And pic 3...putting the meds in. Don't let them shake their head after (they're trying to shake it out) which may necessitate gently confining them in the towel for a minute. I follow with a yogurt drop or mealie to take the bad taste out and let them know everything's okay and I still love them.
Been wanting to do this for awhile, just needed the opportunity. Hopefully it's helpful. Same technique when needing to force foods into an ill glider.
Jen/Colin Commander Riker 12 16 02-10 04 12 you will be FOREVER missed Sinbad, Gabby, Baby, and Alley
We would like to thank Judie for the time and commitment she has put into writing this information for us.
It is best if one has a Wellness Check by a vet.... a few days after the sugar glider has gone to his new home. The Wellness Check ensures you have a healthy glider now or if there is an underlying problem that may go undetected until a crisis developes. This Client and vet relationship is very important...if one has a glider who is in a crisis. Many vets will refuse to see a glider and especially one who is ill.
Be sure to ask if clinic has a lab. Smaller vets do not have the stains necessary for doing a fecal cytology. So, find a clinic who has a lab as there may come a time....you may need this service.
Suggest printing out this information and take with you for questions you may need to ask or suggest.
A first time exam....should consist of a fecal smear and float. vet should also check the animal's weight,fur,eyes, nose,mouth...gums and teeth, ears, feet and nails and base of the tail area and listen to the heart and lungs. This simple check can tell a good vet...the healthyness of any animal as well as your glider.
Under no circumstances should a vet "float(trim) the teeth". Sugar Gliders are not rodents and thus their teeth no not continue to grow throughout thier lifetime. This practice of "floating teeth" is outdated and is inhumane to the Sugar Glider.
This is the time to ask about Emergency Care should a problem arise....especially after hours as this is often the time when a glider is seen ill...due to the glider being nocturnal. ============================================================
Glider in a Crisis....
vet should do a fecal smear, float and cytology along with a UA. If the glider has symptoms of HLP and is diet related...an xray needs to be done if all of the other tests are negative. If the glider is on a proven diet...has HLP symptoms...this is a secondary problem and Primary Issue needs to be found. *Calcium is being lost due to infection be it parasitic or protozoian. vet will need to treat for the illness and for Calcium deficency at time of visit and for after care at home as well.
If these tests..... fecal float, smear, urine analysis and cytology....are negative then a Culture and Sensitivity needs to be done at this time. The C&S takes between 4 to 7 days for results...so usually meds are given. If the Senstivity report shows another med to be more effective....then a switch can be made at that time if no improvement is seen with the sick glider. C&S will save valuabe time and may save the life of your pet if done early on the first visit of illness.
If glider is dehydrated during initial visit....sub q fluids must be given. Follow up care with the vet will be needed to keep the animal hydrated till he is eating and drinking on his own. This can get expensive ....so, have the vet show you how to sub q the animal as needed....at home for a few days to a week. I also suggest...have the vet demenstrate to you as ....how to hold and give meds to your glider.
Calcionate Syrup is a calcium supplement and should be given if glider is showing HLP symptoms...especially if on a proven diet. Along with meds for a bacterial or protozian infection. Sub q fluids to combat dehydration.
During illness...keep your glider warm. If need be...give more blankies inside his pouch or carry him on you to keep him warm. One can also use a critter keeper with a small heating pad on one end to help for warmth. Keep heating pad on warm and check for warmth of glider. He should not be hot nor cold.
With good supportive care between the vet and Caregiver...most sugar gliders in a crisis survive. However, without the two hand in hand...the glider will not which often leaves the owner devastated.
*Remember...in a time of crisis...any vet can help your glider. However, you will need a contact to link him to as for doing consulting over the phone. This contact's phone number.....needs to be taken with you to the new vet...as an inexperienced vet, who is willing to learn...will not know what is normal in the routine tests that are done. He will also need help as to what meds are effective...as well as ratios. Print out the information above so vet will know what tests are required and phone numbers of contact if consulting is needed.
Do not accept lesser care if vet is unwilling to do simple proceedures as outlined above. After all...you are paying for the vet's services and your glider's life depends on you.
Please scroll up from this post for further important information...
