Rodents, Guinea pigs, Chinchillas, Sugar Gliders, and Hedgehogs- These animals can benefit from annual examinations by a veterinarian, with special attention paid to their teeth. These animals have teeth that grow continuously, and serious problems may arise if not properly cared for. Our veterinarians are skilled with pocket pet dentistry, and can take dental/skull x-rays, as needed, to help assess your pet’s oral health. All of these species are also prone to tumors, especially mammary and uterine tumors in unspayed females. For this reason, spaying your small mammal is recommended. Neutering males may also be recommended, especially to address behavior problems, or to avoid more small mammals if housed with a female!
Rabbits and guinea pigs commonly develop uroliths (bladder stones). You may see blood in the urine, or see your pet straining to go to the bathroom. Bladder stones can be life threatening, especially if they migrate to the urethra and prevent your pet from urinating. These types of stones can easily be detected with an x-ray. Sometimes, this problem can be managed with medical therapy. Other times, surgery is required.
For any small mammal, loss of appetite is an important reason to bring your pet in for an examination, as an empty gut can ultimately be fatal. Other important things to monitor are the quality and quantity of their stool, itchiness, nasal discharge and head-tilting.
Fun fact: Rabbits and some other small mammals NEED to eat a portion of their feces to maintain the health of their gastrointestinal tract.