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#59275 - 09/22/05 07:32 PM Question on Self-mutilation... Curious...
Anonymous
Unregistered


I've brought this up several times in th past, mostly in the diet threads, but I wanted to start a thread to see people's thoughts on the matter.

I do know that many complications occur in very many species if their natural breeding cycles are interrupted or aren't catered to, particularly in a captive setting.

Several mammals for instance, if not bred can develop ovarian cancer, and certain species of amphibians and reptiles if not "wintered" properly will not produce fertile eggs. The main driving force of all this is the natural rise and fall of specific hormones stimulated by the environmental changes of the seasons that regulate healthy physiological cycles (i.e. biological rhythms) in the organisms.

Has anyone ever considered the fact that native gliders naturally breed in specific seasons, corresponding with protein availability, and other factors, and that their natural breeding cycle has been designed to cater to the specific seasonal changes in Oceana? Do you think the phenomenon known as self-mutilation in captive gliders may be a result of the lack of that natural rising and falling of the specific hormones, due to the comparatively constant environmental indoor conditions (and dietary regimen) year-round? Or that year-round breeding and non-breeding gliders may be prone to self-mutilation for the same reason mentioned above?

Any input would be greatly appreciated? I wonder how such a hypothesis could be tested and verified?

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

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#59276 - 09/22/05 10:01 PM Re: Question on Self-mutilation... Curious... [Re: ]
gliderdad79 Offline
Owner

Registered: 02/19/04
Posts: 15514
Loc: Long Island, NY
Good question Mikey. Things happen because of location as well. My brother in laws parents are from Canada, by Nova Scotia. They have lived here for years. A couple years back he had a seizure, with no explanation after all the test. He was diagnose with something call Leaping Frenchman of maritime, or something along those lines. It is a proven condition that has happened to many people who migrated down from this region. Has something to do with the ocean tides. Just goes to show you anything is possible.
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#59277 - 09/23/05 06:39 PM Re: Question on Self-mutilation... Curious... [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Wow! Weird! Hmmm...

Yeah, well, that's what I'm saying. Factors could be environment involved (and not simply a scratch acquired from a sharp object in the glider cage, as I understand is the current theory). I know self-mutilation is a rare thing, but has anyone considered the fact that the gliders need to be seasonally cycled to avoid complications where gliders will slef-mutilate?

For instance, hypothetically speaking, let's look at a typical and straight forward hormone-breeding cycle. Let's assume in the breeding season when protein availability is highest that wild gliders breed the most. And in this season HORMONE A exists in high concentrations and HORMONE B in low concentrations within the male gliders. Let's assume HORMONE A induces physiological changes like the drive for males to mate, an increased sperm production rate, causes the penis arterial walls to dilate hence allowing for greater blood flow in the penis, the instinctive drive to father and protect, and so forth.

Now conversely, in the winter months, HORMONE A levels drop and HORMONE B levels increase. Let's assume HORMONE B causes the gliders to be less sexually active, causes penile arterial walls to decrease since there would be a lesser need to have the penis engorged with blood, etc.

Now in light of that (hypothetical) hormone cycle, imagine a captive male glider that is raised under the same environmental conditions throughout its whole life (in a cage, fed the same mix of food year round, with the same photoperiod and temperatures year round, etc), where the glider is either in constant "summer month mode" or constant "winter month mode" or some mode in between. The glider's very biology is designed to cyclicly undergo the corresponding hormone A and B changes. Could you imagine the amount of physiological strain that could cause a male glider if their body chemistry isn't cycled when their very evolution over millions of years has designed them to undergo that healthy hormone cycle?

I would be self-mutilating too if I wasn't ever going into that phase physiologically where Hormone B, which causes my penile arteries to retract, exists in low concentrations (for my entire life at that), and instead I am and have been in a constant uncontrollable need to mate and produce immense amounts of sperm for my whole life due to high amounts of HORMONE A (in other words, not being properly "wintered").

Or even conversely, I could see why the male self-mutilater who doesn't have Hormone A surges, that would once a year bring large amounts of blood to the penis and induce that healthy drive to mate and father, would choose to chew on himself. Perhaps we should look into the health of the glider penis and reproductive system for answers to our self-mutilation problems.

In total, I'd imagine both instances would be trecherous for any male glider (and I'd imagine the same principle would apply to female self-mutilating gliders), and I know as mentioned before that self-mutilation is a rare thing, but could the lack of seasonal cycles within the captive setting be responsible for the one in a hundred gliders that perhaps undergo severe reactions to the lack of seasons and opt to self-mutilate?

