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Dental Disorders in Prairie Dogs

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Malocclusion, Improper Alignment of Teeth, or Odontoma in Prairie Dogs

 

Your prairie dog's teeth grow continuously. It's only by constant gnawing that it is able to file them down to a reasonable size. However, uneven positioning of the upper and lower teeth when the jaw is closed, known as malocclusion, sometimes occurs. This may cause an overgrowth of the incisors or cheek teeth. As maloccluded teeth continue to grow, nearby tissues may be damaged.

 

This, however, is just one of the many dental disorders that affect prairie dogs. Broken or fractured teeth may also occur. Odontoma, in which the root of the incisor enlarges to the point that the nasal passage becomes blocked, is another dental ailment. This can cause breathing difficulties, among other issues.

 

Symptoms

 

  • Improper alignment of the teeth
  • Overgrown/broken incisors
  • Difficulty eating
  • Drooling
  • Weight loss
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Dental abscesses

 

Causes

 

Malocclusion may occur due to heredity, lack of vitamin C, injury, or imbalances of certain minerals in the diet. Meanwhile, broken teeth often occurs when a prairie dog chews on the wire mesh or bars of a cage. The cause for odontoma is uncertain, but it may be related to vitamin or mineral imbal­ances, lack of sunlight, or inadequate wear or pressure on the incisor teeth.

 

Diagnosis

 

Your veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical examination and will check your prairie dog’s mouth for any kind of abnormalities. In case of fracture and/or odontoma, an X-ray will be taken to confirm the diagnosis.

 

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