Oral Soft Tissue Trauma in Rabbits

Tongue laceration. Click here for full page view with caption

Summary Information
Diseases / List of Physical / Traumatic Diseases / Disease summary
Alternative Names  
Disease Agents
  • Fight injuries.
  • Sharp objects such as wire, or water drinkers with a jagged edge
  • Caustic chemicals.
  • Molar tooth spurs or spikes.
  • Overgrown incisors.
    • Overgrown maxillary incisors can grow into the gum or lips.
  • Iatrogenic (during dental treatment).

(B603.3.w3, B452.14.w14, J15.19.w3, V.w44)

Infectious Agent(s) --
Non-infectious Agent(s) --
Physical Agent(s) --
General Description
  • With overgrown incisors, soft tissue injury around where the teeth are growing into the lips or gum. (Th16.1.w1)
  • With tooth rasp injuries there may be serious tears and damage to a major blood vessel at the fauces. (B603.3.w3)
  • With dental burrs, usually minor "brushing" injuries. (B603.3.w3)
  • Occasionally, tearing of the frenulum due to catching on a dental burr. (B603.3.w3)
  • The rabbit may show (depending on the type and age of the lesion):
    • dribbling/excess salivation; 
    • wet fur under the jaw (from the salivation);
    • bleeding (if fresh trauma),
    • inappetance/anorexia (depending on severity of trauma)
    • quidding. (B452.14.w14)
    • weight loss (inability to eat properly)
    • unkempt appearance (unable to groom)
    • accumulation of caecotrophs around the anus, and subsequent fly strike.

    (B452.14.w14, J15.19.w3, V.w44)

  • Visual examination of the buccal cavity and lips. 
  • With iatrogenic trauma, the cause of the trauma is known.

(B600.7.w7, B603.3.w3, V.w44)

Further Information
  • Haemostasis if required (e.g. if a tooth rasp has damaged a major blood vessel). (B603.3.w3)
    • Pressure with a swab held in artery forceps.
    • Direct application of haemostats.
    • Bipolar radiosurgery.
    • Proprietary haemostatic agents.
  • Suturing of a laceration if required.
    • For lacerations inside the mouth, good exposure and lighting, good positioning and magnification are required. (B603.3.w3)
  • Analgesia to control pain and reduce the risk of anorexia. (B603.3.w3)
  • Systemic antibiotics to avoid infection with severe lacerations. (B603.3.w3)
  • Supportive fluids as required. (B603.3.w3)
  • Supplementary feeding if the rabbit finds eating difficult. (B603.3.w3)
  • Removal of the spikes or spurs on the molars, if these are responsible. (B452.14.w14) 
Associated Techniques
Host taxa groups /species
Disease Author Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)
Referees Molly Varga BVetMed DZooMed MRCVS (V.w125)

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