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#1110223 - 05/07/11 12:50 PM Depression Leads To Self Mutilation?
Megs
Unregistered


I often times see people telling others that depression and/or loneliness results in 'over grooming and self mutilation'.
I do not disagree with the overgrooming part, as I myself have experienced it a bit.
But I beg to differ on the self mutilation bit. Not because *I* haven't experienced it, but because of the following statement (note: this is from another forum, not Glider CENTRAL):


Originally Posted By: "Something2BelieveIn"
Quote:
Depression is a leading cause of self-mutilation for sugar gliders.

This is absolutely untrue.

Are these articles coming from Glider University? This is such old information and not at all accurate.

Gliders do not self mutilate from depression. This is a myth. There are a whole lot of health issues that CAN come from depression, but gliders do not self mutilate from depression. They SM when they are in PHYSICAL distress.

We have not one single well documented case of a sugar glider SMing from depression. Every time I say this, people come forward and tell me it happened to so and so or to themselves, but when asked if the glider was tested for parasites, bacterial infection, impaction, cancer, skin disorders, etc, the answer is always NO. Therefore, there is no proof that depression was the cause. In cases where there IS testing for gliders SMing, there has been found SOMETHING to be causing the physical discomfort.

Gliders can be tested for these things even after death. The SUGAR Group is actively collecting necropsy and histopathology results from gliders that pass away from SMing. So far, all that I have said above has held true.

If a glider is SMing, it needs IMMEDIATE vet care and a complete battery of tests to find the cause of the SMing.

Interestingly, for cloacal SMing, the most prominent cause we are finding to date is physical deformity (found after death upon necropsy). Our pathologists suspect these physical deformities are a result of inbreeding from our lovely mill breeders.



I trust Val very much, and believe her above statement. I myself have spent some time going through previous posts of this forum and others and have to say, the only time I've heard of SMing is due to underlying problems that cause the glider discomfort.

Cases of 'simple' loneliness and/or depression caused overgrooming, yes, but nothing as drastic as self mutilation.


Thoughts?

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#1110376 - 05/07/11 10:46 PM Re: Depression Leads To Self Mutilation? [Re: ]
dizzyblue Offline
Glider Lover

Registered: 06/05/10
Posts: 566
Loc: richmond,indiana
Depression leads to many physical changes in the bodies of animals and humans.

But being depressed will lead to sickness and sickness will lead to a less active immune system and that could allow bacteria and virus to gain the upper hand.

I'm not trying to debunke anything at all. But I know SM-ing is likely to be caused be many things. I'll see if I can put some medical terms and conditions in this thread later on tonight.

I would love to hear what other think though. And maybe this will lead to many cases being documented and help us figure out whats going on.

I'm excited to learn more!!! Great post!!!

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#1110417 - 05/08/11 01:15 AM Re: Depression Leads To Self Mutilation? [Re: ]
Megs
Unregistered


Thanks for the post. I was honestly expecting to come home from work with more responses.
I am really curious as to what others think.
I'm curious to see what else you may be able to provide. smile

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#1110862 - 05/09/11 08:51 AM Re: Depression Leads To Self Mutilation? [Re: ]
jb7741 Offline
Joey Member

Registered: 03/16/11
Posts: 130
Loc: Peoria, IL
I have nothing of value to add here, as I am quite the newby. However, I just wanted to let you know that this is quite an interesting topic for me.

Thanks for mentioning it. I look forward to some other opinions.
_________________________
daddy to:
2 :dog: Toby and Boomer
2 :grey: Rascal and Starlette
and 30 or so tarantulas

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#1111272 - 05/09/11 08:30 PM Re: Depression Leads To Self Mutilation? [Re: ]
SGQ Offline
Glider Lover

Registered: 12/25/10
Posts: 524
Loc: Grand Junction, Colorado
Well~~~ My personal experience didn't go as far as SM..

Twinkie's cage mate died, and he became severely depressed in a short ammount of time. I was hand feeding him, cleaning him and listening to him cry for his brother at night and he spent a great deal of time in the pouch.

Twinkie was followed by 2 vets. Tested and looked at, poked and proded and listened to by 2 vets. Nothing was wrong with him, yet~ he began overgrooming his chest. Ripping hair out from all the way around his scent gland until he had a huge bald spot all the way around. And then his excessive grooming broke the skin.

It was this point me and one of my vets felt we were dangerously close to SM. It was a matter of watching him day and night~ it was a matter of keeping him on me all the time to ease his depression...

It was not classic SM case, no. He didn't go crazy tearing into himself. But the irritation on his chest after he broke the skin~ brought us close because then he just wouldn't stop unless I was watching him.


