Micah Feeding

Vet Speak

In this section, Dr. Micah Kohles, Oxbow’s Director of Veterinary Science and Outreach, answers all of your animal health related questions.  If you have a question for Micah regarding the health or behavior of your small animal, send it to web@oxbowanimalhealth.com.

How do you encourage a rabbit with dental disease to eat hay?

Dental disease stinks - there is just no other way to put it! That being said, animals suffering from this condition can still have long, good quality lives.  The reality is that we want hay going into the system, but with some animals, this just might never happen.  I would really focus on finding very leafy green hay and personally would look at Orchard Grass first. It tends to be more leafy than timothy and softer to the mouth.  You could also try cutting the hay into short pieces 1-2” which makes it easier for the little one to pick the hay up and chew it with those diseased teeth. 

I would really push fresh greens as well, as they provide moderate amounts of fiber and large amount of beneficial phyto-nutrients but are also palatable and easy on the oral cavity. In terms of pellet, I would focus on grass hay based unless you little one will not eat any hay and has trouble maintaining a healthy weight.  If this is the case, you could discuss alfalfa-based pellets with your veterinarian, as they provide higher amounts of calories and energy. If need be, you can also moisten the pellet with water to make a pellet gruel which is easier for them to eat and provide beneficial hydration.

Sincerely,

Dr. Micah Kohles, DVM
Director of Veterinary Science and Outreach
Oxbow Animal Health