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Small Mammals + Pet Services

  • This handout summarizes the many options available to help celebrate your pet’s life and ways to help deal with your grief following the loss of your beloved pet.

  • The two common guinea pig fur mites are Trixacarus caviae (sarcoptic mange mite) and Chirodiscoides caviae. Chirodiscoides caviae mites may cause mild to no clinical signs at all. Trixacarus caviae mites can cause extreme clinical signs because they cause extreme itchiness. Affected skin will get thick, yellowish, and crusty, with hair loss and secondary bacterial skin infection. These mites cause such itchiness that your guinea pig may even go into seizures and die. Your veterinarian will treat the affected animal with topical or injectable anti-parasitic medications, and since mites live in the environment, the environment must be treated, as well. Trixacarus caviae mites are contagious to people.

  • Hedgehogs living in the wild are often infested with ticks, fleas and mites, which are small insect parasites causing itchy, irritating skin issues. The same goes for pet hedgehogs.

  • Neuter is also referred to as orchidectomy or castration. It is a surgical procedure in which the testicles are removed in order to sterilize or render infertile, a male animal.

  • Neutering is also referred to as orchidectomy or castration. It is a surgical procedure in which the testicles are removed in order to sterilize or render a male animal infertile.

  • Many owners of rodents, sugar gliders, and hedgehogs are surprised to learn that all pets need an initial examination by a veterinarian and at least an annual check-up. Many veterinarians who treat exotic small animals recommend check-ups at least twice a year to allow for early detection and treatment of potentially life-threatening diseases. During this visit, your veterinarian will perform a physical examination and various diagnostic tests, such as blood work, fecal analysis, microbial testing, and X-rays, to determine your pet's state of health and to see if your pet might be harboring any diseases that require treatment.

  • The ferret has been domesticated for over 2000 years. It was originally used for pest control and hunting in Europe (the polecat). They are members of the weasel family (Mustelidae), which includes skunks, otters, mink, weasels and badgers.

  • Gerbils generally make good family pets but should never be left unsupervised with small children. If well-socialized from a young age and treated gently, they can be wonderful pets. They tend to scurry and scamper about, making them challenging to hold. Therefore, children should be older than 10 years of age before getting a pet gerbil, as children younger than this will have difficulty restraining them. The incisors (front teeth) of all rodents grow continuously throughout the animal's life. When they are excited or frightened, gerbils will thump their back feet – a behavior called foot-drumming. Gerbils do not require vaccines, but they do require annual examinations.

  • If well socialized from a young age and treated gently, hamsters are generally slow moving, reasonably easy to handle, and affectionate. Hamsters generally make good family pets but should never be left unsupervised with small children. Hamsters may bite if restrained forcefully or frightened while being held. Hamsters live, on average, 18 to 24 months (some may reach 36 months). They have large cheek pouches which they can fill with bedding material or large amounts of food that they then carry off to deposit in a corner to use or consume later. The incisors (front teeth) of all rodents grow continuously throughout the pet's life. Hamsters have a hip or flank gland on their sides, and female hamsters produce a profuse vaginal discharge around the time of ovulation. Hamsters require annual physical examinations and fecal tests for parasites.

  • Rats are extremely intelligent, inquisitive, interactive, and social. If well socialized from a young age and treated gently, they are easy to handle, affectionate, and rarely bite unless provoked. Rats generally make good family pets but should never be left unsupervised with small children. Rats live about 2 to 3 years. The incisors (front teeth) of all rodents grow continuously throughout the pet's life. Rats should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year and twice a year as they get older.