Now~~~
Could it have also been a hormonal issue? I think yes. It was around his scent gland, he was not neutered yet.. While most overgroomers bald their eyebrows or tail when depressed it isn't unheard of to overgroom the chest either. Perhaps the depression triggered something to go haywire with his hormones?

There's no way to know really. He got neutered, I watched him like a hawk and healed his chest and got him a friend and all was over with.

I'm also gonna say.. my constant watching is what helped Twinkie.
Not all glider owners care what they are doing or not doing for their gliders.
Imagine Twinkie belonged to someone like that for a second.
That person wouldn't care that he was lonely, wouldn't have noticed the bald spot develop, wouldn't have done any and everything to heal the broken skin and that broken skin would have kept getting more and more irritated, possibly opened even further.. and we all know what a glider is likely to do to an open wound if left to themselves.

These people are also not the people that will take said glider to the vet, send the glider for a necropsy.. or any of that. It *could* be an unheard of tale only because the instances this happens in are due to improper care.

But *that* is simply my speculation.

I do agree that perhaps something is wrong with SMers physically. Particularly when that opinion comes from someone who has a whole lot of experience and research into the matter. But I also think that a lowered immune system from depression and/or stress can also lead to that physical problem becoming a problem.

So would depression = SM? No
But could depression = lowered immune system (which in turn)= physical discomfort/pain
which then in turn *could* = SM
?
Yes, I personally think so.
_________________________
~~Chrystal~~
My beautiful pair~

Zinger (aka:Evan) :wfb:
Karma (aka:Ivy) :grey:

:rbridge: Thor 12/24/10
heart Twinkie 11/26/11

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#1116015 - 05/18/11 10:20 PM Re: Depression Leads To Self Mutilation? [Re: ]
Mikayla
Unregistered


I was reading an article given to me by our veterinarian about sugar gliders, depression, and over-grooming. It mentioned that the over-groomed areas of skin become more susceptible to infection, but what I found most interesting was that a great deal of research has actually been done with sugar gliders on depression. Seems researchers use sugar gliders a often to study serotonin deficits and depression because it is so easily inducible in sugar gliders. All they had to do to depress a sugar glider, drastically lower serotonin levels, is house the glider ALONE! Proof indeed that sugar gliders need furry buddies.

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#1116050 - 05/18/11 11:38 PM Re: Depression Leads To Self Mutilation? [Re: ]
suggiemom1980 Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 03/05/07
Posts: 13744
Loc: Vincennes, IN, USA
Originally Posted By: Mikayla
I was reading an article given to me by our veterinarian about sugar gliders, depression, and over-grooming. It mentioned that the over-groomed areas of skin become more susceptible to infection, but what I found most interesting was that a great deal of research has actually been done with sugar gliders on depression. Seems researchers use sugar gliders a often to study serotonin deficits and depression because it is so easily inducible in sugar gliders. All they had to do to depress a sugar glider, drastically lower serotonin levels, is house the glider ALONE! Proof indeed that sugar gliders need furry buddies.

Very interesting that research has actually been done on this!
_________________________
Connie

812-890-9734, 24/7 Emergencies/Joey issues

SmallWorldSuggies

"The greater the challenge, the sweeter the reward"

"Glide free :rbridge: Silly "Ozball" Ozzie. You left us 11/21/12..way too soon. You're forever loved, remembered, missed."

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#1116077 - 05/19/11 12:58 AM Re: Depression Leads To Self Mutilation? [Re: ]
Dancing Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 22746
Loc: 80 acres of paradise in KS
Chrystal, I tend to agree with your statements. While I have never seen a glider over groom to the point of sores, I can definately see how it could happen and lead to SM'ing.

I have never experienced (or allowed a glider to get to that point) this in any of the gliders I've had here but I have had some gliders come to me so over groomed that it was frightening. Most all of them were single gliders. Not all, but most.

Reep was one. He wasn't a single glider. He was almost bald when he got here. Not just his head but his whole body. For Reep, his was caused by stress and poor diet. And we believe depression over all his joeys being taken from him and his mates. Reep LOVED his babies. He was neutered, put on a better diet and care was taken to reduce any external (environmental) stress. Took 2 years for him to fully grow back his hair.
_________________________
620-704-9109
Judge not until you have walked in their shoes and lived their lives. What you see online is only part of the story.

I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance


The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears.

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#1116657 - 05/20/11 03:45 AM Re: Depression Leads To Self Mutilation? [Re: ]
eshaw Offline
Glider Lover

Registered: 02/11/11
Posts: 593
Loc: Iowa
Suggiemom1980, I'd like to read that article if you still have it. I have a single that's been alone for over two years and there are no problems with her. So I dispute this claim. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm saying that I've observed the contrary. I've also noticed that you haven't said whether the article stated whether there was any interaction with humans either. Was this the case or do you remember?

