Help! Possible Teeth issues??

Posted By: Monkeysmom85

Help! Possible Teeth issues?? - 05/21/20 06:10 AM


I’m a new suggie mom. I just rescued 2 sugar gliders from not so great conditions about 3 weeks ago.

The first two things I did were:
- Put them on a better diet (their old diet was just some EN pellets and EN instant HPW). They’re now on the Critter Love Diet (OHPW).
- Take them to the vet for an overall check up and labs.

The vet said everything looked good aside from them being malnourished. The vet said there were no parasites from the fecal test. I also asked for them to check their teeth because I worried about how long the bottom teeth looked. But she said it’s normal and both gliders teeth looked good.
But I recently had someone who rescues gliders tell me it looks like at least one of them has tooth pain based off a video I shared online of them eating mealworms.

I’ll attach a link to the video here
Suggie eating

They said that the vet is wrong so I’m thinking maybe I should get a second opinion? The vet was an exotics specialist who deals with sugar gliders and I specifically picked them because of their good reputation online.
I still might go somewhere else though. I’d hate to think one or both of them are in pain. I have no idea what normal sugar glider eating looks like. To me they seem okay? They eat pretty good and love their new diet.
Can anyone here take a peek at the video and give me your thoughts? She’s eating a mealworm in the video. Do they normally chew like that and spit the food back out?
Thanks in advance!
Posted By: Ladymagyver

Re: Help! Possible Teeth issues?? - 05/21/20 10:07 AM

Hi and :welcomegc: .

I'm not an expert on this, but I know gliders' teeth don't grow like rats hamsters and mice. Their lower teeth are long naturally for digging in to trees for sap.

They do spit most of the "insoluble" fiber of all their food back out. Their digestive system doesn't handle it well. So, yes that's normal.

I did watch the video and the one who wasn't eating looked like she may be in pain. Unless she doesn't care for mealies.

Can she eat the staple without shaking her her head?

Is her face swollen, any lumps?

Are they having issues with potty or pooping?

Do you know their age?
Posted By: KarenE

Re: Help! Possible Teeth issues?? - 05/21/20 02:40 PM

I agree with everything Dawn said regarding their eating. Since these two came from a not so good prior conditions, it is possible they have not had mealies before which would account for the one not knowing what they are and possibly not even liking them the first time. There are some strange gliders who don't even care for them dunno Since the vet you took them to is experienced and gave them a good report, I would watch them eating other items before going for a second opinion. IF you still think there might have been something missed, it be a good idea to give your vet a second chance to look at the one in question. Take along an apple slice or something hard so he can observe the glider eating.

Dawn has also asked some important questions.

:welcomegc: So glad to have you here and look forward to hearing more about these little ones.
Posted By: Monkeysmom85

Re: Help! Possible Teeth issues?? - 05/21/20 08:42 PM


Thanks for the reply!
The glider in question is the one you can visibly see eating in the video, that’s Monkey.
The other guy there tucked beside her is Chunky. The person told me it was Monkey who was in pain.

The one you asked about, Chunky (who shook his head after licking the mealworm), loves mealworms too and I haven’t noticed any issues when he’s eating them. He takes them from me pretty hastily, almost aggressively actually, every time I offer one and chows it down. I don’t know why he shook his head like that after licking the one in her hand though, that’s actually the first time I’ve ever seen him do that.

I don’t notice any swelling on either glider’s face. Definitely not on Monkey (the one eating in the video).. she’s the one who is currently underweight the vet said. Chunky, the other glider, is kind of, well..chunky lol.I don’t notice any swelling on his face either.. but, he’s also very rotund and looks like just a big round ball, so seeing swelling on him might be a litter tougher. But his face definitely hasn’t changed in the last 3 weeks since bringing him home. That I’m pretty sure of.

Their ages are something I’m not totally sure of. The person I got them from initially told me they were both 4. Then she later told me that Monkey was 4 and Chunky was 6. So they’re between the ages of 4-6, I think. I know these guys can live to 15.. so that would still make them on the younger side?

And lastly, they definitely have no issues going potty. lol They go all over me when we do tent time. I try to get them to go before letting them out of the cage.. but I somehow always manage to get pee’d or pooped on eventually.

Here’s a video of Chunky eating a mealworm on that same day. It was right before I took the video of them both in the pouch - Chunky eating worms

But this person has now commented to me twice that my gliders have teeth pain. Their comments are just kind of freaking me out. I told them how I took them to the vet and had the teeth checked, but they said they’re sure there’s something wrong with the teeth. They said the yellow coloring of the fur and the way she’s eating indicates pain.

