grit from the pellets is touching ulcers on his cheek or tongue and he is reacting to it.


    • Azerane
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      Thank you everyone for your feedback on the video. Ulcers could be an option, I had some people on facebook say it looked like a mild choking episode (mild because he wasn’t panicking or tilting his head up for breathing).

      By some sort of miracle they were able to fit us in this morning at the vet. I showed her the video, nothing obvious in the exam, potential of ever so slightly restricted breathing sounds. They still have him, they’re going to sedate, do a thorough dental exam and also x-ray his skull. Which could also be beneficial for his seizure issues that he had too, but likely not unless it’s really obvious. I also asked them to trim his nails under sedation because in the past 6 months or so he’s become extremely stressed by handling whereas he just used to sit there and let me clip away, so his nails are too long.

      Now we play the waiting game…


    • Azerane
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      The vet thinks I have very interesting rabbits, which after today I definitely agree with.

      Apollo’s x-ray was completely normal, his teeth are normal. He has small white bumps with some inflammation on one side of his larynx. She’s not sure what they are but we’re treating with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories in hope that it’s a simple infection. Obvious causes are irritation/damage from something that he ate scratching there. Or less obvious is a growth/tumour.

      He has a course of metacam, twice daily for 14 days, and a course of Zithromax (azithromycin), once daily for 10 days. For a rabbit that I find impossible to medicate, so that’s going to be fun, lol.

      I’m supposed to try him on pellets again after 5 days, and another 5 after that. If he gets worse at any point I need to go back. We have a re-check in 20 days time. If it doesn’t clear up, the next step is CT scan which I can’t really afford at the moment, so I’m really hoping this works.


    • Bam
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      Oh, wow! This is certainly interesting. It perfectly fits with swallowing pain, so hopefully the meds will fix it!


    • DanaNM
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      Wow, that’s so weird, but does make sense with swallowing pain! Hopefully the treatment helps!

       

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • Azerane
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      The treatment involves me wrestling with Apollo while trying to lift up his cheek so that my husband can insert the syringe to give him his medications, lol. In all seriousness though, first doses last night did not go well. He gets so stressed by handling that’s anything more than picking him up and putting him down. Even in the bunny burrito he kicks wildly but the worst part is him jerking his head, he does it almost any time you touch his cheek to get to his mouth. This morning was a little easier, he was probably less stressed in general after his vet visit yesterday, but we only had to give the metacam. After giving it I’m not actually sure I dosed it correctly so I have to phone the vet this morning to double check. The box says an amount in mls, but the syringe is one of those “by weight” syringes but it’s for dogs, which are obviously not rabbits. Worst case scenario I found an old 1ml syringe in the cupboard from some sort of previous medication that we can use.


    • LBJ10
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      Weird! So it’s like tonsillitis or something? I agree, that would explain the pain reaction when swallowing.


    • Azerane
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      Yes, something like that. I’ll admit the first thought I had when I opened the antibiotics was that it smelled exactly like my tonsillitis medication when I was a kid. Flashbacks.

      I rang the vet clinic and asked about dosage, unfortunately the person on the phone was unhelpful and just said to get a 1ml syringe from a vet clinic. That would be fine except I realised after that the 1ml syringe I have doesn’t fit on the metacam bottle so I can’t draw it. The 1ml syringe does however fit perfectly inside the metacam syringe so I drew up 0.88ml of water (Apollo’s dose) and transferred it to the metacam syringe where it comes up to the 12kg mark. So that’s where we’ll be dosing to from now on. He’s getting this twice a day and if I did my maths correctly it means he’s getting 0.8mg/kg daily.


      • LBJ10
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        Ew!


    • DanaNM
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      I was going to say I use the big “by weight syringe” to draw from the bottle, then the small one mL to draw from that, but you came to the same conclusion!

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • Bam
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      It’s amazing how much more meloxicam a rabbit needs compared to a dog! My Vilde was tiny (1.5 kg) and was prescribed almost as much meloxicam as a 10 kg dog.

