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Forum HOUSE RABBIT Q & A Elongated roots and vet recommends putting her down

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    • BunBunNibbles
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      Hi All,  

      I have a rescued female Lion head over 9+ years old named Sarabi – aka BunBun.  We’ve had her to the vet for several years for front teeth trimming and almost the whole last year of molar trimming approximately every 6 weeks.  Unfortunately she never got in the habit of chewing a lot of hay and the vet says her breed is prone to this too. 

      The vet pulled her front teeth about 3 weeks ago.  

      At her 7 day checkup we found she had an infection and was put on Batril.  

      7 days later checkup showed she still had the infection which has also invaded the molar jaw area and which seems to be slightly resistant to Baytril.  She is now taking Chloramphenicol to buy us a little more time with her.  

      Friday’s vet visit he stated that the bumps he felt along her jawline were elongated roots growing into and eventually through the jawbone and recommends that we put her down.  The vet said that pulling the teeth with her condition it would probably break her jaw.  

      It’s so hard to determine what to do.  Right now she is currently still eating the critical care with a banana slurry in it. Her right eye is starting to get more white pus in it and looks a little bulged but it could be due to the fur being trimmed around it. 

      She gives me bunny kisses when I take her on walks outdoors and when I’m petting her.  She grooms herself and likes to hang out and lay in the sun in the sunroom. She was just purring when I was sitting in the yard with her. She has been an incredible friend to me. 

      In the past when she can’t eat and the spurs hurt her mouth she thumps at me but we haven’t gotten to that yet this time.   She seems so healthy otherwise that I feel really guilty about putting her down.  

      My other rescue bunny is another lion head and she and BunBun finally bonded last summer.   I worry that Nibbles will grieve when BunBun is gone.  Thankfully Nibbles loves hay and chewing on Binkybunny toys.   

      How do I know when it is time?   Does anyone have and experience and advice with the elongated roots?   I just need to know that I’m doing the right thing.  I don’t want her to suffer but it breaks my heart. 


    • Nutmeg
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      Oh BunBunNibbles – I have not gone through this specifically, but I just wanted to say that I am SO Sorry you are both going through this!! Knowing when to put an animal down is the hardest thing. With my bunny, that we had to put down a few months ago, I just tried to look at her quality of life at that point.
      And even then its still hard because you think “but what if there something else we can do?!” or “What if she has a better day tomorrow”

      I know that is not really advise regarding your specific situation, but just wanted you to know that we are all here for you!!


    • Wick
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      I would request an x-ray to confirm the elongated routes before moving further. If you’re able to do that, I’d also suggest sending the images to another experienced rabbit vet for a second opinion. When to comes to more serious medical diagnoses and procedures, sometimes the experience of the vet with that particular procedure/medical condition will greatly affect their perceived prognosis. I’m not questioning your vet’s knowledge or capabilities, but for such a serious decision, I think getting a second professional opinion will help validate you on whatever choice you decide to make.

      The tooth infection following extraction is not unusual, so continuing on antibiotics until it’s completely gone is wise for your rabbit. That is an ephemeral issue most likely, so try not to get too caught up in it as a long-term obstacle. If one antibiotic doesn’t work, there are a plethora of others that all work in different ways to address different types of bacterial infections. Baytril may not have been effective, but potentially the chloramphenicol will do the trick.

      I’m not experienced with this particular dental issue. Wick goes every 5 weeks for molar spur grindings and incisor trimmings, which is much more manageable and the integrity of his jaw has not been compromised. From what I have read about elongated routes, the prognosis and maintenance depend on how far they’ve progressed, so getting a definitive image will help make a more informed decision.

      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.


    • Gordo and Janice
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      Oh, so sorry! That is always the worst position to be in. My heart goes out to you. I was told by members on this forum that the big three signs of quality of life are:

      1.) If they continue to have an appetite,
      2.) If they continue to show interest in their surroundings,
      3.) If they continue to give and receive affection,

      then there is still a degree of quality of life. I was also told (because we were close to the point of having our little girl put down and I asked the same question) you would know before or better than anyone else. Simply because you know her better than anyone else. You’ll know when it’s time.

