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Rabbits and Rodents: Introduction and Nutrition

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Rabbits and Rodents: Introduction and Nutrition Dr. N. Matthew Ellinwood, D.V.M., Ph.D. February 18, 2013 IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE AND LIFE SCIENCES – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Rabbits and Rodents: Introduction and Nutrition


1
Rabbits and Rodents Introduction and Nutrition
Dr. N. Matthew Ellinwood, D.V.M., Ph.D. February
18, 2013
Iowa State University College of Agriculture and
Life Sciences
2
(No Transcript)
3
Rabbits
  • At least 45 breeds of rabbits
  • Serve as
  • pet animals
  • meat producers
  • fur and hide producers
  • research subjects
  • Differ from rodents in having 2 sets of upper
    incisors

4
Rabbit GI Anatomy
  • Non-ruminant herbivores with simple (glandular)
    stomach
  • Shorter sm. intestine than most species
  • Enlarged cecum for enhanced forage use
  • Dont digest fiber well (15-17 optimal)
  • Do digest starch and recycle protein
  • Lg. Intestine sorts food based on components
    size
  • Fiber continues to colon for excretion
  • Fluids and soluble particles transferred back to
    cecum for further digestion

5
Rabbit digestive tract
6
Coprophagy/Cecotrophy
  • Ingestion of feces (normal)
  • Hard and soft feces produced
  • Soft feces ingested directly from the anus as
    excreted in early morning (night feces)
  • Not a problem if housed on wire cages
  • Similar to rumination due to path cecum mouth
    stomacha recycler
  • Provide vitamins B and K and increase forage use

7
Feedstuffs
  • Hay
  • Alfalfa--high in protein and calcium
  • Most forages are low in phosphorus
  • High fiber (cellulose) will have limited
    digestion by cecal fermentation or coprophagy
  • Grass--significantly lower in protein and
    digestibility
  • Timothy--now being seen as basis of pelleted
    diets

8
Feedstuffs
  • Garden vegetables
  • Good sources of vitamins
  • High in moisture/low in dry matter
  • Fibrous materials--help with digestive function
  • Not exceptionally good sources of protein
  • Enrichment

9
Feedstuffs
  • Grains
  • Generally good sources of energy and phosphorus
  • Poor sources of calcium and fiber
  • Grain byproducts also acceptable
  • Prefer oats and barley to corn

10
Feedstuffs
  • Protein supplements
  • Commercial pelleted diet 15-19 CP
  • Plant based
  • Oil content increases energy
  • Generally only needed for max. growth

11
Feeding Tips
  • Pelleting common
  • Reduces feed sorting/wastage
  • Cereal grains utilizedespecially oats
  • Avoid moldy feeds
  • Often nocturnal feeders
  • Avoid overfeeding calories
  • Use higher forage/vegetable matter formula
  • Meal feed superior to free choice

12
Feeding Tips contd
  • Atony and hairballs reduced with 22 fiber in
    diet
  • Rabbits unable to vomit
  • Concern although fermentation followed by
    coprophagy is significant, dietary essential
    amino acid requirements still exist
  • Fat addition common for grower rabbits
  • Gnawing toys also good

13
Nutrient Recommendations
  • Fiber
  • Reduces hairballs
  • Reduces chance of obesity
  • Helps w/ GI function

14
Special Considerations
  • Calcium
  • Very efficient absorption. . . and excretion
  • Alfalfa higher in calcium than other grasses
  • Leads to cloudy urine, urine sludge, bladder
    calculi
  • Enteritis/enterotoxemia
  • Major problem with high concentrate diets
  • Clostridial organisms flourish in presence of
    overconsumption of energyespecially in young
    rabbits
  • Also a concern with antibiotic administration

15
Chinchillas
  • Originated in S. America
  • Desire for pelts nearly led to extinction
  • Longer life span than other pet rodents
  • Require dust baths for coat quality
  • Generally eat at night
  • Monogastric herbivore w/ large
  • cecum--hind gut fermenters

www.brandywinezoo.org/chinchilla/html
16
Origin
  • Two species in the wild
  • Chinchilla brevicaudata
  • Shorter, stockier, and facing extinction
  • A previously extant species is already extict
  • Chinchilla lanigera
  • Chinchilla lanigera domesticated
  • wild Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile
  • Spanish discovered them in 16th century

