Tag Archives: teeth

Rabbit dental care


Does your rabbit need orthodontic care? As curious as it may seem, dental malocclusion in rabbits is an important problem and is often under diagnosed.

The poor apposition of the teeth is one of the main causes of the loss of appetite in rabbits.

The origins of the malocclusion are multiple. We speak mainly of genetic causes, traumas and dental abscesses.animal-1846462_960_720

The diet of rabbits is very abrasive, which has the effect of wearing the teeth during chewing. To compensate for this wear, the teeth of rabbits grow continuously. The molars are aligned so that the wear surfaces are flat with sharp edges, allowing effective chewing of fibre. The teeth must be properly aligned to allow for proper wear of maxillary and mandibular teeth.

Rabbits with malocclusion usually exhibit excessive drooling, appetite and weight loss. Anorexia is frequently progressive. First, the animal stops eating its pellets, then its hay, then, finally its vegetables. Often the animal seems interested in its food. He even goes to put food in his mouth, to drop it shortly after. Owners often mention that these rabbits grind their teeth.

Loss of appetite should be addressed promptly in rabbits, because if it persists too long, it can become lethal.

To make a precise diagnosis, your veterinarian will often have to put your rabbit under anesthesia, especially if his mouth is full of saliva and a problem in the back teeth is suspected.

Depending on the type of problem, its origin and its location, treatments will be suggested. Some advanced cases can sometimes be relieved, but cannot be cured permanently. Some rabbits will require regular visits to their veterinarian.

So the best solution is prevention. Offer a rich fibre diet containing a large amount of hay, ideally Timothy as well as good leafy green vegetables.

Where possible, acquire the rabbit from a breeder who is known to produce animals free from malocclusion. And finally, after buying the rabbit, have it checked immediately by your veterinarian to make sure it is free from birth defects and infections.

If you ever have any questions, do not hesitate to contact a member of the medical team of the Clinic (514-634-4190) who will be happy to assist you.

About the clinic: The Lachine Veterinary Clinic offers an unmatched and personalized service to pet owners from Lachine, LaSalle, Dorval and Pointe Claire, but also across the West Island of Montreal (West Island) and Laval, and has done so ,since 1982.

Home dental care for Cats

The Lachine Veterinary Clinic veterinarians inform you on home dental cares for your cats.

Home oral hygiene can make a tremendous difference in your cat’s comfort and health. A wide variety of home oral hygiene options are available, but keep in mind that anything you can do to help prevent plaque and tartar accumulation will pay big dividends. What really matters is whether or not home oral hygiene was provided over the long haul – considerable effort applied only for a short period or only occasionally will be of no long-term benefit.

Below are listed some common forms of home oral hygiene that have been proven to be of benefit for cats. Combining several methods will achieve the best results. All methods of home oral hygiene share the goal of preventing or controlling periodontal disease by minimizing plaque (bacterial film) accumulation, and preventing the mineralization of the plaque to form dental tartar. Cats can be reluctant to accept home oral hygiene, and require a very gradual, gentle and patient approach to achieve success.cat teeth

Brushing your cat’s teeth is the single most effective means to maintain dental health between professional dental cleanings. This makes sense because the bacterial film known as “plaque” is the cause of periodontal disease. This film is easily disrupted by the simple mechanical effect of brushing the teeth. For brushing to be effective, it needs to be done several times each week – daily brushing is best. Most cats will allow their teeth to be brushed, but you need to take a very gradual and gentle approach. Start by letting your cat lick the dentifrice from your finger, then off the small feline toothbrush, then gradually place the brush in your cat’s mouth and add the brushing motions. Introduction of this process may require daily activity over 1-2 months. We recommend pet-specific dentifrice for cats; these products are safe for cats and come in flavors that cats accept, such as poultry and seafood. Avoid human toothpastes as they often contain abrasives and high-foaming detergents that should not be swallowed or inhaled. Small cat-specific toothbrushes are available. Some cats prefer finger brushes.

