Providing nutrition to the hospitalized small mammal is a fairly straightforward process (Table 1). Encourage owners to bring their pet’s diet to minimize the risk of food refusal or gastrointestinal upset (Fig 1).
Also consider keeping the following food items available:
- Ferret food
- Rabbit or guinea pig pellets
- Grass hay (i.e. timothy, orchard grass)
- Alfalfa hay
- Fruit and vegetable baby food
If you do a grocery store run, go for favored herbs like cilantro and Italian parsley or carrot tops for rabbits and herbivorous rodents as well as fresh fruit and vegetables for omnivores.
|Table 1. Food items to offer hospitalized small mammals|
|Nutritional strategy||Species||Syringe or tube feeding||Solids|
|Emeraid IC Herbivore|
Ground pellet slurry*
Oxbow Critical care products
Visit Syringe Feeding Herbivorous Small Mammals for technical advice.
|Emeraid IC Carnivore|
Meat-flavored baby food (preferably chicken)
Prescription diet a/d
Oxbow critical care
| Emeraid Omnivore + Emeraid Herbivore (Go to the Emeraid Intensive Care Basic Use Guide for more information).|
|75% Emeraid Omnivore + 25 % Emeraid Herbivore (Go to the Emeraid Intensive Care Basic Use Guide for more information).|
| Emeraid IC Omnivore|
|*Mix with water or vegetable baby fooda|
Chinchilla pellets are longer than rabbit pellets so they may be grasped by the forefeet.
**Sunflower seeds are not recommended as part of the maintenance diet, but may entice a partially anorectic animal to feed. Consider offering hulled seeds to weak individuals.
Remember to also ask owners if their pets drink from a water bottle or a bowl since hospitalization is not the time to introduce a novel watering system!