Mice, rats, hamsters and gerbils

image of Mice, rats, hamsters and gerbils
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This chapter provides the need-to-know information on mice, rats, hamsters and gerbils:

  • Biology
  • Husbandry
  • Handling and restraint
  • Diagnostic approach
  • Common conditions
  • Supportive care
  • Anaesthesia and analgesia
  • Common surgical procedures
  • Euthanasia
  • Drug formulary.

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1.1 Dwarf varieties of hamster such as Russian and Roborowski are becoming more common. (Courtesy of C. Johnson-Delaney.)
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1.3 Lateral flank scent gland in a hamster.
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1.4 Sexing by external genitalia.
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1.5 Exercise wheels for hamsters should be of solid construction.
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1.6 Morbidly obese rat. There is a mammary tumour in the left axilla.
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1.8 Lifting by the base of the tail and front limbs supported once lifted. Held in the palm of the hand. Scruffing may occasionally be required.
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1.9 A rat can be grasped around the shoulders, with the other hand holding the hind feet.
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1.10 A tame hamster can be held in cupped hands. Holding the shoulders and pelvic girdle, with the head between the first and second fingers.
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1.11 Gerbils can be lifted in a similar manner to hamsters.
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1.12 ‘Tail-slip’ in a gerbil. Note the exposed coccygeal vertebrae and desiccated soft tissues.
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1.13 Taking a blood sample from the tail vein of a rat. Note also the presence of a rectal temperature probe and ECG leads.
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1.15 Ruptured globe subsequent to infection in a gerbil.
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1.16 Unilateral chromodacryorrhoea in a rat.
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1.17 Right lateral thoracic radiograph of a rat, demonstrating lung lesions consistent with respiratory disease.
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1.19 Diarrhoea characteristic of ‘wet tail’.
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1.20 Ovariohysterectomy to treat pyometra in a rat.
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1.22 found on tape strip sampling of a rat.
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1.23 Cutaneous abscess associated with bacterial skin disease in a mouse.
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1.24 Early facial dermatitis in a gerbil.
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1.25 Epitheliotropic lymphoma in a hamster.
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1.26 Advanced ventral scent gland neoplasia in a gerbil.
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1.27 Large mammary fibroadenoma in a rat prior to surgery. This mass had been present for some time before the owner sought veterinary advice.
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1.28 Barbering in a mouse. Notice the bare nose and shortened whiskers.
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1.29 Hamster polyomavirus lesion on the lower lip of a young hamster.
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1.33 Ligation of the tunic and enclosed vasculature during closed castration in a rat.
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1.34 Radiograph showing oblique tibial fracture in a gerbil.
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1.35 Incisor malocclusion and overgrowth in a rat.
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