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#19458 - 04/03/04 06:54 AM How do you know a glider may have dental problems?

I pose this question because my rescue glider, Zoe has just been found to have a gum infection in her lower front jaw area. The infection was so severe, the bacteria actually ate a hole through the bottom of her chin without any type of facial/chin swelling being noted. The first physical sign I had that something was wrong was when I was trimming her nails and Zoe was crabbing up a storm. While she was crabbing, I noticed that her two lower incisors had developed a gap between them which is not normal. Examination by the vet showed she had a severe gum infection/swelling which was causing the gap between the two lower incisors. The vet was able to aspirate a large amount of pus from the infected site and Zoe has been started on an antibiotic for a 14-day period. It is our hope that after the infection clears up, the teeth will move back to their normal position. However, there is also the possibility that the two lower incisors may no longer be healthy and might have to be removed. We will not know until after the course of antibiotic treatment has been concluded and the vet takes an X-Ray of these teeth to see if they are healthy or loose/rotting.

Were there signs prior to my noticing the gap between the two lower incisors? I believe there were:

1) the constant crabbing may have been an indicator of pain.

2) despite being told by the prior owner that Zoe ate crickets and mealworms, she would never touch either for me. The only insect she would eat for me were waxworms. Why? because waxworms do not have a tough exoskeleton to them as do crickets and mealies. It was, therefore, less difficult/painful for Zoe to eat the waxworms.

3) When I took Zoe in 8 months ago, I asked her prior owner why she was feeding strained baby fruits/veggies as opposed to fruits and veggies in their natural state. I was told that Zoe would not eat real fruits/veggies so she substituted the strained type in their place. Therefore, while Zoe was technically on the BML diet, everything in Zoe's diet was soft. I changed this by providing real fruits/veggies and noticed that Zoe only ate them occasionally. The reason is believed to be that Zoe was already having periodontal problems in the lower front jaw area and was having difficulty/pain eatting anything that was not soft. Since periodontal disease can be a long, slow process before actual physical symptoms (redness/swelling of gums, gapping of teeth) are noted, the vet believes that switching from the strained fruits/veggies to real fruits/veggies exacerbated the periodontal disease and brought it to a head. We can only hope that it is not too late and that the antibiotic treatment was started in enough time so that Zoe's two lower incisors can be saved.

I would ask everyone here to note the early signs/symptoms Zoe exhibited and should you note similar ones with your glider, get the glider to the vet for a dental checkup to rule out periodontal disease as a possible cause.

#19459 - 04/03/04 07:35 AM Re: How do you know a glider may have dental problems? [Re: ]

I hope that Zoe has a full and speedy recovery. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/hug2.gif" alt="" />

Thank you so much for sharing this. You may very well have saved others from what you and Zoe are going through.

#19460 - 04/03/04 08:11 AM Re: How do you know a glider may have dental problems? [Re: ]

Poor little Zoe! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/worried2.gif" alt="" /> I hope she feels better soon and her teeth are ok. Thank you for posting this, I am sure it will have alot of ppl being very interested in their gliders teeth now and that's a good thing <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> My Bonzai had some teeth problems when he was younger, it can cause serious issues with them if not checked in time, so looking at them (if you can) and keeping an eye on them is a good idea <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

#19461 - 04/03/04 02:56 PM Re: How do you know a glider may have dental problems? [Re: ]

I know you know a LOT about gliders, and I thank you for sharing this info. So far I haven't witnessed any dental problems with my gliders, and I'm grateful for that. We haven't been problem-free, tho, as you know. Again, thanks.

#19462 - 04/03/04 05:32 PM Re: How do you know a glider may have dental problems? [Re: ]

It's not looking too promising with respect to saving Zoe's two lower incisors. This morning when I gave the antibiotic to her, I noticed that the two lower incisors seem to be pushing up more (and no it has nothing to do with the muscle sheathing that covers the two lower incisors retracting) and that the right lower incisor is rather loose. If she does lose the two lower incisors, her BML diet will have to be modified to accomodate her situation in terms of the fruits/veggies/insects.

#19463 - 04/03/04 08:38 PM Re: How do you know a glider may have dental problems? [Re: ]
the gliders angel Offline
Glider Addict

Registered: 08/08/01
Posts: 3060
Loc: u.s.a.
ive seen people post before with lumpy jaw and after a couple weeks of antibiotic it got better. and i read somewhere where one persons glider had to have a tooth removed.

#19464 - 04/03/04 10:07 PM Re: How do you know a glider may have dental problems? [Re: ]

Glideroo, great post! Gliderz5 has had to have most of Sassy's teeth removed, as they were bad and infected as well. I have a 17 mo oop female that has cavities. She so far has no signs of any problems, but I watch her for sensitivity, and keep a pretty close eye on her. Hopefully Zoe will recover and be fine! It is very interesting tho, how her's progressed and wasn't picked up on. This is a major problem I'm sure with gliders who are not in homes very long, and I wonder how many "mean, crabby, grumpy, difficult to bond" gliders are passed around when in reality they have a health issue that when addressed and taken care of, they become the sweetest little thing!
Chey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wave.gif" alt="" />

#19465 - 04/03/04 11:39 PM Re: How do you know a glider may have dental problems? [Re: ]

I have a glider that I took in and her tongue was hanging out. My first thought along with a few others,was dehydration. Got her some gatorade on the way home and she drank by the time we got home she wasn't dehydrated but her tongue was still hanging out. Now I was told it could be caused by stress. Waited a few more days. Still her tongue was hanging out. I took her to the vet and we found that her jaw had been broke in the past. Also her lower incisors,one was missing, and the other was going into the roof of her mouth. The vet clipped it and now she is fine. We aren't sure if the broke jaw is what lead to the teeth problem or what. Her tongue still hangs out but not as bad. The vet said it has to be from her jaw. He also said he could rebreak it and fix it, but he wouldn't recommend it. She has been through enough as it is, she eats great and is gaining weight. She is a sweetheart.