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

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#59278 - 09/23/05 06:50 PM Re: Question on Self-mutilation... Curious... [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


The reason I expect that self-mutilation is a sexually involved condition and not simply a superficial one where male gliders simply get scratched accidentally (I mean, have you seen an acacia tree? They've got all sorts of sharp edges, definitely more than any cage, and millions of places where male gliders can potentially scratch themselves and many acaica species even have sharp spines on their limbs!).

The gliders are chewing on their penises and that to me immediately arises suspicion and makes me wonder if it's sexually and hormonally-related.

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

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#59279 - 09/23/05 07:11 PM Re: Question on Self-mutilation... Curious... [Re: ]
Dancing Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 22746
Loc: 80 acres of paradise in KS
Ok, Mikey, going to throw a monkey wrench in to that possibility. What about the neutered males that sm? They woundn't have those same hormone changes. Also, many of the sm that attack their penis, have UTIs that are causing pain for them. Just some more food for thought. Thankfully I don't have any first hand experience with sm.
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#59280 - 09/24/05 06:21 AM Re: Question on Self-mutilation... Curious... [Re: ]
Xfilefan Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 8899
Loc: Jacksonville, FL
K, Mikey, here is an interim answer for you.

Yes, having an SM glider myself, I would say that in SOME cases, hormones are DEFINITELY a factor. Especially in males. My Riker is a case in point. He also tried to SM, a year after neutering, with a UTI.

HOWEVER-- Female gliders will also SM, with no seeming relation to hormones at all.

Here are some of the most common SM factors:

Onset of Puberty: Males (cloacal area/penis)
Injury: Males/Females
Illness: such as UTI: Males/Females (cloacal area/side of body)
Mutilation of Tail: Both sexes-likely due to injury or infection, or both
Extremities: Both sexes: injury or infection or both-referring to toes, hands, feet, etc.

Please allow me 72 hours to respond to your question in more detail (as my work schedule allows)
_________________________
Jen/Colin :bb: Commander Riker 12 16 02-10 04 12 you will be FOREVER missed :wfb: Sinbad, :wfb: Gabby, :grey: Baby, and :grey: Alley

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#59281 - 09/25/05 02:04 PM Re: Question on Self-mutilation... Curious... [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Ah-ha! Thanks, guys! Now that's something to think about for sure.

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

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#59282 - 09/25/05 03:07 PM Re: Question on Self-mutilation... Curious... [Re: ]
Charlie H Offline
Glider Slave

Registered: 11/13/03
Posts: 1659
Loc: Wallis Texas
In the past it has been theorized that sexual frustration could be ONE of the causes for self mutilation by male gliders. I have never seen anyone try to correlate this with diets and/or seasonal changes. Food for thought!

There are many things that will cause self mutilation by gliders. One of the major reasons is pain whether caused by injury or disease. Jen mentioned some of the more common causes. I have even seen gliders chew their toes off because they had a severe calcium deficiency.

A lady who breeds race horses once told me that self mutilation was a characteristic of horses. I had never heard this before. Unfortunately she was not around long enough for me to get any details from her. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />

Mikey, glad to see you taking an interest in this. We certainly need and welcome any fresh ideas.
Charlie H
_________________________
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http://www.angelfire.com/tx/glidertree/
[]glidertree@toast.net[/]

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#59283 - 09/26/05 04:05 PM Re: Question on Self-mutilation... Curious... [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thank you, Charlie. I've never really looked into the whole issue on Self Mutilation and I would really like to find out more about it. It seems there are multiple causes for SM, but I always have been wondering if all these causes are somehow connected by something rather simple, hence the idea of gliders and changing seasons (and physiological changes associated with that) came to mind.

</font><blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr />
What about the neutered males that sm? They woundn't have those same hormone changes.

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

Yes, well, that is exactly what I mean. I initially considered (in the hypothetical example that I mentioned) that perhaps that continual lack of principle hormones could lead to SM, due to that lacking hormone cycle, including in the neutered male glider (that lacks those hormone-producing testes).

Also, it's indeed true that the gonads produce sexual hormones, but other organs other than testes and ovaries also produce hormones (eg. the adrenal gland, endocrine glands, thyroid glands, etc). Melatonin, for instance, produced in the pineal gland (in the brain) regulates biological rhythms. In other words, it regulates cycles that naturally occur in animals that respond to seasons, for example.