I've been planning to do this for awhile, since I think it's an important subject. Understand that it's my opinions from experience, and dealing with my vets. Hopefully it will help gliders in the long run. And unfortunately, there are many vets that have little to no experience with gliders.
TEETH: NEVER, NEVER have a glider's teeth trimmed. Gliders are a marsupial (kangaroo, koala, possum, tasmanian devil-same family) and unlike a rodent, their teeth do not grow. If they are trimmed, they won't grow back, and the glider will have pain, temperature sensitivity, difficulty eating and drinking, and likely chronic decay for the rest of it's life. Gliders get one set of permanenet teeth that have to last their lifetime. Gliders teeth are like ours-once broken there isn't much that can be done. IF you can get a vet to cap the teeth, it can help, though few vets are likely to be willing to do tooth work on a glider. It CAN be done, but isn't likely to find one willing. One note...the long bottom teeth are supposed to be really long, for the purpose of scraping bark to release the sap for the main staple in their diet.
OVERGROOMING: there can be many causes...from stress, illness, infection, bad diet, boredom, parasites and fungus such as ringworm (although with mites, they tend to attack the ears-eating them away to nothing). All possibilities need to be eliminated one at a time. Although overgrooming with the tail, it could be either stress, boredom, or injury, normally. Careful observation and experimentation with treatment is necessary, and vital to maintain a healthy glider.
BLOATING: is usually one of two issues...gas or blockage. Blockage is usually the more serious and can result in death if not caught early. Sometimes, early in the game, some vegetable oil administered orally, can get things moving. DO NOT use mineral oil-if it's aspirated (gets in the lungs) it won't leave and can lead to aspiration pneumonia-normally fatal). Both need to be adressed by a vet.
INJURY: such as a caught finger/toe, broken tail, etc...can be very serious and lead to SM (Self Mutilaion) (a glider won't show pain...you'll know when the animal starts to chew at the injured part. It's up to you to watch and check over your glider daily. Two of the most common causes are getting hung up in a pouch, or a wheel. Other causes are fights, or a hard fall. Broken bones can result in disability or amputation of a limb.
HLP: also known as Hind Leg Paralysis, Calcium deficiency, or Metabolic Bone Disease. The bones and muscles weaken from lack of calcium in the system. Glider may lose use of hind legs first, seem lethargic, shake uncontrollably, and it will eventually lead to death if not treated. Causes can include bad diet, or bacterial infection that inhibits absorbtion of calcium in the glider's body. Sometimes sub-q injections, as well as oral calcium will be needed for the glider to recover, especially if severe. The last to go is commonly the heart (which is a muscle) and when it fails, the glider dies.
UTI: Urinary Tract Infection. First sign is hissing when peeing (because it hurts/burns to go potty). Other indications are excecess licking of the cloaca area, or Self Mutilation. This may be accompanied by crystals in the urine. The vet will need to check for crystals if UTI is suspected, along with checking the PH levels of the urine.
FACIAL INFECTION or LUMPY JAW: characterized by swelling in the face and possible eye bulging. It could be inside or outside. If inside, teeth need to be checked as well. Infection may be a cyst like swelling, abscess , diffuse (spread out). When cyst like, a sample for culture is possible and recommended. With a diffuse infection, culture is frequently not possible.
TEETH: May mimic a jaw/mouth infection. Sometimes a tooth may need removed to allow infection to drain, and the abscess to heal. Typically anaerobic bacteria are found in this type of abscess, and requires an antibiotic that will treat for that. Symptoms can include difficulty eating, extreme facial swelling, bleeding from the mouth, and wet and chirpy sneezing that increases to be almost constant.
ANAL GLAND ABSCESS: This may present as a UTI-vet will need to examine the glands to determine where the infection is. It will need to drain in order for the antibiotics to work, and longer term antibiotics may be needed, as well as frequent expression of the infection from the abscess. These glands should be about the size of a grain of rice, or slightly larger.
