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Rodents Continued: Hamster and Gerbil Managment Dr. N. Matthew Ellinwood, D.V.M., Ph.D. February 29, 2012 I OWA S TATE U NIVERSITY C OLLEGE OF A GRICULTURE.

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Presentation on theme: "Rodents Continued: Hamster and Gerbil Managment Dr. N. Matthew Ellinwood, D.V.M., Ph.D. February 29, 2012 I OWA S TATE U NIVERSITY C OLLEGE OF A GRICULTURE."— Presentation transcript:

1 Rodents Continued: Hamster and Gerbil Managment Dr. N. Matthew Ellinwood, D.V.M., Ph.D. February 29, 2012 I OWA S TATE U NIVERSITY C OLLEGE OF A GRICULTURE AND L IFE S CIENCES

2 HAMSTER & GERBIL MANAGEMENT

3 Hamsters Mesocricetus auratus – golden Cricetulus griseus – Chinese Cricetus cricetus – European Cricetulus migratorius – Armenian Phodopus sungorus – Russian or Siberian, or Dzungarian

4 Taxonomy Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Subphylum: Vertebrata Class: Mammalia Order: Rodentia Suborder: Myomorpha Superfamily: Muroidea Family: Cricetidae Subfamily: CricetinaeAnimaliaChordataVertebrataMammaliaRodentiaMyomorphaMuroideaCricetidae

5 Cricetidae (True hamsters, voles, lemmings, and New World rats and mice; 600 species and second largest family) Cricetinae (hamsters; subfamily of Cricetidae) –25 species in 6-7 genera –Cricetulus Cricetulus griseus (Chinese hamster) Cricetulus migratorius (Armenian hamster) –Cricetus Cricetus cricetus (black-bellied or European hamster) –Mesocricetus Mesocricetus auratus (golden hamster) –Phodopus Phodopus sungorus (striped hairy-footed, Russian, Siberian, or Dzungarian hamster)

6 Habitat and Natural History First described in 1839 (Golden Hamster) Hamster (German for “hoarder”) First domesticated in 1930 (Syrian Hamster) Expandible cheek pouches Polyestrous –4 day cycle

7 Golden Hamster Mesocricetus auratus Syria (now considered a vulnerable species) Circadian –Active after dusk, late night, and dawn; wild vs lab Adult size and life span –5-7 inches, 2-3 years Expandable cheek pouches (common to hamsters) Anecdotal accounts –25 kg in burrows –Arabic dialect “Mr. Saddlebags”

8 16 day pregnancy (shortest of all placentals) 8-10 young –Can be stressed to abandonment or cannibalism “Foal” heat Territorial (housing issues) Separate by gender at weaning (3 wks) –Sexually mature by 4-5 weeks

9 Natural habitat –Dry desert climate Mitochondrial evidence supports only one maternal line in domestic golden hamsters –Sought as an alternative to Chinese hamster –Domesticated in Mandatory Palestine by Israel Aharoni, 1930, Hebrew University, Jerusalem; Mother and litter Invasive species in Israel –1931 to Britain’s Wellcome Bureau of Scientific Research

10 Lab Animal 4 th most used lab species of rodent Circadian research Consistent behaviors of marking and grooming make good ethology models All lab golden hamsters –Descended from 3 animals –Highly inbred –Inbred lines

11 Cardiomyopathy –Dialated cardiomyopathy –Cause of sudden death –Strain BIO14.6 Delta-sarcoglycan mutation

12 Housing and welfare concerns Large diameter wheels Bedding that allows nesting materials Not recommended for children younger than 7 years of age Require adult supervision Large enclosures which allow sufficeint room for exercise

13 Wide Variety of Colors and Patterns and Hair Lengths Short haired Teddy Bear (Angora)

14 Self versus Agouti colors Self colors –Cream (UK 1951) –Black (UK 1991)

15 Whites –Black eyed white –Dark eared white –Flesh eared white

16 Agouti colors –Sable (1975) –Wild Type

17 Patterning and Orange Banding, pie balding, spotting and X linked orange all seen

18 Chinese Hamster Longer bodied More mouse/rat like –Grouped as a “rat like hamster”, ie genus Cricetulus –Longer tail –Males have prominent scrotum –Females usually kept in pet trade –Shown dominant white mutation

19 Wild type coloration of a Chinese hamster

20 Campbell's dwarf hamster Phodopus campbelli AKA –Russian dwarf hamster –Djungarian (or Dzungarian) dwarf hamster Social hamsters

