GliderCENTRAL

Self Mutilation 5-HTP?

Posted By: Gregg

Self Mutilation 5-HTP? - 02/16/09 09:20 PM

One of my gliders (I have two - brothers both 9 years old) has a pretty deep wound. I took him to the vet today and she put him on antibiotics (amoxicillin). She said it looks like self mutilation. She said it could be that he got a wound which resulted in self mutilation or just that he started self mutilating. It's the first time I've had a problem like this with either glider. They get along quite well. I also have a cat, but they are never out of the cage when he's in the room although sometimes he might slap at the cage while I'm holding them. She said it didn't look like a claw wound.

Anyway, one of the things she discussed was giving him 5-HTP to decrease anxiety behaviors in case that's the reason for the SM. She admitted that she'd never used this on a glider before, but said as far as she's read it is safe for other animals and assumes it would be for gliders too. I told her I'd check on this board and she agreed that would be a good idea. So has anyone ever heard of using 5-HTP for gliders? I'm very hesitant to try it unless I know it's safe for sure. Plus the dosing seems difficult since I'd need to break up a capsule into about 100 servings.

Thanks.
Posted By: sugarlope

Re: Self Mutilation 5-HTP? - 02/16/09 09:39 PM

I have never heard of this used in sugar gliders. I would be concerned about using it because it affects serotonin and we do not know enough about the brain chemistry of a glider to start this as a first line of defense against SM. It may be something to consider in a glider that has had repeated problems with SM, but not something to use with a first experience. Plus, you have to take into account proper dosage (as you said) and also consider that added B6 is usually needed for proper use of the 5-HTP anyway (which is another dosage concern).

Since this sounds like the first time your boy has had this wound (and it is not even for certain that he IS SMing) I would follow protocals of care for a glider with an open wound/possible SM and see how he does first, before considering adding supplements that we aren't sure of the effect.

You need to get him in an e-collar to assure that he cannot reach the wound and cause further damage if it is him. E-collar instructions can be found here . Make sure that you keep the wound clean and keep him on the antibiotics as long as they are prescribed (even if he seems to be doing better).

Here is the SM site, there will be more information about SM and emergency contact numbers if you need help with the e-collar or fitting it. We have several members here that have dealt with wounds, I am sure they will be along soon to help you with wound care and what things to watch for, etc. Please do keep us updated on how he is doing as you can. hug2
Posted By: Gregg

Re: Self Mutilation 5-HTP? - 02/17/09 12:19 AM

Thanks. I gave him his first dose of antibiotics a little while ago. He took them no problem. I held him in my hands for about 1/2 hour. He didn't seem to interested in the wound. He was more preoccupied with grooming his... err... private area crazy. I'll have to keep an eye on his brother to make sure he's not the culprit. Anything else I should do to the wound area (hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment, etc.)?
Posted By: sugarglidersuz

Re: Self Mutilation 5-HTP? - 02/17/09 09:31 AM

Gregg,
Flush the wound at least twice daily with sterile saline solution. Also, apply an antibiotic ointment to the area. You can get one from the vet called Silver Sulfadiazine Cream (SSD) that works very well.

Also, you will need to separate him from his brother until the wound is completely healed. When the fur starts to grow back in, then it will be healed internally as well as externally. It will appear healed before the fur starts to grow back in, but it won't be yet. This is very important because otherwise his brother WILL groom the wound, trying to "help" and will cause it to heal more slowly, if not actually make the wound worse.

I've never heard of using 5-HTP for gliders either - I wouldn't recommend it.
Posted By: Gossamer

Re: Self Mutilation 5-HTP? - 02/17/09 01:29 PM

SM is one of those things a vet diagnoses because the book says it's common. Do you think he is SMing? I've been told an SMing glider makes this hideous crab/scream sound and rips himself open. Your boy may just have a wound that he is overgrooming. Treat the wound first and see how it goes.
Posted By: Dancing

Re: Self Mutilation 5-HTP? - 02/17/09 06:28 PM

Quote:
I've been told an SMing glider makes this hideous crab/scream sound and rips himself open.



NOT ALL SM'ING GLIDERS MAKE THE SM CRY/SCREAM/NOISE/SOUND!
(not yelling at you, just want to make sure people see this)

Yes, there is a SM sound that gliders make that is horrible but not all self mutilators make it and I'd hate for anyone to think that because their glider never made a sound that it wasn't self mutilation.


Sorry. Where is the wound on this glider? Location of the wound might give a hint as to just what happened. What does the wound look like? Size etc?

The silvadine ointment Suz suggested not only helps heal but also has some antibiotic properties to it as well. That is what they often use with severe burn victims. (my son in law was badly burned)
Posted By: USMom

Re: Self Mutilation 5-HTP? - 02/17/09 08:07 PM

Gregg, you've been given excellent advice. Please let us know where the wound is, and a picture of it, if you have one. That would be most helpful.
Posted By: Gregg

Re: Self Mutilation 5-HTP? - 02/18/09 01:50 AM

Quote:
Sorry. Where is the wound on this glider? Location of the wound might give a hint as to just what happened. What does the wound look like? Size etc?

The silvadine ointment Suz suggested not only helps heal but also has some antibiotic properties to it as well. That is what they often use with severe burn victims. (my son in law was badly burned)



Trying to visualize it without going and grabbing him now, but I'd say it's slightly above and behind the shoulder area. It's probably a bit bigger than the size of a pencil eraser. It was fairly deep. Hard to describe though. When I looked at it today it looked like it was starting to scab a bit which I take as a good sign it wasn't being picked at last night. I'll have to see if I can get a picture.

I'll call my vet regarding the silvadine ointment and buy some saline solution tomorrow. Thanks all for your help so far. Will keep you updated if anything changes or else after my vet visit next week.
Posted By: Dancing

Re: Self Mutilation 5-HTP? - 02/18/09 04:37 AM

Ok, if it is on his shoulder/back, he did not self mutilate. Their teeth just can't reach that spot. Chances are either he got a small abcess that ruptured (which could have been caused by just a toe nail stick from himself or his cage mate and then became infected) or his cage mate inflicted this wound (which can happen with dominance issues, not just mating). Either way, he will need to be kept seperate from his cage mate until it is fully healed and fur is growing back.

His cage mate will "groom" this wound trying to help but it will only make it worse.

In my experience with these "types" of wounds, it should be left open to allow it to heal from the inside out, so no stitches. If it is stitched shut, a drain is usually needed so that any infection can drain.

The good news is, he shouldn't need an ecollar because his teeth can't reach it. He may develope an issue with scratching it with his back feet though if it gets itchy. The silvadine will help prevent the itching though.
Posted By: sugarglidersuz

Re: Self Mutilation 5-HTP? - 02/18/09 10:49 AM

I agree with Teresa - it is likely a dominance wound, not self-inflicted. You really don't want to allow it to scab over. As Teresa said, the wound needs to be able to drain in order to heal properly. That is the reason for using the saline rinse twice a day - to keep the scab from forming and keep the wound cleaned out. As I mentioned before, the SSD Cream is an antibiotic ointment. It will keep the wound soft, contribute healing due to the antibiotic properties, and will also help to prevent a scab from developing so the wound can drain and heal.
Definitely separate him from his brother until the fur grows back in.
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