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Drug Therapy in Pet Rodents

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    Drug Therapy in Pet Rodents<<Vet Med 93[11]:988-991 Nov'98 Review Article 10 Refs Valarie V. Tynes, DVMP.O. Box 510370 Punta Gorda, FL 33951- Two primary challenges face veterinarians interested in caring for pet rodents. The first is purelyfinancial. The more common pet rodents - guinea pigs, rats, mice, hamsters, and gerbils - areinexpensive to purchase and maintain. So most people who choose these rodents as pets do not spendmuch on veterinary care. For this reason, veterinarians must provide these animals the most economicaltreatment feasible. The second challenge stems from the patient's diminutive size. The doses of manymedications used in rodents are so minute that some creativity may be required to dilute and properlyadminister them. Developing a good relationship with a local compounding pharmacist can be beneficial.The number of compounding pharmacists promoting their services to veterinarians is increasing, andmost of these pharmacists will ship drugs anywhere in the country. Because the amounts of medicationrequired are so small, the cost of these products is usually quite reasonable. Before treating petrodents, inform your clients that the medication will be used in an extralabel fashion. Ideally, clientsshould sign a release acknowledging this fact. Few pharmacokinetic trials have been performed inrodents commonly kept as pets. This article is intended to provide small-animal clinicians basicinformation on drugs used to treat the more common conditions seen in pet rodents.Because most referenced drug dosages for rodents are empirical, and wide dose ranges are oftengiven, you may want to consult several references before choosing a drug or dosage for a pet rodent.Client education is also essential so owners will understand the importance of monitoring their petsclosely, discontinuing medications at the first sign of side effects, and notifying their veterinarians of anyproblems. Many clients bond with their pet rodents and appreciate veterinarians' efforts to use thelatest medical information when treating their animals. Despite he many challenges, treating pet rodentscan be rewarding.Included in the article are tables outlining dosage and route of administration of antimicrobials andmiscellaneous drugs used in pet rodents.VIN SUMMARY: Two primary challenges, cost and patient size, face veterinarians. Pet rodents are quite inexpensive, thusveterinary care of any extent may cost more than an owner is willing to pay. Plus, patient size often requiresminuscule amounts of medication, thus requiring dilution for proper administration. (And, since few drugs arelabeled for rodents, owners should be informed of extra-label drug use and a signed release obtained.) Antimicrobials Antibiotics (oral, and sometimes topical) can cause fatal changes in intestinal microflora. (Gram negative bacteriaovergrow and cause enterocolitis and diarrhea.) Oral lactobacillus supplements have been used to ameliorate thegastrointestinal side-effects, but their effectiveness is debatable.Guinea pigs:Fatal reactions can result from: penicillin, bacitracin, erythromycin, ampicillin, andchlortetracyclineToxic reactions can result from: spiramycin, lincomycin, streptomycin, gentamicin,clindamycin, and vancomycinAntibiotics generally considered safe (see table below): enrofloxacin,ciprofloxacin, chloramphenicol, cephaloridine, oxytetracycline, sulfamethazine,trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, and trimethoprim-sulfadiazineHamsters:Fatal reactions: penicillin, streptomycin, dihydrostreptomycin, erythromycin, Drug Therapy in Pet Rodentshttp://www.vspn.org/vspnsearch/aow/drugtherapyinpetrodents.ht1 of 429.09.2014 12:57  lincomycin, clindamycin, and tetracylineAntibiotics generally regarded as safe (see dosage table below): trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, enrofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, chloramphenicol palmitate, and tetracyclineRats and mice:Fatal reactions: streptomycin, dihydrostreptomycin, procaine component of  penicillinsSafe (see dosage table below): trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, enrofloxacin,ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, chloramphenicol palmitate, and tetracyclineFor respiratory disease: tetracycline in drinking water (3 mg/ml) for 7 days, or enrofloxacin (10 mg/kg PO BID) plus doxycycline hyclate (5 mg/kg PO BID) for 7days. *Both treatments may not be curative, but may aid suppression of the disease.Gerbils:Fatal reactions: streptomycin and dihydrostreptomycinAntibiotics generally regarded as safe (see dosage table below): trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, enrofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, chloramphenicol palmitate, and tetracycline Antimicrobials Used in Guinea Pigs AgentDoseRouteCephaloridine15-25 mg/kg SIDSubcutaneouslyChloramphenicol sodium succinate* warn clients about hazards of use50 mg/kg BIDSubcutaneouslyChloramphenicol palmitate* warn clients about hazards of use50 mg/kg BIDOrallyCiprofloxacin10 mg/kg BIDOrallyEnrofloxacin5 – 10 mg/kg BID or 100 mg/liter drinking water OrallyOxytetracycline5 mg/kg BIDIntramuscularlySulfamethazine166 – 517 mg/ liter drinking waterOrallyTrimethoprim-sulfadiazine30 mg/kg SIDSubcutaneouslyTrimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole15 