Many of you may have already read my thread about my glider Cricky: Ear Infection or Neurological Damage??? Since I started that thread almost two months ago, we have determined that it is, in fact, neurological damage. We have made many adjustments to Cricky's cage, environment and care to make life easier for him. He was already in with Pika, who is blind, and so their cage already had multiple hammocks throughout the cage to help prevent injury from falls. This has turned out to be a good thing for Cricky, as well, since he has lost a lot of his coordination since the series of strokes began occuring. (See 1st & 2nd attached pictures, which show the cage set up as we had it for Pika's blindness). In addition to the large hammocks, we also had lowered the pouch to the bottom corner of the cage so that Pika could get in and out of it more easily. This has proven to be beneficial for Cricky, as well. In addition, we now clip the back, center of the pouch opening to the corner of the cage so that the opening is a triangle instead of just flat. This helps Cricky get into the pouch because he constantly moves in circles and would close the pouch up before he could ever get inside before we clipped it open. Another adjustment we had to make was in feeding Cricky. We discovered that because of his lack of coordination, he could not get into the food bowls when they were set flat in the cage. Now, we prop them at an angle at the side of the cage (see 3rd attached picture) and he is able to get to his food now. We also had to add a bowl for water that is tipped at an angle, too, because he is no longer able to use the water bottle. For feeding crickets and mealworms, we discovered that Cricky could not hold onto the live insects long enough to eat them. We now freeze his crickets & mealworms and serve them in a very shallow bowl. (See 4th attached picture). Because of his neurological damage, Cricky constantly runs in circles of varying radius. Sometimes the circles are very tight and others are very large. He will run until he is completely exhausted and a number of times I have found him passed out from exhaustion on one of the hammocks in the cage. He simply is too tired to get to his pouch. I now check on him regularly to make sure he hasn't fallen asleep on the hammock and then move him to the pouch if he has. (See 5th attached picture of him sleeping on a hammock - poor little guy ) We have a Flex Clone Wheel for Cricky, but can not leave it in the cage. Due to his lack of coordination, he is unable to use it without constant supervision. It gets to going too fast for him and then he falls out of it if we don't hold onto the edge of the wheel to keep it from spinning too fast. He is taken out every evening and every morning for wheel time. Some days in the wheel are better than others We are still learning about how to make Cricky's life as comfortable as possible and are open to any and all suggestions that anyone else with experience in this realm may have...
Last edited by sugarglidersuz; 01/03/0806:49 AM. Reason: to change url for linked thread
My girl Flo also has neuro damage. I'm not sure what happened, but she also goes in circles and can't climb very well...though she sometimes tries to climb on me. She tends to sleep most of the time and gets worn out very quickly. I've also found her asleep on the floor of her reptaurium. I haven't yet mastered downloading my digital photos, but I have the reptaurium positioned horizontally so she can't get high. Since her episode about 4months ago, I've only recently seen her try to climb the reptaurium. In the beginning, she had very little control of her head, but that has improved a lot so she can use her water bottle. That was my biggest concern because she fell in the water bowl the night after this happened. She slept in a small cage by my bed for the first 6 weeks so I could hear her if there was a problem. In her rep now, I have 4 different places for sleeping in each corner so that she'll be warm and cozy no matter where she chooses to sleep. I found a neat little bed in the small animal department at Petco...it's fleece-lined w/raised sides. She loves it! I put several fleece blankets in there for her. This is her favorite spot because it's on the ground and easy for her to get in and out of. I also have a ferret hammock (also fleece-lined) filled w/big pieces of fleece and a sleeping pouch hanging on on end of the rep. Then I have a wooden hut filled w/blankets on the other end. This way, she stays warm. I put her sister/former cagemate in w/her during the day so they can cuddle together. She eats best off a flat dish because she tends to fall in a regular bowl. I have a wheel and some toys in her rep, but she doesn't seem interested in them. When I bring her out, I usually lay a big piece of fleece down on the floor and let her walk on that because it seems to help her move a bit better. The only problem I have w/her has been that she occasionally won't eat well. I have to weigh her a few times a week because she's dropped a few grams pretty quickly (she's 73g...pretty small). When she goes through these phases, I hand feed her what's in her bowl. After a few days of this, she'll start eating by herself again. It seems like she forgets where the food is and I have to remind her. Other than that, she's done pretty well and is happy. A little more thought involved on my end, but it's worth it. She's been in my bra all afternoon and is just now waking up so I'll end by saying that neuro problems don't mean the end for a glider...they can still thrive w/a few modifications.
