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Thread: Wild squirrel with teeth/mouth issues - Possible broken tooth and now abscess

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    Default Wild squirrel with teeth/mouth issues - Possible broken tooth and now abscess

    Hi everyone.
    I have been trying to help a wild squirrel for 6 weeks by now without trapping him, hoping providing food while he got better would suffice, but It's just not getting better so I am now hoping to trap him and take him to see a vet ASAP (trapping and finding a vet all easier said than done!)

    In the meantime, I would need some advice and perhaps opinion from more experienced rehabber on what his issue might be.

    First a little history. Maxee first showed up 6 weeks ago. I never saw him before that day (as far as I know). It's obvious to me he came for help. I gave him a nut and very soon realized he could not open it. Tried giving a shelled nut and he wasn't able to eat it either. So, I gave him a boo-ball. He was mostly just licking it. Taking a close look I noticed the left side of his mouth seemed a little swollen and he was missing some fur on the face. Was either attacked or fell. So, I started making boo-balls for him that were on the softer side and he's been eating that and mashed avocado since then. Improvement has been really, really slow. He can now hold the boo-ball in his mouth and walk without dropping it, which he could not do before. He also eats a little faster. But he still can't eat avocado unless it's mashed or cut down in little pieces. When he eats, it's only the bottom teeth that he uses. I suspect broken tooth/teeth.

    You can watch him eat here. He can manage as long as it's soft food.
    https://youtu.be/JkT-yihk_3E


    Today, I filmed him and when I put the video on pause, I realized it looks as if there is a black growth on his mouth. I've been seeing the color black before but I wasn't sure if I was imagining it. It's only when I put the video on pause that I realized it looks like a mass, so my already pretty high stress/worry level has gone up way up :'(

    Here is the picture from the paused video. Can he now have an abscess?
    Name:  Maxee mass looking on his mouth.png
Views: 91
Size:  493.3 KB


    What do you think is going on? I am so concerned with this guy. It's been so tough trying to care for him (I spend hours each day in my kitchen waiting on him to make sure he gets enough food and water. I've been wanting to capture him since the beginning, but at first I had nowhere to keep him (I now finally got a set up ready for him). Just need to capture him now, but how to capture a specific squirrel when you got a dozen of them coming and the one you need to capture is the most skittish of the bunch? I put a cat carrier by the patio and I am hoping to get him to go in there and hopefully will be fast enough to close the carrier door when that happens (for now, he won't go near the carrier). I expect this to take days.

    I am so stressed out and so worried. He is super skittish, so trapping him won't be easy. If he needs antibiotics, I would like to start as soon as possible. All I have is clamavox and it's at least 3 years old. Not even sure it's still potent.

    Any advice is welcome: how to manage to trap him without using a humane trap (as I am sure I'll trap everybody BUT him)? Does he look like he needs ABs? If so, can ABs be given the day after giving Ivermectin? How soon can malocclusion occur once they can't file their teeth?
    Thanks in advance
    ----
    Josee
    A tribute video made in honor of our beloved NR squirrel, Dixie: https://www.facebook.com/jroussy1972...type=2&theater

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    Default Re: Wild squirrel with teeth/mouth issues - Possible broken tooth and now abscess

    Do you still have your outdoor release cage and do you think you could entice him to go into that for food??

    (BTW, your Dixie tribute video is amazing.)

    Or may be the hubby could make a one way door on the bottom of it and you could randomly trap and let the ones you don't want out but you might get him. A gentle swinging door, something that can't hurt anyone? Just throwing stuff out there. I know how hard the have-a-heart traps snap closed and they can be dangerous.

