Your Rodent's Dental Health

Filed Under: Pocket Pets, Chinchillas, Ferrets, General Care, Gerbils, Guinea Pigs, Hamsters, Mice, Rats

Small rodents have continually growing front teeth, worn down through normal chewing. If your rodent’s teeth are not wearing down naturally, it may be due to malocclusion. Malocclusion is a common dental disorder, found in rabbits and other small rodents, defined as abnormal contact between the maxillary (upper jaw) and mandibular (lower jaw) teeth. The misalignment of these teeth interferes with chewing. Causes of the misalignment include abnormal wear and tear—such as chewing on metal cages—or trauma to the teeth or head.

Normally, the teeth continue to grow unless the pet has something to chew on in order to wear them down. A soft material may not wear the teeth down enough, but a material that is too hard can injure the teeth, causing them not to grow or to grow at unusual angles. Any small block of wood can be placed in your rodent’s living area as a chew toy. Just make sure to use a non-poisonous wood, and nothing used for outdoor construction, which is typically treated with arsenic.

Malocclusion can lead to weight loss, excessive salivation and the inability to chew. Rodents with maloccluded teeth need their incisors frequently trimmed by a veterinarian. Check with your veterinarian to make sure your rodent’s teeth are in great shape.

Topics: dental, oral conditions

Symptoms: difficulty eating

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