Last June, we featured a blog about neuter surgeries performed on nearly a dozen domestic male mice and rats by our experienced veterinarian, Dr. Lynch. Just a few weeks ago she neutered 22 of our resident male mice!
Why neuter mice? Besides the obvious reason - to prevent unwanted litters - there are other benefits to spay and neuter, and those are health and behavior related. Intact males, for instance, tend to have more behavior problems than neutered males—including aggression toward other animals, the desire to roam, and VERY strong-smelling urine (used to mark territory). Intact male mice have been known to resort to cannibalism when caged together, so strong are their instincts to outcompete one another. And if anyone has had a male mouse as a pet, you know that the smell of their urine is almost unbearable. Neutering mice can not only resolve these potential problems, but also create an opportunity for them to be housed with females without the risk of unwanted litters.
To perform the surgeries effectively and safely, Dr. Lynch and her vet tech team had to use creative strategies! Each mouse was prepped for surgery with an IM (in the muscle) injection of Buprenex, a pain medication typically given to dogs at the time of spay/neuter. To adapt the oxygen mask for these little guys, a latex glove (with a hole cut out) and plastic syringe cap were used to fit around each mouse's face. Using a standard surgical blade, without a holder, Dr. Lynch performed the neuter operation. Despite their tiny size, each mouse was sutured with thread as would be done with a dog neuter.
Each surgery took just 5 minutes, plus another 2-3 minutes recovery time on a heating pad with oxygen. Within 5 more minutes most mice were awake, alert, and exercising on their wheels!