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Special considerations when conducting minor procedures without anaesthesia

Old Animals

Old animals may resent handling, especially if chronic painful lesions such as arthritis are present. Rats, guinea pigs and rabbits may become extremely obese when older, and the physical size of the animal may make restraint with one hand difficult. It may even be necessary to require an assistant to provide additional support when lifting the animal.


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Young Animals

Handling of young rodents presents few problems associated with restraint, although juvenile rodents may be extremely active. Recently weaned mice, for example, may leap out of their cages if the lid is removed. Provided that this is anticipated, they can be restrained rapidly, but if unexpected then the animal may escape and recapture can prove difficult.

Neonatal animals should be handled as little as possible, as mismothering following such disturbance is a frequent problem. It is advisable for the handler to wear surgical gloves, and to roll the neonates in their bedding after returning them to their cage to try to remove the scent of the handler. Neonatal rabbits are especially likely to be neglected following disturbance of the doe and handling of the young.

Updated on 12th May 2020

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