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Thread: Downs vs. Dwarfism

  1. #1
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    Default Downs vs. Dwarfism

    I am caring for an adorable tree squirrel named Bindy who is small, clumsy, forgetful, and has a half tail (born not cut) and backward-growing, brittle top teeth. She sustained some head and facial trauma prior to being found, and her smaller size led the attending rehabber to think she might be younger than I think she is. So of course we have no idea her age. Anyway, the half tail, shorter arms, and facial structures make me think she has dwarfism.

    Does anyone have experience with or research/reading material on dwarfism in particular?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Downs vs. Dwarfism

    I found the other forum area with Punkin and more info about dwarfism so I am glad to be here and this question can probably be deleted...

    BUT I would still love some scholarly lit on the topic if anyone has any! I thirst for knowledge.

    I'm trying to figure out how to post some photos.

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  5. #3
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    Default Re: Downs vs. Dwarfism

    Oh wow -- a dwarf fox squirrel! I don't know if we've ever had one before. He is adorable!
    Unfortunately, there is very little scholarly or academicc literature on achondroplastic dwarfism in squirrels. You can read about dwarfism itself, but when you add squirrel to the search you usually end up right back here on TSB.
    'We welcome everything you can tell us about little Bindy, and of course more pix too!

    On a more serious note, TSB is mourning the death of a much-loved, almost nine-year-old squirrel today who was non-releasable and a member of a loving family. You may not get many responses tonight, but I'm sure you will tomorrow.

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    NEGLECT IS ABUSE.

    "Better one day in the trees, than a lifetime in a cage."

    '...and the greatest of these, is Love. '

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    Default Re: Downs vs. Dwarfism

    Hi TK-SQRL, Do you still think Bindy is a dwarf? I have a dwarf Eastern Gray that I didn't know was a dwarf till many weeks after I got him. As the weeks passed he just wasn't growing. It was then that I turned to a TSB and discovered Joey was indeed a dwarf. You can read his thread in The Nursery. It's been a rollercoaster ride. If you have any specific questions feel free to send them to me in a private message or on this thread. I will check back often.

    BTW Bindy is adorable.

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  9. #5
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    Default Re: Downs vs. Dwarfism

    Oh my gosh! Bindy is gorgeous. Pleasepleaseplease tellus EVERYTHING about her! I've been blessed with three of these little gifts. When I got my first sweetheart, Kensington, there was NOTHING about these guys except on TSB and even here, there was just a little info. Now TSB is a starting point for the care and feeding of the dearest critters on God's earth. There was another little Fox dwarf on TSB for awhile but I can't seem to find the posts. I still have one old girl--Punkin. She is almost two years old--will be two this month. She and Mel's Joey are almost the same age. Please ask questions and add to the body of knowledge. Your sweetheart may be high or low functioning (if they were people, they would be considered to have Downes Syndrome--though to my knowledge, no genetic testing has been done to see if the conditions are similar). Every dwarf I've known has been clumsy, with foreshortened limbs, face and tail, gentle, the pickiest of eaters, frequently taking formula for a lifetime. They have endocrinological issues and unfortunately don't live as long as a normal squirrel. I'm so glad you're here. Welcome!!!!!!

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    Default Re: Downs vs. Dwarfism

    Thank you everyone!

    My husband is licensed and we help a fellow rehabber with older babies when they don't need as much night feeding. She received Bindy who had some pretty bad facial trauma and with the vet helped get her patched up. She came to us for observation for re-release just as we were moving a litter outside to their new release enclosure. It quickly became clear that she has some "issues."

    Our rehabber friend said she played with her and she was curious and silly. But with me she hid under her blanket most of the time and did not want to be bothered. Then one day it was as if we were best friends. She bounced all over the place and wrestled with my hand and came to life. Now she is long term rehab. She is very quick to forgive or forget. Example: After we had her teeth trimmed in the hope of correcting their growth, she acted like nothing happened. She is super sweet but also a diva and a picky eater, though completely inconsistent. One day she loves X, the next day she won't touch it. I think she has a very short term memory!

    She may have vision problems as she seems to be a bad jumper and as trouble even in her cage gauging where things are. I'm sure her short little legs don't help. Her half tail makes a cute little heart shape. She has the most adorable face. I think she thinks our kitten is another squirrel. She has her own kitty condo that she can come out and play on while I work in that room. She doesn't like to cuddle but she is super curious and friendly.

    I was reading about the potential for MBD and while she seems to be "high functioning" I am concerned about some of her fragile teeth and maybe MBD which is how I ended up finding these forms. So we are going to take care of that with diet and by seeing how she likes going outside a bit every day. It's too hot for anyone right now but mornings are cooler and I can sit out with her in our mid-sized cage. We've only had her for about 2 months so we are still feeling her out, so to speak!

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  13. #7
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    Default Re: Downs vs. Dwarfism

    If you'd like, you can create Bindy her own thread in the Special Needs forum, where Punkin and others are. Or I can do that for you. You can merge this thread into it, too, so that all your responses are in one place.

