Client Education Handout 

Exotic Companion Mammal Enrichment

Have you heard about environmental enrichment but are wondering what it really means and how to implement it to benefit your pets? This client education handout explores the definition of enrichment, the benefits of enrichment, as well as practical suggestions on implementation. Enrichment can be enjoyable as you get to create an array of fun, interactive enclosures and toys for your pet. This client education handout was awarded first place in the 2021 Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians Veterinary Technology Contest, sponsored by Lafeber Company.

Client Education Handout 

Mask Off! How to Recognize the Masking Phenomenon in Your Exotic Pet

This client education handout reviews the masking phenomenon observed in exotic pets. Why do exotic animals attempt to hide signs of illness or injury and what can the attentive owner do to offset this behavior? This client education handout was awarded second place in the 2021 AEMV Veterinary Technology Contest, sponsored by Lafeber Company.

Article 

2021 AEMV Veterinary Medical Student Case Report Contest

Lafeber Company was proud to sponsor the 2021 Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians Student Case Report Contest. Veterinary medical students from all over the world were encouraged to write a 2-page case report about an exotic companion mammal seen at their college of veterinary medicine or during a clinical experience. Submissions closed in March and judges from the Research Committee evaluated the case reports received from seven nations. Judges were blinded to the students, mentors, co-authors, and institutions at which the cases were seen. Read the summary of each winning case report.

Article  Client Education Handout 

2021 AEMV Veterinary Technology Contest

Lafeber Company was proud to sponsor the 2021 Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians Veterinary Technician/Technologist and Technician Student Client Education Materials Contest. Credentialed veterinary technicians, veterinary technologists, and veterinary nurses as well as students in this field were encouraged to submit a two (2) page, English-language educational handout (1500 words or less) about a companion exotic mammal health and wellness topic. Submissions closed on April 30. Seventeen client education handouts were received. The AEMV Technician Committee evaluated this educational material and they were blinded to the identify of each veterinary technologists or student.

Article 

AEMV Veterinary Medical Student Case Report Contest

Lafeber Company is proud to sponsor the 4th Annual Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians Student Case Report Contest. Veterinary medical students everywhere are eligible to submit a 2-page, English-language case report about an exotic companion mammal case seen at your college of veterinary medicine OR during an experience in a clinical setting. Submissions must be received by Friday, April 30, 2021. Entries will be evaluated and graded by members of the AEMV Research/Scientific Committee and winners will be notified May 28, 2021.

Article  Case Study 

2020 AEMV Student Case Report Contest

Lafeber Company was proud to sponsor the 2020 Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians Student Case Report Contest. Veterinary students from all over the world were encouraged to write a 2-page case report about an exotic companion mammal seen at their college of veterinary medicine or during a clinical experience. Submissions closed in March and judges from the Research Committee evaluated the 15 case reports received from eight countries. Judges were blinded to the students, mentors, co-authors, and institutions at which the cases were seen. Read the brief summaries of each winning case report.

Article 

Monitoring Vital Signs in Exotic Animal Species

Even the most steadfast and seasoned veterinary anesthetist can find themselves intimidated by exotic animal patients. Standard veterinary anesthesia monitors are not designed to read the extremely high (or extremely low) heart rates and respiratory rates of some exotic animal patients. Despite these challenges, valuable information can be gathered from monitoring tools as well as hands-on techniques. Essential vital signs, such as heart rate and rhythm, respiratory rate and depth, body temperature, and mucous membrane color should all be evaluated.

Article 

Equipment List for Small Mammal Practice

Basic equipment for high-quality exotic companion mammal practice focuses on supportive care, such as fluid therapy, appropriate housing and nutritional support, as well as equipment needed for physical examination and basic techniques. This detailed equipment list also includes supplies recommended for surgical and anesthetic procedures as well as advanced diagnostic techniques.

Article 

Analgesia and Sedation in Exotic Companion Mammals

The approach to analgesia and sedation in exotic companion mammals faces special challenges, including small patient size and unique features of the prey species mentality. Recognition of pain is more difficult in rabbits and rodents because many small mammals are very good at hiding the signs of pain commonly observed in predator species. Instead pain in a rabbit or rodent is often inferred from the patient’s clinical condition as well as the absence of normal behaviors. The diagnostic and therapeutic plan frequently requires some form of chemical restraint in exotic mammal medicine. When compared to general anesthesia, sedation is a safer option for the debilitated or critically ill small mammal.

