& Management / UK
Wildlife Casualty Management / Techniques:
This information should be read in association with Wildlife Casualty Handling and
Transport which contains background information together with links to
the Electronic Library and Organisations (UK Contacts). The related Species pages contain
||This page has been prepared for the "UK
Wildlife: First Aid and Care" Wildpro module, and is designed for the
needs of the following species: Muscardinus
avellanarius - Hazel dormouse, Myoxus
glis - Fat dormouse
These species are from the family Myoxidae.
Catching and Handling:
avellanarius - Hazel dormouse
- Rarely aggressive; may be caught and picked up by hand. (B151)
glis - Fat dormouse
- A net (fine mesh size) or a humane catching cage may be used to catch these animals in
an enclosed space.
- Fine mesh size on the net minimises the risk of the animal becoming entangled in the
- Grasp the head and neck firmly through the net before carefully working the net off the
- May be transferred directly from a net into a suitable container without direct handling
if examination is not required.
- Thick gloves are sometimes recommended to provide protection from bites, which can reach
bone. In many cases gloves will not be sufficiently thick to prevent bites reaching the
hands but at the same time will greatly decrease the sensitivity and security of grip;
loss of dexterity and grip security with thick gloves may be a particular problem if the
wearer has small hands and if the gloves are not supple.
Restraint for Examination and Treatment:
- Examination of Muscardinus
avellanarius - Hazel dormouse may be carried out using physical restraint.
- Treatment of Muscardinus
avellanarius - Hazel dormouse which requires the animal to be kept
stationary, as well as any procedures which may be painful, should be carried out under
- Examination and treatment of Myoxus
glis - Fat dormouse may require general anaesthesia.
General Anaesthesia and
Suggested protocols for sedation and general anaesthesia
- As with other small mammals general anaesthesia may be induced in an anaesthetic
- Mask induction of general anaesthesia may also be used, but this can lead to handling
- Isoflurane is the anaesthetic agent of choice.
- Halothane may be used as an alternative to isoflurane.
- Maintain on isoflurane inhalation anaesthesia with oxygen (no nitrous oxide), delivered
via a face mask e.g. made from a plastic syringe barrel.
- Use a low-resistance circuit such as a T-piece.
- Allowing some leakage from the face mask further reduces resistance;
- Some form of active scavenging should be used to reduce atmospheric pollution.
- Avoid excessively high flow rates of oxygen, as this increases heat loss and the risk of
- Consider fluid therapy during general anaesthesia of small mammals to replace water
losses; subcutaneous fluids would be appropriate.
- Action should be taken to reduce heat loss of small mammals during general anaesthesia,
to reduce the risk of hypothermia e.g. keep on a heated pad during anaesthesia and
- Starvation prior to general anaesthesia should not be performed in these species.
|Appropriate Use (?)
- Catch only if necessary.
- Handling of wild animals should be minimised.
- Consider design of accommodation and timing of treatments to minimise requirements for
capture and handling.
- Consider whether physical or chemical restraint is more appropriate.
- Minimise handling to minimise stress.
- Rodents often struggle violently when restrained.
- Fine mesh size on net minimises the risk of entanglement in the mesh.
- Thick gloves may provide some protection from bites of Myoxus
glis- Fat dormouse but will reduce dexterity.
- During general anaesthesia, allow some leakage from the face mask
to reduce resistance.
- Keep on a heated pad during general anaesthesia and recovery to reduce the risk of
- Fluid therapy should be considered during general anaesthesia of small mammals, in order
to replace losses; subcutaneous fluids would generally be appropriate.
|Complications/ Limitations / Risk
- Risk of injury to the animal if struck by the hoop of a net.
- Risk of entanglement of e.g. claws in the net.
- Bites from Myoxus
glis - Fat dormouse can reach bone.
- Risk of hypothermia during general anaesthesia.
|Equipment / Chemicals required and Suppliers
- Appropriate net and gloves, if required.
- Humane catching cage if necessary for Myoxus
glis - Fat dormouse.
|Expertise level / Ease of Use
- Suitable cloths such as towels are widely available.
- Nets may be obtained from specialist suppliers, veterinary suppliers or good pet stores;
their cost is variable.
- Gloves and glass jars are widely available.
- Nets may be hand-constructed from readily-available inexpensive materials.
- Some drugs used for chemical restraint are expensive.
- Drugs used for chemical restraint may only be available to veterinary surgeons or other
|Legal and Ethical Considerations
||Becki Lawson and Suzanne