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E. Anne McBride
The Veterinary Nurse, Vol. 8, Iss. 7, 25 Sep 2017, pp 376 - 381

The term 'small mammals' encompasses a wide range of species. Each has its own environmental, nutritional and social grouping needs. They also have species-specific activity rhythms, behaviours and communication signals. Many veterinary professionals have limited knowledge of these small, and usually prey, species. This may mean they do not take adequate practical steps to help reduce stress, and thus facilitate recovery, when these animals come to the surgery. Further, there are various long-held, if inaccurate, common beliefs about the needs, lifespans and availability of veterinary care for these small animals. These inaccurate perceptions mean many owners do not know how to reduce stress at home or recognise when the animal is showing signs of stress, ill-health or pain. It is the author's aim to help the reader rectify this through a brief exploration of four aspects of these animals: size, sight, sound and scent, and how these relate to sources of stress.

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