</font><blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr />
Illness: such as UTI

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

When I first read that UTI has been thought to cause SM, I still immediately began to think about hormones. The adrenal cortex (adjacent to the kidneys) uses cholesterol to produce three classes of hormones: glucocorticoids, mineralcorticoids, and sex steroids.

Mineralcorticoids influence the ionic balance of extracellular fluids in the glider's body (eg. lymph fluid, water in the body, etc).

Of the sex steroids, there is a hormone called Aldosterone which stmulates the kidneys to conserve sodium and to excrete potassium.

Could it be that gliders' adrenal cortexs produce varying amounts of these hormones depending on the season? I'm thinking it's certainly plausible that gliders naturally produce specific amounts of Mineralcorticoids and Aldosterone to cater to the gliders' seasonally influenced varying diets. In light of this, then could it be possible that imbalances in the concentrations of the above hormones could perhaps increase the chances of urinary tract infections to occur in gliders, and in turn self mutilation? If so, then it can still be possible that the lack of seasonal changes could lead to SM, no? <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/nixweiss.gif" alt="" />

Vasopressin produced by the Posterior pituitary induces the reabsorption of water in the kidneys. In the winter months when water from rainfall is less, I'd imagine gliders naturally produce more vasopressin to retain the water. Vasopressin in turn affects the urinary tract greatly! Could a captive glider that is kept in constant "summer month" or constant "winter month" or somewhere in between be more likely to contract urinary tract infections due to a lack of natural Vasopressin cycles?

Just some of the numerous possibilities...

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

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#59284 - 09/26/05 04:57 PM Re: Question on Self-mutilation... Curious... [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


</font><blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr />
I have even seen gliders chew their toes off because they had a severe calcium deficiency.

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

Oh man, Charlie! I don't know why, but it only occured to me now, that even that could be hormone-cycle related. The thyroid produces a hormone called Calcitonin which stimulates bone formation and lowers blood calcium. Conversely, a counteracting hormone called Parathormone produced by the Parathyroids abosrbes bone and raises blood calcium.

I could see it highly possible that these opposing hormones (like Hormone A and B in my example) vary accoring to the seasons, again to accomodate the seasonally changing diets of the gliders in the wild. I'd imagine calcium levels available to gliders in the wild could likely vary with the seasons, according to species of food stuffs that are available at specific times of the year. Hence, couldn't it be possible that gliders would perhaps have some sort of physiological regulator that caters to that varying amount of metabolized calcium? Again, could SM from calcium deficiency be hormonally-related?

[:"red"] Furthermore, (and more importantly) could the lack of seasons and natural hormone cycles in the captive gliders be the main cause of calcium deficiency in captive gliders? We still haven't been able to put a finger on why captive gliders have trouble holding onto dietary calcium (which is why we super-suppliment calcium in our captive glider diets), and I'm begining to consider that fact that perhaps it's hormonally-related. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" /> [/]

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

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#59285 - 09/26/05 05:17 PM Re: Question on Self-mutilation... Curious... [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


While I do not have nearly the knowledge about SM as the people responding to this thread, I just want to add in my experience.

My Petrie, at about one year old, chewed himself and had a neuter/castration done. Three to four months later, he started to make the SM noise again. This time he didn't do any damage (was put in a collar) and I have not had any other SM problems with him since (a year/year and a half ago).

I would not be surprised if hormones did play a role, but how to prove that theory I would think would be very difficult. IMO there would have to be some sort of distinction between the gliders who chew due to an injury/infection and those that chew for unknown reasons (whether it be hormonal, psychological, etc.)

At the time Petrie was making the SM noise he was taken in for a fecal float/smear, a C&S, and a UA. All tests came back normal. The effects of the neuter should have already been felt (his bald spot was already gone) so IF a surge of hormones could have been the cause/trigger of his first SM, then what about the second time? and all the time that has passed since then with no other issues? <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/nixweiss.gif" alt="" />

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#59286 - 09/26/05 05:23 PM Re: Question on Self-mutilation... Curious... [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Excellent! Thank you for that very informative post, krispifsu! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ooo.gif" alt="" />

Yes, as I mentioned in response to Dancing's comment on neutered males, I was saying that some animals have a natural rise and fall of certain hormones affected by the seasons (winter, fall, spring, summer). In many animals, this natural hormone cycling is required for proper health of various biological functions and overall vigor. It's simply a key thing that I've come to observe in many relatively wild or exotic animals that are housed in the captive setting.

