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Thread: Treating Pox, and how to best stop it from spreading

  1. #1
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    Default Treating Pox, and how to best stop it from spreading

    Hello everyone

    It's unfortunate that this is my first post here, but I need some help. I live in a suburban area with a smaller yard, but we have a densely wooded backyard with plenty of hickory trees (so, plenty of squirrels!) I have two bird feeders out on the porch, and, over time, the squirrels have gotten quite comfy eating there (which I expect, and appreciate - I have always loved squirrels!)

    Over the past month or so I have noticed what I believe to be a bit of mange pop up in our local squirrel population - the low point has been having one slowly die on our front porch about 2-3 weeks ago, and having to watch the poor thing suffer Obviously distressed by the entire situation, I have tried to take whatever steps I can to make sure that my population is ok, stop the spread of the disease, make sure they are getting whatever they can to fight the sickness, etc.

    Over the past week, though, I have seen two squirrels with what I believe to be the dreaded pox. I know that this a deadly disease, and its spread could really wreak havoc on the group. I know there are many threads on this topic (obviously, I am posting in a section of the forum dedicated to it!), but what is the best way to move forward in treating/containing it?

    I have been trying to feed them each at least one of these veggie squares a day http://www.squirrelnutrition.com/squ...e-squares.html
    which are made of rice cereal, ground pecans, sesame flour, brewer's yeast, dolomite calcium, vitamin C, alfalfa powder, salt, cod liver oil, and raw organic coconut oil (and bound with applesauce)

    alongside a bit of the birdseed (black oil sunflower, and I believe they eat a bit of the safflower), and organic walnuts and pecans. Should I be making changes to their diet in this hard time? It's also a northeast Ohio winter, which hasn't been too cold this season but the past week or two have been quite harsh. I have emptied the feeders and feed them on the porch and throughout a bit of the front yard, in hopes of spreading them out a bit more, and trying to sweep up all leftover seed, and disinfecting the porch with a mix of water, vinegar, and soap once a day. Should I move towards stopping feeding altogether? I don't want to but am very worried about spreading the pox (I was already very concerned about the mange, but I know the pox is even more hideous)

    I have a heated birdbath I recently disconnected and stopped filling, as one of the ones with pox was starting to roll around in it, and I did not want to further spread it through the water. I know this is recommended often
    http://www.caoh.com/liqimbarecbe.html
    so I didn't know if it would be worth it to purchase some and get the bird bath filled again.

    I've attached pictures of the two below, just to be safe. I apologize, I know my message is long and winding, but I have honestly been a wreck the past few weeks, watching the poor babies suffer, and I want to do everything I can to help them along in this tough time.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Treating Pox, and how to best stop it from spreading

    I also have pictures of two others, which I hope just have mange, and that the sores on the one are just from scratching. The first one pictured, with the bald top half, is also very small
    Attached Images Attached Images   

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    Default Re: Treating Pox, and how to best stop it from spreading

    Welcome to TSB! Thank you SO much for caring about your little backyard friends!
    I'm so sorry they're (and you!) are having to go through this! Pox knowledgeable folks should be on soon

  5. Serious fuzzy thank you's to DarkLies212 from:

    Shewhosweptforest (02-18-2016)

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    Default Re: Treating Pox, and how to best stop it from spreading

    thank you - if there's one thing I learned from skimming through the board over the past month, it's that there is an amazing group of friendly, knowledgeable people here

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    Default Re: Treating Pox, and how to best stop it from spreading

    I will direct CritterMom to your thread.
    She is working now so she won't be on the board until she gets home this evening.
    She has had GREAT success with treating wild squirrels with pox!

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    DarkLies212 (02-18-2016), KarmaKay (02-18-2016), Shewhosweptforest (02-18-2016)

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    Default Re: Treating Pox, and how to best stop it from spreading

    Oh my. The first guy is very ill. The first of the two in the next post has both pox - that round sore - and secondary mange. The third guy looks like mange alone but I can't see the other side. Those round sores are earlier pox lesions.

    I don't KNOW that much about pox and I don't think anyone really does. My understanding from reading about it is that it doesn't really pass from squirrel to squirrel without a mosquito vector - that is, a mosquito bites one squirrel with pox then bites a healthy squirrel and transmits the virus to the healthy one. Like viruses often do, I think it can sit dormant in their bodies for some time, then stress lowers the immune system and the virus has an opening and this is the result. I think that the winter cold is a common stress on them and that accounts for the winter outbreaks.

    So the best way to protect the others is to do everything you can to boost their health and immune system - provide lots of good, healthy food, go ahead and use the CAOH stuff in the water.