MEDS: Never let a vet say a glider is too small for meds. There are a number of antibiotics (For example-Baytril, Clavamox, Amoxicillin, Clindamycin, Flagyl, Zythromycin, Trimethoprim Sulfa, etc. Most common painkillers: Butorphanol, Torbuteral, Butorphanol with Valium, Valium, Metacam (tho this is only for a few days due to possible liver damage-also, don't give metacam to any glider under 6 months of age), etc. Don't EVER a vet tell you they're too small-they should all have a formulary, and the dosages are based on weight. If they don't have one, they need to consult with one that does.
BLUE or DARK or RED/MAGENTA NOSE: Blue indicates lack of oxygen-Possibly due to pneumonia or respiratory distress. Dark red or Magenta can indicates an infectiom in the head or sinus. It's red/dark because of the body rushing blood to the area in an attempt to combat the problem. If nothing is apparent, an Xray is recommended. Keep in mind that nasal flushes rarely work as well. Note that some gliders have normally darker noses. If it isn't normally dark, tho, a vet visit is in order.
BREATHING- wheezing or labored breathing is never normal, and requires immediate vet check.
pouches: the two most common ailments are either yeast or bacterial infections. Make sure the vet takes a swab to send to the lab to find out what is up. Angry red, or discoloration on the surrounding fur is not normal. Neither is staining on the fur around the pouch opening (normally brown, and may be waxy looking) Oral or topically applied antibiotics are options, along with an oral rinse on the surface.
DIARRHEA: can have several causes. Parasites, Stress, Bacterial infection. It can be slowed down by giving the glider a few oatmeal flakes (2 to 3 daily-no more or you risk a blockage), gliderade, or canned pumpkin. That doesn't mean you don't get to the bottom of what is causing the diarrhea in the first place...if it's parasite or infection, treatment is mandatory, and the glider could die without it. Stress related (such as a new glider, or if they ate citrus) is easier. For a new glider, give yogurt daily for a week or two to help keep the system balanced as well and combat the stress. If the diarrhea is due to anything but stress, antibiotics are needed.
Broken or Quicked (cut too short) Nails: If a nail breaks, and will not shed on it's own, a vet may need to remove it. The most common cause is getting caught on a pouch due to the nails being to long. A Quicked nail is one that is cut too short, and frequently bleeds. Styptic powder or, in a pinch, flour, may be used to stop/slow the bleeding. The nail (toe) will be sore for a few days-keep an eye out to be sure infection doesn't set in-it will turn colors and possibly feel warm if this is happening. At that point, a vet/antibiotic is needed.
DEHYDRATION: this can be very serious for a glider, and lead to death. To test for dehydration, gently pinch the skin just below the neck, above the shoulders. If it goes down very slowly, or not at all, the glider is dehydrated. Pedialyte or Gatorade can be used to help rehydrate the glider. If severe, sub-q (sub cutaneous, or 'under the skin') injections will be needed by a vet. They can show you how to do this at home as well. If a glider is dehydrated and shaking/lethargic, vet care is an immediate necessity. 6/10/08 - Edited to add:
Originally Posted By: sugarglidersuz
I was able to get a video of doing the Dehydration Tent Test this weekend. In this video, you can clearly see that the glider is dehydrated from the way the "tent" goes down "slowly" and retains a ridge As you can see, the entire test only takes a few seconds, even when dehydrated.
Originally Posted By: PeeperKeeper
Most of the time, if anything appears to be wrong with a glider's eye, and it wasn't that way before, it is necessary to take them in to the vet immediately. The most common eye issues would include generalized eye infections (in a person this would be called conjunctivitis or pink eye) corneal ulcers, abrasions or inflammations, and trauma.
Most of my experience is with people, so I am assuming what I know to be the case in humans to be generally true to gliders as well. The cornea is one of the most sensitive tissues in the body to pain. That is why a speck of dust in your eye hurts so much. Therefore, if there is something going on with your glider's eye, please get them immediately to the vet because it is most likely very painful, even though their instinct will cause them to hide the pain.
A white spot on the surface of the eye is likely to be a corneal ulcer or severe abrasion. This needs immediate vet care the same day. If it is Friday night, don't wait until Monday morning. These are extremely painful and need to be treated immediately or they can cause a loss of the eye. If there appears to be a white spot deeper in the eye, it may be a cataract which still should be looked at, but is not as painful nor as urgent.
