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Thread: Hay/ diet for spurs

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    Warren Scout Leesa's Avatar
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    Default Hay/ diet for spurs

    My two mini lops (both 4 and a half years old) are starting to develop spurs on their back teeth, the vet doesn't want to put them under yet to do their teeth as not yet causing an issue. I'm keen to try and reduce the spurs naturally with their diet rather than put them under. Are there certain types of hay that are best for spurs, they eat mainly Ings hay at the moment, but have other varieties from time to time. I also try to buy them dried herbs, roots etc and bits of branches to help. But is there anything specifically I can be giving them which will assist? Is grass nearly as good as hay? They are indoor at the moment, but I take them out occansionally on nice days (wondering if I should increase this as they love grass?). Thanks

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    Mama Doe binkyCodie's Avatar
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    grass is just as good as it is hay as far as I am aware.

    the combat to dental spurs is just hay hay hay, no hay is any better (or worse) than the other for spurs. mine are on a rotate of ings & timothy hay without any issues.

    the problem is is that no other food except hay causes the grinding acton of the back teeth, which is more of a side to side movement. most other items are an up and down, which doesn't simulate them. it is why rabbits with dental spurs may not eat hay, but are happy to eat pellet etc as it doesn't hurt their teeth.

    most of the time dental spurs is caused via a poor diet, or too much of something in their diet so they are not having enough hay.

    along with tht, unfortunately a lot of rabbits have dental issues these days due to breeding. if you look back at the wildie, they have very long muzzles, almost triangular. these days due to selective breeding and it being "cute" many rabbits have flat faces or much shorter muzzles. lop variety and dwarfs suffer the main for front of this, there just isn't enough room for their teeth. instead their teeth become misaligned so that they can not be grinded down correctly, or they grow into the jaw. not all dwarfs or lops face this, but there has been a rising surge in those breeds.

    the main thing would be to do a diet review, perhaps you could post on here what they are fed and myself (or a few other members) could chip in on what needs to change, if anything.

    otherwise, it may just be genetic and unfortunately they may require dentals every so often to keep them healthy.
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    Wise Old Thumper
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    All hay is good for rabbits' teeth but Timothy Hay is supposed to be the best as it has a broader leaf. You must make sure you are giving your rabbits the least amount of pellets as possible. About 1 tbsp. per day per rabbit. This should ensure they eat plenty of hay.

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    Warren Scout Leesa's Avatar
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    Thanks. They have constant access to hay, I literally top up more every 2 hours or so to get them to eat the fresh stuff (they leave it after a while and want the fresh stuff). Yesterday after posting this I ordered some Timothy hay from a company someone had recommended on here and it came today, they are literally demolishing it all rather than leaving a load like do the Ings hay (they do like Ings but leave quite a bit so I am constantly topping it up to get them back interested in the new stuff). I had tried Timothy and Rye from the same company I get the Ings from previously, but they weren't fussed, so looks like I'll be buying from the new company from now on! If grass is just as good I will make an effort to take them out in the garden more now I have his poop issues in hand (see below). Unfortunately they can't go in a run alone in the garden as it's a shared garden (flats) where anyone can just walk in from the road, plus we have foxes so it wouldn't be safe to leave them out on their own.