Thank you for sharing your stories Suz and Kate. I beleive that gliders can recover and adapt from lots of different conditions and we have so much more to learn from them. Suz, thank you for the pictures and please give him a kiss from me. I have followed his story and I am so glad to see that he is improving. I am keeping him in my prayers and hopefully he will continue to make strides everyday. Angie
Re: Neurological Damage
#173447 11/18/0609:00 AM11/18/0609:00 AM
Kate, Thanks for sharing your experiences about Flo. I also have to weigh Cricky every few days to make sure his weight is stable. Before he started with these problems, he was a healthy 110 grams. Now he fluctuates between 76-80 grams. He lost almost all of that weight within the first two weeks. I like the idea of multiple sleeping areas in the cage. I'm going to have to try that for Cricky. I worry about Pika getting too cold and lonely without her Cricky, but as it is right now, he isn't in the pouch with her very much anymore anyway. I'm going to try to make a specialty hammock for him that has a "pouch" at the two back corners, built into the hammock. I don't know how it will turn out, but I'll post pix of it once it's finished.
Another thing that I have noticed with Cricky is that he no longer has a set sleeping routine. Whereas he used to be completely nocturnal, he now is awake quite late into each morning. Right now, it is already 8:45 a.m. and he's still wide awake running across his top hammock in his cage. There have been many days where he has still been running around as late as 10:30 a.m. and once he was up until 3:30 p.m. It is during the daytime hours that I find him "passed out" on the hammock. Then after I move him into the pouch he'll sleep for a solid 8-9 hours , then wake up and start all over again. His appetite is very healthy and he is eating much more than he has ever eaten before, but his metabolism seems to be so high that he isn't gaining any of the weight back. After he runs circles for a while, he will stop and then his head will twitch for a few seconds, like the pendulum on a clock. Almost as if he's dizzy from all the circles. This doesn't happen every time, but frequently enough to have noticed a pattern. I am very grateful that he is at least functioning again and isn't lethargic and apathetic anymore. I will continue to learn and adjust things as I discover them. I love this little guy so very much - I am definitely his slave Here are a couple of pictures of him running around on his hammock and at the top of his cage
Hi Suz. I've noticed the same thing w/Flo's appetite. She was never a big eater, but now, especially when I'm hand feeding, will eat like she hasn't been fed in days. She also lost about 20g in the first 2 weeks after her episode and now keeps pretty stable at 73g. Her sleep patterns have also changed, only she sleeps more whereas it sounds like Cricky is more active. Even w/less activitiy, she still doesn't gain any weight. I started increasing her BML to about 1 1/2 tbsp along w/a bit more fruit or veggies because I was finding her plate clean each morning and she would wake up and go over to it when she heard me come in. I still give her some applesauce or a yogie in the morning sometimes. On the days I take her to work w/me, I notice she'll wake up and groom several times in the late morning and mid-afternoon. She'll also have a snack sometimes. It's gotten a bit cooler here (50's at night and low to mid 70's in the day) and I've even taken to covering part of her rep w/a fleece blanket if she's not in my shirt. She seems to have more trouble keeping warm. It would be interesting to hear from other parents of neuro babies to see if they also notice some of these same things. I'm always trying to think of more ways to help Flo. I hadn't thought of clipping the pouch open for her so I'm going to try that now. Thanks for the tip.
I did make the pouch hammock this morning. I made a No Sew Shelf Hammock and added two triangular pieces to each of the back corners to make triangular pouches at both corners along the back edge. Cricky did crawl inside to sleep for awhile. We went out for lunch and when we came back, he was sleeping outside of it on top of one of the blankies I had put in there for him I scooped him up and put him back in the regular pouch with Pika for now. I'll try to get some pictures of it later...
They have something at petsmart that may work for Cricky. It is a ladybug, and it is sort of like a hammock, but the top where the 'wings' are, they can climb inside, so it would serve double duty. If you don't have them near you, I could pick one up and send it to you. Let me know. Just an idea. It is made for ferrets.
I haven't seen those before. We just had a new petsmart open nearby so i'll have to look there. One of my gliders came to me w/something similar to what you described and i've been using it for Flo. It looks like it a ladybug and has loops where you can hang it. I keep it on the floor of the rep and pile blankets in it. Flo loves it because it's soft and easy to get in and out of. I also have some other pet beds made for small animals that I got at petco that are fleece lined, but this one is much better. I've been looking for another one. Thanks for the tip!
I will have to check my PetSmart to see if they carry those - it looks very cute This morning Cricky was running around until about 10 o'clock, then my hubby scooped him up and put him in the pouch with Pika where they are both sleeping cozily now
Ed (my hubby) had Cricky out and running around on the bed this evening. He was able to get a few good pictures of Cricky and I thought I'd share them here...