If the eye is watery or the glider does not appear to be able to open it fully, an infection, inflammation or trauma is likely. This needs vet care that day.
There are other eye conditions we treat in humans and sometimes even in dogs and cats, but I don't know how we could even diagnose some of them, much less treat in gliders. These would include glaucoma, retinal problems, changes from diabetes (yes, gliders can be diabetic) and cataracts (although cataracts are easy to diagnose, just not treat) to name a few.
Things you should expect your vet to do when you bring your glider in would include (besides the standard weight, etc.) an examination of the eye with a light called an ophthalmoscope and/or a magnifyer, instillation of a yellow dye called fluorescein and examination with a blue light after instilling the yellow dye. The dye will glow in the blue light and show if there is an ulcer or abrasion as opposed to an infection, inflammation or something else. Depending on what they find, they may then treat with an antibiotic drop or systemic antibiotics, or they may choose supportive therapy to help it heal on its own.
This is all I can think of right now. Again, I am not a vet and if any of these things were happening to my glider, I would take them to a vet rather than trying to treat with anything (there's really not much in the way of home remedies for the eye) myself. I would recommend that any glider owner do the same.
This is just for general info, and for vets not familiar with gliders, from my own experience, but I wanted to share.
The following information was updated by GliderNursery (7/6/2014):
Neutering. vets will do either "pom on" or "pom off". There is no real evidence that one is more safe than the other, it seems to be a personal preference. However, when the pom is removed, glue or stitches tend to be used, and the glider seems to think it has to be groomed off, which can lead to overgrooming the area, and in extreme cases, Self Mutilation. If your vet does that, make sure and have an E collar on hand prior to the neuter -just in case. Please note that it is not uncommon for a glider to groom or be interested in the area, and that is ok. It is only in the rare and extreme cases when actual damage is done, and THAT is what needs to be watched for.
Don't give Baytril to an already vomiting glider. Some gliders it can actually kill if they are sensitive to the drug. Or cause vomiting by itself. I recommend starting with a half dose, and working up to the full dose if no side effects are observed.
Don't give Ensure to a glider that is already dehydrated. It turns claylike in the gut, and can cause constipation, blockage, or if the glider vomits it can choke to death. Realize that in some gliders it can also cause constipation.
Signs to look for in a sick glider: Lethargy Shaking Unusual Behavior (such as just sitting on the bottom of the cage in the middle of the day) Drooping ears that last longer than normal for THAT glider-and not immediately upon waking Hissing when peeing Sneezing that doesn't sound normal (wet or chirpy sounding) Seizure labored or rapid breathing jaundice (yellowing of skin)-that could indicate liver problems And finally, your own instincts that something "just isn't right" Avoid ANY food with artificial sweeteners at all cost (protease). They can be overdosed and it can cause neurological issues.
Also, Parasites: may present with diarrhea, vomiting, both, or neither and only unexplained weight loss until late in the game.
Cloacal Stitch, or Purse Stitch: NEVER...for a number of possible repercussions, and it doesn't help anyway.
Penile Amputation (or any other amputation): ONLY black, necrotic tissue is EVER to be removed, same reason as above, for a prolapsed penis. It is only a symptom of a larger issue.
Standard Wellness Checks: these should be done at least once a year even if your glider appears to be healthy. Some people take theirs twice yearly. It helps your regular vet to know what your glider is like healthy, so if it does get sick, he/she has a baseline to work from. My well checks include urinalysis, both fecal float and direct smear, checking the anal glands, eyes, nose mouth, abdomen, and general appearance.
GENERAL NUMBERS: Urine PH should be neutral. The higher the number, the more alkaline, the lower, the more acid the urine. 5/6 is neutral range PH.
Blood Draw: Only 1% of a glider's body weight can be taken. More puts the glider's life/health at risk. Frequently, it's not enough for a full panel, depending on the size of the glider. Follow a blood draw with something sweet, like nectar or gliderade, to help the body replace the lost fluids, like when people donate blood.
Temperature: Normal cloacal temp is 88-89 degrees. BODY temp, however, rectally, (provided a vet can even get it) is 92-93 degrees for a normal range. The Merck vet manual will back that.