mg/kg BIDOrally   Antimicrobials Used in Hamsters, Gerbils, Rats, and Mice AgentDoseRouteChloramphenicol palmitate* warn clients about hazards of use50 mg/kg BIDOrallyCiprofloxacin10 mg/kg BIDOrallyEnrofloxacin10 mg/kg BID or 100 mg/liter drinking water OrallyGentamicin5 – 8 mg/kg SIDSubcutaneously or intramuscularlyTetracycline20 mg/kg BIDOrally Drug Therapy in Pet Rodentshttp://www.vspn.org/vspnsearch/aow/drugtherapyinpetrodents.ht2 of 429.09.2014 12:57  Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole15 mg/kg BIDOrally Antiparasitics Ivermectin is safe in most rodents for treatment of endoparasites and ectoparasitesDosage: 200 – 400 m g/kg; two treatments, 10 days apart; subcutaneous or oralIvomecÒ 1% solution: 1 part IvomecÒ + 19 parts propylene glycol = 1 mgivermectin/2 ml solutionFor large rodents: ivermectin equine paste (18.7 mg ivermectin/ml), orally or mixedwith foodPinworms in mice cause perineal pruritus and can be treated with: Ivermectin orally(2 mg/kg, two treatments given 10 days apart); other treatments include mebendazoleorally (40 mg/kg two times, 7 days apart), thiabendazole orally (100 mg/kg once aweek for 4 weeks), or piperazine citrate mixed with drinking water (200 mg/kg body weight SID for 7 days, wait 7 days, and repeat treatment).Lime sulfur diluted 1:40 in water, applied as a dip once a week for 6 weeksSarcoptes mites in guinea pigs, rats, and hamstersFur mites in mice and rats*Keep animals in a warm draft-free location after dipping1% lindane baths, once a week for 3 weeksSarcoptes mites in guinea pigs*Keep animals in a warm draft-free location after dipping0.5% malathion dip, sponged onLice in guinea pigs and mice NOT SAFE in preweanling animals*Keep animals in a warm draft-free location after dippingAmitraz: diluted with water according to package directions (wash animals at two-week intervalsfor 3 - 6 treatments), or diluted at five times the package directions for greater safety (1 bottle per 10 gallons water, and wash animals at two week intervals for 3 - 6 treatments)Demodicosis in gerbils, hamsters, and rats*Keep animals in a warm draft-free location after dippingFlea powders, sprays, and foams approved for cats are usually safeLice, fur mites, fleas in guinea pigs, rats and miceThoroughly clean and sanitize the pet’s environment prior to returning it to that environment. Repeatthorough cleaning with each subsequent treatment. Miscellaneous drugs for various conditions (see table below)Dermatophytosis ( Trichophyton mentagrophytes ) is zoonotic. Treatment must include clearing thelesions and eliminating the organism from the environment (cage and accessories).Griseofulvin is teratogenic and should not be used in pregnant animalsRats: topical therapy of povidone-iodine (one-time) solution, followed bygriseofulvin orally (25 mg/100 g body weight every 10 days for 3 dosesGuinea pigs: griseofulvin 15 – 75 mg/kg/day for 14 – 28 days (doses up to 100mg/kg have been reported) Drug Therapy in Pet Rodentshttp://www.vspn.org/vspnsearch/aow/drugtherapyinpetrodents.ht3 of 429.09.2014 12:57  Topical antifungals applied SID for 2 – 4 weeks may be used for localized or mild diseaseHypovitaminosis C (scurvy) in guinea pigs can lead to secondary systemic and infectious diseasesdue to immunosuppressionAll sick guinea pigs should be given supplementation (50 – 100 mg/day, injectable) Normal supplementation dose: Vitamin C 200 – 400 mg/liter of drinking water Vitamin C deteriorates rapidly in stored feed/water; fresh solutions should be madefrequentlyOrganophosphate poisoning: treat with atropineAnaerobic infection: treat with metronidazoleWarfarin poisoning: treat with vitamin K Delayed parturition: treat with oxytocin Miscellaneous Drugs Used in Pet Rodents AgentDoseRouteAtropine10 mg/kg q 20 minutesSubcutaneouslyBalanced electrolyte solutions10 ml/100 g body weight SIDSubcutaneously, intravenously,intraosseously, intraperitoneallyDoxapram hydrochloride2 – 5 mg/kg q 15 minutesSubcutaneously, intravenously,intraosseouslyEpinephrine0.02 – 0.2 mg/kgIntravenously, intraosseous bolusGriseofulvin15 -75 mg/kg SIDOrallyIvermectin200 – 400 m g/kgSubcutaneously, orallyMetronidazole20 mg/kg SIDOrallyOxytocin0.2 – 3 units/kgSubcutaneously, intramuscularlyVitamin C200 – 400 mg/liter drinking water,make fresh dailyOrallyVitamin K1 – 10 mg/kg PRNintramuscularly Routes of Administration Drinking water, as a route of administration, has many drawbacks. It is difficult to monitor consumption (especially if in multiple-animal housing), patients tend to drink less (or even none) because of taste and color, and desert dwellers always drink little (healthy or ill).Antibiotics, if used in drinking water, must dissolve easily, mix well, and be changed daily.Deionized (not tap) water must be used.Oral administration is cheaper and more convenient.Parenteral administration is the most effective route, but usually costs more than oral. (Someowners can be taught to give injections at home.)Educate clients to monitor closely, discontinue medications at any sign of side effects, and contactthe veterinarian if any problems arise.  ________________________ vinid = JA013009, date1298Journal info: ISSN 8750-7943; ID=J035, VM  All rights reserved, copyright, Veterinary Information Network, Inc., 1998  Drug Therapy in Pet Rodentshttp://www.vspn.org/vspnsearch/aow/drugtherapyinpetrodents.ht4 of 429.09.2014 12:57

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