Dental Disease – Spurs

We don’t mean kicking your spurs – this aint no barn dance! Though lots of hay would solve this problem!


Source –

Spurs are sharp protruding edges on rabbit’s cheek teeth, a colloquial term for premolars and molars, which protrude into surrounding soft tissue. These can have no effect, or at worst they can cause lacerations into buccal (cheek) tissue or lingual (tongue) tissue.

These spurs can cause pain, lacerations, infection/abscessation, “slobbers” – excessive saliva caused by dental pain, inappetance and death.

For your information, in rabbits all dental conditions can eventually lead to :

  • Pain
  • Inappetance
  • GI stasis
  •  Negative energy balance
  • Hepatic lipidosis
  • Death

Dental pain and disease is very important and must be rectified!

So how are they formed?

How can we fix them?

 Fixing is relatively easy – you need to tame the dangerous seas of rabbit general anaesthesia, using all your skills to keep course in the rough winds of hypothermia, hypotension, bradycardia and apnoea. Woah nelly!

Then you can either:

1. File down the offending spurs – ideal

2. Address the cause

3. Remove the teeth – not recommended for new players and has a host of secondary issues even if executed lawlesslySo to achieve 1;

Use a small file or a straight nosed dental drill to round or trim off the spurs and achieve normal teeth shape – really not too tough.

2. But what causes dental spurs? And how do we prevent them?


•Uneven/inadequate wear of teeth

•Inadequate fibre diets high in carbs! – Fed hay!

3. Removing teeth – in general i would leave this for experienced exotics clinicians, as

•Painful rabbits will not eat – if you can confidently remove molars/premolars then you have a chance, however lingering pain will cause a rabbit top enter the death cascade

•If a cheek tooth is removed, there will be two opposing teeth that suddenly are not occluding and will elongate, and potentially form spurs…In other words this rabbit is committed to frequent dental procedures for life – NOT ADVISED UNLESS fractured, maloccluded, etc

So how can we prevent spurs?

Again a high fibre hay and green diet will aid your rabbit in receiving adequate wear and tear of their cheek teeth, which SHOULD reduce the risk of spurs/recurring /occurring.

Hop to it!