Chlorhexidine is the most effective anti-plaque antiseptic. Chlorhexidine binds to the oral tissues and tooth surfaces, and is gradually released into the oral cavity. Chlorhexidine oral rinses or gels are safe for pets and rarely cause problems. The rinse is applied by squirting a small amount inside the cheek on each side of the mouth. The gel is smeared onto the side of the teeth or applied as a tooth-paste on a tooth-brush or finger brush. Many cats object to the taste of this product, while others accept it with no difficulty.

Several dental-specific diets have been shown to be of benefit in retarding accumulation of dental plaque and tartar cats. Some employ a specific kibble design and others include a chemical anti-tartar poly-phosphate ingredient. Although they may be of value, there is little publicly-available information documenting the dental value of chew products for cats.

Unlike dogs, cats are very individualistic in their acceptance of home oral hygiene. Try several options (brushing, finger-brushing, dental rinses or gels, dental diets) to find those techniques and products that your cat best tolerates. Some cats are very particular about new flavors. Patience and a gentle approach will yield the best results.

The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) Seal of Acceptance is awarded to products that meet or exceed the VOHC standard for retarding accumulation of dental plaque or tartar. A complete listing of products that have been granted the VOHC Seal of Acceptance is available at www.VOHC.org – click the Products Awarded the VOHC Seal link.

Questions? Call us now! 514-634-4190.

American Veterinary Dental College


If you ever have any questions, do not hesitate to contact a member of the medical team of the Clinic (514-634-4190) who will be happy to assist you.

About the clinic: The Lachine Veterinary Clinic offers an unmatched and personalized service to pet owners from Lachine, LaSalle, Dorval and Pointe Claire, but also across the West Island of Montreal (West Island) and Laval, and has done so ,since 1982.

Dental care at home: part two

Last week we started to talk about dental care for pet carnivores , ie , dogs , cats and ferrets. We have seen that diet and tooth brushing are very important in keeping our animals with an ideal dental health.

It is never too late to star brushing your pet's teeth.

It is never too late to star brushing your pet’s teeth.

Last week we also talked about using a enzymatic toothpaste . But there are other types of products that can also be used. Toothpastes and rinses containing chlorhexidine are also quite popular. Chlorhexidine is one of the best oral antiseptic that exists today. In addition to being bactericidal , it has a very interesting residual time of at least four hours in the mouth of the animal . Some products containing chlorhexidine literally resembles human mouthwash and when equipped with a fragrance (ex; mint), they can give a ” Dentyne breath ” to our little companions. If this product is so good for our animals , why not use it regularly for humans? Well… the answer is a matter of aesthetics. Over time, chlorhexidine tends to make teeth turn brownish. For an animal that has a average life expectancy , say 18 years , it matters less but for Canadians, who have a life expectancy of over 75 years , it’s another story.

Cats ,on the other end, tend to dislike flavored solutions .For cats , one of our preferred product is a gel made with zinc and vitamin C. The product is very effective in fighting gingivitis and plaque and ,very important… cats do not hate the taste , which is a key asset for regular use.

For poultry , beef or malt flavored toothpastes, we mentioned that you needed your pet to taste it before you even begin applying it on it’s teeth. For products like chlorhexidine toothpastes , the technique is a little different. You will need a healthy treat that your pet loves to be able to use the toothpaste . You should always start by giving the treat. Thereafter , the solution on the gums of the animal is applied with a finger after the first application its time for another treat and so on. Once your pet is used to it, you can begin to apply the solution with a toothbrush .

By the way, this reward technique of positive conditioning was used by one of our client who was able to brush the teeth of her three Shetland Shepherds with an electric toothbrush. And believe us, the results are spectacular !

Mind you, rabbits , chinchillas and guinea pigs also need dental care. The treatment is completely different from those provided to our pet carnivores . Indeed , since the teeth of these animals grow continuously , it is not useful to brush their teeth . In fact, even though their teeth do not grow ad infinitum , it would be very difficult to brush their teeth, particularly those in back.

