Rabbit and Large Herbivorous Rodent Dental Disease

severe incisor malocclusion Keller labeled


Dental malocclusion is a common diagnosis in rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas and management requires a strong understanding of the normal anatomy and physiology of elodont dentition. Both congenital and acquired dental disease occur when there is a mismatch of dental growth and attrition, particularly when this is paired with malocclusion. The diagnosis of dental disease should be pursued when there are a supporting history, presenting complaint or general physical examination findings. A focused five-part oral examination that screens for apical and intraoral overgrowth can facilitate the identification of individuals suffering from dental disease, even if direct premolar and molar observation is not performed. Skull radiographs allow evaluation of apical tooth overgrowth and comorbidities including sinus and middle ear disease however when available, computed tomography can add a remarkable amount of information to the clinical case management in comparison to radiographs. Definitive or palliative therapy for dental diseases is rarely an emergency, and animals should be stabilized prior to any procedures with fluid replacement, analgesia, and nutritional support. Based upon the specific diagnosis, an occlusal adjustment, extractions, apicoectomies or therapy for abscess may be performed. Specialized equipment for the specific elodont dentition are available and should be utilized in these cases.


chin skull rad Keller               dental arcade Keller
  • Anatomy
    • Tooth type: elodont hypsodont
    • Dental formulas
    • Occlusion and occlusion angles
    • Dynamic temporomandibular joint
  • Pathogenesis of dental disease
    • Factors affecting dental attrition and growth
    • Congenital vs acquired malocclusions
  • Treatment
    • Stabilization
    • Coronal height reduction
    • Extractions
    • Options for odontogenic abscesses

Dental charts

Download the chinchilla, guinea pig, and rabbit dental records, generously shared by Dr. Keller.

Chinchilla Guinea pig Rabbit
chin dental chart screenshot


Also download the Rabbit, Guinea Pig, Chinchilla Husbandry Questionnaire shared by Dr. Keller. Additional small mammal history forms are available for download in Forms & Questionnaires.

UI husbandry question


Webinar recording


With a passing grade of 70% or higher, you will receive a continuing education certificate for 2 hours of continuing education credit in jurisdictions that recognize AAVSB R.A.C.E. approval.

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About the presenter

Krista Keller is an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Keller is also an avian and exotics telemedicine specialist for Abaxis, Incorporated. Krista earned a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2010.  She then completed an internship in companion animal medicine and surgery at Louisiana State University and a residency in zoological companion animal medicine at the University of California at Davis.. [Learn more].

RACE approval

This program 20-840748 is approved by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE) approval to offer a total of 2.00 CE credits to any one veterinarian: and/or 2.00 veterinary technician CE credit. This RACE approval is for the Medical Category using the delivery method of Non-Interactive-Distance. This approval is valid in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB RACE; however, participants are responsible for ascertaining each board’s CE requirements. RACE does not “accredit” or “endorse” or “certify” any program or person, nor does RACE approval validate the content of the progra

To cite this page:

Keller K. Rabbit and large herbivorous rodent dental disease. LafeberVet web site. March 22, 2021. Available at https://lafeber.com/vet/rabbit-and-large-herbivorous-rodent-dental-disease/