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Thread: Advice for getting my grieving older boy bun a friend - teeth problems

  1. #1

    Default Advice for getting my grieving older boy bun a friend - teeth problems

    Hello all,

    Apologies if this is in the wrong section but I'm in need of some advice. 2 weeks ago we sadly lost our lovely girl Puck after nearly 9 years together (she was 11) leaving our lovely boy Ian (8.5) alone. He was ok for the first few days after she passed but then went off his food. For a couple of days he was eating less so I supplemented with recovery and got him into the vets. He had had emergency dental surgery 6 weeks prior to this after seeing a stand in vet who missed the problem so we thought it couldn't be his teeth again. But it turned out it was his teeth and he needed dental surgery THAT DAY. It is now a week since the surgery and he's still needing encouragement to eat (loving recovery but not eating lots on hid own unless food is put right under his nose and it takes a long time for him to chew).
    I had a phone consultation with our very rabbit savvy vet today who suggested there could be some nasal inflamation/congestion so to up his metacam and to try steam with him and said that there could still be some residual discomfort from the surgery. She then said that if he is going to need dental trimming every 6 weeks (due to missing teeth on the top) and he's taking a while to recover each time then we need to consider whether it's ethical to keep putting him through it.

    Meanwhile, I've been concerned that part of what has made things worse is his sadness over his lost friend (last time he had a dental he was back to his normal self hours after) so found a lone girl bunny (7 years old) needing a home and we were meant to go meet her (and potentially bring her home) on monday. The vet suggested that we may not want to rush things if he's not feeling 100% as the bonding could cause him stress and that of all bunnys, Bucks are most likely to be content on their own. And the advice that he he may need to be PTS if his teeth are growing so fast has made me thing it's not a good idea to rehome this girl, because potential stress to him and her potentially being left alone again soon. Another side of me though thinks why not give them both a chance at a bond and think positively. I really have no idea what to do and feel incredibly conflicted! Any advice would be greatly appreciated. As I'm still grieving so hard for my lovely Puck I'm not sure I'm thinking clearly
    Last edited by Naomi1988; 19-05-2022 at 05:32 PM.

  2. #2

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    P.S. I should possibly say these two are/were my first rabbits and this is my first time dealing with dental problems so I'm not sure how much is too much in terms of dentals

  3. #3
    Mama Doe Orenoko's Avatar
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    I'm sorry to hear you've lost your Puck and that Ian is struggling. Bonding is stressful and you would probably want Ian to be in the best place health-wise if you were going to attempt it. Equally, teeth issues can be quite regular, I had a bun who needed them every 6-8 weeks at one stage. He unfortunately had other health issues so I never got to the stage where I had to make a decision on whether it was ethical to keep doing it, it may be worth asking the vet for a head xray if you haven't done so already as it may help identify the cause of the teeth issues. What is his diet like? There may be some adjustments you can make that could reduce the frequency of dentals potentially. The anaesthetic is tough on them and that might be why he's taking longer to recover.

    I would say if you can get him to a good place health-wise then you could attempt bonding. I know my heart would probably tell me to adopt the female and keep them separated until he's better so that he's not stressed out, but my head would say otherwise. Sorry I can't be more use, hopefully he continues to recover and go from strength to strength.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Orenoko View Post
    I'm sorry to hear you've lost your Puck and that Ian is struggling. Bonding is stressful and you would probably want Ian to be in the best place health-wise if you were going to attempt it. Equally, teeth issues can be quite regular, I had a bun who needed them every 6-8 weeks at one stage. He unfortunately had other health issues so I never got to the stage where I had to make a decision on whether it was ethical to keep doing it, it may be worth asking the vet for a head xray if you haven't done so already as it may help identify the cause of the teeth issues. What is his diet like? There may be some adjustments you can make that could reduce the frequency of dentals potentially. The anaesthetic is tough on them and that might be why he's taking longer to recover.

    I would say if you can get him to a good place health-wise then you could attempt bonding. I know my heart would probably tell me to adopt the female and keep them separated until he's better so that he's not stressed out, but my head would say otherwise. Sorry I can't be more use, hopefully he continues to recover and go from strength to strength.


    Thank you, this is really helpful. His diet when he is eating well is a small amount protexin nuggets (v high fibre - he's had gut stasis in the past), but he wont eat them at the minute. Lots of timothy hay, and a handful of veg on an evening (leafy greens, herbs and dandelion leaves mostly atm, but even those he's not very interested in). The problem is he's got a couple of teeth missing on the top at the back so the bottom ones just keep growing. According to the vet there's not a lot we can do other than trying to make sure he eats lots of hay and get regular dentals. He was doing really well yesterday and was eating more on his own (though taking a long time to chew still) but today is less interested in food again. He'll have recovery but isn't gulping it down like he was yesterday. He used to love the nuggets and I'd sprinkle them round the room so he could snoop around for them and he loved it, and now at most he'll take a couple of individual ones from my hand if I put them right to his mouth.

  5. #5
    Warren Veteran bunny momma's Avatar
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    My Raven is a dental bunny. His molars wear very low, yet get sharp points starting at gum level going up on lowers and down on uppers.
    Vet adjusted anesthesia protocol because he was taking weeks to eat normally. He still takes days of recovery food and then eats slowly and is selective as to what he eats for a couple weeks. He gets daily medicam and remains happy. Even when he is recovering from dental he comes for a treat which he tries to eat before stopping.
    The time between dentals can be two months or five months.
    If you bond the bunnies, it may be hard to know when he is eating or not, yet he may enjoy being near another bunny, even if they are separated.
    Sending vibes.

