This is a forum set up for emergency situations only. After the emergency has been resolve the post will be moved to the appropriate forum.
Many come here for answers and they get them. Sometimes the only answer that can be given is to take your glider to the vet
. There are many reasons why this can be the only answer, please understand this and expect many responses to be "Bring your glider to a vet
, any vet
!". Thank you Jen(xfilefan) for writing the statement below:
Why Glider Central Cannot "Treat" Your Sugar Glider
Recently there has been some issues with people desperate for help for a sick glider, and don't understand why the advice given is "get the glider to the vet
". They get angry, thinking we should be able to tell them what to do, or what to get, to make it better. In some cases, we can. In others, it's beyond a layperson's means and requires a medical professional.
While there are certain things we can tell you to do, or not to do, some information can be harmful to your glider if someone without proper knowledge goes too far. Here are two examples:
I. Diagnosing a problem
"What is wrong with my glider?"
While some of us, and Glider Central members as a whole, have a huge amount of experience with gliders and their illnesses, none among us is a veterinarian
. Certain symptoms tend to go with certain problems, BUT can also go with other issues as well. For instance, a glider that is shaking/shivering may be cold, they may be in the mid stages of HLP, in shock, or suffering an injury or neurological trauma (brain or spinal cord injury/disease), inadequate diet
or infection. Which one is it? We can't say with any certainty, and if you treat for the wrong thing, you may lose your glider. Some of these require tests to diagnose-or find out what they are, like urinalysis/fecal testing for infection (if the infection shows up there), X-ray or blood work for HLP or traumatic injury, etc. We also cannot see the glider for other signs of illness. Is it too thin? Are its eyes sunken? Is the coat not healthy looking? While the glider's age, diet
, history and recent events can help us perhaps get close to what is going on, even a vet
will need to look at the animal in order to say 'this is what's wrong', and pictures are not always adequate.
Another example is yellow skin, or jaundice. Usually that goes with liver dysfunction and/or gall bladder impairment. Fine, but what is causing it? Is my glider dying, or is it treatable? There are at least a dozen possible root causes, the treatments for which can vary greatly. Without testing, there is no way for us to know what is going on, other than it is serious and requires a veterinarian
. Just because one glider had it and died, and another lived for years with medication, other than as possible case histories for a vet
to look at, will not say either what your glider's problem is, that it is dying, or that it will survive, or that a given treatment will help at all.
This goes for anything that is not a minor routine problem, such as minor constipation or a nail cut too short and bleeding-those we can help with specifically.
No one on Glider Central is qualified to confirm ANY diagnosis. We can offer a suggestion as to what it might be(or very likely is in some cases), but that doesn't mean it is. If someone is wrong, they may have just killed your animal.
"What can I give him/her?"
Gliders, other than for minor issues as stated above such as constipation (try apple juice or a little canned pumpkin, for example), do not use over the counter medications. Wormers, etc., are commercially made for animals much bigger than a glider, and with different physiology. Most medications have to be dispensed by a licensed professional-ie, the vet
. They are regulated by law. You cannot buy them over the counter, or use human medications, which in addition to other issues are likely way too strong and/or in the wrong form. To give these risks killing your animal, or making it very, very sick. Can they take some of them? Certainly. BUT THE DOSAGE HAS TO BE BASED ON THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:
Age: How old is the glider?
Weight of the animal: how much does your glider weigh?
Strength of the medication: one antibiotic could be 100 milligrams per milliliter of liquid, OR 350 milligrams per milliliter of liquid.
One, if giving X amount, may not be enough to help.
The other, at X amount, might be too much and could kill or cause internal or neurological damage to your animal.
No one on Glider Central is qualified to formulate a dosage of ANY medication for YOUR glider. Also, to do so would open up the legal possibility of being sued should either the diagnosis be in error, or the dosage wrong, should the glider be harmed or die because of it. It is not fair to ask that Glider Central or any member put themselves in that position.
"So what good is it? What can you do for me and my glider?"
Many combined years of experience can do much for you and your little ones. Keep in mind that it is the OWNER'S responsibility to get a vet
to see their animal. This doesn't always happen when it should, and we understand that, and will do all we can to help anyone find a vet
close to them. Glider Central also maintains a veterinarian
database to help with that. The veterinarian
is the only one qualified to see, examine, diagnose, and treat your glider. Back to the question, though...what CAN we do?
We CAN tell you how to stabilize your glider until you can get him/her to a medical professional.
In some cases, we CAN tell you if an immediate trip is necessary or advisable, or if something can wait...whether for a few hours, or a day or two.
We CAN tell you which medications may help, from gliders who have had similar symptoms in the past, for you to suggest to your vet
We CAN tell you which tests to ask for when you get there, based on the symptoms you describe.
We CAN help with housing, food, bedding, follow up care ideas, etc., AFTER a diagnosis has been given by the vet
We CAN help you to find a vet
We CAN provide emotional and moral support for what you and your glider are going through, and be here for you as other owners that have been through the same or similar with our own gliders, and share our experiences, ideas, stories, and outcomes.
We DO care about both you and your glider. It is why each and every one of us is here, FOR THE GLIDERS, and NO ONE wants to cause harm to someone else's glider. The rules against offering medications dosages and certain advice are there for that reason. It's not to be mean...it is to PROTECT YOU AND YOUR SUGAR GLIDER from intentional or unintentional harm. The best intentions can sometimes go horribly wrong. A typo in a dosage can kill someone's beloved pet and companion. It is the same reason a vet
or human doctor cannot offer medical advice over the telephone. Believe us when we say it is so VERY tempting to do sometimes, but had there never been horrible outcomes, the rule would not exist. It can really hurt to think you KNOW what is wrong, and be able only to suggest possibilities...because what if you are in error? It is the animal that will pay the price-and the owner.
Each owner that comes for help is free to accept or decline any information given. One thing that can be counted on is if we all say to go to the vet
, we believe your glider is seriously ill and in medical need, and it is beyond what we can provide for you. In some cases we may not have any idea what your glider has, in some we might-but it's only possibilities, and cannot substitute for a medical professional. We give the all of our knowledge and experience freely within the boundaries of what is safe to do-both for us and for the person seeking help. It is hoped this will help to define WHY there is some advice we simply cannot give, no matter how much we want to help, care about you and your glider, and want only what is best for you both, owner and glider.
It is never 'why WON'T you help'...it's we are not vets
, and what if we're wrong?