#19466 - 04/04/04 03:07 PM Re: How do you know a glider may have dental problems? [Re: ]

Gliders Angel : Zoe's dental condition is a periodontal one and not related to lumpy jaw. In fact, my gliders never get any hard treats such as nuts, sunflower seeds, etc. as I almost had a glider die back in 2001 due to a dry pelleted diet causing lumpy jaw/subsequent systemic abscessing.

Chey :

</font><blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr />
"It is very interesting tho, how her's progressed and wasn't picked up on. This is a major problem I'm sure with gliders who are not in homes very long..."

<hr /></blockquote><font class="post">

Believe it or not I actually got Zoe at the end of July 2003 as a rescue and she was immediately seen by my exotics vet for a Wellness checkup and fecal testing. At that time, nothing was noted to be wrong with her mouth, gums or teeth. As for the periodontal condition progressing without being picked up on, Zoe did not exhibit any actual physical signs (lower two incisors being separated) until a couple of weeks ago and despite the severe infection in her lower front gum area, there was absolutely no facial swelling of any type exhibited. The only tip-offs (realized after the gum infection's being diagnosed) was the fact that she her crabbing seemed to intensify lately (due to pain we suspect), that Zoe would only occasionally eat her fruits/veggies and would only eat waxworms as they have no exoskeleton. Additionally, periodontal disease can be a long, slow, insidious disease and the fact that Zoe preferred soft foods (BML mix, waxworms and strained baby fruits/veggies) lend credence to the fact that Zoe's periodontal disease is of a long duration. This is why I felt it so important to post on this topic so others are more aware that increased crabbing and a change in eatting patterns could be possible signs of periodontal problems and that owners should get their gliders in for a dental check as a precaution. Members need to know that periodontal disease is one of the most common diseases occurring in any animal and does not just occur when they get older. Certainly, age, body weight, head shape, diet and chewing behaviours affect its prevalence. Unfortunately, in most cases, owners do not even know that there is a problem until the condition is significantly advanced. The main signs of oral disease are : halitosis, broken or discoloured teeth, changes in eating behaviour, rubbing or pawing the face, drooling, bleeding from the mouth, inability or unwillingness to open or close the mouth.

Here are some links regarding the issue of periodontal disease in animals that may be enlightening to members:

1) The influence of diet consistence, drink...gue-Dawley rats

2) Periodontal Disease

3) Dental Disease in Ferrets

The second link indicates that a soft diet promotes periodontal disease through accumulation of plaque. This would fit in with Zoe's diet prior to coming to my home as indicated above.

#19467 - 04/04/04 06:38 PM Re: How do you know a glider may have dental problems? [Re: ]
glidrz5 Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 06/13/01
Posts: 7297
Loc: Quincy, IL
When it was discovered that Sassy first had peridontal disease, he showed no symptoms what so ever that his teeth had been bothering him. To the best of my knowledge he was eating well (with 3 others in the cage tho, sometimes it's hard to tell who's eating what) but he ate his mealies and always looked for more. Anyway, I took him in because he started to sneeze constantly one day and I thought he had a cold. When he had his recheck after being on antibiotics for 10 days (with little change in his sneezing other than the fact that it wasn't as constant) my vet took a closer look at what he thought might have been at the root of his problem since he had noticed in passing that Sassy's teeth didn't look great (I'd just had my cat in for peridontal disease also). It's been a long struggle for us. AFter his initial surgery, Sassy had to go in daily for antibiotic shots, pain meds and sub-dural fluids. Then he had at least 6 months without trouble and then has had to go in monthly as his teeth started to act up again.
I can usually tell with him now when his teeth are starting to bother him. 1. He stops wanting to eat his regular bugs (since he only has 4 teeth left I do slice them open for him) 2. I notice a sudden drop in his weight. (he gets weighed at least every other day to monitor) 3. He starts to suck on the end of his tail.
I know that all gliders show pain in a different way, but these are the signs that Sassy gives me, and I've learned to be very alert to them. I have had to modify the food that I offer his group by offering more soft foods (cooked & baby food) that he can eat in addition to the regular fruits and vegis that they've always had in addition to the BLM, and I offer glider-aid more often to give him some extra energy, but that is about the only change that I've made to their diet. Lately he seems to be on an upswing again and will hopefully keep the few teeth he has left.
I hope that once the infection clears up that your babies teeth will regain some strength again and that she won't lose them. If your vet would like to consult with mine concerning peridontal disease in Suggies, I'm sure he wouldn't mind.
Good Luck and give her a kiss from me and Sassy.

214506-Sassy in the pyramid house.JPG (9 downloads)

Illusion, Malcom, Isabell, Annabelle, Zach, Isis, Aly & Indy
AND Miss Emmy & Miss Chloe kitties

:rbridge: My Angels: You are always in my heart.

You've flown to the rainbow
and wait there for me
Someday I will join you
together to be

#19468 - 04/05/04 12:38 AM Re: How do you know a glider may have dental problems? [Re: ]
Srlb Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 16758
Loc: St. Johns, Florida
What a very interesting and informative topic this is!! Thanks a bunch for posting all the info for the rest of us to read, study and learn! Appreciate it.Hope those babies do well.
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