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Small Mammal Restraint Techniques

David Eshar, DVM, DABVP (ECM), DECZM (SM & ZHM), Kansas State University

Small Mammals

|January 2020|Peer Reviewed

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Many exotic companion mammals have an inherent fight-or-flight response. Safe handling techniques can minimize stress and reduce the chance for trauma in these patients. Body size, sensitive skin, and, in some species, fragile, long bones should be considered.

During examination, patients should be approached in a calm, gentle manner and minimal physical force should be applied. Staff should wear gloves, as some animals may carry zoonotic pathogens.1-3 Chemical immobilization with injectable sedatives or inhalant anesthesia should be considered in patients that are extremely fractious and/or painful and for invasive and/or prolonged procedures.

The following can serve as a general guide for handling select small mammals commonly evaluated in the clinical setting.


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