Care of small furry mammals

General Services

Care of small furry mammals

Small mammals can deteriorate rapidly when sick and often by the time the problem is obvious, the illness may be life threatening. These little furry pets rarely recover from an illness without help so you should seek attention from any of our small mammal knowledgeable vets if you notice any of the following symptoms....

  •    Image Refusal to eat or drink
  •     Weight Loss
  •     Laboured breathing, wheezing
  •     Crusty eyes, sneezing
  •     Rough or puffed-up coat
  •     Swollen abdomen
  •     Dull and/or receding eyes
  •     Lethargy, hunched posture
  •     Drooling
  •     Watery diarrhoea
  •     No stools
  •     Unable to urinate
  •     Blood in urine
  •     Bleeding from the hind end
  •     Limping, hopping
  •     Hair loss, excessive scratching
  •     Loss of balance

For rabbits we have facilities and equipment to diagnose and treat:-

  • dental problems such as overgrown incisors and molars, root abscesses
  • eye problems such a conjunctivitis, inflamed tear ducts (dacrocystitis)
  • uterine problems including pyometra and womb cancers (adenocarcinoma)
  • hair balls, diarrhoea, gut stasis and bloat, coccidiosis, 
  • fractures, sore backs, obesity
  • urinary problems such as bladder sludge and bladder stones
  • respiratory problems like Pasteurellosis (snuffles)
  • parasites including fleas, ticks, ear mites and fly strike (myiasis)
  • skin problems such as ringworm and fur mites (cheyletiellosis), pododermatitis (sore hocks), skin cancers and abscesses
  • neurological problems like head tilt and falling over (Encephalitozoon cuniculi)

Top tips for rabbit owners:

  • Bring your rabbit promptly to the vet if you notice anything out of the ordinary - they can go downhill very quickly when they are sick so the sooner you bring them in the better their chances of recovery are. Even missing one meal can be a very serious issue for a rabbit and this warrants immediate attention by the vet. 
  • Don't ever clip your rabbit's teeth with nail clippers (and don't let anyone else do this either) - this can shatter the root of the tooth leading to painful abscess formation. Overgrown rabbit teeth should always be professionally burred down.
  • Womb cancers are common in older female rabbits....neuter your pet bunny to avoid this.
  • Keep up regular worm and flea control...use effective products from your vet.
  • Join our Healthy Pet Club for rabbits to budget for all your rabbit's routine care.

At our clinic we can provide a high level of care for Guinea pigs and have experience in treating the following conditions:-

  • Overgrown teeth (slobbers)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Eye problems - conjunctivitis, ulcers
  • Skin problems - fur mites (mange), lice, ringworm, bite wounds and abscesses, cancers such as trichoepithelioma
  • Vitamin C deficiency (scurvy)
  • Serious infections including Salmonella, Yersinia, lymphadenitis (swollen lymph nodes)
  • Lymphosarcoma
  • Ulcerated paws (pododermatitis, Bumblefoot)
  • Caesarian sections, mastitis, ovarian cysts
  • Respiratory problems - Streptococcal pneumonia, Bordetella brochiseptica

Ferret problems that we have seen and treated

  • Distemper
  • Unusual hair loss - adrenal disease
  • Insulinoma
  • Lymphoma / Lymphosarcoma
  • Influenza
  • Aleutian disease virus
  • Footrot
  • Waardenburg syndrome
  • Hairballs
  • We are able to vasectomise male ferrets to take females out of heat
  • We can neuter female ferrets
  • Dental disease - dental scaling of teeth is possible

Top ferret tip

Don't forget to vaccinate your ferret against distemper.

We recommend vaccinating at 10 and 14 weeks.


Health problems we treat in gerbils include:-

  • Diarrhoea - Tyzzers disease, Salmonellosis, pinworms, tapeworms
  • Fractures
  • Skin problems such as irritation of the face and nose, hair loss and tail slip, rough hair coat, mites and tumours
  • Epileptic Seizures
  • Kidney disease
  • Tumours of the inner ear

Health problems we see in hamsters include:-

  • "Wet tail" - severe diarrhoea, proliferation enteritis, Salmonellosis, Tyzzer's disease and E.coli infections
  • Skin problems such as Demodex and fur mites, ringworm, epitheliotropic lymphoma and other skin cancers and lumps, bite abscesses and wounds
  • Pseudotuberculosis
  • Polycystic disease
  • Amyloidosis and kidney failure
  • Pyometra, mastitis
  • Pneumonia, congestive heart failure
  • Vitamin E deficiency
  • Broken bones
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye), protrusion of the eyeball
At All Creatures, Limavady,  we have carried out successful amputations and enucleations (removal of the eyeball) in hamsters.

Common problems we see in chinchillas

  • Trauma, bite wounds, broken bones
  • Heat stroke
  • Digestive problems such as diarrhoea, constipation, bloat and stomach ulcers
  • Dental problems - drooling ("slobbers")
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Otitis media, ear trauma
  • Respiratory issues such as pneumonia, choke, colds
  • Skin problems such as ringworm, abscesses and fur chewing 
  • Septicaemia, Listeria, Pseudomonas, Yersinia
  • Roundworms and Protozoa
  • Herpesvirus infection
  • Reproductive problems such as pyometra, mastitis, hair rings in males, lack of milk
  • Calcium / phosphorus imbalance, vitamin B1 deficiency

Common health problems we treat in pet rats

  • Respiratory infections, colds, pneumonia, Mycoplasma pulmonic
  • Skin problems such as scabs, abscesses, bites, fur mites, orthopox virus, fleas, lice, ringworm and ringtail
  • Cancerous lumps - these can often be removed surgically
  • Loss of balance and head tilting with ear infections and strokes
  • Rat Bumblefoot - infected sores on rat's paws
  • Chronic progressive kidney disease, bladder stones