Post # 1
Background: I have the sweetest little rabbit. His name is Fudge and he’s six and a half.
And he lives in the house with us. On Monday last week, I came home to find that he had pulled a blanket through the bars of his cage and it was stuck on the inside of his mouth. I couldn’t get it out – I had to wait until FI came home and I had to hold him while FI cut the thread out of his mouth.
He seemed to be completely fine afterwards, but I’m a worrier. I decided to take him to the vets just to make sure that he hadn’t hurt his mouth during it.
We just got back. The vet told us his teeth are badly overgrown. Not only do I feel like the worst pet owner in the world, but she told me the only way to fix it is by him having two operations. He’ll have to be completely anaethetised during them. I want to do what’s best by my pet and I don’t want to let him suffer.
There are two problems, though. The first and main one is that rabbits don’t always handle anaesthetic well. There’s normally a 2-3% chance that they’ll die on the table. This risk goes up with older rabbits, like mine. The second, and more minor problem, is that it’s going to be expensive. Very expensive. About £180 ($294) for the first surgery and anywhere up to £90 ($147) for the followup. We can afford it… just barely.
I’m willing to spend the money – I love this bunny so much! But I’m scared about the anaesthetic. I’m really, really torn on what to do. If we choose not to have the surgery he’ll slowly get worse. His teeth will cut into his mouth and he’ll stop being able to eat.
I don’t know what to do. I feel like the worst pet owner in the world, and I can’t think of any way that I can fix this. He even jumped up onto my shoulder while in the vets – he never does this, but when he was scared he came to me because he trusts me. I feel like a failure and I don’t know what to do.
I need help – support, advice, your own stories, or just a shoulder to cry on.
Post # 4
@ZebraPrintMe: Not a bunny own but a cat owner who has blown through $2,000 over the last 4 months trying to get our cat better due to a health issue. Money is tight with a baby coming in a week… I totally hear you on the bills vs. the love of your animal.
I’m a listen to your vet kinda girl, if the vet thinks that your bunbun has a good chance of making it through the surgeries healthy (with age being a factor) i would go for it.
With christmas coming up maybe the vet bills can be you & FI gift to one another, and me DH arent doing christmas this year with the expenses we’ve had and baby on the way. It might be a way to get that extra budget to get him fixed. Best of luck in whatever choice you make i know its tough. (hugs)
Post # 5
Sorry to hear about your bunny 🙁 he’s so cute. I agree with PP… I know how expensive vet bills can be and for many reasons you’re always weighing your options as a pet owner, but I wouldn’t worry about the anaesthetic. There are similar statistics when it comes to human surgeries, death is always a risk, especially in older patients, animal or not. They need to let you know the possible complications, but it doesn’t mean the risk is high. Like you said, if you don’t do the surgery, he’ll get worse. Vets are expert and they know that the benefit outweighs the risk. I wish you guys the best with whatever you decide!
Post # 6
@ZebraPrintMe: I own a dwarf rabbit of my own, and if he is 6.5 and the teeth haven’t been an issue thus far I assume he’ll be okay unless of course you’ve noticed the teeth getting larger. Get some good chewing toys. My bunny, punk the jerk, chews on his cage bars. If you’re still worried, I’d get a second opinion. But I’m not crazy about vets.
Post # 7
I have a bunny that I ADORE. He is seriously my favorite thing in the world. He has also had a lot of health issues so I’ve been to the vet far too many times to count. I would recommend getting the surgery. The anaesthetia is very scary– googling it caused me to freak out. But, the vet would not recommend surgery if it was not necessary. My little guy had to be put under this summer and I was a wreck all day. Then, I went to pick him up and he was completely fine. I was so happy I chose to have the surgery done and don’t regret it. Yes, it was expensive and yes I was worried about him, but the end result was much better than the alternative.
Post # 8
Sorry you’re having to make a tough decision. One of our bunnies is a rescue rabbit and has dental issues. Be aware that, depending on the specific nature of the problem, once you start with dental work it can be a continuous cycle. Over the years ours have had a number of ops for various reasons and thankfully have been fine with the anaesthetic. If the Practice is used to dealing with rabbits or other ‘exotic’ pets then you have the best chance.
Post # 9
Overgrown teeth can be a serious problem, if your vet says he need sugery I would believe them. I would get the surgery and afterwards make sure to provide some wooden and cardboard things for him to chew on. Lots of hay will help wear down his teeth too.
Post # 10
@ZebraPrintMe: Personally, I would go through with the surgery. His teeth getting worse, cutting into his mouth, and not allowing him to eat sounds like he’ll suffer…a lot. That also sounds like it would lead to a long, painful death because he would eventually starve to death.
I understand your concerns about bun being put under, but I would address the problem before it gets more costly or past the point of medical help.
Post # 11
Should have added – the other posters are right, this isn’t going to get better by itself so if you leave it you have a potentially even tougher decision on your hands. Wish there was a free healthcare system for small furries! Really hoping things work out for you and that little Fudge can go back to a carefree life of binkying bliss!
Post # 12
I have had rabbits and guinea pigs in the past, with many vet visits. As couple of other people have mentioned, I would say the decision should be based on how much you trust your vet. Does he deal with rabbits a lot? Does he do rabbit surgery a lot? I had an amazing pet guinea pig with a tumor that I took to 3 different vets before I found one that I felt comfortable with doing the surgery. And my piggy lived a long happy life after that!
Also, as a side note I worked in a vet clinic for a while (dogs and cats only though) and they had a bit of a tendency to “overtreat”. They wanted to make sure they did everything they could, but I did feel sometimes that an animal would come in with a stomach ache and leave with 20 tests and a prescription and a follow up appointment. Of course I think that comes from loving animals too much! But after that experience I tend to do A LOT of research before I commit to any treatments.
Post # 13
My sweet bun had overgrown teeth as well. I didn’t realize it until it started causing him eye problems. If you are worried about the money then get a second opinion, but speaking from personal experience I can say that having the surgery did greatly improve things for my little hopper. Going forward make sure you give him TONS of timothy hay for chewing to ensure tht his teeth do not overgrow again.
Post # 14
If you trust your vet, I’d do the surgery. It sounds like he could suffer a lot if you continue to let his teeth get overgrown. Otherwise, I’d get a second opinion, and if another vet tells you the same thing, you’ll have your answer.
Post # 15
Update: We called the vet and told them that we would struggle to pay for it, and that we were worried about putting him under. They’ve told us that for just £18 they can burr his teeth down. It won’t control his root growth but it will free up his mouth so he doesn’t struggle to eat. That way he won’t starve, he’ll be able to eat better than before, and we don’t bankrupt ourselves.
Of course it’s not a permanent solution, but we asked the vet and they’ve said that this will control the issue, and they can provide painkillers if it starts to hurt him. But with his age, we don’t feel it’s worth it to risk putting him under and possibly losing him when he could have a couple more years of happiness and we can control the problem.
I know it’s not a decision most will agree with, but we just dont want to risk it. I’d rather have a while longer with my happy bunny than risk losing him.
Post # 16
@ZebraPrintMe: I think you’ve made a good choice. I’ve never owned rabbits but I know they’re not the easiest pets to take care for. 🙂 In the meantime maybe you want to check around and see if you can find a veterinarian that specializes in rabbits for the future. 🙂