neuter surgeries make "pocket pets" more desirable
June 17, 2010

It’s always really exciting when the vet team has the opportunity to perform less-common procedures and surgeries on our shelter animals.  Our three veterinarians have different specialties from their years in practice before coming to Nevins Farm, so we are very lucky to have them on our staff.


In mid-May, we had a number of “pocket pets” surrendered to the adoption center.  Fortunately, Dr. Lynch has had experience performing sterilization surgeries on these small animals, and was able to neuter five mice and five rats during one afternoon in May.  One might wonder – “Why neuter mice and rats?”  Surely they aren’t running loose, reproducing and causing an overpopulation problem?


 iodine scrub is used to prep the surgical site

There are other benefits to spay and neuter that go beyond animal overpopulation, 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 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.


These photos show Dr. Lynch performing a neuter surgery on one of our domestic mice available for adoption.  Most medical tools aren’t designed for their tiny bodies, so Dr. Lynch had to be creative in adapting surgical equipment to do the job.  She used a plastic syringe cap as a mask for this mouse, fitting a cut Neoprene glove to the cap to create a seal around the mouse’s small face.  This allows oxygen to be continuously delivered to the mouse while he is under sedation.  Using extreme care, for a mouse’s skin is incredibly delicate, Dr. Lynch performs the neuter surgery.  Sutures aren’t necessary to seal the small incision site—just a drop of surgical glue.


Within minutes of waking up from the surgery, Dr. Lynch explains, most mice are quite active—eating, drinking, and even using their exercise wheels.