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    Default Re: Wild squirrel with teeth/mouth issues - Possible broken tooth and now abscess

    Just get a Havahart squirrel sized trap and trap / release until you get the right one. Smear peanut butter with embedded peanuts on the bait tray and place in an area that he frequents. Also looks like Mange. Can you get Ivermectin paste in Canada? If you trap him can you get vet care to sedate him and examine the teeth? Trying to examine the mouth of a wild without sedation will be a challenge, and clipping without sedation may result in death from shock. Could be malocclusion or growth affecting the interior of the mouth.
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    Default Re: Wild squirrel with teeth/mouth issues - Possible broken tooth and now abscess

    Hi DixiesMom, I remember you and your sweet Dixie. I watched your tribute again.
    This is a difficult situation. I think the first thing I would do is treat for mange. He has a bad case of it. You can use either ivermectin or Revolution. It is very effective. Without your help so far, it's unlikely that he would be alive.

    It's really hard to say what the black thing is on the chin. I think you're right that you will need to capture. Abscesses aren't usually black but I guess anything is possible. It might even be a foreign body. A maloccluded tooth might be growing through the lip. Without examining him it's just speculation.

    As you feed him he will begin to trust you more making capture a possibility.

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    Default Re: Wild squirrel with teeth/mouth issues - Possible broken tooth and now abscess

    Quote Originally Posted by cava View Post
    Do you still have your outdoor release cage and do you think you could entice him to go into that for food??

    (BTW, your Dixie tribute video is amazing.)

    Or may be the hubby could make a one way door on the bottom of it and you could randomly trap and let the ones you don't want out but you might get him. A gentle swinging door, something that can't hurt anyone? Just throwing stuff out there. I know how hard the have-a-heart traps snap closed and they can be dangerous.
    Thank you Cava
    Release cage would not work I am afraid. First, because I want Maxee to be seen by a vet, so my plan is to capture him in the cat carrier and then take him to the vet right away (I am hoping for divine intervention for this to all work out without an appointment). Our big release cage is occupied right now, and the smaller we have can only be used for pre-release (there is no double door, so I can't go inside the cage safely). So, the cat carrier seems like my best chance. It's been there a day now, so he is getting used to seeing it there and now comes to drink water right next to it. I placed it in a way that I can control the door from inside my house (by pushing a hanger that is attached to the door when the time comes). I do have a havahart trap, but I prefer to not stress a bunch of other squirrels for nothing. I think with patience, it can work. If not, I will resort to using my havahart trap. I am praying hard it will work.
    ----
    Josee
    A tribute video made in honor of our beloved NR squirrel, Dixie: https://www.facebook.com/jroussy1972...type=2&theater

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    Default Re: Wild squirrel with teeth/mouth issues - Possible broken tooth and now abscess

    Quote Originally Posted by HRT4SQRLS View Post
    Hi DixiesMom, I remember you and your sweet Dixie. I watched your tribute again.
    This is a difficult situation. I think the first thing I would do is treat for mange. He has a bad case of it. You can use either ivermectin or Revolution. It is very effective. Without your help so far, it's unlikely that he would be alive.

    It's really hard to say what the black thing is on the chin. I think you're right that you will need to capture. Abscesses aren't usually black but I guess anything is possible. It might even be a foreign body. A maloccluded tooth might be growing through the lip. Without examining him it's just speculation.

    As you feed him he will begin to trust you more making capture a possibility.
    Thank you HRT4SQRLS
    Yes, poor boy does have a bad case of mange. I gave him 2 treatments with Ivermectin, but with left over from last May, plus I suspect he did not even get dose #2 (went away with the food and came back too soon, which indicated that he did not finish it). This morning I gave him a new dose with a brand new paste. Poor baby, he's got a lot on his plate.

    My worry about the black color is that it is necrotic tissue. I was thinking an abscess because of the shape. You are right, without examination, we can only speculate. I am beating myself up for not trapping him sooner... but I also know without my help he would not be alive, unless he found help elsewhere. On his own he would be dead by now, being unable to eat.

