Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What If Your Teeth Kept Growing? ALL THE TIME?!

Photo Source: http://www.countryliving.com/
That’s what happens with rabbits and chinchillas, rats and mice.  In fact, most “rodents” have continuously growing teeth that wear down as they eat.  Occasionally, there are problems with malocclusion (poor alignment of the teeth).  This can be a genetic or inherited problem, or can result from some type of injury. 

Photo Source: : http://www.veterinarycentre.co.nz
Photo Source: http://www.mohrs.org/hrswebpg23.html
If the front teeth are not aligned, we can usually see that on a routine physical exam, and either trim the teeth to allow them to function well enough for most pet rodents to still eat, or consider surgical removal of these teeth.   If the back molars do not meet up, it can be harder to detect the problem.  Sometimes we don’t realize there is a problem until the pet stops eating, or starts drooling excessively. 
The reason for this is that a rodent’s large cheek pouches make visualization of these back molars nearly impossible without anesthesia and x-rays.   Luckily, poor alignment of the rear molars is less common than the front incisors, because when it happens it can often lead to more serious problems and can be costly to treat.