But I told them my vet said the teeth are fine and the yellowing of the fur is from a bad diet from the previous owner.
I told them that my vet wasn’t keen on sedating them for an in depth look into their mouths, unless there was some kind of indication something was wrong. So they’re making me doubt my initial faith that I had in my vet. That’s why I came here because it seems like there are a lot of long time glider owners who have seen a few things while owning gliders.
Oh my this was a long response! I’m sorry 😬 lol thank you for your help and input..I really appreciate it!!
Posted By: Monkeysmom85

Re: Help! Possible Teeth issues?? - 05/21/20 08:59 PM

Thank you for the welcome!

Chunky, the one who shook his head in the video, actually loves the mealies 😃
I have no idea why he shook his head like that in the video (he just got done eating a mealie like 2 sec before that).
The glider this person was referring to was the one you can clearly see eating and chewing in the video. That’s Monkey. They wouldn’t tell me why they thought it looked like she’s in pain.. in assuming it’s the way she’s chewing?

This is all happening on a glider Facebook group.. so I don’t know this person personally.. only through interacting online in the group.

This is the second group post of mine where she’s commented that they have teeth problems. First time it was just a picture and she said the yellowing of their fur indicated bad teeth/lack of grooming.
But my vet said no, it’s from years of a bad diet and poor husbandry from the past owner.
Also I do see them self grooming. I’m actually starting to see it more frequently now. The first week I brought them home I didn’t see much grooming going on.
So I don’t know if being kept in a filthy cage (the previous owner initially gave them to me in their cage and it was the grossest thing I’ve ever seen - I had to get them a new one) would cause them stress maybe and in turn lack of grooming?

But I’m hoping with a better diet/environment I’ll start to see improvements with both gliders in their appearance over the next couple of months.

But this person just has me doubting the vets report on them. They’re saying I need to have both gliders sedated to fully check the whole mouth. I really don’t want to have to resort to that if I don’t have to. And also the vet doesn’t want to sedate them either unless I see a red flag like swelling or they stop eating.
So their comments are messing with my head! I know it’s ridiculous because I don’t even know them, but this has been going on now for like 2 weeks. Every time I post anything in that group they pop up with “she has teeth pain - I can tell from the video/picture”.
Posted By: KarenE

Re: Help! Possible Teeth issues?? - 05/22/20 03:02 PM

Thanks for the response and the additional video. I really think this may very well be their first introduction to meal worms, and this is simply the way they are eating them. Gliders do eat/chew with their mouths open with some more pronounced than others.

Gliders with teeth problems/pain will avoid foods that give them pain and you will normally see some swelling somewhere around the mouth or jaw.

Keep an eye on them, however, I think they are just enthusiastically enjoying good food.
Posted By: Monkeysmom85

Re: Help! Possible Teeth issues?? - 05/22/20 07:51 PM

Thank you! I’m really happy to hear that.

Yes they definitely don’t avoid mealworms.. that’s for sure! If anything it’s the opposite and if I’m not careful, I’ll get my finger bit along with the worm lol! I actually have to feed them with tweezers now because they’re just a little too aggressive with the snacks.

But my ferrets were like that too when they were brand new to snacks they really enjoyed. They would get overly eager, and attack my hand. But it stopped after they realized there were plenty of snacks to go around.

But in any case.. thank you for the piece of mind! I’ll still keep an eye out if anything changes though. We have a revisit with vet scheduled for July anyway because she wants to make sure they’re making progress on the new diet and that Monkey puts some weight on.
Thanks for your help!
Posted By: Monkeysmom85

Re: Help! Possible Teeth issues?? - 05/23/20 04:17 PM

Just thought I’d post a little update of recently events that unfolded within the last 24 hrs (I swear you can’t make this stuff up).

So I had them out playing last night and I was holding Chunky and I noticed he was drooling all over my hand. And not a little drool..a lot. Then he started pawing at his mouth like he was trying to pull a piece of string out of it.

Of course I got freaked out thinking he had something blocking his air way or that he was choking. I’m at the ER vet with him now. I called our exotics vet but they said they couldn’t see us because they were already dealing with 2 emergencies. So I made an appointment with the exotics vet for the 6/8 (that was the soonest appointment ugh).. and I took Chunky to the ER clinic just to make sure nothing was stuck in his mouth. This place unfortunately doesn’t have an exotic vet on call. But it’s better than nothing.
Even if they can’t find anything wrong I’m still taking both gliders to our regular vet on 6/8.

I’m just going to ask for a complete oral exam on both of them; even on Monkey too. I don’t see anything wrong with her but I might as well have them both checked so we don’t end up in the ER again.

I just can’t believe the odds here. I’ll post an update once I get Chunky back from the vet.
Posted By: KarenE

Re: Help! Possible Teeth issues?? - 05/23/20 04:32 PM

Read and waiting for an update. Hoping for good news.
Posted By: Monkeysmom85

Re: Help! Possible Teeth issues?? - 05/23/20 07:51 PM

Update on Chunky:
I just got him back from the ER vet. They told him his air way is clear and they didn’t see anything stuck in his throat/mouth (relieving). They said they think it’s his bottom teeth that are the issue.
They said they look too long and they’re cutting into the roof of his mouth causing him pain.
So we scheduled a teeth trim for Thursday.
They sent us home with some carnivore care and metacam.
I have a few issues with this though. I’m not a glider expert or vet expert in any way, however, I just had their exotics vet tell me two weeks ago that the length of their teeth was normal. I also thought that your not supposed to file or trim down their teeth?!

Our regular exotic vet is closed now, but I’m going to call them tomorrow morning and ask to speak to their vet. Before I let anyone trim his teeth I’d like to rule out all other teeth related issues. I want them to have an X-ray of all 40 teeth and see if there may be an issue that’s not readily being seen upon first glance.
I’m just a little on the fence with the diagnosis.
Posted By: KarenE

Re: Help! Possible Teeth issues?? - 05/24/20 01:53 PM

Originally Posted by Monkeysmom85
This place unfortunately doesn’t have an exotic vet on call. But it’s better than nothing.

Originally Posted by Monkeysmom85
They said they look too long and they’re cutting into the roof of his mouth causing him pain.
So we scheduled a teeth trim for Thursday.

He may indeed have something wrong with his lower teeth HOWEVER a gliders teeth do NOT grown like a rodents. One of the worse things you can do to a glider is have its teeth trimmed or floated as it's called. Since the emergency clinic where you took him did not have an exotic vet, please do not take him back to have this procedure done.

It would be better for him to have those teeth extracted IF indeed there is a tooth problem with the lowers. It could be there is a small particle of food lodged that will work itself out.

Again, I would suggest giving the med sent home with you, watching him and keeping you 6/8 appointment with your exotic vet.

Posted By: Monkeysmom85

Re: Help! Possible Teeth issues?? - 05/24/20 06:30 PM

Yeah after researching it once I got home last night, I’m definitely not bringing him back for the tooth trimming.
I have a call out to our regular exotic vet to call me back. They’re closed right now because of the holiday weekend. I called this morning and they said that I could also use their pet portal on their website to send a message to her. So I’m trying to figure out how to set up my online account on their site so I can message her too.
I’ll wait till 6/8 if I have to, but I want to tell her the situation and see if she can somehow get us in there sooner because he’s in pain.
I only have enough metacam for a week. I gave it to him last night and I think it really helped.
He stopped pawing at his mouth and was hopping around the cage like a maniac playing with his toys.
So I definitely think it helped him feel better.

Hopefully they can get me in sometime next week. I’ll keep this thread updated on what happens. Thank you guys
Posted By: KarenE

Re: Help! Possible Teeth issues?? - 05/25/20 06:31 PM

So glad a little research supported my advice. I hope your vet will agree to see him sooner than 6/8. Thanks so much for the update.
Posted By: Monkeysmom85

Re: Help! Possible Teeth issues?? - 05/27/20 07:41 AM

Update update.. our usual exotic vet agreed to see us this Friday. They also agreed the trimming was not a solution. They are going to see both chunky and monkey Friday and do a set of dental X-rays to check their teeth. Monkey I’m not sure if there’s anything wrong with her teeth.. but Chunky I’m almost positive. I’ll be shocked if they find nothing on him.
I’m giving him the metacam every night and it seems to be helping, although.. he’s still drooling. His belly was all wet tonight and so was monkeys arm (I think he’s drooling on her while the pouch together).
It’s weird because he’s eating fine though. Tonight I watched him eat a piece of celery and a carrot. Mealworms are no problem for him either. If it weren’t for the drooling and pawing at the mouth I’d have no idea anything was wrong.
I’ll update on Friday with the results and follow up treatment they decide on.
Posted By: KarenE

Re: Help! Possible Teeth issues?? - 05/27/20 02:08 PM

So glad you were able to get him in and that you are taking them both at the same time.It could be something as simple as a food particle stuck in his teeth that he cannot dislodge which is why he keeps pawing at his mouth. OR he could have a tooth infection and trying to get rid of what is bothering him. Let's just pray the vet can easily see what it is.

Will look forward to your update after you see the vet on Friday.
Posted By: Monkeysmom85

Re: Help! Possible Teeth issues?? - 06/11/20 09:51 AM

It’s been a while since I last updated, but a lot (and I mean A LOT) has happened since then. (Don’t worry, Chunky is okay FYI). This will be long, but I feel that it is an important read. I really would hate to see anyone else go through what we’re going through now.

But I wanted to post this update for any future owners who might run into this situation, and also as a cautionary tale.

So I last left off with - We were pretty sure that Chunky had a tooth problem, but had not received an official diagnosis yet. I took him back to the vet that following Friday. She confirmed that yes, it most likely was a bad tooth. But unfortunately, her clinic didn’t have the right equipment to X-ray tiny glider teeth. He needed a clinic with more fancy equipment basically. So she gave me a referral..TO THE ER HOSPITAL I HAD JUST TAKEN HIM TO! Yes.. the one that recommended we trim his teeth.

I told her about my concerns with that, but she told me that was their ER/on call vet who said that (who was not an exotic vet). She said that, that particular hospital actually had an exotics department, but most importantly.. had special diagnostic equipment for exotic/avian mammals. Sounded good to me! I was ready to get to the root of the issue!

So we make an appointment with an exotic vet there for the following Thursday. I expected them to radiograph his teeth, and most likely make a follow up visit for the extraction. Because of the current pandemic, I couldn’t go in with him (everything is car side pick up). So they come out and get Chunky, and I waited in the parking lot to get a call from the doctor.

About an hour later, I get a call from him. He explained that he examined all of Chunky’s teeth and found the bad tooth. It was back molar, that was so decayed it had cracked in half. He said that the tooth was so bad, he was able to just use a Q-Tip and wiggle it out. Mind you, this involved no anesthesia or sedation (that should of been my first red flag - that they removed a tooth from his tiny mouth while he was awake). But I put my trust in this place and was happy that they found the problem and fixed it.

I brought Chunky home and sure enough, all his symptoms stopped by that weekend. No more drooling, and no pawing at the mouth. I was elated, at least temporarily.
That following Saturday, I took Chunky out for his normal cuddles and play time.
I was shocked when I saw a golf ball sized lump bulging from his abdomen.

This thing was enormous! And it most certainly wasn’t there the day before. I was freaking out. I called the vet who did his tooth extraction, and asked him if he noticed a lump of any size on his abdomen when he examined him on Thursday. He said absolutely not, and if it’s there now, it’s new. I asked if I could bring Chunky in to see him for an emergency visit.. but he said he was on vacation and there was no other exotic vet there to see him.

He told me a few places I could try, so that’s what I did. I ended up driving an hour into Boston to the ASPCA hospital.
They took him in immediately and kept him overnight to have an ultrasound in the morning. I got the call from them the next day with the findings.

Chunky had a herniated bladder. For anyone unfamiliar with what this means - he basically had a tear in his abdomen wall and his bladder popped through. The giant lump was a mix of swelling/fluid associated with the hernia.
I asked the vet there how in the world that happened.. and he said he was just as shocked as I was. He said in all his years examining gliders.. Chunky’s case was the first one he’d ever seen. I asked how something like that would happen, and he said it was due to trauma, major trauma to the abdomen. I asked if it could of been an old injury (because remember, I did just rescue these guys about a month ago), and he said no.. not likely. This was a new injury. He said even if Chunky sustained a small hernia in the past, something recent had to have happened to cause it to herniate his bladder (basically turning a small injury into a major one).

I told him all about his recent tooth extraction, and that only two days (not even) that lump appeared. He was very frank with me and said “I would give them a call immediately and ask to speak to someone in charge”.
I can’t come to any other conclusion than that Chunky was injured during that tooth extraction. I know damn right well he didn’t sustain any major trauma in my care those following days. I don’t have anyone else living in my house except my husband.. who absolutely didn’t do anything to him either (I’m their main, well only, care giver). I’m the only one who handled him after that tooth extraction.
I asked the vet if this could have happened from Chunky falling in his cage and he said most likely no (also, Chunky moves around pretty well in his cage - I never seen him even struggle or stumble while hopping around in there).
The vet said it could have happened if he was dropped, or someone squeezed him to hard, or something along those lines.

I’m beside myself. I truly believe something happened to him during that tooth extraction. First off, the timing is incredibly coincidental, and secondly.. the removed his tooth while he was awake and alert! The vet who did the tooth extraction said that the tooth was already loose and almost out anyway... but still, that requires them to hold Chunky still while they wiggle it out.
My theory: I don’t think it was the actual vet who caused the injury. I’m guessing it was probably whoever assisted him, or, whoever was handling him either before or afterwards. I think they maybe held him a little too tight to keep him still during the procedure.
Also - I came to find out afterwards that, that particular vet.. didn’t even work at that hospital. He was called in as they don’t really have an actual exotic vet employed there full time. They contract them in from other places for when they need them. If I knew that..I don’t think I would of went through with the visit. Not because I don’t trust the vet they call in.. but because that tells me that their usual staff doesn’t handle exotics on a regular basis.