(Please note that in the last picture, you can see the tip of Cricky's penis. His penis is always slightly prolapsed and we keep a constant eye on it to make sure it does not get too dry. In spite of multiple vet visits, no cause has ever been determined as to why it is always slightly prolapsed...)
I would like to keep this thread open and in the "Special Needs" forum so that others that have gliders with Neurological Damage can post in here as well. However, I did want to post an update here to let "new" readers of this thread know that Cricky has passed over to the Rainbow Bridge on 11/20/06. I miss him deeply, but he had a good, long life (he was about 12 years old) and we had many happy years together (almost 4)...
Just a few more thoughts on dealing w/a neuro case. Weight has to be monitored very closely. Flo has ups and downs so I weigh her every 3 days. She's gone through a few phases where she "forgets" to eat. At these times, she's dropped about 2-3g. Her last weight loss was almost 6g. This happened in the time span of 3 days...so again, I can't emphasize the need of frequent weight checks! When she starts to drop weight, I hand feed her (her normal diet) and w/in a few days she's eating on her own again and back to her normal weight. I would also recommend offering several sleeping options. When I only had 1 hammock w/a pouch laying on it, I would find Flo curled up on the cage floor. She could easily catch a chill, so I now have 3-4 sleeping options (all stocked w/fleece blankets) offered at different sites around her rep. She seems to do well w/grooming, but I do check her every few days just to make sure she looks ok. Since she isn't as active, her nails tend to grow quicker so check those more frequently as well. These are just a few things I've noticed and wanted to share.
I do want to pass on some info I have after dealing with a neuro disease in my horse. He got a disease (protozoa) that is passed on to horses from the Oppossum and quite a few horses in the US are exposed but only a small number of those actually produce neuro symtoms. My boy was one of those few.
The symptoms are neuro in nature and can include hind end incoordination, stumbling (my horse was walking & falling like a drunk), loss of facial expression, loss of weight/muscle mass (atrophy I think it is called?) and several other symptoms. Even after the protozoa are killed off, the nerve damage remains and the horse needs to be rehabbed. You may all wonder what this has to do with the gliders, right? Well one of the things we used to help new nerve growth was a high amount of vitamin E. Most people don't realize how vital Vit E is to the nervous system. Maybe some of these gliders could be helped with a high vitamin E supplementation?
This is part of my concern when diets are being frozen. Vitamin E is destroyed by freezing. My horse's vitamin E was left out in the barn on accident in freezing weather. Even though it was only one night my vet told me to order new stuff as the stuff I had already lost a lot of its potency. No, the vet was not making money on this as I was ordering it from another supplier, so I trust when he said it wasn't very potent anymore.
Look up Vitamin E deficiency. While it is rare in humans, it can happen, and I'm sure it can also happen in the critters too. One of the main symptoms is neurological damage. So I am wondering if the gliders showing symptoms of neurological damage or ones with hind-end paralysis despite having calcium in their diet are actually vit. E deficient? This is a possibility if they are eating a diet of items that have mostly been frozen.
Re: Neurological Damage
#187074 12/17/0603:08 AM12/17/0603:08 AM
Good question. I've wondered about this from day one with my gliders. I mix everything fresh. I do add 1/8th tsp. of calcium to their diet. I've also always fed yogurt (Dannon Plain reg.) every single night to them. They love it and eat it all. Acacia Gum is a natural source of calcium, they get that sprinkled on fruits each night. Bee Pollen is considered a miracle food in that it has every single thing needed to sustain life in it. I sprinkle that on the veggies every single night. Leadbeater's (PML) will stay good in the fridge for 3 days. (I use the Wombaroo High Protein milk replacer) and boil chicken or make scrambled eggs.
We have a 7 year old female that came with her mate a year ago that had HLP, loss of weight and infected nails. She'd also lost 1/2 her tail and had hip problems. She had been abused as was her mate. She was on a diet that was frozen too.
There is nothing she can't do now. She has STRONG hands and feet and climbs with a tight grip, can run, jump with the best of them. I've never let her up high enough to see if she can glide though. She loves to hang upside down and spread her "wings" though. She was healed within 2 mos. of coming here.
I don't freeze foods for them except when I boil chicken. I don't believe in adding much in the way of vitamins either as if they are on the correct diet, they shouldn't need extra. Like humans, vitamins are SUPPLEMENTS, usually taken when something is out of whack in our systems.
The potency of vitamins is greatly diminished by freezing or heating. Many vitamins are killed in the process.
JMO and lots of research over the years.
Keeper of Handprints on my Heart, You left your Footprints on my soul. My precious loves that left to quickly, Peanut, Katie Isabella, Kiwi, Bonnie and Monroe.
Spread your wings and glide free of pain, Until the day I see you again.