Long-term outcome of treatment of dental abscesses with a wound-packing technique in pet rabbits: 13 cases (1998-2007)

J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2010 Dec 15;237(12):1444-9. doi: 10.2460/javma.237.12.1444.


Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness and treatment outcome of a minimal surgical debridement and antimicrobial-impregnated gauze packing technique for treatment of dental abscesses in rabbits.

Design: Retrospective case series.

Animals: 13 rabbits with 14 dental abscesses.

Procedures: Medical records of pet rabbits with dental abscesses were reviewed. Rabbits that underwent a wound-packing treatment protocol with a follow-up period of > 6 months were included. Pretreatment evaluation included physical examination, skull radiography, CBC and plasma biochemical profile, and an endoscopically guided dental examination. The surgical procedure consisted of lancing the abscess, cleaning the cavity, minimal debridement, and packing with strips of synthetic gauze impregnated with a selected antimicrobial. Purulent material from abscesses was submitted for bacterial culture. The procedure was repeated weekly until abscess resolution. Rabbits also received systemic treatment with antimicrobials.

Results: Rabbit ages ranged from 1 to 5 years. Anaerobic bacteria were cultured from 6 abscesses and aerobic bacteria from 5; no bacteria were cultured from 4 abscesses. Antimicrobials most commonly used in packing procedures were ampicillin and clindamycin; trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole with metronidazole and azithromycin were given most often for systemic treatment. Thirteen of 14 abscesses resolved, and rabbits were followed for a mean ± SD period of 32.6 ± 24.3 months. Number of packing procedures used to obtain resolution of infection was 4.8 ± 2.2.

Conclusions and clinical relevance: Minimal surgical debridement followed by antimicrobial-impregnated gauze packing of the abscess cavity is an effective and practical option for the long-term resolution of dental abscesses in rabbits when combined with systemic treatment with appropriate antimicrobials.

MeSH terms

  • Abscess / therapy
  • Abscess / veterinary*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Debridement / veterinary
  • Female
  • Male
  • Periodontitis / therapy
  • Periodontitis / veterinary*
  • Rabbits*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents