Posted By: Gizmogirl

Hypothyroidism - 05/02/12 03:53 PM

Can anyone refer me to any information regarding hypothyroidism in sugar gliders? I cannot find any documentation on "normal" sugar glider Thyroid levels.

I have read the necropsy report of Mareki, who belonged to Suz. I believe Riker (Jen) were also diagnosed with Hypothyroidism.
Posted By: kikimeeko13

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/02/12 04:05 PM

Wow, I have hypothyroidism and had no idea it could occur in sugar gliders too! I hope someone comes along with good info for ya! thumb
Posted By: GliderNursery

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/02/12 08:15 PM

I think Suz would be your best bet.
Posted By: Gizmogirl

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/03/12 04:54 AM

Thank you kikimeeko13, I hope so too!

Thanks Shelly, I have sent a mail to Suz and Val, hope to hear from them soon.
Posted By: GliderNursery

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/03/12 01:48 PM

Hope you get the info you are looking for. Wish I could help, but I have absolutely no experience with this.
Posted By: kittybaran

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/03/12 02:41 PM

I have my glider Mia on Levothyroxine. She has been on it for about e years. What quesions do you have?
Posted By: Gizmogirl

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/04/12 05:53 AM

Thank you kittybaran. I would like to know the following:

Why did you or your vet suspect that Mia has hypothyroidism?

What tests were done to confirm this?

What was the thyroid levels and do you know what normal thyroid levels in sugar gliders are?

Do you see improvement with Mia being on hormone replacement therapy (Levothyroxine)?

Have you repeated the blood work and do you see fluctuation in the thyroid levels?

Or any other information you are willing to share with me.

Thank you.
Posted By: Dancing

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/04/12 06:16 PM

You can find Jen on facebook Jen Bailey. Yes, Riker is on thyroid meds but I'm not sure what.
Posted By: kittybaran

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/04/12 06:57 PM

I'm going to have to talk to my Vet about some of the info, or find where I put the paper work so its going to be a couple of days maybe. I took Mia in, I think when all the gliders were being tested for cancer. I mentioned her weight gain and the distribution of fat. Her thyroid values were lower than the other values he had seen. He could not find any established values, but based on lower values and her weight gain despite portion control she was put on Levothyroxine. She has lost weight, but she would lose it really fast, too fast so I would ease up on the dosage. After awhile the weight gain would be fairly sudden. Now she being trialed on a smaller dosage in the morning and a higher at night in an attempt to find out what is right for her specifically. I'll get back to you about the specific values and any info that I have with it. My vet types up a report card after every visit.
Posted By: Gizmogirl

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/06/12 06:35 AM

Thank you both.
Posted By: kittybaran

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/07/12 07:07 PM

I tried to get the info from my vet today, but they were having issues with the computer so I'll pick it up when I take another glider in for blood work on Wed.
Posted By: Xfilefan

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/17/12 08:03 AM

Riker is on L-Thyroxine. His thyroid hormones were 'below detectable levels'. Mareki's levels were detectable, but low...they seem to have the same average levels as most other mammals, if you can get enough blood volume to test. The T-4 panel is what they have used in gliders so far. Riker's major symptoms were as follows:

Overweight, yet barely ate.
Deformed nails.
Very little activity, would get out of pouch, grab a bite or two, and go back to bed.
Dry looking ears (white, flaky edges, but not crumbling, as with mites)
He also had severe overgrooming on his head, that finally extended around his ears onto his neck.

All of his symptoms have disappeared on his meds, and he is a normal glider of a normal weight now..only thing the meds couldnt undo was the nail damage.

His vet, whom you can have your VET call, was Dr. Laurel Harris of Wasatch Exotics in Salt Lake City, UT:
Posted By: Xfilefan

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/17/12 08:05 AM

Also, Riker only takes a small dose of his meds once a day. As a glider gets older and metabolism naturally slows, that dose may need to be reduced further.

I would be surprised if you could find much if any official information on glider thyroid issues. I dont know about Australia/New Guinea, but Riker was apparently the first one in the US to have the panel that we know of, Mareki the second...only heard of a couple since. At the time Riker had his testing done, there was no information at all in any of the journals, in regard to gliders, and have yet to find any.
Posted By: kittybaran

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/18/12 07:04 PM

OK sorry this took so long. Mia started on L- thyroxine prior to blood work. She was the only fat one in the group, she had a 10% decrease in HR and respirations, decreased activity and appeared to be psycologicaly depressed to me. The vet could find no established values for comparison so Mia was started on the thyroid meds as a trial. After about a month Mia had lost weight, more active, not depressed. Blood work was done at that time and her T4 value was .64. I stopped thyroxine for 3 weeks and she had significant weight gain, depression and decreased activity. Put her back on it and she responded positivley. I had her in for blood work a couple of weeks ago for something else and there wasn't enough for the T4 test. I'll have to take her back for that.
Posted By: nancy1202

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/19/12 01:48 PM

I've been watching this thread because I have a glider who I am taking in for bloodwork to test for hypothyroidism. He has been gaining about 3 grams a month for a year and is now at 200 grams. My vet checked with the lab and couldn't find baseline levels, so this kind of information will help her diagnose and treat him if necessary.

Thank you so much for sharing this information!
Posted By: GliderNursery

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/19/12 01:52 PM

Good luck with him Nancy!
Posted By: tjlong

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/19/12 02:29 PM

I am curious what kind of diet you are feeding gliders who have this? Poor things! Do vets suggest you increase/decrease anything in their diet? Thank you all for sharing info! I hope all your little ones do well on the meds.
Posted By: nancy1202

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/19/12 03:20 PM

We don't have a diagnosis yet, but Lukas and all of my gliders have been on BML for over a year. My vet did suggest adding more protein. His 3 female cagemates are all on the smaller side at 80-90 grams. I'm using two food dishes, and there is always food left in the morning.
Posted By: kittybaran

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/19/12 06:28 PM

My gliders are on a fresh diet, veggies, fruit, crickets, hoppers,worms, yogurt, chicken, eggs. I try different base food like zookeepers etc. I've failed to find a premade food that they like.
Posted By: kittybaran

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/19/12 06:30 PM

I forgot to add. My vet suggested no change in diet.
Posted By: Xfilefan

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/24/12 03:42 AM

IF a glider has hypothyroidism, diet isnt a factor unless its an unhealthy one, in which case it would be a factor for any glider. Any of the approved diets, fed properly, are appropriate, as long as its a diet the glider will actually eat.

Just a caution: DO NOT START L-Thyroxine as a TRIAL, and without bloodwork. The problem with this is: regardless of whether a glider (or any human/animal) does or does not have a thyroid issue, they will:
1. lose weight and increase activity on this med
2. Once started, it takes very little time (matter of a week or two) for the thyroid, if HEALTHY TO START WITH, to STOP producing the amino acid, because it is being supplemented.
This means that a healthy thyroid can be quickly destroyed by a 'trial' of this the glider DOES have a thyroid problem and will have to be on the meds the rest of its life, and its not definitive whether it was the problem in the first place. However, it is now, and the meds will not be able to be stopped or withdrawn without causing health problems in the glider that can, and in the case of complete withdrawal, will lead to the death of the animal.

Please dont trial these meds unless everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING else has been tried and eliminated, and a qualified vet feels it is the only option remaining, and ONLY in a case where enough of a blood sample cannot be obtained to test (ie very small glider)-however, these gliders do not usually have an issue with being underweight. There are multiple areas to take blood from, and it may take more than one attempt.

Normal values appear to be similar to the normal ranges for most other mammals as far as the testing so far in gliders. I am not a vet, so I would have whoever is concerned verify this with THEIR vet calling DR. Harris.

Also if typical thyroid symptoms do not fit, diabetes can be another reason a glider is overweight and lacks energy...the blood test is really crucial with this.
Posted By: Gizmogirl

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/24/12 05:16 AM

Thank you so much everyone! This is very helpful!

Jen, the detail you have given is exactly what I was looking for. I will pass all of this on to my vet.

Good luck to you too Nancy.

Posted By: nancy1202

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/24/12 09:37 AM

Lukas had blood drawn on Tuesday and we should have results by Friday. I have given my vet contact information to consult with vets who have diagnosed and treated hypothyroidism.

Thank you so much Jen for the caution to not ask a vet to treat without bloodwork. Hopefully, they wouldn't anyway, but this is good for us to know.
Posted By: GliderNursery

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/24/12 01:39 PM

Originally Posted By: Xfilefan
Also if typical thyroid symptoms do not fit, diabetes can be another reason a glider is overweight and lacks energy...the blood test is really crucial with this.

Not something I would have thought of myself, thanks for adding that info in!
Posted By: nancy1202

Re: Hypothyroidism - 05/24/12 04:39 PM

Lukas's bloodwork results came in this morning. Liver, protein, kidney and blood sugar are all normal. The T4 thyroid levels are low at less than 0.5. I'm off to the vet to pick up his medication and to ask more questions. It is so good to have answers and a way to treat. I knew there was something wrong with my boy. The panel was expensive and I was worried about the anesthesia but am so glad I did it anyway.

Thank you all again for sharing your information. There is so little information available about hypothyroidism in sugar gliders and this is how we learn. thumb
Posted By: kittybaran

Re: Hypothyroidism - 06/02/12 01:29 PM

I didn't notice a change in Mia on the med for quite some time, so don't get impatient waiting for weight loss. Also you may have to adjust the meds dosages. Mia get less in the morning and a slightly higher dosage at night. FYI thyroid problems can affect bone and calcium. Did Luka have a decreased heart rate and respiration as well as being fat? Is his fat deposited oddly compared to other over wheight gliders who do not have low Thyroid levels.
This info should be available as a reference for others. Including drugs used to treat, the problems encountered with treatment and the outcome of the treatment. That way individuals can compare what is being done to help their gliders or if the vet is actually helping them. There are too many poor quality vets out there who are doing the wrong thing for our gliders.
Posted By: nancy1202

Re: Hypothyroidism - 06/02/12 11:34 PM

My vet did say it might take 12-14 weeks for Lukas to start losing weight. Most overweight gliders have fat stored in their patagium, but Lukas has very little except right under his armpits. So yes, in that regard, he doesn't store his extra weight as other fluffy gliders.

Lukas got a pretty thorough exam when he went in for bloodwork. His heart rate and respiration were normal. I called this morning to ask about the dosing of his medication, and confirmed that nothing abnormal had been noted on his chart. She prescribed Leventa (levothyroxine in a liquid form) twice a day.

Here are a few pics:

Posted By: kittybaran

Re: Hypothyroidism - 06/03/12 03:24 AM

What a bunch of cuties! Mia's fat looks something like that. Is his tail lumby? Mia also has dangling fat/ skin on her throat. She often dips it in the food, not on purpose. Does he get depressed?
Posted By: Xfilefan

Re: Hypothyroidism - 06/03/12 03:55 AM

Riker was noticeably more active within 4 weeks, eating more, sleeping less, and losing weight. As I said, ONCE a day is what he is on, and its a very small dose of L-Thyroxine.

DO WATCH: that he isn't dropping weight too fast, and that he doesn't get underweight for his size...Riker isn't a big glider...he had literal ROLLS when he started, and looked a lot like that pic...but his target weight is 122 grams (for Riker)..under that is too low and I need adjust his to your vet about what weight your glider is optimal at when he starts to 'look' and act more normal...these meds are powerful, and there have not been a lot of gliders on them...also as he ages it may need adjustment for normal metabolic slowing. Remember that this is a med he will need for the rest of his life. It does dramatically improve the quality of life when it's the thyroid that is the issue, though, and it's awesome to see them playing and eating like a normal glider should.
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