  6. #6
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    Bunnies that are grieving do seem to do a lot better once they have a new partner - but not all rabbits will bond successfully. I would get the girl and see how they get along with a barrier between them. Can you foster with a view to adopting if the bond works?

    The best way of monitoring a dental bunny is to weigh them weekly. They should be maintaining their weight. A steady drop over 2-3 weeks indicates they are struggling to eat enough and should get checked over in case they need another dental.

  7. #7
    Wise Old Thumper joey&boo's Avatar
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    I'm so sorry you lost Puck (who reached a fantastic age) & now having to deal with your own grief & Ian's. Its quite a dilemma & I really don't know what I would do re: adopting a new girl - it honestly could go either way & as such I don't think there is a right or wrong answer. There are some bunnies on here that have very regular dentals - I think thats about judging their quality of life between dentals & their recovery experience. As bunny momma says their may be some adjustment to his anaesthetic - but as you say, it might be that he is grieving & feeling downbeat. I've heard boy buns cope better alone too but in reality I think they are all so different. For now I think I'd keep tempting him with healthy foods, herbs, dandelions (really good at flushing out his system) & when he is feeling better chat to a rescue about a possible friend. I say rescue as they will (should) have multiple rabbits & personality matching is very important for bonding IME so it will be easier to find the perfect friend.

    Xrays would be useful though not great to have to anaesthetise Ian when he is below par. It is possible to remove his opposing teeth but quite a big op for an older bun & depends on jaw strength etc

  8. #8

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    Thank you so much for your replies, they really useful <3

    After posting my original post yesterday he seemed to go downhill and was less and less interested in food so we took him to the vet today. She felt his jaw and moved it around and he showed no discomfort and could not see anything wrong when looking in his mouth but she said there was a smell that could indicate an infection, potentially of the tooth root. I've come home with some antibiotics and gut stimulants. I'm really hoping that it's the infection that has caused the slow recovery and that the anti-biotics will work and when he needs a dental again he'll bounce back faster (though I'm probably wishful thinking).

    I asked about the anaesthesia protocol based on your comment and she said they'll look into it and see if there's anything they can do and to mention the slow recovery next time we bring him in.

    I've contacted the rescue to ask to postponed us going there by a week (but to not save her for us if a suitable home comes up) to see if this treatment has changed things and he seems more himself so hopefully that will be ok. If he's back to himself I'll be tempted to try bonding and the rescue first lets you foster them for 2 weeks before adopting to assess the bond so I think I'll just be incredibly careful and see how he seems (though I obviously don't want to mess this other bunny about!)

    It's so hard to know how much of all this is related to stress and grief for him. He always followed Puck around everywhere and I think he's a bit lost without her

  9. #9

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    Ian went downhill in the night and this morning was refusing to eat all together (thought I saw him nibbling on something). Now back from the vets again and it wasn't good news. She said we have two choices, to keep trying or to decide he's been through enough and put him to sleep. He's not in complete stasis but is refusing to eat anything. I'm having to force recovery and even that he's managing to spit some of it out. Right up until yesterday no matter how stressed or ill he's been he's never resisted fibreplex but this morning he wouldnt even take that. The only thing he has taken willingly is metacam.

    For a week after the surgery he was slowly getting better. Eating lots of recovery (only if offered by syringe and warm, but would happily have 15ml at a time) and was taking the odd treat or leaf but taking a really long time to chew (when I wrote the original post). his poos were pretty much back to normal. but from thursday he's been eating less and less willingly. Now he's gone right downhill. She said it wont be a bad reaction to the painkillers or the anti-biotics so to keep going with them and hope we can keep him going long enough for the anti-biotics to start working and hope that that is the problem. I just can't believe that a couple of months ago I had two happy healthy bunnies and now this

    I feel so bad about the stress we're causing him because she's said to force feed him 10ml of recovery every hour, plus all the meds. I just really hope it works so it feels worth it! He's been through so much in 2 weeks, I feel so bad for him

  10. #10
    Warren Veteran InspectorMorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naomi1988 View Post
    Ian went downhill in the night and this morning was refusing to eat all together (thought I saw him nibbling on something). Now back from the vets again and it wasn't good news. She said we have two choices, to keep trying or to decide he's been through enough and put him to sleep. He's not in complete stasis but is refusing to eat anything. I'm having to force recovery and even that he's managing to spit some of it out. Right up until yesterday no matter how stressed or ill he's been he's never resisted fibreplex but this morning he wouldnt even take that. The only thing he has taken willingly is metacam.

    For a week after the surgery he was slowly getting better. Eating lots of recovery (only if offered by syringe and warm, but would happily have 15ml at a time) and was taking the odd treat or leaf but taking a really long time to chew (when I wrote the original post). his poos were pretty much back to normal. but from thursday he's been eating less and less willingly. Now he's gone right downhill. She said it wont be a bad reaction to the painkillers or the anti-biotics so to keep going with them and hope we can keep him going long enough for the anti-biotics to start working and hope that that is the problem. I just can't believe that a couple of months ago I had two happy healthy bunnies and now this

    I feel so bad about the stress we're causing him because she's said to force feed him 10ml of recovery every hour, plus all the meds. I just really hope it works so it feels worth it! He's been through so much in 2 weeks, I feel so bad for him
    I am very sorry that Ian is not doing well. I have responded to your other thread with a few questions about his treatment


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