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Diseases in pet degus

V. Jekl, K. Hauptman, Z. Knotek

DEGUS, native to the Andean west slopes of northern and central Chile, are commonly used as laboratory animals; however, over the past few years, they have become increasingly popular as pets. This retrospective study investigated the prevalence of diseases in pet degus.

Degus undergoing a physical examination at a veterinary clinic between 2007 and 2009 were included in the study. Animals were presented for either routine health checks or showing clinical signs of disease. Each animal's history, including previous treatment, was recorded. Where conducted, the results of haematology, plasma biochemistry, cytology, bacteriology, mycology, histology or radiography were examined. Degus were divided into two age groups for analysis: less than two years and two years or more.

Three hundred degus (130 females and 170 males), ranging in age from two weeks to 11 years, were examined. The most common presenting conditions were acquired dental disease (60 per cent), with a significantly higher prevalence in older animals, skin alopecia due to fur chewing (13 per cent) and lens cataracts (13 per cent). Other common disorders included traumatic injuries to soft tissues (bite wounds and tail slip due to improper handling), …

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