Educational Articles

Small Mammals

  • Many owners of small mammals are surprised to learn that all pets need at least an annual checkup. Exotic pet veterinarians typically recommend check-ups at least once a year for young, healthy pets and twice a year for geriatric animals. During a check-up your veterinarian may recommend diagnostic testing, including blood testing, fecal analysis, microbiological testing, and radiography. While most of diagnostic tests can be performed on awake animals, depending on the species and temperament of the pet, some exotic pet veterinarians recommend performing these tests under short-acting gas anesthesia.

  • Azithromycin is given by mouth or injection and is used on and off-label to treat a variety of infections. Give as directed. Common side effects include stomach upset. Do not use in pets that are sensitive to macrolide antibiotics. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Having your pet properly prepared before blood collection helps to ensure that test results are as accurate and reliable as they can be. Sometimes abnormal test results say more about how the pet was prepared than about true illness.

  • Buprenorphine is used on and off label and is given by mouth into the cheek or injection to treat pain or as a preanesthetic. The most common side effect is sleepiness. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it or other opioids, or in pets being treated with amitraz. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease of humans that was first discovered in late 2019. The illness is caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, which is a new coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans. Certain animals can be infected by the COVID-19 virus, but it appears to be an infrequent occurrence. If you contract COVID-19, you will need to remain quarantined on your property which may make caring for dogs a bit more challenging. If you suspect that you may have COVID-19 (with or without a positive test result), you should minimize contact with your pets. Just as you would quarantine yourself from the other human members of your home while sick, you should also quarantine yourself from your pets. If you are hospitalized and your pets must be cared for by a boarding kennel or pet sitter, inform the kennel or pet sitter that you are ill, allowing them to take the necessary precautions.

  • Carprofen is used on and off label and is given by mouth in the form of a tablet to treat pain and inflammation. The most common side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased appetite. Do not use this medication in pets with bleeding disorders, in pets that are allergic to it or other NSAIDs in the same class, or in pets concurrently using corticosteroids or other NSAIDs. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Cheyletiellosis in rabbits is a condition caused by the common rabbit mite, Cheyletiella parasitovorax. This mite’s effects are sometimes called "walking dandruff" because they are large, whitish mites that crawl across the skin and hair of a rabbit and cause excessive flaky skin. Other clinical signs of cheyletiellosis include itching, scratching, and hair/fur loss. This species of mites can live in the environment for a short time and affect people and other animals, so it is important to follow your veterinarian's recommendations for treating the environment and all pets in the household.

  • This handout provides basic guidelines for feeding a pet chinchilla a healthy and balanced diet tailored to the specific needs of chinchillas.

  • Chinchillas can make fun, enjoyable pets. They can live 15-20 years, so the family must plan for a long-term commitment. They require a cage with a wheel to run in to help them maintain their health and strength. Yearly veterinary examinations are highly advised as they are very good at hiding symptoms of illness.

  • Chinchillas are generally hardy animals but can have several unique problems; understanding them will help you care for your pet and manage potential health problems.