So Chunky had his surgery this morning to repair the damage done to his bladder and abdomen. I was majorly relieved when they called me this afternoon and told me it was a success and he woke up from anesthesia just fine.
This whole ordeal has been extremely stressful for us emotionally and financially. The whole surgery and hospital stay for Chunky was $3600 in total. I usually always make sure to have some emergency back up funds.. but this was a huge unexpected expense. But the alternative was to euthanize Chunky.. and that was NOT happening.

So Chunky is still there in hospital tonight and possibly tomorrow night too. They’ll let me know tomorrow if I can take him home. I already went over the aftercare with the vet, so I’m all prepared for when he comes home.
I’ve also put a call out to the clinic who did the tooth extraction. That was yesterday and they still haven’t called me back yet. But I’m not letting this go. I want answers.

I wanted to post this as a warning. I didn’t ask enough questions. I just trusted the hospital and accepted their plan of treatment. What should of been a few hundred dollar issue, turned into a few thousand dollar issue. But most important, more important than the money, is that they severely, and almost fatally injured my Chunky!

So don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you think they’re stupid questions!
Posted By: KarenE

Re: Help! Possible Teeth issues?? - 06/11/20 01:56 PM

shock tant I am ALMOST at a loss for words, however, I cannot post those words here shakehead

What Chucky went through we can only slightly imagine because I seriously doubt any of us have had a tooth removed in the manner he did.

It makes perfect sense to me that he was held down and tried to fee himself with enough force to cause the damage you described. But don't let them blame Chucky for his own injuries. At the very least they should have given him enough anesthesia to all but put him out so minimal restraint was necessary.

This is beyond horrible.
Posted By: Feather

Re: Help! Possible Teeth issues?? - 06/11/20 02:31 PM

That poor little guy! My normal vet will not do tooth extractions, I go to a vet 2 hours north of where I live.

Please keep us updated on the little man.
Posted By: Ladymagyver

Re: Help! Possible Teeth issues?? - 06/11/20 11:16 PM

My heart breaks for chunky. Poor little guy! It's incomprehensible what he may have gone through.

I'm glad you got him to a good vet and they were able to help and save him.

Please keep us posted on his recovery...
Posted By: Monkeysmom85

Re: Help! Possible Teeth issues?? - 06/12/20 08:16 AM

Thank you everyone.

Chunky is home now. I picked him up tonight from the ASPCA hospital. He’s doing good! I have him in a recovery bin which will be his home for the next 2 weeks.
He was very happy to see us and got lots of cuddles tonight.
He got some of his favorite mealies too which he was excited for!

I’m glad I’m not alone in my view that what they did was wrong. Even if the tooth was basically ready to fall out, and the vet thought it was an easy fix, it still involved a lot of prodding I’m sure in the back of his mouth.
I think whoever assisted him in keeping Chunky still most likely caused the trauma. I think they held him too tight and probably forced him down. Then the injury happened as Chunky was trying to free himself.
But it’s the vet who is responsible! He makes the final call. But what I imagine is that he told them to keep him still while he took the tooth out and Chunky was probably freaking out.
Chunky squirms like a little worm when I’m just trying to give him his meds via syringe! I have to burrito him in a piece of fleece just so I can get the meds into him.

I can’t imagine the panic he had during the tooth extraction!
It just makes me really mad.

I called them last Tuesday looking for answers and they still haven’t called me back! I’m calling again tomorrow. I’m going to demand that someone in charge talks to me about this. They’re not going to ignore me, that’s for sure.

I’ll keep posting updates on Chunky’s healing. We go back to the ASPCA in a week for a follow up visit. If I hear back from the first clinic I’ll also post an update on their explanation and if they admit any fault. I won’t hold my breath though..I usually know how these things go.
Posted By: KarenE

Re: Help! Possible Teeth issues?? - 06/12/20 01:47 PM

Unfortunately, because the vet who pulled the tooth was not your regular vet, I suspect you will not receive a call back regardless of how many times you call. I really hope I am wrong.

Chunky is getting the best possible care now and hopefully will never ever need the care of that clinic again. Thankfully he certainly doesn't seem to blame you since he was willing to give out cuddles.
© 2021 GliderCENTRAL