17
  • Crespuscular
  • Active require wheels
  • Names after the Chincha people of the Andes
    Little Chincha
  • Hunting in the 19th century
  • Fur trade led to rarity in the wild
  • Rock crevices in the wild
  • Can jump up to 6 feet high

18
  • In the wild, groups called herds
  • Nonseasonally polyestrous
  • Gestation is 111 days
  • Usually two offsping
  • Precocial
  • Prey species defense
  • Fur release
  • Urine spraying

19
  • Dust baths
  • Fine volcanic dust (pumice)
  • Diet
  • Pelleted chinchilla with timothy hay
  • Raisin supplement 1-2 per day
  • Do not over supplement on fruits and vegetables

20
Chinchillas
  • Normally coprophagic
  • Susceptible to constipation
  • Prevented by having adequate crude fiber
  • Susceptible to dietary changes (diarrhea)
  • Make changes slowly
  • Absolute requirements not known
  • Most commercial diets are higher in fiber and
    lower in protein than conventional rodent diets
  • Enjoy veggies, fruits, and grains as treats
    (limit to one to two raisins per day)

21
Research Importance
  • Hearing
  • Range and anatomy
  • Chagas disease
  • Parasitic diseae causing American trypanosomiasis
  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • Listeriosis

22
Guinea Pigs
  • Domesticated in S. America some wild cavies
    still found there today
  • Produce large amount of feces
  • Females must be bred before 7 mo. of age

23
Origin
  • Cavia porcellus domesticated
  • Cavia aperia wild
  • wild Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay
  • also known as Cavies
  • domesticated 16th century England

24
Varieties of Guinea Pigs
  • Traditional
  • American or English short hair
  • Abyssinian whorls of short rough hair
  • Peruvian long hair

25
Varieties of Guinea Pigs
  • New varieties
  • Silky medium length soft hair
  • Teddy short, coarse hair
  • American Crested short hair with contrasting
    whorl on forehead
  • Rex very short, soft hair
  • Hairless

26
Traditional varieties of guinea pigs
27
American short hair
28
Abyssinian whorls (rosettes of short hair
29
Peruvian long hair
30
New varieties of guinea pigs
31
Silky soft, medium hair
32
Teddy short, coarse hair
33
American crested contrasting whorl on head
34
Rex very short, soft hair
35
Hairless (well, almost)
36
Basic Guinea Pig
  • compact stocky body
  • tailless
  • diurnal actually
  • short naps night and day
  • sebaceous marking glands - rump
  • open rooted teeth

37
Additional characteristics
  • vocalize at least 11 sounds
  • good swimmers
  • seldom jump
  • rarely intentionally bite or scratch
  • need frequent handling
  • lifespan 5 yr average, 8 yr max.

38
Uses of Guinea Pigs
  • Pets
  • Scientific research
  • Food

39
Home Sweet Home
  • Temperature 70, 65 79
  • Space
  • lt 350 gm 60 sq. in.
  • gt 350 gm 101 sq. in.
  • max size 1.2 x 3.8 cm mesh or solid

40
Home Sweet Home
  • Bedding
  • wood shavings not cedar, pine
  • shredded paper
  • not dusty
  • timothy hay overlay optional
  • clean weekly

41
Home Sweet Home
  • Humidity 50 40 70
  • Light cycle 1212
  • Air changes 10 15 per hour

42
Digestive System
  • Strict herbivores
  • Hind gut fermenters cecum
  • Lactobacilli sp.
  • primary fatty acid propionic acid

43
NUTRITION
  • require vitamin C
  • have higher folic acid requirement
  • sensitive to excess Ca, Vit. A, Vit. D
  • leads to metastatic calcification
  • mineralization of soft tissues

44
Nutrition Continued
  • Food preferences established early
  • Normally coprophagic
  • Provide free-choice timothy hay
  • Green veggies make great snacks and supplement
    Vit C requirements
  • Like rabbits, subject to antibiotic induced
    enterotoximia

45
Guineas Vitamin C
  • Must have diet formulated for Guinea pigs or
    otherwise supplemented with Vit C
  • Most diets fortified with Vit C (ascorbic acid)
  • Approx half of initial amt. of Vit C is oxidized
    within 90 days of mixing
  • 15-25mg / day required
  • Clinical signs (joint bleeds) can occur as soon
    as 2 weeks on Vit C deficient diet
  • Scurvy caused by Vit C deficiency is leading
    cause of death in guineas

