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Rabbit health: a guide to anorexia

Rabbit health: a guide to anorexia

If you notice that your rabbit isn't eating (referred to as anorexia) this can be indicative of underlying health issues, most commonly dental problems.

Rabbits' teeth grow all the time and grind and wear down naturally. But when rabbits are fed they often pick out the bits of the mix they want to eat, leaving out the pellets that contain calcium. With a lack of calcium the jaw becomes weaker and the teeth start moving, causing them to overlap and sharpen, and making it uncomfortable to eat.

We have filmed a series of short videos with vet Brian Faulkner to help you spot the signs of common illnesses in your rabbit. In this video we meet Bobby who was taken to the vet as he wasn't eating. Brian explains that in this situation it is necessary to check the rabbit's teeth to see if dental problems are stopping your rabbit eating properly. If there are any sharp teeth, the vet will smooth them down so it becomes instantly more comfortable for your rabbit to eat. Other signs of dental problems can include a dull coat with some dandruff, and dirty hindquarters, which can in turn lead to serious problems such as fly strike.

Unfortunately teeth that aren't growing straight can't be reversed, but with a more complete diet and management of the teeth with regular clipping, rabbits can continue to go about their life normally.

If you notice that your rabbit isn't eating, and are concerned about teeth problems, take him or her to see your vet. Remember that you can also receive free veterinary advice from Brian Faulkner during Petplan's live clinics on our Facebook page. All you have to do is 'like' the page, find the picture of Brian posted on our wall on specific live clinic days, and post your question as a comment underneath the picture. Brian will be next answering your questions between 12-2pm on Friday 20 September, so if you have any pet concerns, make sure you visit our Facebook page then.

Why not watch our video with Brian to find out more, and keep an eye out for more blogs about our health videos for cats, dogs and rabbits.


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Alison Maxfield
I'm concerned that the article appears to be about anorexia but talks solely of dental problems. Whilst anorexia can be a symptom of dental problems it is only one of many causes of a rabbit to stop eating - other suspects aren't even hinted at but are just as serious.The article also says that rabbits' teeth can be managed by clipping. Rabbit teeth should not be clipped! There is a risk of damage from clipping - a rabbit savvy vet will only file or burr teeth.
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