One Suggie Dead and Worried About the Other One

Posted By: Fay

One Suggie Dead and Worried About the Other One - 11/27/19 04:01 AM

Hello, this is not the first post I imagined making on these forums...but here I am.

- I'm a new owner
- I had two intact male sugar gliders 5-6 yrs old
- one (Bingo) was timid and quiet
- the other (Bongo) was energetic and vocal
- I picked them up yesterday, fed them the food they came with (dry pellets, vitamin powders, dried fruit, yogurt treats, "Glider-Ade" drink)
- Today I bought ingredients/made them the Pet Glider Exotic Diet (Priscilla Price Diet)
- Bingo died in the bonding pouch within the past hour, before I had a chance to feed him the new food
- I plan to take him to a vet for diagnostic autopsy tomorrow morning
- Bongo seems fine, but I am worried and want to hear more experienced opinions on the matter

I'll be sitting here at the computer, staring at this thread for the next few hours. If you feel Private Message is more appropriate, feel free to message me as well.

I re-homed two sugar gliders yesterday, intact males that were 5-6 years old. I found them from a listing on Craigslist. One named "Bongo" was an energetic and spunky little mate, the other named "Bingo" was a lot more submissive to the first and didn't make much noise. Both responded well to treats and to being in a pouch, but preferred not to be directly handled by me (understandable, we haven't had a chance to bond yet).

I set up their cage, recently cleaned with hot water only (I didn't want to use chemicals that might harm them). Their water bottle was filled with Glider-Ade,'s where my mistakes come in.

I was under the impression that the former owners would provide me with the food they'd been feeding their gliders, so I didn't have any glider friendly foods in my cupboard at the time. After looking in the box of supplies they gave me, I realized that they'd only provided the pelleted food, the powders for their calcium and multivitamin supplements, the Glider-Ade powder, some dried fruit treats, and some yogurt drop treats. I didn't discover this until late in the evening, and while it wasn't ideal, I figured that they'd be alright for one evening having pellets, dried fruits, and some treats, in addition to the Glider-Ade they drank.

Today, I went out and gathered all the ingredients needed to make their proper diet, the Pet Glider Exotic Diet (aka the Priscilla Price Diet). This evening, I put Bingo the Timid in the bonding pouch, and was surprised at how willingly he let me handle him...but I figured it was because he was a more relaxed personality than Bongo the Bold. I wore him in the pouch for an hour, then handled him briefly. He was very calm, but kept wanting to hide in the folds of my hoodie, which I took as a sign that he wanted to go back in his pouch where he had an apple slice and a yogurt treat. So, I put him back in the pouch, and then after another 20 minutes I went to the cage and offered the open pouch to Bongo the Bold. He excitedly clambered in, I zipped the pouch shut, and then went to the kitchen to make their food.

I made the food, I put most of it in the ice cube trays as recommended, but kept out two servings from the batch and put them in their respective bowls. I was told not to feed them together, so I had one bowl in their cage for the bolder glider (Bongo) and had a small container set aside to feed the more timid Bingo his meal. I'd been wearing them in a bonding pouch while prepping their food, and when I opened the pouch in front of the caged bowl of food, Bongo the Bold zipped right out and started chowing down!

...but when I put the pouch in front of the other bowl for Bingo...he didn't budge. So, I figured I'd have to reach in and bring him out gently to show him his meal. When I grabbed him...he didn't react much, which concerned me. I pulled him out, and saw one of his eyes closed and the other only half open and I thought that he was severely lethargic. Immediately, I started to get on the phone to call an Emergency Vet Clinic to let them know we were inbound. And then I realized...he wasn't moving at all...and he was very stiff, as if rigor mortis had set in.

So, I put the phone down, took Bingo the Timid to the kitchen, and put his body in a sealed container. First thing in the morning, I'm taking him to a vet to be autopsied, so I can understand why he died, and hopefully keep the same fate from happening to Bongo the Bold.

...that said, I'm not certain what caused his passing. Perhaps he was already ill when I got him, or perhaps I made a terrible mistake in feeding them dry food yesterday...or perhaps something else entirely. So...I'm here to ask if any of those symptoms sound familiar to you more experienced owners, and ask for your opinion as to whether or not my other sugar glider needs to go to the vet right away.

They both played a LOT last night in their cage, and Bongo the Bold has seemed energetic and eager for food this evening...but I still worry.

And please...if it was my doing, tell me honestly and without being overly harsh. It's very possible I did something wrong...but these are my first gliders and I've not even had them for two whole days yet.
Posted By: Ladymagyver

Re: One Suggie Dead and Worried About the Other One - 11/27/19 11:38 AM

First, I'm so sorry this happened to you and I'm very sorry for your loss.

My first guess would be that you were sold gliders that may have already been sick. Gliders are good about hiding their illness. And then the stress of a new home may have added to this, which is not your fault.

Bongo the Bold does need to see a vet asap.

Offer him water in a shallow dish aside from the glideraid(check expiration date). Also check your water bottle and make sure it's functioning properly. The glideraid can make the balls stick.

Do a "tent test". At the back of his neck, grab a piece of fur, and pull it up, let go of it. If the fur just stands there or goes back slowly, he is probably dehydrated. If he fails the tent test, give him honey water right away either by syringe or eye dropper if he won't take it.

Wash their cage and toys with Dawn dish soap/ hot water and rinse with hot water.

Give him a clean sleeping pouch. And some extra blankies( cut approx. 4x4" pieces of fleece).

If he is dehydrated, try giving him more water every hour or so untill you get him to the vet. Offer a juicy fruit(grapes seedless, watermelon, cantaloupe, etc on your way to the vet.

