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Practice Name

Lake Howell Animal Clinic

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Primary Location
856 Lake Howell Road
Maitland, FL 32751
Phone: (407) 628-8000
Fax: (407) 628-8412

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Rabbits and rodents can suffer from a wide range of dental problem. With teeth that continually grow throughout their lives, the vast majority of dental problems that they suffer from are usually related to this growth. While dental problems in these animals can sometimes be obvious —  such as in overgrown front teeth in a rabbit —  in most cases non-specific signs such as weight loss, drooling, picking up food and then dropping it,or not eating at all are strong indicators of dental problems.

The natural diet of rabbits and rodents

The domestic European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), the chinchilla (Chinchilla spp.) and guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) are all true herbivores. An herbivore is an animal that gets its energy only from eating plants. The natural diet of the rabbit consists primarily of grasses, supplemented with other leafy vegetation. Chinchillas originate from mountainous areas in South America where vegetation tends to be particularly tough, fibrous and abrasive. Guinea pigs and degus also come from South America, but their natural grazing habitats are forest clearings and dry grassland.

Grasses and fibrous plants contain large numbers of phytoliths (plant stone) which are highly abrasive silicate deposits which helps these animals to keep their teeth worn down. These fibrous diets require prolonged chewing, which also helps to promote tooth wear.

Development of dental disease

An incorrect diet — one that doesn’t match what they have in nature and doesn’t provide the correct food for the teeth to be worn down — is the most common cause of  dental problems in these pets. A pellet diet alone may be convenient, but it doesn’t provide everything that these pets need (with the exception of mice and rats). A diet of limited pellets, unlimited grass hay or fresh untreated grass, and fresh, dark leafy-green vegetables daily provides the best opportunity for pet parents to mimic a natural diet.

In addition, genetics, metabolic deficiencies and prolonged or extreme nutritional imbalances may also cause problems with tooth growth and eruption. In guinea pigs, both vitamin C deficiency and excessive selenium intake interfere with collagen metabolism which can cause issues. Vitamin A deficiency in these same animals has also been shown to cause problems.

The office visit

Your vet will ask for a complete history on your pet which will include information on diet and behaviors. An examination will then be performed to look for clues that may suggest oral or dental disease. The vet will be looking for signs of drooling, tear overflow, oral-facial swellings, visibly abnormal incisor (front) teeth, jaw chattering or tooth grinding. He or she will feel the jaw to look for swellings, muscle wasting, reduced jaw mobility, or oral discomfort based on the animal's reaction to handling. X-rays may also be needed to see the full extent of any problems.

Preventing problems in the future

While many dental problems cannot be cured, most can be controlled or managed. In extreme cases, surgery may be required. However, oftentimes a change in diet and/or periodic visits to the vet for removal of molar spurs or trimming or filing of the front (incisor) teeth will help to assure your pet remains in good dental health.

Orlando Diaz-Figueroa, DVM, MS, Dipl. ABVP (Avian Specialty)


Veterinary Services

Welcome to Lake Howell Animal Clinic

"Your pet’s health and well-being is our number one concern."

Your Dog, Cat, and Exotics Veterinarian in Maitland, FL
Call us at (407) 628-8000

Veterinary Services:
  • Medical Care

  • Dental Care

  • Orthopedics

  • Surgery

  • Spay/Neuter

  • Critical Care

  • Vaccinations

  • Boarding

  • Diet & Nutrition

  • Referrals

  • Education

Services We strive to provide complete care for our patients. Learn more about all the services we provide. Make An Appointment We will do our best to accommodate your busy schedule. Schedule an appointment today! Online Forms Our patient forms are available online so they can be completed in the convenience of your own home or office.


We like the knowledge of both Dr.Diaz and Dr.Perez so much- we moved from another clinic we had been with for ten years. I highly recommend them both.

- Robin L. / Maitland, FL

I can say with much certainty that not many will do what you (Dr.Diaz) did for me. Not many are out there who have so much benevolence in their heart to help out others, particularly in the medical profession. My heart is filled with thankfulness towards you. I would also like to thank your staff which is equally as loving and caring. They showed tremedous sensitivity towards me and dealt with me in kindness.

- Vijai T. / Maitland, FL

Dr Perez has been the vet for my 3 dogs for over 5 years and I can't say enough good things about her care and the well being she has for my pups. Nancy is also very knowledgeable and wonderful. She takes the time needed to answer all my questions and gives me the best course of action when they're ill.

- Janis L. / Orlando, FL

Office Hours



Our clinic will have the following hours of operation for the week of the Thanksgiving holiday:

Monday, November 20................8am-5pm
  *Boarders drop off/pick up between 8am-4pm*
Tuesday, November 21................8am-5pm
  *Boarders drop off/pick up between 8am-4pm*
Wednesday, November 22..........7am-1pm
  *Boarders drop off/pick up no later than 11:00am**
Thursday, November 23..............CLOSED
Friday, November 24...................CLOSED

Saturday, November 25..............8am-1pm
  *Boarders drop off/pick up no later than 11:00am**


  • (407) 628-8000
  • 856 Lake Howell Road Maitland, FL 32751
  • Get Directions

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