Hamster teeth

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by EweSheep, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

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    Never done this but does anyone knows how to trim or cut hamsters' teeth? We have one tamed, one semi tamed and one wild (probably a robo hammie).

    We do give them wood blocks or sticks to trim their own teeth but they hardly chew on them. They rather chew on the plastic from the tunnel chutes.
     
  2. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, I have to for mice at work. Usually, if the teeth are not wearing down (rodents will grind their teeth, so even without a lot to chew, they usually wear them down on their own), I would check for malocclusion. Any misalignment of the teeth will cause them to not wear down. This can be passed down genetically, but doesn't have to be. I can't find a photo of healthy hamster teeth, but the insicors should meet exactly. The second post on this board show normal *squirrel* teeth allignment:
    http://www.thesquirrelboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19827
    Normal (and abnormal) rat teeth alignment:
    http://www.ratfanclub.org/teeth.html

    You can either us small scissors such as:
    http://image.made-in-china.com/2f0j...dical-Scissors-with-TUV-CE-and-ISO-13485-.jpg
    or fingernail clippers to trim teeth. I prefer fingernail clippers myself. You can stick a toothpick or other small, thin item horizontally in the hamster's mouth (like a dog biting down on a bone, or a person being given somthing to bite down on). This can be used to hold down the tongue. It is very possible to cut off, not only the togue, but also fingers and paws as rodents not tightly restrained will push their paws up near their mouth and can get caught in the scissors or clippers. You want to "scruff" the hamster, and have them in a firm enough grip that the legs move out sideways and can't be brought in near the face. This offers a walk through on scruffing:
    http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to-handle-and-restrain-mouse-for-injections-274015/view/
    http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to-handle-and-restrain-hamster-for-injections-274014/view/
    Notice how the arms spread to the sides and the mouth naturally opens.
    It takes a while to get it right. Just calmly keep practicing it before trying to trim the teeth.

    Then just snip off the teeth so they are at a reasonable length. This usually must be done oncce every two weeks, sometimes sooner in the case of serious malocclusions.

    EDIT: With teeth this small, sometimes a whole front tooth will be lost/fall out when clipping and will not grow back. This is usually fine.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012
  3. leadwolf1

    leadwolf1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am just wondering, why do you feel that this is necessary? If they are chewing, even on plastic, and without a mallocclusion, they will naturally wear down their teeth.
     
  4. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good point Lead. I assumed from the post that they are overgrown (ie. not matching properly...a lot of people are surprised at how long the lower incisors look, but that is normal), but if not, definitely don't trim!
     
  5. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    Plastic can wear the teeth down just fine. I had a hamster who only chewed on rigid plastic, never touched a wooden hut, block, etc. in her life. Even with holes drilled in the wood to allow a good start point/gripping point for the teeth. She always had teeth of a healthy length. When she chewed a whole rigid plastic tube to dust, we'd replace it with a fresh one.
     
  6. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

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    I took a look at our male, who is the tamest one, he was born before Christmas of last year and he is only 2 months old. I thought it was long until I look at the rat website that PUnkadoodle showed me, obviously he does not need any trimmings. It appears to me that his bottom teeth was longer than his upper teeth. Nothing is curving or forked or rubbing.

    I'd rather ask than not do anything, causing the hamster needless suffering.
     
  7. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh good, not trimming is a whoooole lot easier than trimming! They make me so nervous with their freakishly tiny and snippable toes! XD
     
  8. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    99.9% of the time hamster and other small rodent incisors do not require trimming. I work for a vet that does exotics and does occasionally have to trim rodent or rabbit incisors, and I can almost count on one hand the number of animals we've had to trim in the past 9 years (with another small handful of rabbits whose incisors were so badly misaligned that we recommended extracting the incisors all together). Truth be told, they don't even really need the wooden chew blocks that pet stores would have you believe are vital to their oral health (although if they do enjoy chewing on them they are a good enrichment toy). The 0.01% of the time that they do require trimming is usually because of trauma of some sort, although sometimes it can be genetic. Honestly, because you can screw their teeth up even more by trimming them I would leave that to a professional (ie vet) in the rare case that it is necessary.
     

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