Rodents: respiratory and cardiovascular system disorders

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Veterinary knowledge of rodent respiratory disease was initially based on laboratory animal medicine. As these pets have increased in popularity, and owners are more inclined to present them to the veterinary surgeon, diagnostic techniques and treatment options have improved. Respiratory disease is one of the most common problems encountered in pet mice and rats, mainly caused by . In guinea pigs is the most common respiratory pathogen. Respiratory disease is less common in hamsters and chinchillas and rare in gerbils and degus. Animal husbandry, environmental conditions and immune status all play a part in pathogenesis. This chapter examines the General approach to respiratory cases; Common respiratory diseases; and Cardiovascular disease.

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12.1 Rat with non-specific clinical signs associated with respiratory disease – weight loss, poor coat condition and porphyrin staining around the nose and eyes. (Courtesy of Emma Keeble.)
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12.3 A deep nasal swab is recommended for culture and sensitivity testing. Heavy sedation or general anaesthesia, with application of topical local anaesthetic, is required. (Courtesy of Emma Keeble.)
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12.4 Lateral thoracic radiograph of a rat with pneumonia and lung consolidation.
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12.5 Dyspnoeic guinea pig in an oxygen chamber for supportive care. Humidified oxygen therapy unit. (Courtesy of Emma Keeble.)
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12.6 Nebulization is well tolerated even by small rodents. Animals may be nebulized in their carrier, covered cage or hospital incubator. (Courtesy of Emma Keeble.)
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12.9 Unilateral nasal discharge in a guinea pig.
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12.10 Rat with head tilt due to infection. (Courtesy of Emma Keeble.)
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12.11 Lung from a rat with infection.
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