Bad breath in rabbits often indicates problems with the teeth and gums. Likewise, digestive problems may be responsible.
In any case, an examination is necessary, because bad breath is not normal in animals.
In this post, we’ll tell you possible causes and also tell you what you can do about bad breath in your rabbit.
Bad breath in rabbits: First steps
If your rabbit smells conspicuously from the mouth, it is a cause for concern in any case. This is because it is always the result of an illness, injury or other problem.
In order to provide the proper treatment, the cause must first be known.
Finding it is not always easy and should definitely be done promptly by a veterinarian.
You can help the veterinarian with the history and diagnosis by closely observing your rabbit and providing important information. This includes answers to the following questions:
What is the composition of the diet?
Are you checking gums and teeth regularly?
Do eating and drinking function without problems?
Is the discharge of feces normal?
Is the animal prone to flatulence or has it had a hard stomach recently?
Is there or has there been heavy salivation?
All these factors can be crucial clues and speed up the search for the trigger.
You will learn about possible causes in the next chapter.
The most common causes of bad breath
1: Food remains
Food remains jammed in the mouth decay and ferment. This can cause an unpleasant odor.
The risk of this is greater if there is a problem around the teeth. These include cracks in the tooth structure or spikes due to uneven wear.
Teeth that are too long can also make gnawing and chewing difficult, causing your pet to pick up larger pieces that can get stuck between the teeth or jaws.
Misalignment and injury after a fall or fight are also possible causes.
Treatment here is very simple as long as it is done early: Only the lining needs to be removed.
If necessary, it is subsequently necessary to correct the malposition or length of the nail teeth. This usually requires surgical intervention.
Inflamed tissue, suppurated tooth roots and abscesses can also produce an unpleasant odor. This is caused by bacteria that cause tissue to break down and pus to form.
This can cause your rabbit to smell like decay or an unpleasant sweet odor coming from its mouth.
Typically, as with damage to the teeth, eating and drinking are difficult and may be limited or impossible. Your rabbit may also grind its teeth because it is in pain from the inflammation.
You will not usually recognize inflamed tooth roots, but infections are characterized by redness, swelling, and possibly visible pus formation. Increased salivation is also possible.
Treatment usually consists of administration of antibiotic.
In addition, it may be necessary to extract a tooth and, if necessary, to offer only soft food for a short time or even to feed the rabbit with porridge to prevent excessive weight loss.
3: Fermenting food
Highly fermenting or flatulent food causes more gas to be produced in the stomach and intestines. This can have a negative impact on the digestive tract.
In addition to bloating, cramps and pain, gas can also rise and cause bad breath in your rabbit.
A bloated, hard belly is a typical sign of digestive discomfort. Gurgling or grumbling noises may also occur.
The occurrence of diarrhea is also possible.
The best prevention is a balanced and adapted diet, where you introduce new foods only gradually and test them in small quantities at first. Treatment may include the administration of essential oils to calm digestion.
Bad breath is particularly noticeable and severe with diabetes.
The diabetes can cause the breath to smell fruity or like acetone when blood levels are extreme. The smell can be reminiscent of overripe fruit, chemical substances or high-proof alcohol, for example.
In any case, this is a dangerous situation. Because if bad breath occurs in diabetes, it is an indication of severe hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.
As a rule, your rabbit will appear additionally apathetic and may even fall into a coma. Therefore, take it to a veterinarian or animal hospital immediately.
By balancing and adjusting insulin and sugar levels and then adjusting medication, worse consequences can be prevented.
Proven tips for prevention
Better than treatment is prevention of possible triggers of bad breath in rabbits. This includes several factors, such as feeding and controls.
1: Pay attention to diet
Your pet must always have hay available to grind down teeth.
In addition, you should avoid highly sugary or starchy foods or offer them only in very small amounts. Dried bread and sweet fruit should not be on the menu every day.
It is better to offer them only occasionally in very small amounts as a reward!
Avoid sudden changes and never feed too many new things at once. If you follow these rules and also check the free range for poisonous plants and other potential hazards, many problems can be avoided.
2: Perform regular checkups
It’s best to check your rabbit daily, including looking in its mouth.
Any damage to the teeth, injuries or inflammation will be noticed immediately. This enables early treatment, increases the chances of success of the therapy and simplifies it.
In addition, you will also notice digestive disorders and other changes more quickly.
Does your rabbit have less appetite lately, drink conspicuously much and has lost weight? These symptoms are indicative of diabetes and require immediate veterinary attention.
3: Avoid falls
Falls can cause injuries that initially go unnoticed.
If they are in the mouth area, bones and mucous membranes may be affected. Concussions and internal bleeding are also possible.
You should therefore make the rabbit’s home and free run safe and avoid large differences in height. Also, make sure they are carried safely, as they are very agile and can literally squirm out of your hands.
4: Prevent dangerous gnawing
If your rabbit gnaws on the bars of the cage, on plastic, cables or the walls, it is not only annoying for you because of the damage – but dangerous for the animal. This is because the materials are too hard for the teeth and can cause damage.
Broken teeth or injuries in the mouth are possible.
You should also make sure that the animal does not gnaw any material. If it chews on carpet, curtains or a towel, fibers can clump together in the stomach and lead to a blockage or a complete closure of the intestine.
Additionally, assist it with grooming to avoid major buildup of hair in the digestive tract. This is because constipation can also cause bad breath in your rabbit.
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