      It’s very difficult. Again my heart goes out to you. I understand wanting to squeeze every last bit of life out of existence for your bunny and making that decision at the exact perfect point in time. I am somewhat of a perfectionist. But I don’t think that kind of precision is possible. We all probably either make it slightly too soon or more often slightly too late. So don’t beat yourself up about whether you’re waiting too long or doing it too soon. I know I did. We make the decision out of love so whenever you decide, it will be right, regardless. (It’s so frustrating that we can’t just talk to them for a couple of minutes…get the inside scoop. But such is life.)

      I am going to speak from my experience and perspective here so take it for what it is worth. Spend as much time as you reasonably can with Sarabi. After everything is said and done, you’ll be glad you did, and cherish those final moments. The sadness is overwhelming in the end. And ironically, spending so much time with our little girl towards the end, made her death even more devastating but……and this was and is important to me, I will forever be grateful that I took the time, no regrets. Janice and I connected with her already all her life. But as the time drew closer, and the more time we spent with her, the more gentle care and love we showed her, and the gentleness that she in kind responded with, back to us, in her own loving little bunny ways took that bond that she had with us and us with her to a maximum crescendo right up to the very end. I often wonder if I am too over the top with my experience with Icey and that I put too much into it.
      That everyone thinks I am nuts. To this day, I have a hard time conveying to people the depth and meaning of having that little bunny in our life. I get some head nods with blank stares. They’ll never get it. I like to think we do.

      Anyhow my thoughts are with you in this difficult decision making time and all the other associated things to have to deal with in a situation like this. Hopefully someone responds here with something that really helps you.


    • Gordo and Janice
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      And most knowledgeable people here are optimistic (as you can tell from Wick’s response). And thank you for that Wick. I tend to immediately think of the “Oh no! How terrible!” aspect of things. There are usually plenty of suggestions from the more knowledgeable and experienced bunny owners here that I haven’t even begun to be aware of. So things may not be as dire as they seem.


    • BunBunNibbles
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      Thanks Wick – you are right in that even if the second opinion and the prognosis stays the same that we’ll feel so much better knowing that we are doing the right thing. We are getting an appointment with another Rabbit vet who deals with dental issues and am getting her X-rays, etc sent over to them. We are hoping they can arrange to fit us in this Friday.

      Thanks Nutmeg and Gordo and Janice for your kind words and thoughts and wisdom. BunBun is eating her Critical care with a little prompting of banana at the top. I did a lunch time walk with her down our wooded path and she licked me most of the way. She’s always loved that. She is just chilling in her maze now as she usually does and hops out once in a while to say hi to Nibbles. I’ve been giving her lots of attention and she is loving it.

      I just love that little girl so much and don’t want her to suffer but if her quality of life can be maintained for awhile then she can enjoy more affection from us.


    • Nutmeg
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      Sending good vibes your way! Hope the other vet could get you in today!


    • LittlePuffyTail
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      So sorry for your situation. I have no experience in this exact health issue but I’ve been where you are with different ones.


    • LBJ10
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      Wooly has tooth root issues. He has facial paralysis, etc. I’m trying to think how long it’s been now. It’s been quite a few years. The problem can affect different rabbits in different ways.


    • BunBunNibbles
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      Aww Nutmeg you are so sweet.  We have a vet appointment tomorrow afternoon.  I’m taking the afternoon off of work and am looking forward to seeing X-rays – I like to see visuals.  Sarabi and I sat on the porch tonight.  She is alert, grooms herself, eating (but not as much as I prefer), and gives me love with her licking my hand.  Here is a picture of Sarabi and Nibbles (white bunny).   We kinda fell into taking care of Sarabi but I can’t think of anything more rewarding than having a bunny in our life.   Thanks to everyone for your responses.  It helps so much. 


    • BunBunNibbles
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      Thank you littlePuffyTail.  This is new experience for us for rabbits.  Hugs to you and your buns. 


    • LBJ10
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      So is she eating the critical care on her own or are you having to hand feed it too her with a syringe?


    • BunBunNibbles
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      Thanks LBJ10.  Sarabi is alert, loving, and eating right now.  I know every Bun is different.  I’m glad Wooly is doing ok. 

      I think time will tell.  I really think the vet can give a diagnosis but I am the one who knows Sarabi’s personality and can understand her moods and how she feels more than he can. We have an appointment with a different vet tomorrow and hopefully can get more insight into how advanced the root growth is. fingers crossed.   Sarabi gives me licks, grooms herself and is eating well.  


