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#46398 - 05/19/05 08:56 AM Self Mutilation

I'm terrified by the stories I've read of self-mutilation. I know the the info is out there about e-collars and I plan to speak to my somewhat local vet to guage his experience - if any - with self-mutilating gliders. However, I was wondering how commmon this is? Is it not very common at all? In short, what is the likelihood that either of my gliders could come down with this? I've heard a WAV of the sound they make while doing it, so I have that to look out for. Is there anything I can do with regards to diet and the cage that might prevent this?

Thanks! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thanx.gif" alt="" />

#46399 - 05/19/05 09:16 AM Re: Self Mutilation [Re: ]

I remember reading a figure once that said 0.01% will self mutilate. Honestly, I think that's a little high... I've owned gliders for 4 years and I have never had a glider SM. I have had 2 gliders that injured their tails and have stated chewing at them, but once the tail was amputated, both a did well. In fact, 1 of those gliders just had his tail amputated on Tuesday... Also, don't gauge a vet on experience with SM'ers they are few and far between. Instead, ask your vet questions about gliders and see how much they actually know about them. They should know their basic dietary requirements (fruits, veggies, protein), how to sex them, that they are marsupials (you would be suprized at how many don't), etc.
As far as things you can do go... Feed a good, proven diet, make sure your cage isn't galvanized, clean your cage, pouches and toys regulary, and be prepared. Have a vet lined up and an emergancy kit on hand.

#46400 - 05/19/05 09:20 AM Re: Self Mutilation [Re: ]
SugarBaby22 Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 5697
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
I don't think anyone can come on here and say YES, there are ways to prevent it and we know why they mutilate, because even though some reasons are obvious, there are probably a million reasons as to why they might mutilate.

My 2 SMs both happened to be rescues. One after his owner gave him up and the other after an onset of neglect.

My advice would be:
-Get 2 gliders, and play with them as often as you can
-If you get 1, you better ALWAYS be able to make room for playtime
-Never get sick of your glider/s and neglect or get rid of them, they become depressed and it's an overall sad ending

Both of my SMs were used to attention and then got none due to irresponsible owners, they're both also single males who have been housed alone.

As Leyna stated, illness or an injury can also cause them to mutilate. Mutilation can be both mental and physical.

#46401 - 05/19/05 09:23 AM Re: Self Mutilation [Re: ]

The most common causes of mutilation are UTI and bowel obstruction, however stress can sometimes cause a glider to mutilate. Some of the preventative measures are to have anual checkups to check for hidden illness, maintain a healthy diet and clean cage, and check the cage for rough edges that might scratch the sensitive parts of your glider. Checking the cage involves taking a cotton ball to all edges to check for tiny briars. This is more commonly a problem for males who injure themselves when excited.
The only other preventitive measures are to pay close attention and have a collar ready and in your emergency kit for each glider. It is best to get your glider used to one of these apparatuses when well. Try building and applying it for short periods when the glider is well and it won't be as hard to apply when/if the glider is not well.
That is all I can think of. Someone else may have more ideas. Hope I have helped.

#46402 - 05/19/05 09:32 AM Re: Self Mutilation [Re: ]

Like Leyna said, I think a good diet, a safe cage and toys, and lots of attention are all really important. One thing that you can do to make sure you cage is safe, is take a cotton ball and go over the entire cage and toys to make sure there are no sharp edges or places where a glider can injure himself. If the cotton ball gets snagged then fix that area.

I had an instance where one of my gliders chewed the tip of his penis. I had him neutered and the penis was amputated. He was fine for a few months and then went through another period of making the SM noise. Thankfully, there was no mutilation (although I was prepared with my e-collar) and he has been fine since then.

I don't *think that there is anything you can do to prevent your glider from SM, but being a watchful and prepared owner in all aspects of the gliders' health and safety is the best that anyone can do. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/heartpump.gif" alt="" />

#46403 - 05/19/05 10:19 AM Re: Self Mutilation [Re: ]

Thanks for the data. That really eases my mind. Less than %.01 is a number that makes me less nervous. Kristin and everybody else, thanks for the goooood advice! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thanx.gif" alt="" /> The only vet I have to treat my gliders is in Asheville, NC and he is about an hour and fifteen minutes away. I have spoken with the receptionist at his office and she says he does treat and see sugar gliders. I know for a fact that he is on the herp. vet list (I found him by searching for a vet for my son's pet bearded dragon). So, he does work with exotics. I'll have to take my gliders in for a well check and then ask questions of the doctor when I meet him.
With the cotton ball test, if it snags on anything then I need to file it or smooth it down, right? I know the galv. cage I have has been PVC coated, but I've been eyeing the ledges in the cage with suspicion. That is where I can see the bright galv. metal. In effect, where the wire had been snipped. That is the only spot in the cage that I'm worried about. Perhaps maybe the metal coils that are used to hold the sides of the cage together and the two doors also. I'll have to check those. The cotton ball test sounds pretty good, though. Thanks again. It's nice to have this forum for people who REALLY love their gliders <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/heartpump.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/heartpump.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/heartpump.gif" alt="" />! I love my two little buddies and I wouldn't want anything to happen to 'em <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumb.gif" alt="" />

#46404 - 05/19/05 01:10 PM Re: Self Mutilation [Re: ]
SugarBaby22 Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 5697
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
It's always great to be prepared! And to worry about nothing before something does happen! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/hug2.gif" alt="" />

#46405 - 05/23/05 10:00 PM Re: Self Mutilation [Re: ]
Bourbon Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 04/01/99
Posts: 5333
Loc: Bee-Bopping round SnakePit USA
Kristin, and sugarbaby, both of which had sm's gave great advice, although I would like to add a few things.

we can not diagnose sm's before they start, the sound is the best sign something is seriously wrong, not all gliders that spend too much time with their private parts are sm's, but it is something you want to pay closer attention to, if it doesn't retract,

as for sm knowledgeable vets, well you won't have much luck in those areas, although the contacts that are listed on the sm site will.

we don't know what causes the worse kind of sm activity, there fore it is difficult to try to "prevent it. we do however many times make modifications in cages, cleaning habits, stress levels etc.. as was stated. it is a myth that most of the sm's have a uti, bacterial infections and parasites. these types of gliders (sm's) seem to have a combination of things that could be wrong. in spite of common knowledge published by a vet, it is not usually caused by a glider just being a lone glider, in fact it is usually the opposite, it is usually hormonally triggered, introducing briefly, a male to a female, there could be many causes.

being prepared it the best thing you can do for your glider, learning "the sound" or something similar, having an e-collar ready for use if needed, knowing who to contact.

please and i can not stress this enough, get the collar on first, contact an experienced sm owner who can help you with the tests that are needed prior to a vet visit and contacts for a vet who you can contact for a consult if needed. read as much as you cn regarding the sm's get familiar with the myths, get familiar with the site. be prepared.
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