    The sick squirrels can be treated but...it is a huge commitment. You need to be able to treat the SICK squirrels daily for a long time - 6-8 weeks - and you can't just toss a bunch of medicated food out and leave it. You have to be able to sit out and toss food to individual squirrels so you can dole out the "medicine treats" to the sick ones and something else to the others. Daily. If you can do that I would be happy to send you some info on specifics.

    The guy in the first pic likely will not make it, with our without meds. By the time it becomes this invasive it unfortunately is also doing this inside the body. Poor baby - it is such an awful disease...

  10. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to CritterMom:

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    Default Re: Treating Pox, and how to best stop it from spreading

    Quote Originally Posted by CritterMom View Post
    Oh my. The first guy is very ill. The first of the two in the next post has both pox - that round sore - and secondary mange. The third guy looks like mange alone but I can't see the other side. Those round sores are earlier pox lesions.

    I don't KNOW that much about pox and I don't think anyone really does. My understanding from reading about it is that it doesn't really pass from squirrel to squirrel without a mosquito vector - that is, a mosquito bites one squirrel with pox then bites a healthy squirrel and transmits the virus to the healthy one. Like viruses often do, I think it can sit dormant in their bodies for some time, then stress lowers the immune system and the virus has an opening and this is the result. I think that the winter cold is a common stress on them and that accounts for the winter outbreaks.

    So the best way to protect the others is to do everything you can to boost their health and immune system - provide lots of good, healthy food, go ahead and use the CAOH stuff in the water.

    The sick squirrels can be treated but...it is a huge commitment. You need to be able to treat the SICK squirrels daily for a long time - 6-8 weeks - and you can't just toss a bunch of medicated food out and leave it. You have to be able to sit out and toss food to individual squirrels so you can dole out the "medicine treats" to the sick ones and something else to the others. Daily. If you can do that I would be happy to send you some info on specifics.

    The guy in the first pic likely will not make it, with our without meds. By the time it becomes this invasive it unfortunately is also doing this inside the body. Poor baby - it is such an awful disease...


    I know, seeing him (and all of the others) has broken my heart over the past week or so, and given me more than a few good cries. I would like to do whatever I can to help them, so please let me know the best course of action. I have been sitting in our living room looking out the front windows for hours while I work on my laptop, keeping an eye on who is coming and going, who I can get the squirrel bites to, etc, so I think I can try to treat them (thankfully I work from home). I have actually been giving ivermectin to the handful with mange, making sure to individually throw it to certain affected squirrels, taking pictures and making notes of their appearance, so I think the treatment shouldn't be too different. I will order the CAOH right now - what do you recommend as a healthy diet for wild squirrels? Again I have been doing a mix of organic walnuts, pecans, black oil sunflower seed, safflower, and these squares
    http://www.squirrelnutrition.com/squ...e-squares.html

  12. Serious fuzzy thank you's to blackbranches from:

    Shewhosweptforest (02-18-2016)

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    Default Re: Treating Pox, and how to best stop it from spreading

    You need Acyclovir FAST for squirrel pox.

    After reading a great deal of posts about squirrel pox, the most effective remedy is to provide the correct dose of Acyclovir ASAP. Both finding a tablet of Acyclovir from a person and figuring out the dosing have proven difficult for people in the past. Squirrel pox is a virus and will have the greatest response to anti-VIRALS. Acyclovir is ideal.

    Post #4 in this thread contains helpful information, http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...rrel-pox-to-me

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    Default Re: Treating Pox, and how to best stop it from spreading

    Regarding Feeding/Watering

    If possible, I would try to spread out any food so that they are not all eating out of the same container and spreading germs.

    Food Example: Food scattered across a lawn will allow multiple squirrels to eat without contaminating one-another or another's food.

    Water Example: To me, if possible, multiple sources of running water makes the most sense. Multiple sources mean that they are less likely to all drink from the same place. Running water is better than just a bowl, because germs can be washed away. A sprinkler might work, but then again, it's cold which makes this more difficult. Or running water through your rain gutter on the roof, if they can get up there, might work.

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    Default Re: Treating Pox, and how to best stop it from spreading

    First...thank you blackbranches for caring for your little wild friends I'm so, so sorry they are suffering through this it is heartbreaking to hear about...much less watch it happen in your yard..to your friends I'm praying that you are able to help those who are able ...to make a full recovery and that for those who don't that their suffering is short lived I'm crying with you
    Make the world a better place...one animal at a time



    The Peace of Wild Things
    BY WENDELL BERRY
    When despair for the world grows in me
    and I wake in the night at the least sound
    in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
    I go and lie down where the wood drake
    rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
    I come into the peace of wild things
    who do not tax their lives with forethought
    of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
    And I feel above me the day-blind stars
    waiting with their light. For a time
    I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

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    Default Re: Treating Pox, and how to best stop it from spreading

    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky1 View Post
    Regarding Feeding/Watering

    If possible, I would try to spread out any food so that they are not all eating out of the same container and spreading germs.