With these species , dental problems are not associated with the formation of tartar and gingivitis, but from uneven tooth wear. Several factors explain this anomaly, but the main one is the kind and quality of the food provided to them. In the Wild, rodents and rabbits wear their teeth by grinding very hard and fibrous food. In Canada (and around the world for that matter… ), the main food offered to them is composed of granules. These granules are actually different types of hay,grinded in industrial food processors and pelletized . The fiber of these granules is not as effective against tooth wear as the original hay which it is derived . In addition, many rabbits swallow their food without even chewing it properly which may also lead to an impaction of the stomach. The solution to this problem is simple. Give some molding ( a 1/4 cup per day for a two kilo rabbit ) and offer a good quality hay , such as timothy hay , at will. It will not solve all their dental problems , but it will do a great deal to reduce them.

Dental care at home: part one

Let’s talk about teeth! For the Lachine veterinary clinic veterinarians, oral care is very important. Keep in mind that periodontitis ( the inflammation of the gums, presence of tartar, receding roots … ) in dogs, cats and ferrets is very high. Up to 80% of dogs and 85% of cats over a four year period will suffer from this disease . Furthermore , a large proportion of cases of anorexia in rabbits and guinea pigs are also caused by dental problems. This week is part one of our preventive dental care plan for your pets… taking a closer look at cleaning the teeth of your dog , your cat and your ferret.

There are several ways to prevent the onset of periodontitis in carnivores. Diet is probably the easiest . Some diets significantly help to decrease the occurrence of plaque and gingivitis . As you might have guessed, these diets are in the dry form. According to most animal food companies, kibble offer textures that favor brushing when chewed or at least contain products that help prevent the adhesion of precursors of tartar on the teeth.dogs-49324_960_720

Is this an ideal solution ? Not necessarily . First, these diets are not indicated for ferrets . In fact, no ferret diet reduces tartar formation significantly. Secondly, the type of chewing greatly influences the effectiveness of dental diets . Several dogs and cats swallow their food without even chewing. In these cases , dental diets are ineffective.

Moreover , in our experience , we can tell you that these dental diets are more effective in cats than in dogs. Probably because of the type of chewing(time they actually chew) that is done by cats. During dental examinations in cats over an eight year period where they are fed with a dental diet , it is not uncommon to see no tartar at all!

By the way, there is a myth that says that no matter the kind of food , provided it is dry, will prevent the formation of tartar. That is false. Dry diets that are not specifically made to prevent periodontitis have very little impact on tartar formation.

Apart from the diet, there are several alternatives to help reduce or delay the onset of tartar.

The most important one is certainly daily tooth brushing . Trust us,it’s possible. There are ways to proceed in order to avoid discouragement both with the owner and the animal.

There are several types of toothpastes for pets. Do not take yours!LOL . It should be an enzymatic toothpaste . When applied on the teeth , they release enzymes germicides , that help to prevent bacteria from forming plaque.

Before you start brushing your pet’s teeth , get it used to the taste of the toothpaste . There are several flavors like malt flavor , beef and chicken. Once addicted to the ” treat “, you can start applying toothpaste on the teeth. When your pet is accustomed to this manipulation , you can start to use a small rubber brush . It looks like a thimble, but made of rubber with a small brush on the end. Or again, a little traditional human toothbrush will do the trick.

So , let’s recap :

1.Accustom the animal to the taste of the toothpaste : ideally at the youngest age possible, but it can also be done at any age as long as you are patient and can find the flavor of toothpaste that your pet loves .

2.Get him or her used to the toothpaste on his teeth and gums.

Once this is done, here are the daily routine :

1.Reward the animal with a treat


3.Reward the animal with a treat

Next week we will complete our preventive teeth care with pet carnivores and we will also address the prevention of dental problems with rabbits and guinea pigs . Till then…everyone to their toothbrush!

If you ever have any questions, do not hesitate to contact a member of the medical team of the Clinic (514-634-4190) who will be happy to assist you.

About the clinic: The Lachine Veterinary Clinic offers an unmatched and personalized service to pet owners from Lachine, LaSalle, Dorval and Pointe Claire, but also across the West Island of Montreal (West Island) and Laval, and has done so ,since 1982.