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Thread: Desperate, please help. Neuro squirrel

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  1. #1
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    Default Desperate, please help. Neuro squirrel

    Hello everyone, I apologize in advance for the lengthy post. First a little history on my girl... In April I got a blind baby squirrel (approximately 6 weeks) from a veterinary clinic when she was about to be euthanized since she would never be releasable. I was told she was found in a puddle and had been there for days because no one realized she was alive. Since the day I got her the pupils of her eyes have been solid white and she has had on and off nystagmus along with a slight right sided head tilt, mild head tremor, and an affinity for circling (both directions).

    About a month later, she began having sudden periods of extreme lethargy. One minute completely normal and then an hour later laying down breathing rapidly, blankly staring off into space, and borderline non responsive. Each time I have been sure she is dying but then as quickly as it started she seems back to normal. The first time lasted about a day and each consecutive time has been days longer than the last. After the first episode her back right leg started slipping out from under her and she has had a hard time sitting up. She can go weeks at a time being active and eating well and then suddenly horrible again. More recently I have noticed a very faint clicking noise during this period but it is coming from her skull not her lungs. Within the past couple months I have noticed her sneezing while drinking and seeming to accidentally inhale her formula (fox valley) even if I put down small amounts at a time. Syringe feeding extremely slowly does not seem to help. I have seen milk come out of her nose so I am concerned about aspiration. I have tried checking for a cleft palate but cannot see anything obvious. Both baytril and ciprofloxacin seem to help a bit initially but then make the neuro symptoms worse and she completely refuses food. I give SQ fluids as needed, heated rice bags for comfort, and use a humidifier in her room. With each period of sickness her hind end gets weaker and one time I believe she had a short (10 second) seizure.
    She is currently on smz/tmp and dexamethasone and has been for close to a week. I am also supplementing with calcium in case mbd is a factor. While I have seen some improvement, it is short lived. When I take her out to feed her she is fairly bright and hungry but after a few drops, her nose starts clicking and she acts like she is in a stupor, looks like she feels awful, and refuses all food. I have tried a bulb syringe with her nostrils to see if it helps.

    Current diet when she is feeling well:
    Henry's picky blocks 2 per day
    Free choice rodent block
    Variety of veggies (arugula, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots etc)
    Small bit of fruit per day (apple, banana, cherry)
    Tiny piece of walnut after breakfast and before bed
    Occasional formula though she has started refusing it

    The veterinarians in my area refuse to treat a squirrel since it is not legal to own them in my state. I am at my wits end trying to save my girl. I fear she is suffering and will continue to do so unless I figure out specifically what is wrong with her. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions? I am willing to drive out of state to see someone knowledgeable but am afraid Florida is too far.

    Thank you very much for any input.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Desperate, please help. Neuro squirrel

    Just a word of caution, both baytril and ciprofloxacin will lower a seizure threshold.
    Since your little one has neuro symptoms, I would not use them.

    Hopefully someone can help you with a vet that is close by.

    Thank you for saving this little innocent life.

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    Default Re: Desperate, please help. Neuro squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by Nancy in New York View Post
    Just a word of caution, both baytril and ciprofloxacin will lower a seizure threshold.
    Since your little one has neuro symptoms, I would not use them.

    Hopefully someone can help you with a vet that is close by.

    Thank you for saving this little innocent life.
    Thank you, until recently I was not aware and that is why I switched to the smz/tmp. Do you by chance know if difficulty swallowing can potentially be linked with neuro symptoms? I'd like to find out why milk is coming out of her nose, I believe this is a main component of her not feeling well. Also, I have a few veterinary friends since I have worked in the field for many years, however unfortunately they do not have any squirrel experience.

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    Default Re: Desperate, please help. Neuro squirrel

    Name:  IMG_4585.jpg
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    Here is a picture of her white pupil, one vet who is a friend of a friend suggested that it is likely due to exposure to a common squirrel virus in utero. In case it's helpful to figuring out what may be wrong, does anyone know the cause of eyes like this?

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    SammysMom is offline Administrator, Conn. Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator
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    Default Re: Desperate, please help. Neuro squirrel

    What a beautiful and lucky girl! She has a human fighting for her. Could we get a full body pic of her? I just had one who had a cleft palate that was not visible due to how close it was to her top teeth. Try to get a look right behind her teeth if possible.
    Squirrels, squirrels and more squirrels....
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    Default Re: Desperate, please help. Neuro squirrel

    I had a little one with congenital cateracts. His eyes looked like your baby's. He was also neuro. Duke had a short life but he lived it to the fullest. I hope your little one lives long and well.

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    Default Re: Desperate, please help. Neuro squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by SammysMom View Post
    What a beautiful and lucky girl! She has a human fighting for her. Could we get a full body pic of her? I just had one who had a cleft palate that was not visible due to how close it was to her top teeth. Try to get a look right behind her teeth if possible.
    SammysMom, would any particular angle be most helpful? Here are a couple from this weekend, I was trying to let her enjoy some sunshine and vitamin D.

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Size:  186.9 KB

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