      Nowadays vets in general seem to know this, but back when my Yohio were neutered he got cat meloxicam, which is only 0.5 mg/ml. I remember the dose, 12 drops which is next to nothing for a bun. It was still an improvement though, Bam didnt get any post-op paIn killer at all ☹

       


    • Azerane
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      Yes the variance in dosage between species is huge.

      I was fortunate this morning to have the idea of trying Apollo’s metacam in a lettuce leaf (after another stressful dosage debacle last night). He was a little wary at first but eventually decided it was worth eating. Fortunately it didn’t drip off the leaf and I may have to try his antibiotics the same way tonight spread across multiple leaves.


    • Azerane
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      So while Apollo has been taking his medication on leafy greens, he did leave a little last night that he wouldn’t finish due to it tasting funny and this morning he took a lot of convincing to eat them so I decided that tonight we would syringe them to him again rather than risk losing a full dose of the meds onto leaves that he wouldn’t eat. I can’t believe how stressed he is, it’s absolutely awful. I tried making his burrito tighter than normal tonight and he was out of it even faster, and he also bit me. I just don’t understand the drastic change in him when it comes to handling. He was always twitchy with his mouth, but this is much more than that.


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      Did you try the banana trick yet? That got some of the most stubborn bunnies to take their meds. Banana or apple sauce.

      Take a very ripe banana, cut it into slices and freeze it on a plate so they don’t stick together. After defrosting it becomes a sort of jelly which is easy to mix with meds.


    • Azerane
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      Great idea! But I tried him with banana this morning (without medicine), first time he’s ever been given banana. He wouldn’t even try it (Luna at both his pieces). Typical, lol. I’ll keep trying.


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      How typically bunny… 🙄 Bananas are bunny crack, I rarely saw one that didn’t love it. But some bunnies ignore things they don’t know yet.


    • Azerane
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      I wasn’t overly surprised since he can be fussy with new foods. He doesn’t like carrot either. I’ll keep trying him with tiny pieces of banana and maybe he’ll take to it before we’re done with his medication xD


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      You could also try apple sauce, or mash the banana. If he’s got dental issues he may prefer to lick it. That’s the convenient part about defrosted banana as well: it becomes a jelly which is very easy to mix.

      You could also be really cheeky and rub a bit of the mashed banana on his chin or paw. Maybe he’ll find out that it’s tasty while grooming himself.

       


    • Wick & Fable
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      In case it’s helpful, Wabbitwiki has a lot of demonstration videos of various medicating techniques: https://wabbitwiki.com/wiki/Medicating_your_rabbit

      The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.


    • DanaNM
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      i was going to suggest mashing the banana as well! It might make it smell more fragrant and enticing 🙂

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • LBJ10
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      Does he like Critical Care at all? Or do you always have to syringe feed? Some bunnies will lick it off a spoon or plate. You could try mixing it into that.


    • jerseygirl
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      Luckily both those meds are sweet-tasting but I realise Apollo isn’t Luna who would take them willingly.

      I think my approach with him would still be to train him to take syringe without you having to handle him. Maybe do a few practices with just water? You’ll have to be annoying toward him but weigh up if that stress is greater or less than how stressed he’s getting picked up.

      I would keep placing tip of syringe in front of him (try not go in blind spot though) until he gets curious enough OR uses his mouth to shove it away. If he bites on it, it’s still an opportunity to dispense the contents. My hope would be once he has nice-tasting meds this way and knows what to expect, he’ll more willingly take them hands-free. 🤞🏼

      TimTim is easy to medicate but I’ve transitioned to this for his meloxicam. I did have to restrain him in place for baytril though. But now it’s just meloxicam and once he got taste of it on the tip a few times, he opted to allow the rest to be given. Any way to minimise his stress is a win.


    • Azerane
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      I smeared banana on his paw, Luna licked it off, lol.