46
Feeding
  • Additional Requirements
  • 6 gm feed/100 gm body weight
  • 18-20 protein
  • 10-16 crude fiber
  • Use guinea pig feed!!!
  • NOT RABBIT FEED
  • no vit. C and high in vit. D

47
Feeding Management
  • Messy feeders
  • Use J-feeders not bowl

48
Water Management
  • Glass/clear bottles preferred
  • Like to play with waterers
  • will empty water bottle and/or
  • stop up the opening
  • check frequently
  • Change Clean water bottle daily
  • Automatic waterers
  • check daily acidify water at source
  • reduces pseudomonas

49
Gerbils
  • Mongolian gerbil
  • Meriones unguiculatus

50
Gerbils
  • More active than hamsters
  • If escape cages, often return to them
  • Excessive burrowing and tunneling
  • Prone to stress induced epileptic seizures

http//br.geocities.com/gerson_cs/gerbil.html
51
Domestication
  • First described in 1867
  • Gerbil from Jerboa, a semitic name of a local
    type of near eastern unrelated desert rodent
  • 19th Century pet in France
  • US stock to US in 1954 By Dr Victor Schwetker

52
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

53
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

54
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)

55
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

56
Gerbils
  • Standard rodent diet acceptable
  • 4-5 fat
  • 16 protein
  • Generally block-style pellets
  • If fed seed diets
  • Will select more palatable, fatty seeds
  • Ex Sunflower seeds (low calcium and high fat
    relative to requirements)
  • Provide seeds only as a treat
  • Do NOT practice coprophagy

www.arcatapet.com/item.cfm?cat5286
57
Hamsters
  • Nocturnal
  • Least hardy of all small rodents
  • High metabolic rate due to small size
  • Will chew on most everything
  • Possess cheek pouches and utilize them frequently
    when feeding
  • Classified as granivorous

www.animalnetwork.com/critters/profiles/hamster/de
fault.asp
58
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

59
Golden Hamster
  • Mesocricetus auratus
  • Syria (now considered a vulnerable species)
  • Circadian
  • Active after dusk, late night, and dawn
  • 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

60
  • 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

61
  • 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 Britains Wellcome Bureau of Scientific
    Research

62
Lab Animal
  • 4th 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

63
Housing, Welfare, Ect.
  • 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
  • Other spss and hybrids now kept as pets
  • Syrians exist in a variety of coat qualities and
    colors

64
Hamsters
  • Normally coprophagic
  • Higher protein requirement than standard rodent
    chow
  • 17-23
  • Susceptible to Vit E deficiency
  • Fresh milled diet (lt 6 months)
  • Muscle weakness

65
Rats Mice
http//www.pitt.edu/biohome/Dept/Img/graphics/mic
e.jpg
http//www.dogbreedinfo.com/images12/RatHoodedRatM
ouseCatPics145.JPG
  • Rats relatively intelligent, but prone to obesity
  • Mice exhibit Whitten and Bruce effect
  • Standard rodent chow (block-style) will be
    sufficient
  • Vigorous digestive tracts
  • Diets well formulated due to extensive use as
    research animals

66
Non-domestic Brown Rat
  • Rattus desiginates true rats or old world rats
  • Rattus norvegicus (city rat, sewer rat also the
    black rat Rattus rattus) a domesticated
    opportunist
  • Other species of rats may act as opportunists in
    cities but are usually competitively replaced by
    the brown or black rat

67
Origins
  • Originated in China
  • Spread to Europe
  • New world in 1700s
  • Now world wide

68
Fancy Variants
  • Rat and Mouse Club of America
  • American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association
  • Sendai virus and rat mortality

69
Origin of Rat Fancy and Research
  • Rat baiting
  • Popular in Britain
  • Cruelty to Animals Act 1835
  • 70 gambling rat pits
  • Suppliers began breeding and supplying as pets
  • Color variants started
  • Show placement in 1901

70
Natural History
  • Life span up to 3 years (extreme cases to 2-5
    yr)
  • Sexual maturity 65-110 days
  • Estrous 4-5 days
  • Gestation is 21 days
  • Weaning 3-4 weeks
  • Pups 6-12 per litter
  • Tolerate group housing better than mice
  • Males assist with/tolerate nursing young

71
Housing
  • Ease of housing/cleaning critical
  • Rodent chow, less than 6 months since milling
  • Slotted cage top feeder
  • Drip bottle water
  • Draining/drowning
  • Bedding changes
  • More frequent than mice
  • 30-70 Humidity
  • 65-85 oF

