Hello All, I'm in need of some urgent advice. I am the owner of 2 sugar gliders- Meika and Fionna. I have had them for about 5 years now- both have been happy and healthy until recently.
Meika developed a large fatty lump on her lower abdomen. It did not seem to cause her any discomfort or cause any change in behavior or appetite. However, a couple of days ago she began breathing rapidly and occasionally making a popping sound. Her ears were droopy, eyes not as bright and big, she was weak, did not want to leave my arm and refused to eat. I was able to give her water with a dropper.
She made it through the night but in the morning she was still hanging on the top of her cage and was not in bed as usual. I reached for her and she let go and then once again did not want to leave me arm.
I usually take them to was not working that day and I felt it was an emergency so I called any vet
I could find in the tri-county area that was listed as working with exotics. All of these vets
recommended I go to the same place. This particular vet
was the most expensive and required a $350.00 deposit just to see Meika. Being desperate to help her I decided to go ahead and take her in. I was told if she were to need surgery it would probably cost between $500 and $800 and was told they would inform me before doing anything what it was as well as what it would cost.
I arrived at their office at 10:30am, they immediately took her to the back. I then sat there for almost an hour before being given paperwork to fill out. I was then told they would call me to give me updates and that Meika was stable and I left as directed.
Around 3:30pm I had not heard from the vet
so I called in to check on Meika. I was told she was stable but still struggling to breathe and that the vet
would call once she was out of surgery with another pet. The vet
called around 5:50pm and asked a few questions but explained she has been unable to determine what was causing her breathing problem. She asked if I wanted her to operate to remove the lump which would hopefully solve the breathing issue and help her determine what the lump was. She explained the risk of Meika not surviving being put under or the surgery along the chance that they may still not be able to determine what the exact issue is, and may still not be able to solve the problem. We also discussed putting her down. She stated she would call me in an hour to see what I had decided.
called me back at 10:00pm and shared that Meika was running around and drinking on her own but still struggling to breathe. Then while on the phone with me, the vet
saw her eat a peanut thet they had offered her. Since she was improving we decided to give her some more time. I waited all day for a call and having not heard anything by 5:00pm, I called in myself. I was told Meika was better but not good and that the vet
would call me after she finished surgery on another pet.
At 6:30pm, the vet
called and shared that Meika was still struggling to breathe and she still didn't know the cause she also stated she noticed some blood in Meika's mouth and asked if this had happened before (it hadn't). In the middle of discussing possibilties, the vet
explained that Meika was now going into more severe respiratory distress and that she needed to know if she could operate now or if she should put her down.
I was unsure, I didnt want to put her down if she could be saved but I didnt want her to suffer either. The vet
suggested operating, I gave her permission and hoped for the best. I woke up at 6:00am to having missed a call at 12:12am from the vet
. She left a voicemail saying she had removed about 90% of the tumor that had "rotted in the middle and become infected" and was surrounded by fat. She then informed me that she also trimmed Meika's teeth as they were cutting into the roof of her mouth.?! She went on to say Meika had recovered "pretty well and was eating and drinking on her own and that her breathing was significantly better". I was relieved but concerned as to Meika's teeth.
I spent a few hours doing research and EVERY SINGLE webite or resource clearly stated this was something that should NEVER be done. That doing so could cause a lifetime of pain and make her more vulerable to tooth decay and abscesses. And if any vet
were to recommend this to "run and report".
At 9:20am this morning, the vet
called and stated that Meika had passed :"( She then explained that she did some research and that tumors are common and the best thing to have done would be to have brought her in immediately... It breaks my heart to to think I could have saved her if I just brought her in sooner... but I am VERY concerned by the fact that a reportedly experience and highly recommended vet
"just" did some research.
I can't help but wonder if she also "just" discovered that she should not have cut Meika's teeth... and perhaps Meika was put down to avoid problems and a possible malpractice lawsuit? Does anyone have any experience with anything similar or even just an opinion as to what to think? I know ulitmately it doesn't matter for poor Meika anymore but something doesn't seem right.
I asked when I could come pick up Meika and was told late afternoon on Monday... today is Saturday. Their business hours state they are open by appointment only on Saturday and that the vet
is available 24/7... I know Meika is gone but I want her home so we can let her cagemate see her one last time (as I have read is the best way to help a cagemate grieve and understand the loss) and to bury her in the garden :"(
I'm heartbroken for Meika and Fionna now as well as she was a rescue that had been caged alone, fed birdfood, and was self-mutilating. If anyone has any advice as to how to help Fionna transistion please please let me know. I fear she will begin self-mutilating again. As much as I would love to keep her, I want to do what is best for her. It seems that finding an experienced vet
is near impossible where I am and after loosing Meika I question my ability to provide and afford the best care for these little guys. I would be willing to place Fionna with someone that has experience and other sugar babies she could live with. Sorry this is such a long post but I don't know who else to turn to for help.
Any advice or suggestions are welcomed but please refrain from any bashing as I have already paid the ultimate price for not bringing Meika in sooner :"(