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Rabbits/Accident re:baby bunny's incisors


QUESTION: I just feel sick about this!!One of our rescue bunnies gave birth on Jan 29th, the babies haven't begun eating pellets but have started nibbling hay.

Today my husband, in his sock feet walked through the living room where the 3 little babies were running around. We know to watch out for them but of course tragedy happened & 1 ran right where my husband stepped! The baby is ok as far as no broken bones, etc. BUT
his lip area had blood & when I checked, hoping it was just a split lip, I noticed his top incisors were fine & tight.  The bottom 2 though seem tiny bit loose & there's a little space between the bottom incisors now!!

Will his teeth heal & become tight & straight again (they were that way before this happened). The top & bottom still seem to line up but if the 2 bottom teeth decide to shift a little, that's what I'm worried about!

If we have to put him down before he has grown more & may suffer because his teeth will now for sure grow in misaligned, I'd want to know. Please don't give me false hope as we cannot afford dental issues constantly throughout his life, as sick as it is to have to put a baby down. No one's hurting more than us over this.


ANSWER: Dear Paula

How awful!  I know how terrible you must feel, but remember this was an accident.  Now you need to focus on helping the baby.

It sounds as if his mandibular symphysis (the suture at the tip of the chin) is broken.  This can be disastrous and difficult to fix.  But if you can find a good vet who can wire the *teeth* together so they are stable and the jaw is in a normal position, it may be possible for the jaw to mend.

You will need to feed the baby Critical Care and formula, and antibiotics will probably be necessary to prevent a jaw infection.  

I won't lie:  This is a difficult injury to set.  I hope you can find a vet who can do the trick on such a wee baby.  Wiring the jaw might work in a different species.  But because the bunny's teeth are right in the spot where you need to stick a wire, and the teeth grow continually, that simply won't work.

We had an injury like this set with dental cement by a veterinary dentist.  That might be something to consider, though I hope you can do it without anesthesia.  Our little one who had this repair was doing fine, but we think he may have aspirated liquid during the setting procedure, and he acquired fatal pneumonia because of it.  Just a note of caution.

I hope all goes well.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: So what you're saying Dana is if a bunny's teeth become loosened (even a baby's), the gums, etc won't heal on their own?

Dear Paula,

If only the teeth are broken, you're in luck.  But if the suture line of the jaw *between* the teeth is broken, this is a very serious, possibly life-threatening injury.

It will need to be examined by a rabbit-experienced vet:

to see where the fracture is.  If it's just the teeth, the vet may extract the broken one and let it grow back.  But a jaw fracture will need very exacting, specialized treatment.

I hope it's just the tooth.  The gums should heal just fine.  But if the jaw is broken and not set properly, she will have a seriously malocclusion for life, at best, and a nonfunctional mandible, at worst.

So I strongly urge you to get her to a good rabbit vet ASAP.

Sending healing thoughts.



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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:

RULE #1:

Find a rabbit vet at for immediate help, and don't risk your bunny's life by spending time asking questions online! If you can't get in touch with your vet, read these Emergency Sick Bunny Instructions.

If you have found a wild baby rabbit, please read these EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS FOR WILD BABY RABBITS and then use this link to FIND A LOCAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR who can give you the right advice.

RULE #2:
Help me help you! Please make your subject line informative if you have an urgent question. then LET ME KNOW IN THE SUBJECT LINE so I can give your question highest priority over non-urgent questions. If you don't do this, then I can't guarantee timely assistance!

For all the best, most accurate rabbit health, care and behavior information, visit The House Rabbit Society.


I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years. I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM. I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.

Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president National House Rabbit Society (Board member)

Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide

Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology

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