72
Feeding
  • Rodent Chow
  • Coprophagic

73
Anatomy
  • Rats lack a gall bladder
  • Harderian gland
  • Pigmented tears Porphyrin staining

74
Non-domestic House Mouse
  • Mus musculus domesticus
  • House mouse
  • A domesticated opportunist
  • Other mice may live in houses
  • Mice coming in from woods/fields
  • North American white-footed mice

75
Origins
  • South Asia/Northern India
  • Spread to Mediterranean basin by 10,000 YBP
  • Europe by 3,000 YBP
  • Kept as pets in China (3,000 YBP)
  • Now found world wide (exclusive of Antarctica?)
  • Mice in human migrations
  • Danish incursions to Madeira?
  • Viking incursions previously unknown
  • All mice in Madeira have a single mitochondrial
    linage related to Scandinavia/Northern Germany

76
Modern Domestic Mice
  • Chinese lexicon discussing spotted mice
  • 1100 BCE
  • Dancing mice (later descriptions of waltzing)
  • Confucius, 500 BCE
  • Japan
  • Literature on various lines and breeding
    practices
  • Japanese lines introduced to Europe early 1600s
  • National Mouse Club, Britain, 1895

77
Modern Domestic Mice
  • Mix of various types
  • Mus musculus musculus (eastern Europe)
  • Mus musculus domesticus (western Europe), Mus
    musculus castaneus (Southeast Asia)
  • Mus musculus molossinus (Japan)
  • Early important model of genetics
  • First mammalian demonstration of Mendelian
    genetics
  • Lucien Cuenot, 1902
  • Early researchers
  • William Castle and student, C.C. Little
  • Little worked with and used stocks from A Lathrop

78
Fancy to Research
  • Miss Abbie E.C. Lathrop
  • Illinois native
  • Producer pet trade, Granby, Mass.
  • Japanese waltzing mice
  • Began supplying research trade
  • Started developing inbred strains in 1910
  • Same time as Little
  • Published on mouse tumors with Leo Loeb of U. of
    Penn
  • Died in 1918

79
Fancy Variants
  • Rat and Mouse Club of America
  • http//www.rmca.org/
  • American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association
  • http//www.afrma.org/

80
Natural History
  • Life span 1.5 years (extreme cases to 2 yr)
  • Sexual maturity 50-60 days
  • Estrous 4-5 days
  • Weaning 3-4 weeks
  • Pups 4-12 per litter
  • Will tend to territoriality
  • Manage as littermate/pairings
  • Not ideally kept in groups

81
Territoriality and Pheromones and Reproduction
  • Vomeronasal organ (a distinct chemoreceptor organ
    located in the nasal cavity different neuronal
    connections)
  • Whitten effect
  • W.K. Witten male mouse pheromones will
    synchronize the estrous cycle of group housed
    females
  • Bruce effect
  • Exposure of a bred or pregnant female to a new
    male will cause pregnancy failure
  • Vanderbergh effect
  • Exposure to male urine pheromones will induce
    earlier first estrus in prepubertal females

82
Housing
  • Classic shoe box housing
  • Rodent chow
  • Slotted cage top feeder
  • Drip bottle water
  • Draining/drowning
  • Bedding
  • 30-70 Humidity
  • 65-85 oF

83
Feeding
  • Rodent Chow
  • Chewing
  • Tooth health
  • Enrichment
  • Supplement sparingly
  • Grains, seeds, vegetables
  • Coprophagic

84
Behavior
  • Primarily nocturnal
  • Little to no color vision
  • Acute hearing up to ultrasound range
  • Vocal communication in human hearing (longer
    distance) and ultrasound range (shorter distance)

85
Housing Social Concerns
  • Trio Breeding
  • Male X 2 females per cage
  • Nesting material
  • Females will often assist in raising young
  • Housing males
  • Co-housing possible if brothers
  • Difficult to remove and reintroduce
  • Male vs females as pet
  • Males more exploratory
  • Female urine lacks strong smell

86
Summary
  • Characteristics
  • Animal Copr. CP Vit. Enrich
  • Rabbits X 15-19 X
  • Chinchillas X 12-14 C(?) X
  • Guinea Pigs X 16-18 C X
  • Gerbils 16 X
  • Hamsters X 17-23 E
    X
  • Rats Mice X 16 X
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