    I think what will make the capture a possibility is that we are his only source of food. It's a matter of putting it closer and closer to the carrier until he goes inside. I just hope it won't take too many days to happen and this black growth won't worsen too fast. Gosh I am so worried!
    ----
    Josee
    A tribute video made in honor of our beloved NR squirrel, Dixie: https://www.facebook.com/jroussy1972...type=2&theater

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    Default Re: Wild squirrel with teeth/mouth issues - Possible broken tooth and now abscess

    Quote Originally Posted by SophieSquirrel View Post
    Just get a Havahart squirrel sized trap and trap / release until you get the right one. Smear peanut butter with embedded peanuts on the bait tray and place in an area that he frequents. Also looks like Mange. Can you get Ivermectin paste in Canada? If you trap him can you get vet care to sedate him and examine the teeth? Trying to examine the mouth of a wild without sedation will be a challenge, and clipping without sedation may result in death from shock. Could be malocclusion or growth affecting the interior of the mouth.
    Thanks SophieSquirrel. Yes, I got Ivermectin and gave him a dose this morning.
    About the havatrap, it was my initial plan, but after thinking long and hard, I think trapping the wrong squirrel (and probably many) might make it even harder to trap Maxee. If he witnesses that happening to others, he won't want to come near the trap and I will cause undue stress to too many squirrels (and to me!). That is why I decided to attempt to do the capture using a cat carrier. I wonder if anybody managed to successfully capture a squirrel with a similar plan? It's the door closing that is the tricky part. I my head, the plan can work, but I have never actually done it, so I hope I am not wrong and wasting precious time trying this way.

    I agree that trying to examine without sedation would be a challenge. Not something I imagine being able to do myself. He has to be seen by a vet. I know a clinic I brought a squirrel to before, but they are not experienced and never trimmed the teeth of a squirrel. In Quebec, it's really not easy to find a vet.

    Gosh, my head is spinning imagining all sorts of scenarios about what is wrong and what the future holds. So worried he will be NR.
    ----
    Josee
    A tribute video made in honor of our beloved NR squirrel, Dixie: https://www.facebook.com/jroussy1972...type=2&theater

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    Default Re: Wild squirrel with teeth/mouth issues - Possible broken tooth and now abscess

    I have a NR who gets facial abscesses. When they burst, he often has a dark blob on his chin under where it drains. I'm praying that is what it is on your sweet boy. Smart cookie knew who would help him..
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    Default Re: Wild squirrel with teeth/mouth issues - Possible broken tooth and now abscess

    For cat carrier trapping, be sure to cover so your movement is not seen through the slits in the carrier sides. Lean over the carrier and close the door from the hinge side, but be sure to use gloves because you will have to hold the door closed while he attempts to scratch his way out.
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    Default Re: Wild squirrel with teeth/mouth issues - Possible broken tooth and now abscess

    Quote Originally Posted by SammysMom View Post
    I have a NR who gets facial abscesses. When they burst, he often has a dark blob on his chin under where it drains. I'm praying that is what it is on your sweet boy. Smart cookie knew who would help him..
    Thank you SamsmysMom. When an abscesses bursts on your NR, does it clear on its own, or he needs some special care and/or meds? You are giving me hope that maybe the dark growth isn't necrotic tissue.

    I am praying that whatever is going on with Maxee can heal with time. I am trying to stay positive and believe in the best case scenario: smooth capture, vet accepting to see him right away, swift recovery and release back in the wild where he belongs.

    Thanks for the tips about wearing gloves to lock the door. Did not think about that. The way I placed the carrier, I will be closing the door from inside my house. I placed it right in front of the patio door on the perfect angle to be able to push the door shut with a straighten hanger. I'll have to be fast though.
    ----
    Josee
    A tribute video made in honor of our beloved NR squirrel, Dixie: https://www.facebook.com/jroussy1972...type=2&theater

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    Default Re: Wild squirrel with teeth/mouth issues - Possible broken tooth and now abscess

    Good news on one front, I don't see the growth today, so this part seems to be resolving on its own. I found a vet who could see Maxee tomorrow, but if I haven't captured him by then, my next chance is only 5 days later... So pretty please, if you could all say a prayer for my plan to work and for it to work tomorrow, I would be so grateful. I really feel like I need divine intervention.

    This is my setup with the cat carrier. What do you think? I did a test run, and I could close it in a split second with just a crack of the patio open. My husband and I are arguing now, not agreeing on how to do the capture. Why can't he be on board with me and have some faith it'll work? Makes it all more stressful.