    They have a small amount of Science Selective pellets (I need to move them on to the Seniors version but have a big bag to use up first) each day, he has barely any as he has a tendency to put on weight and have excess caecotrophes, she has more pellets as otherwise she gets a bit underweight, despite them being the same weight she is longer (although they look a similar size). I will try and cut back further on pellets, they just seem so hungry all the time. They used to have quite a decent amount of vegetables (1 piece of about 5 things per day), but since they came back from living with my parents (whilst I was abroad temporarily), I have been struggling to get his caecotrophes under control. I think they were fed too many pellets by my parents and also some naughty treats - I went mad when I found out, and this is probably why the spurs have started developing (other than them being mini lops). Since they got home, I'd get him better then give him a bit more pellets or vegetables or take them out to enjoy some grass then it'd be him covered in poop again, so back to just hay for him. I've finally got it under control so at the moment they just have fresh herbs, celery and little gem lettuce for now. We sneak her extra broccoli, sweetheart cabbage etc when he's not looking! I found anything he used to be able to handle like spring greens, sweetheart cabbage, broccoli and anything sugary such as carrots or fruit he just can't eat at the moment. Now I've got him back being able to eat some vegetables, I'm going to start re-introducing dark leafy greens into their diet. They used to have a tiny bit of fruit a couple of times a week as a treat, but now I've only literally been able to reintroduce a tiny bit of apple.

    They literally have no store bought 'rabbit' treats, just the packets of natural dried herb mixes and dandelions, which a small amount is given as a treat. I buy them bits of branches and roots (I think nettles, they looked hard) as a treat and the thought being to get their teeth down (not sure that works!). I avoid alfalfa as she has issues we are trying to work through with the vets on urinary incontinence and I'm aware of not giving excess calcium just in case this affects her. They have a few seagrass mats, willow ring etc which they are not interested in, but I'm sure they used to like stuff like that to chew on, so might try ordering different types.

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    Mama Doe binkyCodie's Avatar
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    unfortunately the toys that you mentioned will only help their incisors, they are just as important but they wouldn't fix the back teeth.

    sadly it does seem like them being with your parents has likely caused this issue. too many pellets will result in spurs and that does sound like what they have had. at this point there is perhaps nothing other than perhaps putting them on a strict hay diet for the moment and hope it fixes it, otherwise they will have to have surgery to file them down.

    while they may seem hungry all the time, they're not in reality. bunnies love pellet, its like candy for them and isn't the healthiest. its why they go nuts like a starved animal for it. its a bit similar to dogs when you give them treats, they act like they haven't been fed!

    I'm not sure if it has been, but I would want to follow up with why your doe seems to fall underweight if you haven't already. there could be an underlying issue. many bunnies do fine on a pellet free diet (with mixed forage as a substitute for what the pellet brings) and many only have a table spoon if that a day. it isn't quite normal for her to fall underweight without the pellet.

    honestly, the senior version isn't necessary. I'd actually say if your doe is falling underweight the senior version wouldn't do her any good. it just has less calorific content (for bunnies who laze about) and less protein I believe. so unless they're getting old and not moving about very much, I would think about it. otherwise, I don't really see much point.
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    Warren Scout Leesa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by binkyCodie View Post
    unfortunately the toys that you mentioned will only help their incisors, they are just as important but they wouldn't fix the back teeth.

    sadly it does seem like them being with your parents has likely caused this issue. too many pellets will result in spurs and that does sound like what they have had. at this point there is perhaps nothing other than perhaps putting them on a strict hay diet for the moment and hope it fixes it, otherwise they will have to have surgery to file them down.

    while they may seem hungry all the time, they're not in reality. bunnies love pellet, its like candy for them and isn't the healthiest. its why they go nuts like a starved animal for it. its a bit similar to dogs when you give them treats, they act like they haven't been fed!

    I'm not sure if it has been, but I would want to follow up with why your doe seems to fall underweight if you haven't already. there could be an underlying issue. many bunnies do fine on a pellet free diet (with mixed forage as a substitute for what the pellet brings) and many only have a table spoon if that a day. it isn't quite normal for her to fall underweight without the pellet.

