Clinical and Surgical Approach to Common Diseases in Pet Rodents

Citation: Capello V. Clinical and surgical approach to common diseases of pet rodents. In: Proceedings of the North American Veterinary Conference; 2006 Jan 7-11: Orlando, FL: Eastern States Veterinary Association; 2006. p. 1693-6.

Location: NAVC charges $4.95 for an official copy here, but a free online copy is available here.

Favorite line: “As small rodents generally interact less with their owners, the veterinarian must be aware that owner observations are typically incomplete or even inaccurate.”

Official abstract: Rodents are grouped into three suborders based on anatomical and functional differences of their jaw muscles – namely mouse-like, squirrel-like and porcupine-like rodents.  This paper focuses on the most important and or peculiar disease for the selected species of pet rodents.  Dental disease in both incisor and cheek teeth is very common in all species.  This topic, as well as common diseases of pet guinea pigs, are discussed in detail in these proceedings.

Rattery-relevant summary:

Techniques for collecting blood in lab rats are not often considered for pet rats.  The author hypothesizes that this is because they are simply not feasible or humane.  Respiratory diseases such as M. pulmonis and S. pneumoniae often require prolonged and sometimes un-rewarding treatment.  Antibiotics must be chosen with extreme care so not to lead to fatal enterotoxemia.  The most common skin issue is fibroadenoma, aka mammary tumors. Treatment includes mass removal and spaying females.  Red tears is caused by stress and other conditions and should not be considered a primary issue.  Ringtail is due to low humidity predisposing an animal to aseptic necrosis and is best treated by amputation.  Care specific to chinchillas, hamsters, gerbils and prairie dogs is briefly discussed as well.

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