    Food Example: Food scattered across a lawn will allow multiple squirrels to eat without contaminating one-another or another's food.

    Water Example: To me, if possible, multiple sources of running water makes the most sense. Multiple sources mean that they are less likely to all drink from the same place. Running water is better than just a bowl, because germs can be washed away. A sprinkler might work, but then again, it's cold which makes this more difficult. Or running water through your rain gutter on the roof, if they can get up there, might work.
    I'm going to switch to spreading the food all throughout the yard today - I was doing a mix of part the yard and the porch, but I am super worried about them spreading it on the porch. I have been immensely sick to my stomach after yesterday, when I threw a squirrel block out to the one pictured in my second post and it accidentally bonked her, fell to the ground, and another squirrel came up and ate it. The squirrel who took it is the one I'd call my friend (his name's Scrappy), and has been coming around since late summer. He has some sort of a cleft lip, and walks with his head tilted a bit - a real goofy dude that I love to death. I'm just trying to stop the spread as much as possible, obviously, and I don't want anything to happen to him - we've been through a lot

    Getting a hold of the meds looks like it might be difficult, as I don't know anyone on them. I'll look and see if there's anything I can manage online
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    Default Re: Treating Pox, and how to best stop it from spreading

    Quote Originally Posted by blackbranches View Post
    I'm going to switch to spreading the food all throughout the yard today - I was doing a mix of part the yard and the porch, but I am super worried about them spreading it on the porch. I have been immensely sick to my stomach after yesterday, when I threw a squirrel block out to the one pictured in my second post and it accidentally bonked her, fell to the ground, and another squirrel came up and ate it. The squirrel who took it is the one I'd call my friend (his name's Scrappy), and has been coming around since late summer. He has some sort of a cleft lip, and walks with his head tilted a bit - a real goofy dude that I love to death. I'm just trying to stop the spread as much as possible, obviously, and I don't want anything to happen to him - we've been through a lot

    Getting a hold of the meds looks like it might be difficult, as I don't know anyone on them. I'll look and see if there's anything I can manage online
    OMG. Just read your thread and saw all the pictures. Sorry that I have no practical advice to offer, but you can be sure that I will be sending lots of prayers and positive thoughts your way. Good idea to spread the food around. So sorry to hear about what happened when you tossed a squirrel block to that one. What a freak thing to happen. Keep a close eye on Scrappy. At least if he's one of your regulars it will be easier to treat him if need be. What a nightmare disease that is! God bless you for helping these little guys!!

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    Default Re: Treating Pox, and how to best stop it from spreading

    Quote Originally Posted by Carol Lynn View Post
    OMG. Just read your thread and saw all the pictures. Sorry that I have no practical advice to offer, but you can be sure that I will be sending lots of prayers and positive thoughts your way. Good idea to spread the food around. So sorry to hear about what happened when you tossed a squirrel block to that one. What a freak thing to happen. Keep a close eye on Scrappy. At least if he's one of your regulars it will be easier to treat him if need be. What a nightmare disease that is! God bless you for helping these little guys!!
    Yes, it grazed her side just the slightest - hopefully not enough to transfer anything. I've just been a total mess, it's the most heartbreaking thing to watch. Our youngest cat just got over a nasty, weeks-long sickness during Christmas, and the relief afterwards has just been replaced with the horrible situation outside

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    Default Re: Treating Pox, and how to best stop it from spreading

    Here's two more I'm worried have it - now I feel like at least a few that I believed were just mange have the beginnings of Pox too
    Attached Images Attached Images   

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    Default Re: Treating Pox, and how to best stop it from spreading

    Quote Originally Posted by blackbranches View Post
    Yes, it grazed her side just the slightest - hopefully not enough to transfer anything. I've just been a total mess, it's the most heartbreaking thing to watch. Our youngest cat just got over a nasty, weeks-long sickness during Christmas, and the relief afterwards has just been replaced with the horrible situation outside
    I can certainly understand - I would be a mess, too, if I had to see anything like that happening to my guys. Looking at those pictures just broke my heart. Those first two were just so, so sad. I can't even imagine how horrible it must be to see that happening outside your door! Just when you thought you were out of the woods with the cat, right? So sorry!! Hang in there! They're really lucky to have someone like you looking out for them!! Sorry for you, though, that you had to be the "chosen" one...