    honestly, the senior version isn't necessary. I'd actually say if your doe is falling underweight the senior version wouldn't do her any good. it just has less calorific content (for bunnies who laze about) and less protein I believe. so unless they're getting old and not moving about very much, I would think about it. otherwise, I don't really see much point.
    Thanks, hopefully the new Timothy hay I've ordered will do the trick. The vet has never shown concern about Coco getting underweight, but I can feel it myself you know if that makes sense. The vet was happy with her weight at the vets recently. I've never had her on an entirely hay diet as previously there's never been any need, so I'm not sure how much weight she would drop. I'll have to monitor it now to see what she's like with reduced pellets. She isn't on much more than a tablespoon a day, he's on less than to about that, it depends on how he's doing at the time and how his weight is - he increases weight very easily, so I'm very conscious about his diet. I've had rabbits before these two and honestly I've never seen rabbits go nuts for food as much as these two do, literally everything is a treat (even hay), they get so excited they have no fear of feet in their mad dash to get to the food cupboard and I'm constantly having to watch I don't stand on them she will do laps of the room 3 times with a piece of vegetable she gets that excited. I probably fed my last rabbit far too much, maybe that's why I'm not used to the excitement!

    Do you think the senior food would be good for him then in terms of not eating too much and excess caetorphobes?

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    Mama Doe binkyCodie's Avatar
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    senior food may be good for him, but I'm not entirely sure. I wouldn't want to put a bunny on senior food unless they are showing their age. it has less fibre in it and less protein, still a good amount. it has more vitamin A and vitamin D. a senior rabbit isn't really age defined, I'd say its more down to the induvidual bunny. some are 7 and still prancing around, others are 5 and looking at retirement homes you'll know them and what to do, if they're slowing down and gaining weight due to lack of exercise, then I'd say why not.

    the reason why we have senior food is because one they get older, they tend to become less active. senior foods often have less calorific content, sometimes have natural additives to help with their joints or urinary health.

    considering she seems to loose weight and he gains, supreme do a "vetcare plus" range, for digestive health or weight management. I wouldn't suggest perhaps switching it now while you try to calm down his stomach again.. but it may be something to think about or may even help for both of them. its still well within good guidelines of protein, fibre, and all of that funky stuff
    https://supremepetfoods.com/supreme-...clusive-range/

    its pretty expensive, but perhaps somewhere sells it bulk or you could contact supreme and ask then
    https://www.vetuk.co.uk/rabbit-food-...ula-1kg-p-5639
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  8. #8
    Warren Scout Leesa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by binkyCodie View Post
    senior food may be good for him, but I'm not entirely sure. I wouldn't want to put a bunny on senior food unless they are showing their age. it has less fibre in it and less protein, still a good amount. it has more vitamin A and vitamin D. a senior rabbit isn't really age defined, I'd say its more down to the induvidual bunny. some are 7 and still prancing around, others are 5 and looking at retirement homes you'll know them and what to do, if they're slowing down and gaining weight due to lack of exercise, then I'd say why not.

    the reason why we have senior food is because one they get older, they tend to become less active. senior foods often have less calorific content, sometimes have natural additives to help with their joints or urinary health.

    considering she seems to loose weight and he gains, supreme do a "vetcare plus" range, for digestive health or weight management. I wouldn't suggest perhaps switching it now while you try to calm down his stomach again.. but it may be something to think about or may even help for both of them. its still well within good guidelines of protein, fibre, and all of that funky stuff
    https://supremepetfoods.com/supreme-...clusive-range/

    its pretty expensive, but perhaps somewhere sells it bulk or you could contact supreme and ask then
    https://www.vetuk.co.uk/rabbit-food-...ula-1kg-p-5639
    Thanks, I might look at switching to that at a later date (I found I had 2 large bags of the current stuff I must have bought on offer). I've noticed him sleeping a lot more in the day since I came back to the UK, but he's still pretty active in the mornings and the evenings.

    Unfortunately it looks like I have ballsed up switching him on the new hay, it's poop central at the moment and the poor thing hasn't ate anything other than hay for 4 days. I stupidly didn't think of switching his hay over gradually and although he loves the new hay, it doesn't seem to love his tummy, thankfully I'd ordered a bag of his usual stuff as well so I'm trying to feed both and get him back to normal.

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