In regards to the case of the neutered male, with the testes gone and that natural rise and fall of sexual hormones not occuring, I'd still see it as a possible cause for the disomfort in the glider penis, and cause some to go as far as self-mutilating (I mentioned a detailed example in my second post involving blood sent to the penis, etc).

I'm sure neutred males could come back with normal test results, but the body chemistry of a neutered male glider is certainly different from an intact wild glider that has been exposed to the natural seasonal changes.

In addition to that, other organs (other than the testes) produce key hormones that regulate so many things. I'm thinking ti's highly likely that seasons affect a variety of these hormones, and hence cause a handful of captive gliders to go as far as self-mutilating due to improper homronal cycling.

Does this make sense at all? It would indeed be difficult to test seeing as SM is a rarity in the first place, but it still makes some sense to me...

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

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#59287 - 09/26/05 06:22 PM Re: Question on Self-mutilation... Curious... [Re: ]
USMom Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 7356
Loc: Austin, TX
How could we effectivly imitate seasonal changes in our homes? I know that there is a huge difference in temperature in our house summer vs winter (78 in summer, and 68-70 in winter). And I could do a diet change, but wouldn't know exactly how to do it. So, do you have any suggestions?
I have thought about this in terms of diet, as their wild diet varies so much through the year. But, how to reproduce those numbers in captivity and keep them healthy, to me, would be difficult. If you have any ideas on this, I'll take them!
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Shawna
Who are you networked with? Networking could save your gliders life. Create one now.


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#59288 - 09/26/05 06:40 PM Re: Question on Self-mutilation... Curious... [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Yeah that would certainly be difficult, would it, Shawna?

<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />

I don't know, really. Perhaps ratios of certain nutrients would have to change depending on the season. *shrugs* When I first came on these boards as a newbie I suggested once that someone should formulate a SUMMER BAG and a WINTER BAG of prepackaged food to mix with the gliders fresh foodstuffs. However, I'm not going to even begin to make it seem like an easy venture.

To look to other examples, many winter some amphibians by placing them in a container with moistened spagnum moss and placing them in the fridge.

For anoles and other lizards inhabiting temperate to semi-temperate regions, you simply have to turn off the heat lamp 24 hours for 3 or 4 months. In addition the photoperiod could be decreased to 8 hours of light as opposed to 12.

On both of the above examples, doing so helps maintain healthy breeding in the animals and causes the eggs to be fertile when the animals are brought out of aestivation and begin to breed. If they aren't wintered, the eggs do not produce young. After they are wintered, hormones trigger active breeding behaviours, and so forth.

With gliders I'm sure mimicking seasons in both environmental elements and dietary elements would be difficult in the captive setting. I don't doubt that at all! I totally agree doing such a thing would be difficult, if not impossible.

I know someone (was it Pockets?) mentioned in the past that they controled the glider's photoperiod by having a heat lamp of some sort set on a timer. I also remember someone mentioning in the past or reading somewhere (was it Pockets??? LOL... Marsupial Nurtition?! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/nixweiss.gif" alt="" /> I don't remember now) that studies from Australia have shown that a varying diet that cyclical seasonal diet (a HIGLY VEGGIE WINTER diet and the HIGH PROTEIN SUMMER diet) was beneficial to captive gliders' health. I don't know and that would be better discussed in a separate thread.

Whatever the case, I still feel strongly that the idea of seasonal cycling is certainly worth considering for further research and looking into with respect to SM and other health-related issues in captive gliders, because I feel the very biology of an animal cannot be ignored when dealing with husbandry in the captive setting (you gotta remember the animals' roots), especially when it's involving a species that has fairly recently been propogated from wild colonies. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/littleglider.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/littleglider.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/littleglider.gif" alt="" />

I suppose it's something to think about. Perhaps, I'm just starting to feel like Dr. Malcolm from Jurassic Park I had some pertinent things to say about the matter.

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

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#59289 - 09/26/05 08:10 PM Re: Question on Self-mutilation... Curious... [Re: ]
USMom Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 7356
Loc: Austin, TX
<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/roflmao.gif" alt="" /> Jurrasic Park! Giant suggies taking over the world! I love it!

Okay, seriously, I will contact Pockets and see if she has some insight here.
_________________________
Shawna
Who are you networked with? Networking could save your gliders life. Create one now.


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#59290 - 09/26/05 09:04 PM Re: Question on Self-mutilation... Curious... [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


LOL! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/roflmao.gif" alt="" />

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

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