Exotic Companion Mammal Emergency & Critical Care Summary Page

Key Points

  • Nausea in the ferret can manifest as copious drooling and vigorous pawing at the mouth. Loud teeth grinding is often seen with abdominal pain. Generalized weakness can present as profound rear limb weakness.
  • Prey species, like rabbits and rodents, tend to mask signs of pain or illness. Any report of anorexia or reduction in fecal output should be taken very seriously.
  • The rabbit possesses the enzyme atropinase therefore atropine may not be effective or higher doses may be required.
  • Restraint of small mammals can carry the risk for serious patient injury, such as back and leg fractures in both the rabbit and chinchilla.
  • The space used to house prey species must be quiet and calm, away from the sight and sound of predators. Provide supplemental heat cautiously.
  • Antibiotics most likely to disrupt the gastrointestinal flora of small herbivores have a Gram-positive spectrum.
  • Nutritional support to small herbivores should provide high levels of dietary fiber.

Although the principles of emergency medicine critical care are universal for all species, this approach must be balanced with an understanding of the unique aspects of small mammal medicine. Use this summary page to review the basic approach to the exotic companion mammal patient and select additional links to supplement your knowledge base . . .

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