21 Winter White Russian Dwarf Hamster Phodopus sungorus Social hamsters Can hybridize with Cambells

22 Anatomy Cheek pouches Flank marking glands Sexual dimorphism (females larger)

23 Handling Easily startled Can be inclined to bite Handle by cupping Scuffing if necessary

24 Housing management –Houdini’s –Solid surface enclosure –Stainless steel –Polycarbonate plastic –Something that cannot be chewed through

25 Bedding Corn cob Paper Hardwood AVOID –Cedar –Pine Nesting material (especially females) Housing/hutches/enclosures

26 Feeding Granivorous Food hoarders (hoards are discretely located far from latrines) Commercial chow –17-23% Crude Protein –6-8% Crude Fiber –4.5% Crude Fat Blunt noses and feeders Coprophagous Vit E deficiency (muscle weekness – White Muscle Disease –Fresh milled within last 6 months

27 Breeding and Housing Mgmt Sex by anogenital distance –Separte at 3 weeks (weaning) by sex Solitary in wild Estrus every 4 days (24 hours) Female to male cage (short periods – never unattended) Fighting or lordosis –Mating within 30 min to 4 hours

28 Gestation and Parturition 16 day gestation (15-18 days) –Longer gestations increase complications Clean cage before parturition so as not to disturb young Birth usually at night Non-prococial young (altricial) 1 delivered/10 min Avoid disturbance for 2 weeks (haired and visual) –Cannibalism –First time dams but also experienced dams

29 Diseases Viral induced lymphoma –Hamster polyoma virus –DNA virus stable in enviornment and easily transmissible –Bacterial disease Hamster enteritis complex –Proliferative ileitis »Wet tail (Lawsonia intracellularis) –Tyzzer’s Disease »Clostirdium piliforme –Clostridiosis »Cl. perfirngens, and difficile (antibiotics)

30 Diseases Parasites –No significant risk –Kindey failure Common age related cause of death Atrial Thromosis –Associated with sudden death (older females) Cancer (rare) –Zoonoses Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM) Salmonellosis –Allergies rare

31 Gerbils Mongolian gerbil –Meriones unguiculatus

32 Taxonomy Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Rodentia Family: Muridae Subfamily: Gerbillinae Genus: Meriones Subgenus: Pallasiomys Species: M. unguiculatusAnimaliaChordataMammaliaRodentiaMuridaeGerbillinaeMerionesPallasiomys

33 Gerbillinae Subfamily of rodents 14 genera 110 species Old world rodents Often adapted to harsh desert enviorns

34 Domestication First described in 1867 Gerbil from Jerboa, a semitic name of a local type of near eastern unrelated desert rodent 19 th Century pet in France US stock to US in 1954 By Dr Vicotr Schwetker

35 Habitat and Natural History Desert of Mongolia and North China Large burrow complex Large family structure Single breeding pair Wide temperature fluctuations Crepuscular and diurnal

36 Social and Clannish Best kept in same sex pairs Will fight unknown/new animals Pair up littermates early (before 12 weeks) Pair up breeding pairs early (at or before 12 weeks) Breeding pairs cannot be reestablished as adults Fighting can be a problem in even established pairings

37 Housing Solid floored cage (burrowing) Maloclusion (chewing substrate – avoid plastic) Low humidity (30%) –Higher humidity can be a problem Tolerate fulx in temperatures well Paper/wood shaving bedding –Sand (sore nose)

38 Feeding Produce little urine and drink little water –Should be supplied nonetheless Not coprophagic Feed commercial rodent chow. Not a hoarding speices –Store calories as fat Will self select for high fat grains/seeds –Ex: sunflowers – limit as a treat item only

39 Handling Do not grasp by tail –Degloving injury –Causes tail to necrose and slough –May require amputation Base of tail Scruffing when necessary

40 Common Diseases Seizure Black Gerbils most susceptible Sore nose (nasal dermatitis) Degloving High humidity –Rough hair coat Tyzzer disease –Cl. piliforme –Usually fatal

41 Research Stroke model Incomplete circle of Willis

42 Colors and Patterns Over 30 different patters and colors observed in the Gerbil fancy

43 Golden Agouti (Wild Type)

44 Schimmels

45 Light Red Fox

46 Nutmeg

47 Silver Nutmeg

48 Lilac

49 Dove

50 Fat Tailed Gerbils Pachyuromys duprasi North African gerbil


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