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#137931 - 08/26/06 10:18 PM Luna Autopsy Report
StitchsMom Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 09/24/03
Posts: 10569
Loc: IL (St. Louis area)
Well, I've been putting this post off for long enough. Bear with me as I try desperately to explain this as well to you guys as they did to me. Mods, if this is in the wrong section, please relocate it for me.

Because of their hours, it took me several days to get Luna's body ( <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crying.gif" alt="" /> ) up to the clinic. My vet had warned me in advance that her body may not be at it's best by that point, but that it was worth giving it a shot. He instructed me NOT to freeze her body, but to keep her cool in the fridge until I could get her up to the clinic.

The autopsy didn't go as planned. There was more deterioration than we would have liked. They agreed with my vet that sugar gliders are very fragile and that they could still see what they could find. It was confirmed that she did in fact die from fluid in her lungs leading them to confirm the pneumonia diagnosis my vet had made.

Then came the tough part. How did she get it? They gave me a few options.

1. Existing bacteria or other infections in the throat and mouth can be breathed into the lungs. Normally, a person (or animal) would cough it up. However, if the animal has a weak immune system for any reason or simply fails to cough it up (while sleeping for example) it can develop into pneumonia.

I didn't buy this one. Luna seemed fit as a fiddle. I don't believe she had any kind of pre-existing illness nor do I believe she had a weak immune system. Again, I was reminded of their fragility by the doctors.

2. If a person (or animal) that is sick with a cold, flu, pneumonia, etc coughs and the sugar glider than breathes in those air droplets they can get sick as well. It works just like people. Basically, pathogenic organisms infect the respiratory tract and overcome the animal's immune system.

I had heard of gliders catching colds and such so this seemed more likely. However, I had no idea where she would have come into contact with an infected person or animal. Then I realized that, duh!, I take her everywhere with me. Any one of the dozens of strangers that have held her or animals at Petsmart could have been the culprit. I had no idea that allowing strangers to handle my gliders could be so dangerous.

The other sugar gliders checked out just fine. We had a moment of panic the other evening when Squeak decided to throw up after snack time. Because I'm super paranoid right now, I rushed him straight into my vet. He assured me that Squeak is just fine. He asked me what I had fed him and I had to confess that I had given him a few more treats than usual because he recently lost Luna and I wanted to spoil him. He said that it doesn't happen often, but that sugar gliders can get upset stomachs and that is what probably happened. Too much food and stress was what my vet said caused it. (No worries, I've laid off the treats for now and he has been fine). I have Squeak with me nearly 24/7 just because I'm so afraid of losing him. I have my sugs on a 30 day quaruntine. No new gliders can come in and they can't go out. So, no trips for them for awhile.

I think that's everything. I keep trying to explain this to people as well as they explained it to me. Understand that I am by no means a vet and some of this goes right over my head and I was very upset at the time so I'm trying to get it all straight.

The only thing that bothers me about all of this is that I haven't ever heard of another glider dying this way. Have any of you heard of any gliders at all that have gotten sick from another animal or person and then died within just a few days without showing any symptoms until the very last minute? I'm so worried about this happening again in the future. Anyone else have experiences with pneumonia or other respititory illnesses? I'd love to be more educated on the topic. I thought I was prepared for everything, but obviously, respiritory illness is not my specialty. Any help, advice, or anything would be greatly appreciated!


Attachments
621897-LunaHappyWithApple.JPG (80 downloads)

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#137932 - 08/26/06 10:42 PM Re: Luna Autopsy Report [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I'm so sorry about Luna - I wish I had something to offer. It does seem like a strange way for her to go, but they are fragile little creatures. Is this vet experienced with suggies, or is it just the best you could do? Sometimes even the best vet, if not experienced with gliders, isn't much help. I know none of my rambling helps you any, just know that I've been in your position with 2 gliders, only I didn't have the luxury of a necropsy. She is ok now, let her go...

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#137933 - 08/26/06 10:50 PM Re: Luna Autopsy Report [Re: ]
StitchsMom Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 09/24/03
Posts: 10569
Loc: IL (St. Louis area)
My personal vet has limited experience. The clinic in Centrailia has a few more experienced people there, but nothing spectacular. I must admit that I felt like I knew more than any of the vets I talked to. They did give me the number to a vet in St. Louis that specializes in glider so I can use that one next time. However, I have a feeling that the vets there will leave me with the same feeling of 'I know more'.