      He’s pretty fussy with food, he’s never been one to eat from my hand and usually only eats once food is on the ground. He won’t take a treat after he’s back on the ground, he’d rather sulk. I always intended to syringe train him with water but obviously I never got around to it. Not helpful now. Generally when I put a syringe near him, he just moves away from it. I might have to dedicate all of Tuesday to trying to train him. I think I have an apple somewhere in the back of the fridge though, might see if he’ll try that.

      He doesn’t seem to mind the metacam once it’s going in, but he really seems to hate the antibiotics. I can manage the metacam by myself in the mornings (it doesn’t go well, but I can do it), but the other is definitely a 2 person medication.

      Also, the HowCast rabbit is the best behaved rabbit. Apollo won’t even sit still on a table anymore, I have to block him from both ends at all times or he will launch himself off the table or my lap. I’ve got no idea how they manage him at the vet.

      Thank you all for your advice, we just have to keep trying. The other hard part is knowing what to try and only being able to try to much before I’m wasting too much medication.


    • Azerane
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      No luck with the training or treating after medicating yet. However I tried a different approach this evening, instead of wrapping him in a towel, I just held him against my body sitting upright on his rump with his back feet facing forward. This actually worked a lot better. He still struggled, but nowhere near as much and he wasn’t as twitchy. I think just the extra handling and the process of getting him wrapped in the towel was making it worse for him.

      He also had pellets again for the first time today and he didn’t seem to have any issues when eating them which is good. Although I only gave him a very small amount, and he ate a little slower because he was wary of me after I medicated him earlier, but it’s still good that he didn’t have issues. I have to try them again with him this weekend.


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      That sounds a lot less stressful 🙂


    • Azerane
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      Apollo seems to be doing ok. He’s had pellets a few times now without any issues which is good. He has however become worse again with medicating. Yesterday he leapt off my lap (fortunately I had him well positioned and he landed on all fours) and this morning he bit me three times. I think the first two weeks I only got one or two nips, the past few days he’s been biting or trying to bite me every time. My arm is quite bruised.

      I really do try to keep him calm, I’ll sit him on my lap and pet him calmly before positioning him for his medication which my husband gives, but he is extremely strong and if I don’t hold him firmly he kicks/twists/squirms/bites. Fortunately we finished up his metacam this morning, so now there is only 6 more doses of antibiotic to give each night. If the vet wants him to have more medication I’m not doing it, lol.


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      Ouch, that sounds like one spicy burrito 🙁

      I’m happy to hear that he’s been eating some pellets though!


    • Wick & Fable
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      Have you tried any relaxation remedies? I have had no luck with the Rescue Remedy working, but Small Pet Select’s Zen Tranquility blend mellows out Fable, who is the most anxious rabbit ever.

      The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.


    • Azerane
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      Wick the relaxation remedies are a good idea. We don’t have the Tranquility blend here but looking at the ingredients list I’m sure I could get something similar. How much do you give and how long before?

      Apollo had his follow up appointment on Monday. Thankfully it all went well and based on how he’s been doing he is no longer on any medication. Big hooray from me! Obviously the antibiotics worked, and hopefully it remains that way. I’m happy and I’m sure that Apollo is happier now that he doesn’t need medication every day and can eat daily pellets again.


      • Wick & Fable
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        I give a “small handful” on top of hay. I just use it as a hay topper! You would probably need a decent amount for it to be harmful, but probably need a bit more than a pinch for efficacy (my guess).

        I’ve never formally monitored it, but I’d say typically works within 1-2 hrs and it seems to stick around for a couple after that.

        The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      Woop! No more bunny burritos! 🥳

      That’s great news Azerane, I’m so happy for all of you ^_^


    • Bam
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      Oh, I’m so glad the antibiotics has helped! He must be so happy too 🥰


    • Azerane
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      Thank you, unfortunately our celebrating is short lived. Today is the 7th day after finishing antibiotics and he had another episode with his pellets having trouble swallowing and drooling etc.

