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Thread: Red squirrel losing use of back legs

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    Default Red squirrel losing use of back legs

    I am new to this forum. Earlier in the school year one of my students brought me a young red squirrel that had been passed on through several people. It fell out of the nest as a baby onto a roof. The people that found it fed the baby until it weaned. Once weaned it was passed on to a new owner. The squirrel (Peanut) has teeth that do not match up so they grow without being worn down. Peanut was passed on several times until my student brought the baby to me thinking I would know what to do about the teeth. I trim the teeth every two weeks. When I first got the squirrel the only food it ate were peanuts (hence the name). Now, my wife has the squirrel eating a variety of foods; a wide array of nuts, bread products, and greens. At first Peanut appeared very active, alert, and playful. For the last few weeks he has been walking with more and more difficulty and he appears to be loosing the use of his back legs. He is still alert and playful, but as time goes by Peanut has more difficulties in getting around. I am hoping that someone may have an idea of what might be wrong. He has not fallen that we know of and there has been no other accident other than falling on the roof as a baby. Both my wife and I have become very fond of the squirrel and it's very upsetting to my wife to watch her pet slowly worsen over time. Any Ideas of what we might try or do would be appreciated. nchls_school

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    Default Re: Red squirrel loosing use of back legs

    If your sq eats no blocks, it's probably MBD. Here is the treatment. Time is of the essence.

    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...-Disease-(MBD)

    And here is what his diet should look like. Diet is absolutely critical.

    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...-Pet-Squirrels

    I have a meeting in a few minutes but others will follow up if necessary.

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    Default Re: Red squirrel loosing use of back legs

    Unfortunately, the makers of our most recommended block are on vacation for Xmas but will be back. For now, I'd recommend getting Kaytee Forti Diet (blue bag) from a pet store. Not the best blocks, but easy to get.

    You should also know that vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption but too much is toxic, so if he's had no source of it, I would take a tiny scraping from a human D3 pill and give it to him. Just one dose of this would be sufficient.

    Gotta go.

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    Default Re: Red squirrel loosing use of back legs

    Better blocks, if you can find them, are Oxbow and Harlan Teklad.

    He will probably hate his blocks but we can give suggestions about how to serve them if so.

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    Default Re: Red squirrel loosing use of back legs

    Yes this is the first sign of Metabolic Bone Disease, their back legs give out.
    Unfortuantely, the diet seems to be the issue here. Not to worry most of us never
    knew what to feed the squirrels that found their way to us either.
    I'm glad that you found TSB.
    MBD is very painful, and he will also be prone to falls. So try to limit his activity.
    His bones are very fragile now, and a fall could easily break one.

    They get quite achy when they have this, though squirrels are excellent at hiding their
    pain, you could give him infant ibuprophen, but we would need a weight to properly dose.
    Do you by any chance have a heating pad that you could put under his container? It helps
    with the discomfort. If you do, put it on low, and only under half.

    It took him a long time to get to this point, and it will take a long time for him to get well.
    IF you stay the course, it will work, but you HAVE to keep up the MBD treatments.
    Also for a squirrel the size of a red, I would cut the amount of calcium to half of the recommended
    dose.

    I too am running out for a while, but will be back soon, and check in. Others will help you as well.

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    Default Re: Red squirrel loosing use of back legs

    Btw, this could also be a neurological issue from the sq falling, as they sometimes take time to show up, but MBD is the most likely cause. We'll see how he progresses. If it's neuro, we can probably help you with that too.

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    Default Re: Red squirrel loosing use of back legs

    My thanks to all of you. My wife has health issues and is home bound. Peanut has become more than just a pet; rather, more of a companion. I've had many pets over the years, but never a squirrel. I had no idea that he would be such a playful, friendly animal. I was at a loss as to what to do. At least now my wife can feel she is doing something to help Peanut. Again, thank you all. nchls_school

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    Default Re: Red squirrel loosing use of back legs

    Quote Originally Posted by nchls_school View Post
    At least now my wife can feel she is doing something to help Peanut.
    Not only will she be doing something to help, she will quite literally be saving Peanuts life. The MBD protocol works.
    Thanks for reaching out for help. It sounds like Peanut needed a place to finally call home. Good luck to you.

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    Default Re: Red squirrel loosing use of back legs

    So what are your plans for the diet? It's critical.

    There is a lot to know about raising a sq, so hopefully you and your wife will be active members here, at least for a time. There are many things that you'll probably have to deal with, such as him coming into heat. Things to know about bedding, housing, etc. And perhaps you can share your experiences with teeth trimming as many people come here having to deal with that, and I'm not sure if we've had anyone with a red have to trim before. They're feisty!

    And of course we'd love to see some pics!

