Advances in diagnosis and treatment of small exotic mammal dental disease

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29 Scopus citations


The nature of the dental diseases that occur in pet rabbits, rodents, and small carnivores like ferrets, are directly related to the different types of dentition present in these species. A good understanding of the morphology and physiology of the various types of teeth is essential to understand the disease processes. Incisor malocclusion is most common in rabbits. If this condition occurs as an isolated entity at an early age, it is probably of genetic origin. Incisor malocclusion in older animals is usually secondary to, or occurring concomitantly with, premolar-molar malocclusion. Patients with incisor malocclusion should therefore always receive a comprehensive oral examination. Incisor-premolar-molar malocclusion with periodontal and endodontic disease is a syndrome that may include incisor malocclusion, distortion of the premolar-molar occlusal plane, sharp points, periodontal disease, periapical changes, apical elongation, oral soft-tissue lesions, and maxillofacial abscess formation. It is unclear whether this syndrome is of genetic, dietary, or metabolic origin. The therapeutic options for incisor-premolar-molar malocclusion with periodontal and endodontic disease may include occlusal adjustment of involved teeth, extraction of teeth severely affected by endodontic and/or periodontal disease, and abscess débridement. A specific syndrome occurring in pet prairie dogs is odontoma-like mass formation originating from the root of 1 or both maxillary incisors. Affected animals are middle-aged and are typically presented for upper airway obstruction. The dental pathology of pet ferrets is similar to the domestic dog and mainly includes periodontal disease due to plaque and calculus accumulation, and endodontic disease secondary to complicated crown fractures. Little is known about the oral pathology of African hedgehogs held in captivity, although they would appear to be very susceptible to oral squamous cell carcinoma formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-48
Number of pages12
JournalSeminars in Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003


  • Oral surgical procedures-veterinary
  • Rabbits
  • Rodentia
  • Tooth abnormalities-veterinary
  • Tooth diseases-veterinary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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