I've asked before for good vets in Illinois and never get too much of a response. A vet that is more than 30 minutes away won't do me any good in an emergency. My personal vet (he works at Horseshoe Lake Animal Hospital less than five minutes away) really was the most experienced vet I could find on my own and that wasn't hours away. I even asked a breeder that is 20 minutes away from me where he takes his gliders and he said that I'd have more luck bringing my gliders to him than any vets in the area. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/nixweiss.gif" alt="" />
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#137934 - 08/26/06 11:17 PM Re: Luna Autopsy Report [Re: ]
jacknsally Offline
Glider Addict

Registered: 03/30/05
Posts: 3224
Loc: North Fort Worth - TX
I'm sorry for your loss of Luna. I had a similiar experience with a friends glider( I treated her pneummonia in her last days). The lil girl was 6ms old and came down with pneumonia somehow and died within days. Her momma swears there was no signs of illness & that she just woke up one day like that. Thinking back over the last few weeks of her life- the only thing that kept coming up that was suspicious was that they adopted a dog from the pound that had Kennel cough- they didn't know the dog had kennel cough until after it had been living with them well over a week. The dog lived and slept everywhere in the house & was around the glider.

So could her lil one have gotten sick and turned into pneumonia from the Kennel cough- I wouldn't rule it out
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~Always on my mind & in my heart Jack, Sally & Serenity~


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#137935 - 08/26/06 11:48 PM Re: Luna Autopsy Report [Re: ]
StitchsMom Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 09/24/03
Posts: 10569
Loc: IL (St. Louis area)
Thanks for that post. It makes me feel a little less alone, ya know? Luna turned 6 months old the day before her death. I wonder if maybe younger gliders are more susceptible?
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#137936 - 08/27/06 12:21 AM Re: Luna Autopsy Report [Re: ]
Judie Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 10/25/01
Posts: 9173
Loc: Edwardsville, Kansas 66113
I have owned sugars a very long time and have only had one female... she was around 4 1/2 that died from Plural Edema (fluid in Plural Lining that surrounds the lungs) which has been about two years ago. The Pnu was a secondary problem to a bacterial overgrowth.

I had a necropsy done on her.. and it reveiled that she had a cocci (normal bacteria that is usually suppressed by the immune system) which could have been treated with Baytril and several other antibiotics.

Problem was... I did not notice her being sick till it was too late. By that time... she was in distress and I ran to the clinic with her. She died while the vet was mixing up an antibiotic for her.

The only symptom I noticed and that I dismissed as being stressed... was the Sunday befor she died... she had a slightly purple nose. I sluffed it off... because I thought she was stressed due to me trying to clip her nails because within minutes of having released her into the cage... the purple color disappeared. Three days later... she was out and inside the cage area during the daytime. When my vet came to the house I told him about her strange behavior. He picked up on the head bobbing of which I had missed.

Needless to say... I am who am responsible for all of my gliders health, missed her being sick as the signs were so subtle. It was an illness that could have been treated if only had I been more intune at the time.

So, remember... even us who are so knowledgeable and experieced with our own gliders... we too, have suffered at one time or another a loss as well that could have been prevented if we had only know there was a problem.

Your little glider was well loved by you... even though her time here was brief. May your broken heart be healed soon. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/hug2.gif" alt="" />

As for Squeek... I would be very concerned about him. It is not normal for a glider to throw up. Think I would at least have the vet do a direct fecal smear with cytology(stain and not with a saline solution). Your vet may be missing something if he has not done this simple procedure.


Edited by Judie (08/27/06 01:48 AM)

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#137937 - 08/27/06 12:33 AM Re: Luna Autopsy Report [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I, too have been putting off posting the results of Jeeper's necropsy report. I promise I will do that in the next couple of days, but it will be long and complicated, and I'm really not sure it gave me any definitive answers either. I will tell you that she had fluid in her lungs along with a bad liver. I believe the pneumonia came on secondarily after she was already sick. I may have even caused it myself because she could have aspirated some pedialyte when I was trying to force fluids to combat dehydration. I did notice some slight clicking when she breathed, particularly after I forced fluids, but it only started the last day of her life and she had been VERY ill for several days already. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" /> HTH.