    Name:  Carrier plan.jpg
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    ----
    Josee
    A tribute video made in honor of our beloved NR squirrel, Dixie: https://www.facebook.com/jroussy1972...type=2&theater

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    Default Re: Wild squirrel with teeth/mouth issues - Possible broken tooth and now abscess

    Your setup looks good, but I would put a fleece blanket or old t-shirts in the bottom of the cat carrier. The plain plastic floor will be very slippery for Maxee if he does go in there and you need to transport him. The fabric will give him something to hold on to, plus he can burrow into it to hide if he wants...

    Have you tried putting the food INTO the carrier? This may make it easier to entice him to go into it

    Wishing you good luck today, I hope the trapping is a success!
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    Default Re: Wild squirrel with teeth/mouth issues - Possible broken tooth and now abscess

    Quote Originally Posted by Toddy View Post
    Your setup looks good, but I would put a fleece blanket or old t-shirts in the bottom of the cat carrier. The plain plastic floor will be very slippery for Maxee if he does go in there and you need to transport him. The fabric will give him something to hold on to, plus he can burrow into it to hide if he wants...

    Have you tried putting the food INTO the carrier? This may make it easier to entice him to go into it

    Wishing you good luck today, I hope the trapping is a success!
    Thank you Toddy

    For sure I need food inside the carrier, otherwise he won't go in there. I was just working my way slowly by making him come closer and closer. I need the food to be seen, so I think what would work is a trail of avocado tiny pieces. The color against the blue bottom would work to get his attention. I initially put a bed of cedar at the bottom for comfort and to add something natural, but I felt I could not put food on it that he would see. I also have to deal with not being able to put food ahead too much, as it freezes and he needs his food to be really soft. Not the simplest situation I am dealing with.

    I will look for some bedding that I can put food on. I agree about the need for comfort and hiding, as he will probably be in there for hours until he sees a vet. The carrier has a door on the top, maybe I can add a blanket afterwards, I've done this in the past with a cat. The best setup for the capture isn't necessarily the best for transport and vice-versa.
    ----
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    A tribute video made in honor of our beloved NR squirrel, Dixie: https://www.facebook.com/jroussy1972...type=2&theater

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    Default Re: Wild squirrel with teeth/mouth issues - Possible broken tooth and now abscess

    My plan failed

    My husband managed to get him inside the carrier and close the door, but Maxee pushed the door back open and escaped.
    I have no choice but to try with a havahart now, and I missed my chance for a the vet visit today. My next window is Monday (in 5 days). So, that is how long I have to try to get Maxee's confidence back, if that is even possible at this point.

    I am so discouraged and defeated. Breaks my heart to know that I will now have to cause stress to God knows how many squirrels using the havahart trap.
    ----
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    A tribute video made in honor of our beloved NR squirrel, Dixie: https://www.facebook.com/jroussy1972...type=2&theater

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    Default Re: Wild squirrel with teeth/mouth issues - Possible broken tooth and now abscess

    I finally trapped him. But had a bad surprise... the vet that was supposed to accept to see him today ended up refusing to even examine him when she found out I did not want to put him to sleep if Maxee has malocclusion. So I had to find an alternative... I did, but it is someone with no experience with teeth issues. He has an appointment 3 hours from now. The vet might very well push for euthanasia as well. I am trying hard to keep it together, but I am so worried that he won't receive the help he needs and only euthanasia will be offered.
    ----
    Josee
    A tribute video made in honor of our beloved NR squirrel, Dixie: https://www.facebook.com/jroussy1972...type=2&theater

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    Default Re: Wild squirrel with teeth/mouth issues - Possible broken tooth and now abscess

    I sure hope everything goes well and you get the help he needs!

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    Default Re: Wild squirrel with teeth/mouth issues - Possible broken tooth and now abscess

    I do not know the law in Canada but I can only assume it is similar to our controlling State of California. The vet's train of thought is that malocclusion is an on-going treatment process and if re-released the problem WILL return quickly. This will require repeated vet visits and a commitment by the vet to continue treatment as well as your keeping him as an NR (Non Releasable).

