Look at the Whole Patient
Full history including diet and environment and recent changes
-When a pet is sick clients will often do some research and find that diet and environment is incorrect. Many times they make those changes just prior to their visit and report to you only the recent diet and environment. It is up to you and your staff to find out what the real situation is that the patient has been in prior to the visit.
Watch the Patient During Amanesis
-While gathering the history sit and watch the patient's affect without the client or your staff interacting with the patient - how it stands, how it interacts with its environment, the expression on its face, whether the eyes appear to be bright and alert, the posture of its body, how it acts when it ambulates. A healthy patient will calm during this time and begin to interact and explore the new environment with time.
Full Physical Exam Looking at the Affected Part Last
Watch How the Patient Recovers After the Exam
-We often get so involved with the presenting complaint that we miss other problems that are less obvious and possibly more serious. Examine the whole patient and do not let the client distract you from examining the whole patient.
-A healthy patient recovers quickly from the stress of restraint and handling and resumes normal activity and curiosity about its environment.
Knowing what is normal for the species
-Avoid syringe feeding incorrect diets:
Biggest mistake is feeding a/d to herbivores
Have on hand carnivore, herbivore, omnivore and insectivore diets
-Mistaking the sex:
Don't assume that the owner knows the sex - be able to tell the sex of different species
Be prepared and knowledgeable about what is normal for that species
-sugar glider males - bifid penis; prepenile scrotum with long neck
-lateral vaginal canals in sugar gliders and opossums
-prairie dog testicle size varies with seasonal sexual activity
Understand what is normal for that species so you can recognize what is abnormal (anointing in hedgehogs for example)
Don't go straight to surgery without doing diagnostics or you may miss the real problem or bigger problems that may have affected your choice to do surgery or not. For example, don't teat the jaw abscess on the chinchilla or rabbit without skull xrays and a visual exam of the teeth.
Culture and Sensitivity
Fine Needle Aspirates
General Considerations for Surgery in Small Mammals
Keep the patient warm
Provide analgesia before, during and after surgery!
Monitor – minimally HR, Sp02, mm color
Antibiotics - appropriate for THAT species
Common Guinea Pig Surgeries
- Mass Removal
- Teeth Trim/Extractions
- Mammary Tumors