    • BunBunNibbles
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      Sarabi is eating the critical care on her own.  We slurry a little banana or carrot into it and she slurps it up.  I really think she has us trained to add the banana to it. She is a very smart bunny!  When her molar spurts get too bad she thumps us and won’t eat as well. After the tooth trim she then gets back to normal eating of the critical care. 


    • LBJ10
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      Ah, I see. Well at least she is eating it on her own.

      Wooly does not require tooth trims. He eats solid foods just fine. I do have to be careful with certain things though since he isn’t as articulate with his mouth. His tooth roots irritate his sinuses. So he’s on and off antibiotics, whenever bacteria decides to build up in his sinuses. He has a lot of snot. He also has some discharge from his eye and his ear has problems on his right side. The nerve in his ear is connected to the nerves in his face, hence the facial paralysis on that side. The vet does clean his ear out occasionally. In fact, I’d like to take him in to have that done here soon.

      Anyway, I just wanted you to see that it can affect different bunnies differently. Sarabi may have things a little worse if she needs tooth trims, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t still happy and enjoying life. A second opinion is definitely a good idea, so I’m glad you’re seeing a different vet for the x-ray.


    • Nutmeg
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      Awwww they are both SOO Fluffy!!! And I agree. I had no idea how much personality bunnies had until I owned one.
      Well sending good vibes for your vet appointment today!!! I am like you, visuals are so helpful.
      *Big Hugs Bunny and Bunny Mommy *


    • LBJ10
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      Update? How did the vet visit go?


    • BunBunNibbles
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      Hi LBJ10,   I don’t think this vet was the best vet for a second opinion as they send their really difficult bunny teeth cases to my regular vet.  The vet did check Sarabi’s mouth and jaw and the bumps in her jaw are the roots trying to break through which has got to be so painful.  Sarabi was grinding her teeth in pain – it was very loud.  She still has the infection.  Vet switched her to injectable penicillin and upped her pain meds but the prognosis isn’t good.  Sarabi is down to 2.8 pounds and is very fragile.  She is not eating much and I’m having to syringe feed her.  She still grooms herself but is spending a lot of time in her maze or hiding under a low chair.  Talking with both vets and research shows that pulling the teeth and surgery is about the only option.  Sarabi has already had to heal from a break in her jaw bone when one of her teeth broke off so I’m not sure she should suffer through that option especially since the roots have grown so much. 

      There is a veterinary school 2 1/2 hours from here that we could take her to and we have an appointment on Tuesday.  I don’t know what else they could recommend.  🙁


    • Gordo and Janice
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      Very frustrating. Thanks for responding with update. Thinking about you and Sarabi. It’s wonderful you are doing everything you can for her.


    • LBJ10
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      I’m sorry the vet visit wasn’t helpful. Keep us updated.


    • bunny06
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      if your bunny is in pain i know its hard i had to do it with 2 cats you will know when it is time you just know it. you do all you can then there is just nothing more you can do. don’t feel guilty its best for the animal. honestly with my last 2 cats it was a relief constant vet visits they were getting stressed out one had kidney values that were so high i don’t know how she was alive my other cat lost use of her back legs . you just know when its time. you do not want to see them suffer and the vet will help you make the decision. i hope your funny is ok. my bunny went for an ultrasound to see if he had an adrenal gland tumor they found something on his liver. one vet does not think it looks good i am going to have the other vet look at it. the bunny is acting totally normal except he seems in heat and he is fixed. hoping your bunny is ok


    • BunBunNibbles
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      Update on BunBun. While the vet I took her to didn’t do X-rays, she did put her on penicillin injections. It has really reduced the infection a lot! Her appetite is up, she hops into the family room looking for breakfast and dinner! She is affectionate and doesn’t seem to be in pain. I got X-rays from another vet and they do show that her teeth roots have grown through the bone and into her sinus cavity but I don’t see any bad pain coming from it. She does have several teeth that are really loose so she continues to be on Oxbow Critical care which she is eating a lot of. She is an incredi-bun. I’m enjoying everyday I have with her. I was out of town for work last week and it was hard to not be here with her.


