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Small prey species' behaviour and welfare – are you up to speed?

Published: 8/2/2017

In a review article published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice (JSAP), Dr Anne McBride provides insight into the environments of small prey mammals kept as pets and provides practical suggestions for welfare provision both in the veterinary clinic and day-to-day management by owners.

Research demonstrates that small prey mammals (SPM), specifically rabbits and rodents, have rich emotional and cognitive lives yet this is frequently ignored, leading to a failure to provide fully for their needs, leading in turn to physical and behavioural problems.

Veterinary professionals should endeavour to make their practices SPM welfare-friendly and educate owners about handling, moving cages and other stressors. Where behaviour is problematic, medical reasons must be excluded and husbandry and management regimes should be reviewed and brought in line with species’ needs. If this does not resolve the issue, further expert behavioural help should be sought.

Read the full article.

Journal of Small Animal Practice, the official scientific journal of the WSAVA, disseminates new ideas and techniques relating to clinical veterinary practice to promote best practice. A discounted personal subscription is available to WSAVA members and JSAP also publishes WSAVA Standardization Guidelines and an annual online collection of international articles, both of which are freely available to WSAVA members.