Take a sample of fresh poo to have smear done and check for infection or parasites.

I will be checking here every hour or so to see if you've checked in here. Please let us know how Bongo is doing. There are a lot of things to go over with you once he's been seen by the vet. We do not judge, we are here for the good of the glider only.

Don't be surprised if this thread gets moved today. Karen will set up a link to help you find it.

Looking forward to working with you and the results of Bingo's necropsy.
Posted By: Feather

Re: One Suggie Dead and Worried About the Other One - 11/27/19 01:33 PM

I am very sorry this experience with gliders ended in a death.

Do the things that Dawn said to do.

I run a rescue, you never know when a rescue glider will pass. Their diet,care, and genetics play a large role in how long they will live.
Posted By: Fay

Re: One Suggie Dead and Worried About the Other One - 11/28/19 05:09 AM

Thank you for you kindness. I spent today driving to deliver Bingo to the diagnostic clinic in Fort Collins and I only just got home. I was told I should have the results of the necropsy sometime on Friday; hopefully there will be some helpful answers.

First thing tomorrow, I'll be certain to take Bongo to an Emergency Vet for a check up; they'll certainly be available, even with the holiday. Unfortunately...I can't perform a "tent test" on Bongo, as he doesn't yet let me handle him. He crabs and nips at any attempts to touch him, but willingly crawls into a zipper-able pouch if he can smell a treat.

He's drinking from the water bowl I set out for him at your suggestion! And he's been eating the apple slices I set out for him this morning, which is a good sign! And even without Bingo present, he was still fairly active in his cage last night. For now though, I'm trying to avoid stressing him out any further with attempts to handle or bond with him. I want to wait until he has a clean bill of health before attempting to bond more, which might stress him out. frown
Posted By: Ladymagyver

Re: One Suggie Dead and Worried About the Other One - 11/28/19 12:30 PM

Originally Posted by Fay
For now though, I'm trying to avoid stressing him out any further with attempts to handle or bond with him. I want to wait until he has a clean bill of health before attempting to bond more, which might stress him out. frown

I did forget that part... You've barely had them a few days... Usually we recommend them settling in about that long before handling.

So I'm gonna break a rule here. But in your case I feel it's critical, and taking time for responses/ feedback is taking too long. I am really concerned for Bongo. In order to keep things organized here at GC, we try to catagorize each subject matter for others who may have similar issues. Example would be category for bonding which I'm covering in next paragraph, and and diet, which is below that.

Gliders are scent oriented. You can start bonding with him right away without stressing him in two ways:
1. Lay an old piece of clothing you have freshly worn (t-shirt or sweatshirt) and on top of his cage.
2. take some blankies (I mentioned them in my first reply) and put your scent on them. Either by rubbing them on your skin, tucking in your dirty laundry, or sleeping with them under your pillow. Then tuck them in the sleeping pouch with him. As he sleeps, he will become accustomed/ familiar with your smell.

How well did he eat his dinner last night? What did he eat compared to what he left behind? When you prepared the fruits and vegetables, did you chop them up or use a blender? Are the fruits and vegetables frozen separately, or mixed with the staple?

Is he potty/pooping OK? Does he struggle or hiss when he goes? You may want to lay down some paper towels in the drop pan so you can observe color and texture, if you haven't already done so.

He has much to overcome. A change in his environment (smells and new home), a loss of a mate, and diet is different.

Now back to bonding. Spend some cage time with him. During his sleep time, sit by the cage and softly talk, read, or sing to him. If he comes out, offer him a treat though the cage bars. Let him come to you. Licky treats like yogurt(full fat only), and honey can be offered by a spoon, popsicle stick, or your finger(if you aren't concerned he might bite). Licky treats are great for earning trust/confidence for both you and him.

I hope this was helpful. And please keep us posted on his progress.
Posted By: Fay

Re: One Suggie Dead and Worried About the Other One - 11/28/19 10:20 PM

That was a lot of helpful info!

Current Update:
We just got back from the Emergency Vet, where after a brief preliminary exam they told me that they were not worried enough to give him a more thorough work up right then. They recommended I check in with a specific vet tomorrow who specializes in Exotic Mammals, rather than do all the tests right now in a more expensive and less experience emergency clinic.

During that visit, Bongo pooped and peed with ease (on me, haha! XD) and both were normal in smell, consistency, and color. He was also extremely lively, clambering all over both myself and the nurse. He even glided from me to the nurse's back at one point! ...he also nipped the nurse hard enough to draw a pin [censored] of blood, so...there's that. I think he may have been feeling overwhelmed, as he's been understandably a little nippy in the past few days but never bit hard.

Of his food yesterday, he appears to have eaten about half of the cube I gave him. The PGE Diet recipe I was given by his former owners recommended I use a blender to finely cut all the fruit/veggie/protein ingredients, then mix them in a bowl with the other wet ingredients such as the orange juice and yogurt and the vitamin powders I have on hand. Then, ya freeze the batch in ice cube trays and give a cube to each glider every evening for dinner. I supplement this with a few slices of fresh fruit such as Pink Lady apples (since they're pretty small) or a berry (like blueberries or raspberries). He left behind about half the cube of food, as well as two and a half of the apple slices (out of the 3-4 he originally had). He ate the entire raspberry, save for some shreds of it he dropped on the floor of his cage.

Thanks for your suggestions about the scent and blankets!!! I'll get on that right away with some of the the fleece bits and pouches I received along with him!

Right now, he's in the bonding pouch, in my shirt. We just came back from the vets, as I mentioned, so for now I'm just keeping him with me. I figured it'd give him a good chance to get accustomed to my smell and it wouldn't overly stress him since he's already in there.
© 2021 GliderCENTRAL