    IMO you should find a way to keep him alive and get treatment. It is as difficult for him to adjust to captivity as it is for a baby that was hand raised, named and coddled as to be released. If it was me I would make the effort to treat and make his life as comfortable and stress free as possible if he winds up having mals. I also have been caring for NR's for 30+ years and understand the commitment to time and resources involved. The alternative is death for the squirrel, either by euthanasia or in the wild from mals. I have cared for NR wilds in the past and it can be done humanely in severe cases like this when the option is euthanasia.

    Regardless of the law if it is mals just keep him safe and on the QT.

    I would talk to the vet and make sure euthanasia is your decision - not the vet's.
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    Default Re: Wild squirrel with teeth/mouth issues - Possible broken tooth and now abscess

    Quote Originally Posted by SophieSquirrel View Post
    I do not know the law in Canada but I can only assume it is similar to our controlling State of California. The vet's train of thought is probably that malocclusion is an on-going treatment process and if re-released the problem WILL return quickly without a doubt. This will require repeated vet visits and a commitment by the vet to continue treatment as well as your keeping him as an NR (Non Releasable).

    IMO you should find a way to keep him alive and get treatment. This will mean building a habitat for a wild that will take time to adapt. It is as difficult for a wild to adjust to captivity as it is for a baby that was named and coddled as to be released. If it was me I would make the effort to treat and make his life as comfortable and stress free as possible. I also have been caring for NR's for 30+ years and understand the commitment to time and resources involved. The alternative is death for the squirrel, either by euthanasia or in the wild from mals.
    I would never in a million years release him back with a malocclusion, that is just plain cruel. I told the vet I would never do such a thing. Plus, we don't know that he has malocclusion, that is just speculation. I could not believe she would not even examine him.

    I want to give him a chance to get his teeth trimmed until he perhaps can do it on his own, as I am hoping it is a fixable situation. I believe he broke a tooth or more. I am not going to decide on euthanasia without giving him the best chance. I am prepared to keep him if he cannot be released and give him the best life I can give. He would have to wait a month for my bigger cage to be available (7' x 8' x 4'), as it is occupied now (by a squirrel who recovered after I was told to put him to sleep and refused to do so). In the meantime, I set up a 3-level critter nation. It's small, but it is temporary and all I can offer at the moment. At least he will be warm (he has mange and is missing so much fur). It will make it easier on me to feed him. It's been really time consuming for 7 weeks (I spend hours each day waiting for him to feed him all through the day).

    Here is my setup. Suggestion for improvement are welcome. (sorry for the sideway pic, on my computer it isn't sideway for some reason)
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    ----
    Josee
    A tribute video made in honor of our beloved NR squirrel, Dixie: https://www.facebook.com/jroussy1972...type=2&theater

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    Default Re: Wild squirrel with teeth/mouth issues - Possible broken tooth and now abscess

    Quote Originally Posted by DixiesMom View Post
    I would never in a million years release him back with a malocclusion, that is just plain cruel. I told the vet I would never do such a thing.
    I agree 100% and I am glad you are sticking by your guns on that! You triple critter nation looks great. So this is a true wild, not a rehab & release that has come back with issues?
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    Default Re: Wild squirrel with teeth/mouth issues - Possible broken tooth and now abscess

    Quote Originally Posted by SophieSquirrel View Post
    I agree 100% and I am glad you are sticking by your guns on that! You triple critter nation looks great. So this is a true wild, not a rehab & release that has come back with issues?
    Yes, he is a true wild who showed up at my door 7 weeks ago. He was there just waiting on the balcony as if he knew this was where help would be provided. He trusts me, but he is definitely wild, so I am hoping he will adjust well to captivity. Heading out to go see the vet now. May peace be with me as I don't want him to feel my emotions. I hope this vet will be understanding of my refusal to give up on him.
    ----
    Josee
    A tribute video made in honor of our beloved NR squirrel, Dixie: https://www.facebook.com/jroussy1972...type=2&theater

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