Small Mammals + Pet Services + English

  • Pet rodents, sometimes also referred to as pocket pets are very popular pets. Hamsters, rats, mice, gerbils, and guinea pigs are the most common rodents kept as pets. They make good first pets for young children and as a rule require minimal care.

  • Guinea pigs live, on average, 5-6 years; although some can live to 8-10 years of age. Their teeth grow continuously, throughout life, and it is critical that they eat grass hay, such as Timothy hay, every day to help them wear down their teeth as they grow. Young guinea pigs display a unique behavior called popcorning when they are happy, in which they jump straight up in the air and let out squeals of delight. Guinea pigs reach sexual maturity at around 3-4 months of age; therefore, if young males and females are housed together, they should be separated by this age, otherwise they are likely to breed. The average gestation period for guinea pigs is 63 days. If gestation continues over 70 days, the guinea pig should be seen immediately by a veterinarian, and it is likely that the entire litter will be stillborn.

  • Penetrating wounds can look minor on the surface but may cause severe injury below the skin. A thorough assessment requires sedation or anesthesia and surgery may be required to address the extent of the injury. This handout outlines first aid steps a pet owner can take while transporting their injured pet to the veterinary hospital.

  • It is not difficult to find your pet the extra care they may need if you have a busy schedule or are traveling. With the excellent pet sitter options available today, having a pet at home does not mean you cannot take a vacation every once in a while. Be sure to interview any potential sitters and use trusted friends, your vet, or online resources when looking for sitters. Hiring a pet sitter for your pet may be like a vacation for them as well!

  • COVID-19 is a human respiratory disease that was initially discovered late in 2019. This disease is caused by a new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, that has not previously been identified in humans. Physical distancing, or social distancing, is one of the most effective strategies available to reduce the spread of COVID-19. While physical distancing, walking your dog is fine as long as you are feeling well and can remain at least 6 feet away from other people. If you have cats, find new ways to play with them indoors. Many veterinary clinics are adjusting their policies to reflect physical distancing guidance related to COVID-19. If your pet needs veterinary care (or if you need to pick up medication, a prescription diet, etc.), call your veterinary hospital first to determine how to proceed.

  • The common rabbit pinworm, Passalurus ambiguous, is an intestinal parasite. It does not cause a serious health threat to rabbits, but it can cause uncomfortable itching and skin inflammation or redness around the anus. Rabbits become infected with pinworms by eating feces that contain pinworm eggs. Pinworms are challenging to treat because rabbits are coprophagic, so they frequently reinfect themselves during treatment. Treatment includes administration of anti-parasitic drugs, as well as diligent cleaning and elimination of all feces in and around your rabbit's cage and in other areas where she plays, sleeps, and roams.

  • Polysulfated glycosaminoglycan is an injectable disease-modifying osteoarthritis drug (DMOAD) used to treat non-infectious and traumatic arthritis in dogs. It is also used off-label in cats and small mammals. If administering this medication at home, follow your veterinarian’s instructions and dispose of the needle and syringe appropriately. Side effects are rare when given according to label recommendations and at prescribed intervals. Do not use this medication in pets with a known hypersensitivity to it, in pets with known or suspected bleeding disorders or immune-mediated arthritis, or in pets with severe kidney or liver disorders.

  • The most common conditions affecting pet prairie dogs are: obesity, dental problems, cardiac disease and intestinal parasites. Regular scheduled veterinary examinations will be of great benefit to help discover problems or diseases before they cause a critical illness.

  • Like rabbits and guinea pigs, prairie dogs require a diet high in fiber. As they are hind-gut fermenters, they need alfalfa up to one year of age and Timothy hay after one year of age plus a high quality prairie dog pellet. Treats should be kept to a bare minimum as prairie dogs are prone to obesity.

  • In the wild, prairie dogs burrow in the ground and make tunnels. Indoor caging must be long enough and deep enough whereby the pet has a chance to dig and make a borrow. Boxes and tubes large enough to crawl through make excellent additions to the cage.