    • BunBunNibbles
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      A belated update. I’ve also had a 21 year old cockatiel with heath issues but unfortunately he passed this afternoon. I’m crying my eyes out. For BunBun: The penicillin injections the vet put BunBun on has really helped with her infection. She is eating well – she runs out of her room looking for breakfast in the morning! We got the X-rays and they aren’t good. Several loose teeth growing in odd ways, two teeth growing into the sinus cavity. But it hasn’t affected her negatively. She receives and gives affection and her attitude is great. She is an incrediBun and she still loves me taking her for a walk along our small waterfall in the woods. Everyday is a gift with my little feathered and furry family.


    • BunBunNibbles
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      ok. This is my third time to try to post. BunBun is now on penicillin injections and is doing very well. She hops out into the family room looking for breakfast every morning. She cuddles and likes the walk through the woods at noon. We got the X-rays and they show that her top teeth have pushed through the jaw into the sinuses. She also has several loose teeth so it is only soft foods for her. But her attitude, appetite and affection are all there so she is not ready to leave us yet. Infotunately our 21 year old cockatiel “Sunshine” left for the Rainbow bridge today at 3:00. I’m so broken up. He was such an amazing soul.


    • DanaNM
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      Just tuning in to this now, sorry for what you are going through with your baby.

      Penicillin injections are the way to go for tooth infections, so that’s good.

      Overgrown roots are really challenging, especially in an older bun. A bunny that I took to our rescue from a neglectful situation, also about 9 years old, had an overgrown molar root that was affecting his eye as well. He survived the surgery, and was gaining weight and seemed to be doing better, but passed away not to long after. I didn’t get all the details, but I think it was just a lot for the little guy to go through.

      If the teeth are loose, which can happen with infections and the like, it might not be too hard to remove them. I honestly can’t say what I would do if I was in your situation… but I think I would go for the surgery, but with the option for them to not wake her up if it’s not looking like they will be able to remove the teeth without damaging the jaw. I would probably say my goodbyes before… but hope for the best. Again I don’t really know what I would do… but I imagine those teeth are causing her a lot of pain.

      One thing my vet said is that it is really hard for them to know what it’s going to look like in their mouth until they get in there. They have 28 molars in that tiny mouth, and sometimes it’s worse than they expect, sometimes it’s better. Since she’s doing well on the penicillin, she would hopefully recover well once the problem teeth were out of there.

      (((Hugs to you and Bun Bun)))

      . . . 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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      I’m sorry to hear about your cockatiel. I love birdies.

      I am glad that BunBun has improved on penicillin injections. I do hope you will get more time with her, one way or another. As Dana said, it is a tricky situation. It’s hard to know what is best sometimes.


    • Gordo and Janice
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      I’m sorry to hear about Sunshine. 21 years is a long time. I am happy that BunBun seems to still be happy and affectionate. Enjoy every second with her like you are doing. There is that slight advantage to know that the time may be drawing near in that every moment becomes a little more meaningful. You appreciate it a little more. At least we did.

      Hopefully she surprises everyone and just keeps on going.

      Sorry for your loss again.

      {{{Hugs to you and BunBun}}}


    • BunBunNibbles
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      Thanks DanaNM – good info and I’m sorry about the rescue bunny. And thanks LBJ10 and Gordo and Janice. I didn’t check Sunshine’s doodies when I got back in town and am now second guessing if I could’ve save the little guy. I’m just glad I was with him at the end. Although he was old he still loved to be cuddled and petted. It’s amazing how much it hurts not having him here. In the meantime, I’m making sure the other to cockatiels and both bunnies are getting plenty of attention. Cyrano DeBirderac is a little lost without Sunshine right now. I’m heading down to give him some head rubbing. BunBun has been hopping all around and comes visit me and Nibbles when I’m in my office. I’m amazed at the difference with her. We are still doing our little hikes down the waterfall path at lunch and she seems to love it – looking around at everything. She has to have her front paws perched on my shoulder so she can see where we are going.


    • BunBunNibbles
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      BunBun continues to thrive. Her appetite is still up and she is gaining weight! She hops out to me in the morning looking for her breakfast. So sweet!


    • LBJ10
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      That’s wonderful!


    • Gordo and Janice
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      Yes, so awesome indeed!


    • LittlePuffyTail
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      Glad to hear it.


    • DanaNM
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      Way to go BunBun!

      . . . 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.  

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Forum HOUSE RABBIT Q & A Elongated roots and vet recommends putting her down