A Whole New Ballgame in Small Animal Surgery

Earlier this year Dakin's medical team broke new ground by introducing mouse neutering to its capabilities. Dr. Elizabeth Helton is one of the surgeons who perform this delicate work and she explains how it became integrated into Dakin's programs.

“I went to Tufts University and trained with their exotics vet to do rat surgeries,” she explained.

Besides the obvious benefit of birth control, neutering male mice also addresses an odor issue that happens with intact (unneutered) mice. The surgery itself doesn't take long – about 30 minutes including prep time and post-op care - but keeping the patient safely anesthetized presented a challenge.

“Normally, animals have anesthesia masks, but mice are too small,” Helton explained. “I came up with an injectable anesthesia protocol that keeps the mice sedated without using gas.” She adds that the process “is more like a rabbit neuter surgery than a dog or cat surgery. It involves more steps to get it done right.”

Recovery is fairly easy for the patients. They receive antibiotics and their housing setups are altered to minimize their movement for a few days.

While not all male mice at Dakin are neutered, the plan is to increase the numbers on an ongoing basis. To be eligible, the mice need to be around 2-3 months old and weigh a minimum of 30 grams. Adult mice weigh between 30-40 grams. Currently, this procedure is being performed on male mice in Dakin's care only and is not available for owned pet mice.

As a national leader in animal welfare, Dakin is proud to create innovative solutions to issues found within our animal populations.

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