Blood Sugar: normal is in the same range as a human's.
Weight: is a hard one and can vary widely. I've had Adult males as low as 93 grams, and as large as 170g...Adult females that range between 90g and 193 grams. It depends on the size of the glider, their bone structure, etc. You should NOT be able to feel all the bones/ribs, or have rolls of fat or fatty gliding membranes. I've known of gliders both above and below these numbers that seem perfectly healthy. Somewhere between 90g and 140g for a female, and 100 and 160 for a male would fall within 'average'. "normal" depends on the individual. Joeys can vary as well...average OOP weight seems to be between 6 and 15 grams, and there should be steady gain into adulthood-again, how much depends on the individual, but no weight loss should happen while the glider is growing. Full growth is normally reached between 1 and 2 years of age. After 1 yr, it's almost unnoticeable, though especially males will still frequently have some 'filling out' to do in the chest area-to look like they may need a bra is actually normal...it's where excess fat is stored against lean times for gliders in the wild. Though ours live in our homes, their bodies don't pay any attention to that.
Coat should be sleek, soft, and smooth..tail fluffy...well groomed and clean. Exception with unneutered males, who may secrete enough around the head/chest scent glands as to appear 'dirty'-that can be gently cleaned with a warm washcloth or Q-tip. Eyes should be clear and bright, and nose free of discharge or drainage.
"Average" adult length is about 6 inches of body, plus 6 or so inches of tail...that can vary smaller or larger as well for an adult.
ALSO- realize that YOU may need to educate your vet. Don't take for granted that he/she knows what they're doing with gliders. And don't take NO for an answer. Stand up for your babies. Especially in the case of SM, diarrhea, or vomiting.
Last note: the better you know your glider, the quicker you'll be able to tell something isn't right with your glider. Know your glider.
If anyone else has any other suggestions, please PM me, or post below, and I'll add to this.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 9/28/08 Edited to Add: veterinarians who will consult with other veterinarians* about treatment of sugar gliders:
Dr.Tim Tristan OSO Creek Animal Hospital 361-994-1145
Dr. Bradley Walsh Village vet Animal Clinic/All Creatures Veterinary Hospital 918-481-0440
Dr. Andrew Grzanowski Canton Center Animal Hospital 734-459-1400
Dr. Kate Zimmerman TriCounty Animal Hospital (has 24hr emergency contact info on her office answering machine) 423-391-0303
Dr. Teresa Bradley Belton Animal Clinic 816-331-3120 She is willing to consult with other vets, but will only do so during clinic hours which are: Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 8 am to 11 pm Tuesday, Thursday: 7 am to 11 pm Saturday: 8 am to 1 pm then 6pm to 11pm
Dr. Kristen West Mandel Veterinary Hospital 216-321-6040
*Please note, do NOT call these vets yourself - they can not dispense medical advice to an owner over the phone, only to other veterinarians.
Last edited by GliderNursery; 07/06/1409:32 PM.
Jen/Colin Commander Riker 12 16 02-10 04 12 you will be FOREVER missed Sinbad, Gabby, Baby, and Alley
I have had a couple of customers lately who have lost two gliders here in the past couple months. We had a Necropsy done on each of them. One, unfortunately, Dr.T was not in town at the time, so we had to have the local vet do it and send in samples to a pathologist. The results of course were the liver was bad/possibly toxin (aflatoxin). Bad heart, fat tissue around the heart.
The second one just passed away the other day and Dr. Tristan was able to do the Necropsy on this one. Liver was fine but the adrenal gland was literally three times the size it should have been. He sent off tissues to his pathologist. Results are not in as of yet.
Today while I was talking with him, he asked me to please tell people that have necropsies done to make sure if tissue samples are being sent out, to PLEASE make sure it is a pathologist that does EXOTICS. As most pathologist do not really know the different types of things to look for when dealing with a specimen they are not used to seeing.
He suggested I pass on the name of the ONLY pathologist he uses and encourages people to please ask your vet to send off the tissues to them. They are experienced with gliders and other exotics and know different areas/tissues and problems to look for that someone else may not. Their names are Dr. Drury R. Reavill and Dr. Robet E Schmidt. Their information can be found Here.