      I’m not sure what to do, we can’t afford extensive testing right now so hoping we can maybe just get him on another round of antibiotics since that seemed to work before. This is not what we needed 🙁


    • Azerane
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      Had Apollo at the vet today, since the antibiotics worked the first time she was happy to put him on another course, longer this time. Fingers crossed it solves the problem.


    • jerseygirl
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      Oh. 🙁

      Sorry to read the problem returned. Sounds like you might need those calming herbs sooner then later! For you and him 😬

      I wonder if rabbits can have tulsi?


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      Gah, that’s so frustrating! Hope that the new course will help.


    • Bam
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      Oh, bother! But since the abx did help the first time, hopefully a longer course will get rid of the nasties for good.


    • Azerane
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      Apollo seems to have resigned himself to his fate. He still twitches and squirms a little, but nothing like before. It probably helps that he’s only getting one dose a day rather than 3 as well. Who knows if his slightly better behaviour will last, but I can only hope.

      He did pee on the table a couple days ago, but that’s my fault for pulling him out of the litter tray for medication time, whoops! 🙄


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      Happy to hear that, bunnies can put up a mean fight if they really don’t want something.

      Do you see any change yet?


    • Azerane
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      I’m not sure about changes because I haven’t tried feeding him pellets again yet. The trouble eating pellets is the only symptom I can see myself. Last time the vet told me to wait 5 days before trying pellets again, this time has already been 7 days but I was considering waiting a few extra days to allow more time for healing, especially since this time he’s not on an anti-inflammatory. We have 60 days of treatment to get through so I’m not in a rush to get him back on pellets.


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      No news is good news in this case then 🙂


    • LBJ10
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      Poor Apollo. Bunnies can be difficult to medicate sometimes. I feel your pain! Once you get a routine down though, they often just settle into it. Does he accept a treat afterward? That usually helps if they are expecting to be rewarded.


    • Azerane
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      Unfortunately not, he doesn’t take food when he’s grumpy/ offended 🤣 Despite being greedy he’s actually quite fussy with the conditions in which he’ll take food.


    • Azerane
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      I tried Apollo on pellets for the first time again this evening. He seemed a little hesitant but didn’t have any problems eating them.

      Today is day 10 of the antibiotics, I’m considering doing a countdown to 60 days. So the next time I’ll wait 9 days, then 8 days, and so on. In the end it will mean he’ll get pellets 6 days in a row for the last 6 days of his treatment.


    • DanaNM
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      Thats a good idea! And great to hear he was able to eat the pellets!

       

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      🥳 Keep eating Apollo!


    • Bam
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      It does sound like a great plan! You go, Apollo! 🐰🐰🐰


    • Azerane
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      Right, unfortunate update. Apollo is on about day 43 of 60 of his antibiotics. I’ve been feeding pellets in decreasing intervals, he’s been fine every time until last night when he had a clear pain reaction, stopped chewing and dropped some pellets from his mouth. Needless to say I’m so disappointed. Will continue on until the end of his course and will continue to try pellets and monitor him carefully when I do just to be sure about what I’m seeing. But it looks like we’ll be heading back to the vet in July. I know he probably really needs an MRI now to really see what’s going on but it’s just not in the budget, even on a payment plan.

      We’ll just have to wait and see.


    • Ellie from The Netherlands
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      That’s awful Azerane, I really don’t know what to say 🙁 Sending you virtual hugs…


    • LBJ10
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      Does he have the pain reaction when he’s biting down? Or swallowing? I wonder if it’s something that’s hard to pick up on an x-ray, like a crack in a molar.


    • jerseygirl
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      LBJ, yes! Exactly my thought too.

      It’s possible something like that could be missed during the dental exam under sedation I guess. Not sure how they go about looking for one. 🫤

      Sorry about the setback Azerane

       

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Forum HOUSE RABBIT Q & A Dental Problems