    You and your hubby sound like the perfect parents for this special little sweetheart.
    Island Rehabber
    NY State Licensed
    Wildlife Rehabilitator


    "Ancora Imparo" (I am still learning)
    Michelangelo


    *
    If you can't afford the vet,
    You can't afford a pet.
    NEGLECT IS ABUSE.

    "Better one day in the trees, than a lifetime in a cage."

    '...and the greatest of these, is Love. '

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  15. #8
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    Default Re: Downs vs. Dwarfism

    Bindy is precious, just precious!

    Mel has started giving Joey Harlan Teklad 18 and it's made a huge difference.
    You can get a sample 2 lb supply on ebay for $7.50 and free shipping.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Teklad-18-Pr....c100012.m1985

    Here's Joey's thread if you want to check it out.
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...=Harlan+Teklad



    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post

    The biggest news is that he is growing new hair. I initially thought that the hair loss on his stomach and tail were due to him being a dwarf. I have been told that it just happens with dwarfs. I'm now believe it is tied to nutrition, which makes more sense, as we all know how poor nutrition impacts us. I have made two primary changes. I started putting coconut oil on his tail 3 or more times a day. His tail has new white peach fuzz growing. The other change I made was to begin feeding Harlan Teklad 18 ground up and mixed with his baby food and formula. It is less chunky than the HHBs so it mixes better. I started that the beginning of May. In the two months I've been doing that the hair has completely grown in on his belly. His coat overall, looks denser and shinier. I also use it for boo balls and Joey has started eating them. He will even knaw on the Harlan block, where I couldn't get him to eat any of the varieties of Henrys. I am amazed at the difference in such a short period of time. Needless to say, I'm sold on Harlan Teklad.

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    Default Re: Downs vs. Dwarfism

    I recently read it noted in study that there are dietary deficiencies that result in growth stunting in rats.

    And though not all that rare in rats, in squirrels it may be? It also could be caused by a physiological issue that resulted in his growth being stunted.

    And then again it could be genetic dwarfism, yet his proportions look normal not like that of a dwarf.

    If small, more like overall small as you have described, a midget perhaps?

    Without a measuring stick or some other object to gage his size by, it is hard to really tell what size he is from the photo alone.

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    Default Re: Downs vs. Dwarfism

    I see I didn't catch that note you made about her short legs. That then isn't like a midget,
    but from stunted growth; that as you say can be related to insufficient calcium in the diet at a crucial point in her development.

    Really adorable, I think I'm in love with your little she squirrel! I wish i could come for a visit.

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  21. #11
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    Default Re: Downs vs. Dwarfism

    https://open.library.ubc.ca/cIRcle/c...tems/1.0099885

    Click on download pdf to view file

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    Default Re: Downs vs. Dwarfism

    Re-greets! School started so I have been cray-zee with human children. I just wanted to thank everyone for the suggestions and conversation.

    Bindy may just be stunted. There are some things that do not seem like dwarfism and some that do. Her legs aren't totally short (not like a Welsh Corgie) -- they are a bit short but mostly she can't extend them as well while weight-bearing. She is definitely smaller than average. I will get the scale out soon and weigh and measure her.

    I let her run around our squirrel room for exercise and she is well behaved, but does NOT like to be held or put back into her enclosure. I'm pretty sure every time she sees me I'm a complete stranger. We tried clipping her nails, too, and that was fun. She behaves a lot like a "wild" squirrel should (maybe a little too friendly). We have squirrel babies coming in this weekend and we are curious to see how she reacts to that.

    My husband took her outside for a "UV trip" but she hid the whole time so that was odd. We have supplements now so i am hoping that will do.

    SHE IS ADORABLE... what a blessing in my life! Even if she isn't as friendly as I would like

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  24. #13
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    Default Re: Downs vs. Dwarfism

    Greetings! Just an update on Bindy. She is now full adult of course and now that I have a lot of babies growing up in the same room it's easier to set the differences. She is about the size of a 12 week old, and most of my kiddos are bigger than her at this point. And her defining feature is she can't jump. Her teeth have been Dremeled twice and they are growing back so much better and straighter. That was probably all due to her head trauma. She has become a beautiful young lady, with quite the prissy personality. Loves watching me feed the babies or making a nest out of the spare towels and fleece.

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  26. #14
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    Default Re: Downs vs. Dwarfism

    Thanks for the update. She sounds like she's settling in just fine. Great job! We'd love to see a photo!!

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  28. #16
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    Default Re: Downs vs. Dwarfism

    She's hard to photograph because she moves a lot!

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  30. #17
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    Default Re: Downs vs. Dwarfism

    Okay! More pics!

    We have been playing on the back of the spare-room couch. I let her out while feeding the others. She can't jump so she can't get to me or the feeding table. (Although I only have two milk babies left.) She made a nest "fort" and pulled her favorite toy to the opening with her. So adorable when not being a diva!

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  32. #18
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    Default Re: Downs vs. Dwarfism

    Oh she's adorable just adorable!
    What's her diet like?
    Is she in her cage a lot or does she mostly have the "run of the house"?

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