At The Bird & Exotic Hospital, we provide veterinary dental care for patients that have teeth. Depending on the species, different levels and types of dental treatments may be required.
Your pet may show symptoms of dental problems, such as difficulty eating, weight loss, drooling, eyes tearing up, swelling, discharge, or foul mouth odor. Or, there may be minimal or no symptoms at all, especially at the beginning. Untreated, dental problems tend to be progressive and are best detected early on.
What Does an Exotic Pet Dental Exam Consist Of?
Dental care for exotic pets generally starts at the general examination. We evaluate the oral cavity as thoroughly as possible. Oral health is a big part of overall health and therefore this is an important step.
Small herbivores require preventive dental care because their teeth continually grow. When we perform oral examinations on small herbivores (including guinea pigs, rabbits, and chinchillas), we pay particular attention to the back teeth, or “cheek teeth”) to ensure that they are wearing properly. Teeth that are not wearing properly can develop significant problems in the future. It is difficult for owners to monitor these teeth like they can the front teeth, or incisors.
All other animals with teeth can get problems with them, including ferrets, skunks, sugar gliders, hedgehogs, and lizards, like bearded dragons.
What Does a Dental Procedure Include for Exotic Pets?
After the examination, we will put forth a plan that might include the following steps:
- Sedated oral examination to evaluate dental surfaces with greater detail than possible while your pet is awake. We generally use a special medical camera that can magnify the details tremendously.
- High-detail digital dental radiology to show us more information about what is going on under the gum line.
- Cleaning of calculus (“tartar”) which can contribute to periodontal disease.
- Clinical crown leveling and adjustment or trimming to regain normal shape (incisors and back teeth) in rabbits and herbivore rodents.
- Surgery to address abscesses.
- Extractions if the tooth is damaged sufficiently that it is painful or infected.