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#137938 - 08/27/06 01:52 AM Re: Luna Autopsy Report [Re: ]
StitchsMom Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 09/24/03
Posts: 10569
Loc: IL (St. Louis area)
I think I'll do that, Judie. It would make me feel alot better.

Luna was also clicking while breathing that day. It was one of the things that set me off that something absolutely wasn't right with her. Of course, we all know now that she was indeed having trouble breathing.
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#137939 - 08/27/06 03:04 AM Re: Luna Autopsy Report [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


There doesn't have to be a reason, obvious exposure, or identifiable reason to become ill. Most significant infections are not because of immune system deficiencies or some gorilla germ that was too tough for normal antibiotics and immune protection. Any healthy person or animal can be taken out by a common germ in a bad place, especially if it gets a significant head start.

The lung is like a blood filter that has the entire circulation pass through it. Any bacteria gaining entrance to the circulation can set up there.

Also, germs can gain entrance via the airway. The mouth and nose have flora that can get to the lung alveoli and cause a nasty pneumonia. It is not surprising when bronchitis or pneumonia happens, but more surprising that it doesn't happen more often.

Certainly the weak and malnourished have an increased incidence of severe infections, but all are susceptible.

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#137940 - 08/27/06 12:47 PM Re: Luna Autopsy Report [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Aw, this stuff is so sad and so scary <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />

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#137941 - 08/29/06 08:28 PM Re: Luna Autopsy Report [Re: ]
SugarBlossoms Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 02/23/06
Posts: 5830
Loc: USA
I am so very sorry about your little girl Luna. Squeak needs you now and you need him. God Bless you both and know Luna is happy where she is although she was very happy with you and Squeak. Someday, all will be together again. HUGS
_________________________
Keeper of Handprints on my Heart, You left your Footprints on my soul.
My precious loves that left to quickly, Peanut, Katie
Isabella, Kiwi, Bonnie and Monroe.

Spread your wings and glide free of pain,
Until the day I see you again.

God speed my precious angels. I love you. Mama.

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#137942 - 08/29/06 08:37 PM Re: Luna Autopsy Report [Re: ]
Lucy Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 02/14/01
Posts: 7354
Loc: Lexington, KY
Lots of gliders have had fluid in the lungs noted at a necropsy. It's not uncommon. Unless you had a diagnosis of pneumonia, I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that fluid in the lungs necessarily meant that. It could be secondary to heart failure, too - a heart that doesn't pump well allows fluid to stay in the lungs and accumulate. When Gladys died, she had a lot of fluid accumulate, but it was determined that with the multi-organ failure she was undergoing, it was probably due to the heart giving out.

This is always so difficult, and I applaud you getting the necropsy and labs. I hope doing so will give you some hope that other gliders could be helped. I also hope you will fill out the death database, if you haven't already.

I'm so sorry for your loss. There's nothing harder to endure.
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#137943 - 08/29/06 08:47 PM Re: Luna Autopsy Report [Re: ]
myprideandjoys Offline
Glider Lover

Registered: 03/05/06
Posts: 456
Loc: Eureka,Nv
I'm sorry about Luna as well and I have heard about a glider dying this way. Somebody she knew had pneumonia and was handling her glider and shortly later the glider passed away do to her catching it. After hearing that from her I never let strangers touch my gliders and if someome in my house is sick they do not go ner them. If I am sick I have one of my girls fix their dinner. It's mean I know but I do not want anything to happen to them.
_________________________
wife to 1 understanding hubby
mom to 4 childern 5y-o,13y-o&15y-o and a 1 y-o
6 sugar babies Gizmo,Munchkin,Pepcy,Stinkbug,Egypt&Cairo all living in 1 cage now
and 3 dogs Cassie,Isis & Tiye

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#137944 - 08/29/06 10:44 PM Re: Luna Autopsy Report [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Pneumonia, at least bacterial pneumonia which is the group that can be the most aggressive and dangerous, usually isn't the kind of infection that is contagious and spreads to others by contact. Some viral infections can spread, but they aren't treatable.

To follow up on Lucy's point, fluid from heart failure and fluid from an infection like pneumonia should be easily distinguished at necropsy, even if the necropsy is done later. The evidence of infection with white cells and bacteria in the fluid is straightforward. Plain X-ray has difficulty distinguishing the difference, but microscopic slides of the lung fluid should make this clear.

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