The RSPCA are urging rabbit owners to check their pet’s teeth regularly after a rabbit with an extremely overgrown tooth was found as a stray in Mexborough.
The animal welfare charity has now rescued the female Netherland Dwarf rabbit, which was found straying in Holmoak Close in Swinton when a member of the public found here.
The rabbit was taken to a vet last Monday (October 1) when the member of the public who fund her thought she had a twig stuck in her mouth, which turned out to be an overgrown tooth.
The tooth was about an inch and a half long, which was making it extremely difficult for her to eat or groom herself.
The vets then contacted the RSPCA and Animal Collection Officer (ACO) Katie Hetherington collected her and she spent the night in foster care before being transferred to the RSPCA Manchester and Salford branch.
Animal Collection Officer, Liz Braidley, who fostered the rabbit, said: “The poor rabbit’s tooth had grown so long she was struggling to eat and must have been unable to groom herself as her back as not looking very clean. As soon as the tooth was trimmed by the vet she was able to have a good clean and make herself more comfortable.
“Netherland Dwarf rabbits are prone to dental issues but for this tooth to have grown so long, she must have been left for weeks. This highlights the importance of checking their teeth regularly and a good diet with plenty of hay and/or grass which helps rabbits to wear down their teeth.
“Unfortunately, rabbits are one of the most neglected animals we deal with at the RSPCA. Often, the problem is that some people just do not know how best to care for them. I have seen some rabbits brought into our care previously where their teeth have grown so long they have protruded into their gums and nose causing considerable damage. I’m glad we were able to find this poor rabbit before it got to that stage.”
The rabbit who has been named Peggy by RSPCA staff has now been treated by the vets at the branch to have her overgrown and misaligned incisors removed.
The two-year-old bunny was not microchipped and so far an owner has not been found.
“Sadly, rabbits are one of the nation’s most misunderstood animals,” explains RSPCA rabbit welfare expert Dr Jane Tyson. “This poor rabbit is one example of how badly overgrown a rabbit’s teeth can become but it is important for all owners to be checking their rabbit’s teeth at least weekly to ensure they aren’t overgrown or misaligned.
“Rabbits teeth grow continuously and eating hay and/or grass helps to wear them down and keep them at the correct length and shape. Well-meaning owners think they are doing the right thing by buying commercial, dry rabbit food such as a muesli-based diet, but what rabbits actually need is a diet that made up primarily hay and/or grass. Feeding muesli-style diets can increase the risk of rabbits suffering from dental disease and other health problems.”
If you think you can give any of the rescue rabbits in RSPCA care a loving home, you can visit www.rspca.org.uk/findapet.