Educational Articles

Small Mammals + Pet Services

  • Common conditions of pet hedgehogs include internal and external parasites, ringworm, cancer, pneumonia, gastrointestinal disease, and obesity. Signs of illness or disease are often vague and non-specific, such as lack of appetite and lethargy. Therefore, any deviation from your hedgehog’s normal habits should be cause for concern and should be evaluated by your veterinarian.

  • A pet hedgehog’s diet should mainly consist of high-quality hedgehog food mixed with high-quality, low-fat cat food. The diet may be supplemented with certain insects, fruits, and vegetables, which are listed in this handout. Foods that should be avoided are also listed. Hedgehogs have a propensity for obesity if their food intake is not monitored or controlled.

  • Hedgehogs are active animals and require lots of room to move around and exercise. They are also very good climbers, so it is important to choose an enclosure that your hedgehog cannot escape from. Other factors include temperature control, a respite from bright light, and appropriate bedding and toys that are safe for this unique pet.

  • Hedgehogs can make interesting, somewhat challenging, yet fun and enjoyable pets. They are nocturnal mammals whose entire backs are blanketed with spines like a porcupine. They like to stay active and are skilled at climbing, digging, and even swimming. As with any pet, hedgehogs require a high-quality diet and routine veterinary care.

  • Hedgehogs can have several unique problems, including cancer, dental disease, obesity, and foreign bodies. It is important for an owner to understand what these problems are so veterinary care can be provided to their hedgehog when needed and in a timely manner.

  • Home renovation can be arduous for every member of the household. Both pet owners and pets can be stressed during the construction process. Pets are faced with many potential hazards in a construction site. Pets can also interfere with construction workers and pose a safety risk to them. Awareness of possible construction site problems will help home owners avoid pet-related issues. Knowing how to deal with problems that do occur will minimize health risks for pets. A little planning can make the renovation process run more smoothly for workers, home owners, and pets.

  • There are four major hormonal diseases in ferrets. This handout covers adrenal gland disease and diabetes mellitus. Adrenal gland disease occurs in a large number of ferrets in North America, while diabetes mellitus is a rare, but important problem.

  • Any cage used to house a pet rodent must be easy to clean, as poor husbandry and hygiene can contribute to illness in these animals. The bigger the cage, the better, as rodents need room to exercise and explore. While some species of rodents may be housed in pairs or groups, unneutered males and females should not be housed together, or they will breed. Different species should not be housed together. Rodents love to dig and bury and should be provided with paper bedding or shredded or recycled paper in their cages. The cage should be spot-cleaned daily and the bedding changed completely at least weekly. Toys provide enrichment and psychological stimulation, as well as exercise, for pet rodents. Since rodents like to burrow, they should have a hiding place in the cage, and chinchillas should have a box containing special, fine particle sand in which to bathe.

  • A large, well-ventilated cage with a plastic bottom and wire walls and top is suitable. Wire bottom rabbit cages are acceptable, but to decrease foot trauma, at least half of the wire floor should be covered with plastic, Plexiglas, or untreated wood. The bottom of the cage can be lined with hay or commercially available recycled paper products. Rabbits can be trained to use a litter box. Since rabbits like to dig and to chew, offer cardboard boxes, paper tubes, paper bags, and hard plastic baby toys for entertainment. Rabbits should never be allowed to run loose in the house unless they are supervised or contained in a rabbit-proof room as they love to chew and can be destructive. Offering your rabbit chew toys may prevent your him from chewing inappropriate objects. Rabbits tolerate cold better than heat and are very sensitive to heat stroke. Keep their environmental temperature at or below 80°F (26°C), and make sure their enclosure is well ventilated.

  • If your pet had an emergency crisis, how would you manage it? Ask your veterinary hospital how they handle after-hour emergencies. Use this handout to help you plan ahead and be prepared in the event of a pet-health emergency.