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    Default Re: Treating Pox, and how to best stop it from spreading

    I want to re-emphasize a few points CM made:

    What you positively can do that will absolutely be great help to them is provide healthy food and a fresh, clean water supply (changed out often) along with the CAOH. I think the importance of fresh clean water is overlooked. Not having to forage and being able to stay in the relative safety of their drey will give their system more time to fight off the disease.

    It is possible to treat them for mange and that would help and give a better fighting chance against pox. But as CM said it is critical that you are able to control which squirrels get “dosed” and which do not since in this case, it can be fatal if any one of them get a double dose. I would not even attempt this unless you are committed to ensuring none get overdosed. Keeping very good notes of which have received their dose (and when) is a must. The treatment for mange would kill lots of other types of parasites if they are present and that too could only be a plus.




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    Default Re: Treating Pox, and how to best stop it from spreading

    "... when I threw a squirrel block out to the one pictured in my second post and it accidentally bonked her, fell to the ground, and another squirrel came up and ate it."

    This is exactly the type of thing that must be avoided if you decide to treat for mange since if one gets two of the medicated treats, it could very well be fatal. If you have doubts about being able to treat the squirrels individually, you may want to stick to the less invasive treatments (food, water, COAH, etc.). Do they ever come around all by themselves or is it always in a group? If in a group, what happens if you don't spread the food out... do they come one at a time? It could be just the act of putting food out is like ringing a dinner bell (I know that that is exactly what it is when I fill the feeding stations here).

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    Default Re: Treating Pox, and how to best stop it from spreading

    Quote Originally Posted by Spanky View Post
    "... when I threw a squirrel block out to the one pictured in my second post and it accidentally bonked her, fell to the ground, and another squirrel came up and ate it."

    This is exactly the type of thing that must be avoided if you decide to treat for mange since if one gets two of the medicated treats, it could very well be fatal. If you have doubts about being able to treat the squirrels individually, you may want to stick to the less invasive treatments (food, water, COAH, etc.). Do they ever come around all by themselves or is it always in a group? If in a group, what happens if you don't spread the food out... do they come one at a time? It could be just the act of putting food out is like ringing a dinner bell (I know that that is exactly what it is when I fill the feeding stations here).
    The blocks aren't medicated in any way - when I did my last round of Ivermectin treatment back on Sunday I kept very clear notes, along with photos of the squirrels, as I know that ANY overdosing of the meds is extremely harmful. If I throw a nut out with medication and the squirrel doesn't get it (I always target throw), I make sure to go get it and bring it back in right away.

    As for feeding, they usually trickle on over throughout the day, between 930AM - 230PM. It's pretty rare to see them out there on an individual basis - usually it's at least three in a (relatively) closer vicinity. Today I spread the food out throughout the yard, which kept them a bit further apart, but also makes it more difficult for me to get a chance to single out squirrels for meds and blocks. I would still rather try this than bring them together, as I am obviously trying to contain the pox more than anything else. I know those few with it are going to have a rough go

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    Default Re: Treating Pox, and how to best stop it from spreading

    Quote Originally Posted by blackbranches View Post
    The blocks aren't medicated in any way - when I did my last round of Ivermectin treatment back on Sunday I kept very clear notes, along with photos of the squirrels, as I know that ANY overdosing of the meds is extremely harmful.
    I missed where you had said in the post last night that Ivermectin treatment had already started.

    Have you seen any improvements in those dosed last Sunday?

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    Default Re: Treating Pox, and how to best stop it from spreading

    Quote Originally Posted by Spanky View Post
    I missed where you had said in the post last night that Ivermectin treatment had already started.

    Have you seen any improvements in those dosed last Sunday?
    Oh no worries! It seems like a few are starting to grow a bit more of their hair back, but the one with bad mange and a few pox lesions is still scratching pretty heavy. Still hanging around for food - she seemed a bit lethargic yesterday but better today. I almost thought she was going to let me come near her yesterday, as I got about a foot and a half away, but about 15 seconds later she seemed to snap out of it, chirped at me, and ran. We did manage to take one in to a great rehab facility here in Northeast Ohio about a week ago - she was lethargic enough to let us get near and not resist, but spunky enough when we took her out of the cage that she had a good chance at making it. We were so worried that she was going to freak out during the car ride, but she kept calm (I know captivity can sometimes stress them out beyond belief, so we were very nervous, but glad we made that choice). She didn't appear to have pox, just a slight bit of mange - we're waiting to hear back on how she's doing.

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