Article 

Ectoparasite Control in Small Mammals

A variety of agents may be used in small mammals with ectoparasites. Download this easy-to-use table for a list of agents used to manage lice, flea infestation, mange or acariasis.

Article 

Exotic ICU: Nursing Care for Exotic Companion Mammals

Released for National Veterinary Technician Week 2014, Nursing Care for Exotic Companion Mammals is part of an Exotic ICU series providing advice on the management of small exotic companion mammals in a critical care setting. Specific recommendations on caging, medicating, feeding, and monitoring the critical small mammal are explored as well as important potential sequelae to the stress of hospitalization.

Differential Diagnosis List 

Differential Diagnosis in Rats

Although some diseases are merely arranged alphabetically, other lists are based on the mnemonic acronym DAMNIT. This commonly used veterinary medical record scheme divides disease mechanisms into the following categories: degenerative, anomalous, metabolic, neoplastic or nutritional; infectious, inflammatory, idiopathic, immune-mediated, or infarct/vascular; and traumatic or toxic. Exercise professional judgment when evaluating this information. Differential Diagnosis in Rats is designed as an aide or reminder system for use by qualified veterinarians and should never be used for diagnostic decision-making.

Article 

Analgesia in Small Mammals

As in other species, to manage pain successfully, one must know when pain might occur. Several common medical disorders can result in acute pain such as otitis, conjunctivitis, and acute gastrointestinal disease. Chronic pain can arise from conditions such as arthritis, which commonly develops in older…

Article 

Feeding the Hospitalized Small Mammal

Providing nutrition to the hospitalized small mammal is a fairly straightforward process. Encourage owners to bring their pet’s “regular” diet to minimize the risk of food refusal or gastrointestinal upset. Also consider keeping the following food items available…

Article 

Blood Collection in Rats and Mice

Blood collection is challenging in rats and mice, and heavy sedation or general anesthesia is almost always required in clinical practice. Increasing patient body temperature to promote vasodilation can also be helpful. Gently warm the rodent by placing its cage on a heating pad set on low or by placing the cage in an incubator set at 39°C (102°F) for 5 to 10 minutes. Monitor the patient carefully…

Article 

Sexing or Gender Determination in Small Mammals

External reproductive anatomy is obvious in some adult small mammals such as the ferret, sugar glider, hedgehog, rat, guinea pig, and hamster. Gender determination or sexing can be challenging in some species like the chinchilla, and in many neonatal rodents. In these cases, reliance on anogenital distance or the distance between the rectum and the urogenital region is considered best practice.

Article 

Dermatophytosis in Small Mammals

Although fungal disease is uncommon in small mammals, dermatophytosis is the most common mycosis seen in clinical practice. Despite the low incidence of clinical disease, rodents are common asymptomatic carriers of dermatophytes. Fungal pathogens are generally more important for their zoonotic potential. Rodents are frequently asymptomatic carriers of ringworm, and transmission of disease to human caretakers is not uncommon.

Article 

Small Mammal Dental Formulas: Cheat Sheet

Can’t quite recall the dental formula of the African pygmy hedgehog–or perhaps you never knew? Use LafeberVet’s “Small Mammal Dental Formulas: Cheat Sheet” as a quick and easy clinical resource.

Article 

Promoting Dental Health in Small Herbivores: Five Things You Can Do

Acquired dental disease is an important problem in pet rabbits and rodents. Clinical management of dental disease is complex, frequently involving invasive technical procedures, therefore it is preferable to promote dental health, rather than treating dental disease. What are five things you can do to promote dental health in small herbivores?

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Dyspnea in Rats

Unfortunately respiratory disease is common in pet rats. Although most cases of respiratory disease in the rat are multifactorial, the most significant and serious bacterial pathogen is Mycoplasma pulmonis. Institute medical therapy as soon as possible in rats with respiratory disease since this improves…

Article 

Pain Management in Small Mammals

This brief article was created to serve as a synopsis of LafeberVet’s longer, more detailed “Analgesia in Small Mammals” authored by veterinary anesthesiologist, Dr. Paul Flecknell.

