Rabbits/Molar spurs


Hi -
I have a six year old spayed, beautiful, happy, shiny-black-with-one-white-paw, rabbit - of (my best guess) the Havana breed. I found her trapped and abandoned in a  building storage closet, close to death, as a baby.
We have happily shared my efficiency size rabbit proofed apartment for six years. My rabbit has no cage, which has worked out just fine, and she uses her litter box with no problem.
She is an active, cheerful, playful, very affectionate rabbit, but enjoys her naps more, as she gets older.
So possibly her activity level has gradually gone down a bit over the last couple years,  and so possibly she consequently eats a bit less, but her adult weight has remained the same for years now.
She eats oxbow hay and some various greens  and veggies, no pellets.
A week ago I noticed her chin had become consistently wet. Three days later we went to the vet and my rabbit was diagnosed with cheek irritation due to molar spurs. Yesterday my rabbit had a  $900.00 dollar operation, under anesthesia, to file the spurs down. Today, already,  my rabbit  is doing just great -  Happy and active and eating normally,  as soon as we got home.
So that is great, but my problem now though is (hugely) financial!!
I had to borrow the money from several (similarly to me, not well-off) friends and  family who are upset with me now, and think I have lost my mind (to ask them for $900.00!)  for a rabbit tooth trim
I literally called twenty different  veterinarians, and my local animal shelter and humane society, and out of all, I located only one vet clinic that would, (and had the tools to) treat molar spurs.
So I had no options, cost-wise, and had to either come up with $900.00  dollars out of the  blue, or else watch my rabbit start to suffer with worse and worse soft tissue abrasions, in her mouth - As the vet said the molar spurs would get worse (My rabbit's  incisors are  fine)  
I am a single 49 old woman who now survives by working a grueling blue collar graveyard shift minimum wage warehouse job, with no car and an efficiency apartment. (Just the taxi, to get to the vet, cost $20 each way)  
According to the vet,  I still need to bring my rabbit back next month to file a leftover, farthest back spur, that was left undone, as my rabbit was beginning to bleed too much.
If the final spur is not removed, it will cause continued malocclusion of the other teeth.
Furthermore, the vet says it is most likely that my rabbit will need regularly recurring molar tooth trims the rest of her life.
Other than molar spurs, the vet did blood tests  and x-rays and said my rabbit is very healthy.
The vet said the procedure next month, and continuing follow up procedures, will be charged the same ($900) due to the (same) cost of anesthesia, blood tests, and x-rays, along with the actual tooth filing.
Well $900 dollars is more than my entire month's  income, and my entire month's income already goes almost completely to pay my rent.
And except for needing molar spurs  filed, my rabbit is healthy and happy, so I cannot see how euthanasia can be an option, on an animal  that is not is not ill or suffering and is  living a happy life.
My vet was rather shocked as well,  when I asked if it (euthanasia)  was something that is ever done in a situation, such as I and my rabbit have.  So I am just completely flummoxed and perplexed, as to how to proceed, in dealing with this scenario I've described,  and looking for advice! Thank-you very much, if my question(s) can be answered.

Dear Elena,

While the cost of molar trim surgeries can vary widely depending on the vet and geographical location, $900 seems outrageous to me.  We have never paid more than $200, and that's not even with a discount for rescue.

I'm not sure what to tell you except that if you want to keep your bunny well, you will have to find another vet who can charge a more reasonable price, even if it means finding a vet who is willing to contact other vets, read the recent literature and textbooks on rabbit dentistry, and become an expert for you.  This isn't as weird as it sounds.  Rabbits are becoming incredibly popular companion animals, and vets are smart if they are willing to learn about this species' unique veterinary needs.

In the meantime, I hope you might be able to find a rabbit-savvy vet here:


who won't charge you a Taj Mahal Clinic price for a molar float.  Jeez.  I am so sorry!



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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:

...it is an EMERGENCY.

Find a rabbit vet at www.rabbit.org/vet 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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