Megs, I have to believe that SM is possible due to complications induced by stress.


Edited by eshaw (05/20/11 03:53 AM)

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#1116693 - 05/20/11 08:07 AM Re: Depression Leads To Self Mutilation? [Re: suggiemom1980]
suggiemom1980 Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 03/05/07
Posts: 13744
Loc: Vincennes, IN, USA
Originally Posted By: eshaw
Suggiemom1980, I'd like to read that article if you still have it. I have a single that's been alone for over two years and there are no problems with her. So I dispute this claim. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm saying that I've observed the contrary. I've also noticed that you haven't said whether the article stated whether there was any interaction with humans either. Was this the case or do you remember?
Originally Posted By: Mikayla
I was reading an article given to me by our veterinarian about sugar gliders, depression, and over-grooming.
Originally Posted By: suggiemom1980
Very interesting that research has actually been done on this!
_________________________
Connie

812-890-9734, 24/7 Emergencies/Joey issues

SmallWorldSuggies

"The greater the challenge, the sweeter the reward"

"Glide free :rbridge: Silly "Ozball" Ozzie. You left us 11/21/12..way too soon. You're forever loved, remembered, missed."

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#1117950 - 05/23/11 03:12 AM Re: Depression Leads To Self Mutilation? [Re: ]
eshaw Offline
Glider Lover

Registered: 02/11/11
Posts: 593
Loc: Iowa
Sorry suggiemom1980!

Mikayla, could you give me a link to that article you were reading? I'd appreciate it.

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#1118322 - 05/23/11 11:31 PM Re: Depression Leads To Self Mutilation? [Re: eshaw]
Mikayla
Unregistered


I'll look and see if there is something online about it. I just had a printout my veterinarian gave me. It has to be around here somewhere. I'll try to get it scanned and send it to you. Might take a while though... I don't have a scanner. I don't think it talked about human interaction. They were intentionally trying to depress the suggies (icky animal testing) so I doubt they were giving them lots of happy human love.

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#1118330 - 05/23/11 11:45 PM Re: Depression Leads To Self Mutilation? [Re: ]
Mikayla
Unregistered


I think this is one of the articles that mentioned it...
http://wvc.omnibooksonline.com/data/papers/2008_V467.pdf

Here is the relevant excerpt:
"Gliders are frequently presented due to either aggression towards their owners or other gliders, or
for self-mutilation. Whereas aggression may be part of normal social behavior particularly with territory
marking and reproductive activity, self-mutilation is a problem of captivity. The practitioner needs to
develop a history-gathering and trouble-shooting system similar to that used with feather-picking birds. Self-mutilation is usually seen in solitary sugar gliders. Sugar gliders have been used in laboratory animal
medicine as models of serotonin-deficiency depression. To clinically depress a sugar glider, the
researchers found one only has to house them as single animals. Many of our pet gliders are solitary. And
unfortunately, since they were removed from glider families prior to puberty, they do not know how to
properly integrate into glider society. Gliders should not be housed as solitary animals. Introduction to
another glider later in life, particularly after neutering, may make stress and problems worse. Therapy
needs to be aimed at maximizing the diet and habitat, and in many cases will require medical
intervention. Many of the tri-cyclic antidepressants and newer serotonin-enhancer drugs may be useful.
The author has used Prozac (25 mg/kg PO q 12h, Lily, Indianapolis, IN, USA) in sugar gliders
successfully to stop mutilation while correcting dietary and husbandry conditions. Dosage may be
increased slowly over time. It takes 48 weeks before blood/brain levels are fully maximized, so clients
need to be cautioned as to timeline for improvement. "

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#1118344 - 05/24/11 12:48 AM Re: Depression Leads To Self Mutilation? [Re: ]
eshaw Offline
Glider Lover

Registered: 02/11/11
Posts: 593
Loc: Iowa
Mikayla, I'm not trying to slam you just so you know. I just read another thread how a vet told someone that tossing their glider up in the air was an OK thing to do. I tend to take most everything with a grain of salt. I do want to thank you very much for this article. I will study it thanks to you!

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#1118355 - 05/24/11 01:58 AM Re: Depression Leads To Self Mutilation? [Re: ]
Mikayla
Unregistered


The author seemed to think that his/her use of Prozac was a major factor in stopping the self-mutilation in the gliders, but says that dietary and husbandry conditions were also corrected. I wonder which actually helped more? I never even knew Prozac was used on gliders. Hope my suggies never need it! LOL

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