Article  Video  Webinar 

Restraint & Handling of Small Exotic Companion Mammals Webinar

Manual restraint of exotic companion mammals is a challenging but necessary part of veterinary practice. In the recording of this R.A.C.E.-approved webinar, Ms. McClellan reviews the approach to predator and prey species as well as the principles of capture and handling of several species of small exotic companion animals in a hospital setting including from rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas to small rodents, hedgehogs, and sugar gliders.

Information sheet 

Basic Information Sheet: Rat

The Norwegian or brown rat is originally from Asia where it lived in burrows on the plains of northern China and Mongolia. The rat arrived in Europe in the early 18th century and had reached America by the late 18th century. The brown rat was the first species to be domesticated for scientific purposes.

Client Education Handout 

Rat, Care of the Pet

Rats are clean, friendly, playful, and quiet, and of all the “pocket pets” they are considered uniquely responsive to their owners.

Article 

Mammary Tumors in Small Mammals

An important differential for lumps and bumps: Mammary gland tumors are relatively common in rats and mice, and are also seen in African pygmy hedgehogs and guinea pigs. Get the facts about mammary tumors in small mammals. Review diagnostics, management, prognosis and prevention of this important condition.

Article 

Venipuncture in Small Mammals

Hematological and serum chemistry tests are considered part of the minimum database, yet collecting blood samples from small mammals can be extremely challenging. This review article reviews the recommended venipuncture site in popular exotic companion mammals including many rodents, rabbits, ferrets, hedgehogs, and sugar gliders. Sample collection from peripheral vessels including the cephalic, saphenous, tail, jugular, ear, and submandibular vein is discussed.
Blind venipuncture sites such as the cranial vena cava and femoral vessels are also described. Veterinary health professionals are also acquainted with the potential risks associated with blood collection from these small species, especially those presenting in advanced diseased states. Tips for clinical success are also shared.

Article 

Online Resources: Small Mammals

Although we’d like to believe you need look no further, exotic animal medicine is a diverse and varied topic. View LafeberVet’s ever-growing list of additional online resources on small mammal medicine.

Article 

Mange in Exotic Small Mammals

Most species of mites are host-specific, however take special precautions, such as wearing exam gloves, to minimize the spread of potentially zoonotic pathogens. Humans that become infested with Sarcoptes scabei may develop wheals, vesicles, papules, and intense pruritus. Pet owners, especially children, may become infected with…

Article 

Clinical Pathology for Exotic Small Mammals

Small mammals, such as rabbits and rodents, are stoic by nature and have evolved to mask their illness to avoid predation. This behavior can create a false sense of security in owners and a clinical challenge for veterinarians. In some cases, an animal that appears clinically normal may in fact have a terminal illness. Use hematology and biochemistry analysis to characterize the true physiological status of these species and aid in disease diagnosis.

Article 

Physical Examination of Small Exotic Mammals

Physical examination in exotic small mammals is performed similarly to examinations in dogs and cats, however many small mammals can easily become stressed. Approach these patients calmly, gently, and quietly. Gather all items that may be needed during the physical exam beforehand since it is essential to keep time to a minimum. Ideally schedule examination of nocturnal species such as sugar gliders, rats, and mice during the evening hours. It can also be helpful to dim the lights while examining these species.

Article 

Dental Anatomy of Rabbits and Rodents

More hay please…Prolonged chewing of tough, abrasive foods such as hay causes rapid tooth wear in rabbits and herbivorous rodents. To compensate for this, these species have permanent teeth that grow and erupt continuously, never producing anatomical roots. Learn more in Dental Anatomy of Rabbits and Rodents by Dr. David Crossley.

Article 

Respiratory Disease in Rats

One of the more common illnesses in rats is respiratory disease. Although most cases of respiratory disease in the rat are multifactorial, the most significant and serious bacterial pathogen is Mycoplasma pulmonis…

Form-Questionnaire 

Rodent Dental Chart

Download the 2-page PDF version of the Rodent Dental Chart (137 KB).