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    Default Re: Red squirrel loosing use of back legs

    Oh, and never take him outside! We have many new people make that mistake, usually to terrible consequences.

    And make sure you squirrelproof your home.

    Does he have furnishings and toys?

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    Default Re: Red squirrel losing use of back legs

    A further note about diet (I told you there's a lot to know, I hope you guys remain members so other problems don't happen), you should really be avoiding corn and peanuts right now. Both are very high in phosphorous, which blocks calcium absorption. Below is a guide to foods and their calcium/phosphorous balance. The ideal is 2:1, but most foods don't come close to that, but things like corn and peanuts are totally off the scale. They're bad for most sqs other than occasionally, and they're just horrible for an MBD sq who's trying to rebuild bone.

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    Default Re: Red squirrel losing use of back legs

    You will note that we utilize Tums for at least the first part of our MBD treatment. The fruit flavored ones are the best - some squirrels will grab them from you and eat them like candy, which makes dosing very easy. I sugest you try this before you begin to dissolve them and try to give by syringe - your little one may make it easy on you.

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    Default Re: Red squirrel loosing use of back legs

    Quote Originally Posted by farrelli View Post
    So what are your plans for the diet? It's critical.

    There is a lot to know about raising a sq, so hopefully you and your wife will be active members here, at least for a time. There are many things that you'll probably have to deal with, such as him coming into heat. Things to know about bedding, housing, etc. And perhaps you can share your experiences with teeth trimming as many people come here having to deal with that, and I'm not sure if we've had anyone with a red have to trim before. They're feisty!

    And of course we'd love to see some pics!
    I wouldn't call Peanut feisty. He reminds me of a very tiny puppy. If he's not eating or sleeping he is playing with-cardboard tubes, baby teething rings, ping pong balls, a swinging ladder, (His favorite toy has always been our fingers. He loves wiggling finger.) and my wife has probably added to this today. I'm at school and the kids are celebrating Christmas and the prospects of ten days off from school. Trimming Peanut's teeth is easy once we got used to the tiny size. At this point Peanut opens his mouth willingly so we can check out the teeth. He's not crazy about the trimming, but as long as we keep the clippers very sharp, the job goes pretty fast. nchls_school

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    Default Re: Red squirrel losing use of back legs

    Quote Originally Posted by CritterMom View Post
    You will note that we utilize Tums for at least the first part of our MBD treatment. The fruit flavored ones are the best - some squirrels will grab them from you and eat them like candy, which makes dosing very easy. I sugest you try this before you begin to dissolve them and try to give by syringe - your little one may make it easy on you.
    My wife (Kimmi) says that Peanut hates the eye dropper and dissolved tums. I'll tell her to try them solid. He hates anything messy and does not like getting wet; not even a little bit. nchls_school Now it's time to get back to my kids.

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    Default Re: Red squirrel losing use of back legs

    If he won't, try mashing them up with some peanut butter and rolling it into little "dosage" balls.

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    Default Re: Red squirrel losing use of back legs

    Eye droppers are very awkward. You might want to stop by your local pharmacy and ask them if you can get a syringe with no needle on it. Ask for no larger than a 3cc syringe and tell them it is for dosing an orphan kitten. THey will usually give you a couple at either no charge or a very small amount. They are easier in that you can go into the corner of the mouth and aim it up rather than down like you have to do with a dropper.

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    Default Re: Red squirrel losing use of back legs

    Very little peanut butter, for the already mentioned reasons. Almond butter would be better if you have it (less phosphorous), or anything else you can think of. Have you ever tried avocado (no pits or seeds - toxic)? That also works and sqs typically LOVE it. You can also use an unflavored human calcium pill (calcium carbonate) all ground up, but not one with vitamin D. Like I said, it's necessary for calcium absorption, but too much is toxic. It's actually used to kill rodents.

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    Default Re: Red squirrel losing use of back legs

    Is this a little red squirrel or a fox squirrel? Can we see a pic? If a little red, reduce the calcium to 350 mg per day as they are much smaller than grays, which the treatment was written for.

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    Default Re: Red squirrel losing use of back legs

    Make that, no pit or SKIN of the avocado.

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    Default Re: Red squirrel loosing use of back legs

    Quote Originally Posted by farrelli View Post
    Oh, and never take him outside! We have many new people make that mistake, usually to terrible consequences.

    And make sure you squirrelproof your home.

    Does he have furnishings and toys?
    A previous owner tried to release Peanut back into the wild even though they knew he could not survive with teeth that have to be trimmed. He would not go and then he came to me. I have no intention of ever letting Peanut outside knowing what I do. If the teeth didn't do him in, the first time he ran up a stranger's leg would.

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