Clinical techniques in small mammals (Proceedings)


Without a doubt, exotic mammals are becoming increasingly popular as pets and owners recognize that these animals are often very good pets, and ask their vet for good advice and treatment.

Without a doubt, exotic mammals are becoming increasingly popular as pets and owners recognize that these animals are often very good pets, and ask their vet for good advice and treatment.

Often these owners have a dog or a cat in addition to the exotic pet and they would you also like to take care of the exotic pet by thier 'normal' vet. The following presentation deals with the basic exam and treatment techniques for the chinchilla, the ferret, the guinea pig, the rabbit, the rat and the gerbil.

The general examination will be a little different than with dogs and cats. It is extremely important to observe the behavior of the animal BEFORE the handling. So, before the animal is examined, it is best to chat with the owner about the case. A conversation about feeding and normal behavior is very informative and can often help to detect a specific problem. My advice is to open the transport container and to let the animal sniff out the examination room. This new environment is often an incentive for exploratory behavior by the pet. If the animal is sitting quietly in the crate and is not interested in exploring the environment, this is often a sign of bigger problems, or even a painful condition.


The chinchilla should never be drawn on the skin, since it can simply discard the skin. If one should make a systematic investigation on the head by sticking to the eyes, or eight for signs of conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis is often the case when the sand bath is offered for too long and too long, the animal rolls in the sand. I recommend the sand bath min only about 15th make a day available. The nose should be free and should be shown no signs of nasal discharge on the fur. The normal color of the upper incisor teeth are yellowish. The ears should be inspected after crusts. Yellowish are the ears that is often a sign of a vitamin E deficiency. If the teeth are not yellow, it is often a sign of a vitamin A deficiency. The skin should be nice and gentle. Ectoparasites are rare because the fur is too dense. The coat can often inferior quality have a rough falles Bathing is used or if the animal's own fur biting (behavior disorder). Dermatophyte infection is also possible. In the male, the penis should always be investigated, as is often able to twist a few hairs around the penis and thus form a hair ring, which may be painful. The generale palpation should be careful not to crush internal organs too. Scale propagation or flatulence are easy to find.

The oral administration of drugs carried by the side of the mouth, much like a horse. In Zahnuntersuchen the color and the length of the incisors should be noted. The lower incisors should be slightly longer than the upper. For the investigation of the back teeth, a nasal speculum should be used. Often this can investigate pathological changes are overlooked. If the suspected dental problems, this study should always be performed under general anesthesia. Blood from the tail vein can be, the sphenous or the vena cava be removed.


Generale the investigation of the ferret is like the dog or cat.

Many ferrets suffering from ear mites, and they often produce a large quantity from brown ear wax. Is observed that the animal with ivermectin or selamectin should be addressed. The lymph nodes should be closely plapiert because the lymphoma is a very common disease. At the very fat ferrets, it is often difficult to find the lymph nodes because they are low in fat. In the abdominal palpation, a large spleen can often be felt, this is often the case with the old ferrets and is not always pathological. Blood can be taken from the jugular vein, this vein is more lateral than in dogs and cats. The skin of the neck is very thick and often rolls off the vein below the prints of the needle to the side. Therefore, I prefer the blood of the vena cava to remove.

In this case, the ferret is on the back, or is so held by a support. The first rib, we palpated and a 25 Ga needle, we introduced in the 30 degree angle toward the other Hüftseite. As blood comes directly. I have no known complications, which are produced by this technique. The technique I use for even the smallest patients (mice, hamsters, etc), it's no problem. In order to give oral medications can be applied to the neck grip and give liquid medication via syringe into the mouth.


The gerbil should also be observed for a good time in the cage. It is important to see that the animal is ambulatory and uses all 4 legs. Then it should be carefully fixed by the neck grip for Inspection. The gerbil should never arrived at the tail, because it can easily throw off the top. If anything, it should be handled only by the tail.

All organs should be investigated. It is important to examine the abdominal gland, since these can often be inflamed.

The administration of medication can be given by injection into the neck grip. If possible, should be given no more than ml 1st


Investigation, we always. Head is extremely important in the investigation! (Teeth, ears, eyes, etc.). The skin should also be investigated thoroughly to remove traces of external parasites or crusts see. The Paplatiation of the abdomen is important and it should be done carefully in order to cause any problems. If the rabbit is a bit painful (colic), the abdominal muscles are often tense, and the animal is opposed to the investigation. This should be a big warning sign. Often be followed by an X-ray or ultrasound examination. Also in the investigation of the sex should be determined, since owners often do not know whether they have a female or male, or have received incorrect advice on the purchase. In the case of fixation of the animal has paid a great attention to the spine. A rabbit which is not well fixed can easily break the spine if it is not protected. To remove blood, you can easily use the ear vein in larger rabbits. It is important that one uses the lateral ear vein and not the central Ohrarterie. An injury of the artery can lead to loss of the pinna. Another possibility is the blood from the lateral saphenous vein. A needle can be easily inserted into the vein and the blood can be collected with a "Microtainer '. Injektionon can easily be placed in the muscle of the hind quatrizeps. Another good place is the longissimus dorsi muscle in parallel to the spine. A cursory dental examination can be performed using a nasal speculum. However, it is easy to overlook many of the problems of the back teeth with this investigation. I always advise to carry out this investigation under general anesthesia when suspected naheliegt on dental problems.

Guinea Pig

The general examination should be performed with the system and the precise examination of the head is very important. Many animals are presented with dental problems or have chronic problems which have arisen due to incorrect posture. It is important to make a good history and criticism because of the information of the owner's attitude. Often, major problems (dental problems, bladder stones, pneumonia) can be avoided if the attitude of the animal will be corrected before it becomes a clinical problem.

The coat should always be to ectoparasites (often) be investigated. Often lice with the naked eye are visible. Many animals are thick and show signs of pododermatitis. This problem can be life threatening. Good advice on nutrition should be part of the consultation to the animal in the right weight class get. The fixation of the animals is easy because they are not aggressive. You can just put a hand around the shoulder girdle and the other on the pelvic girdle, and thus examine the animal, or administer medications. For studying the teeth, general anesthesia is required. With the help of an endoscope, the Zahnuntersuchen fun, and it is easy to carry and easy. The blood is carried out as described in ferrets over the vena cava. As the rabbit is the injection of drugs through the quatrizeps Mus. . done


Rats are very popular pets and in most cases, these animals are very tame and do not bite. In the general examination should specifically the milk bar, which stretches from neck to tail, are investigated. Many rats have a genetic predisposition to tumor formation is present. It is advisable to recommend that all females should be sterilized before a tumor is formed. If the tumor is present, it is advisable to not only remove the tumor, but at the same time sterilizing the animal. Since most tumors are estrogen sensitive, they usually grow back when the animals are not sterilized at the tumor removal as well. It is also extremely important to recognize how a healthy rat looks like and give the owner a description of how a sick or painful Rat looks to avoid chronic problem. The blood can be done via the tail vein, but this is a very small vein and the syringe needs to be heparinised so the slow-flowing blood from clotting. I recommend the method of the vena cava.


With some basic knowledge about the attitude and the most common problems of small mammals, the veterinarian can have a major influence on the attitude to disease prevention and healing of the sick patients. If you can help these young patients as a veterinarian, the confidence of clients grows when their dogs and cottages are on the table.

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