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Thread: Adult squirrel with upper respiratory infection

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    Default Adult squirrel with upper respiratory infection

    We have an adult squirrel that came to the wildlife rescue center that was diagnosed with a severe upper respiratory infection. My question is, what causes this? Could there be something else going on and this is just a symptom or is it common for an adult squirrel to just have a random viral infection like this? If it's just an upper respiratory infection, how long does it usually take them to recover once they are being treated with Baytril? Also, when diagnosing an upper respiratory infection, would you hear the same clicking sound as an ammonia?

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    Default Re: Adult squirrel with upper respiratory infection

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiko View Post
    We have an adult squirrel that came to the wildlife rescue center that was diagnosed with a severe upper respiratory infection. My question is, what causes this? Could there be something else going on and this is just a symptom or is it common for an adult squirrel to just have a random viral infection like this? If it's just an upper respiratory infection, how long does it usually take them to recover once they are being treated with Baytril? Also, when diagnosing an upper respiratory infection, would you hear the same clicking sound as an ammonia?
    Hard to tell - do you have a vet on staff or for consultation?

    Was the Baytril properly dosed by squirrel weight? Just make sure you follow the entire course of prescribed antibiotics and follow up with probiotics like Keifer.

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    Default Re: Adult squirrel with upper respiratory infection

    With severe URI in rodents sometimes we need to stack doxycycline with the Baytril -- or alone if the Baytril isn't working. Could be bordetella? If so, try doxy ASAP.
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    Default Re: Adult squirrel with upper respiratory infection

    Long story short...I have only volunteered at this center 3 times. I am there only once a week on Fridays just to gain more knowledge, I just recently passed my state rehab license and will be rehabbing squirrels in my home. I am particularly concern for this squirrel, I was the one who went to go pick him up because the people who called the center were not able to transport him. My first thought was MBD because he looked like a young adult since he was small and was concerned that these people might have had him since he was little and not fed him on the correct diet even though they said they didn't. Some people are afraid to say they've had animals longer than they've had so they won't get in trouble. The lady was handling the squirrel with no gloves like a pet so it was making me think differently. He was very lethargic and his eyes we're a little crusty I did not hear any breathing issues with him or sneezing in my half hour trip back to the center, he was just making and little crying noises like he was in pain or really not feeling well He was also having trouble using one of his back legs. The center quickly shut this idea down and made me feel like I was stupid for suggesting this being the new person there and not knowing much. They said if he had MBD they would be able to feel the brittle soft bones. I thought the only way to really test for this is through an x-ray? Or by giving it extra calcium supplements and seeing if there is any Improvement but they refused to do this. I will not be back in the center until Friday. I'm just concerned if he is not showing any Improvement by then if it could be anything else. They do not seem super knowledgeable about squirrels there they deal with a lot of animals especially Birds. I am just trying to help and also learn. I have also read that an upper respiratory infection could be the sign of Odontoma? The only way to test for this is an x-ray as well right? Also how do you test for Bordetella is this done by blood work? I did not hear him sneezing or see anything coming from his nose when I had him. I emailed them and asked for an update, this is the email I received from them last night.

    "I just wanted to give you a quick update on the squirrel. Our vet looked at it and it has a respiratory infection which is being treated with antibiotics. He did not see any signs/issues with development or bone softening. The squirrel is very alert and agressive and as long as the repiratory infection clears up it should be releasable. It is bearing weight on the leg that was a concern."

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    Default Re: Adult squirrel with upper respiratory infection

    That sounds like an excellent update. I'm glad he's more alert and ambulating well. Good job for helping transport.

    I'm not sure why you feel like they aren't treating him well. I have years of experience with domestic animals and a couple of years of rehabbing. Even though I have a lot of knowledge, I'm still learning every single day. Sometimes what seems like one problem isn't that thing at all and you have to have eyes on an animal throughout the day and night to see how he/she is presenting. Things change and different interventions are required. Since they are the ones providing acute care for him, I'd listen to what they are saying. I would never suggest you don't ask questions, but it sounds like you don't believe them or have faith in their ability to care for him. Am I missing something?

    It's great you get on the board and ask for opinions, but it doesn't compare to the people who can actually assess him daily. We struggle at times to help with just a photo or a short video, so its hard to help this squirrel when we are getting small amounts of information from you. Hopefully when you get there tomorrow you'll see he's doing well. If not we're here to help anyway we can.

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    Default Re: Adult squirrel with upper respiratory infection

    Quote Originally Posted by cava View Post
    That sounds like an excellent update. I'm glad he's more alert and ambulating well. Good job for helping transport.

    I'm not sure why you feel like they aren't treating him well. I have years of experience with domestic animals and a couple of years of rehabbing. Even though I have a lot of knowledge, I'm still learning every single day. Sometimes what seems like one problem isn't that thing at all and you have to have eyes on an animal throughout the day and night to see how he/she is presenting. Things change and different interventions are required. Since they are the ones providing acute care for him, I'd listen to what they are saying. I would never suggest you don't ask questions, but it sounds like you don't believe them or have faith in their ability to care for him. Am I missing something?

    It's great you get on the board and ask for opinions, but it doesn't compare to the people who can actually assess him daily. We struggle at times to help with just a photo or a short video, so its hard to help this squirrel when we are getting small amounts of information from you. Hopefully when you get there tomorrow you'll see he's doing well. If not we're here to help anyway we can.
    I am not doubting their diagnosis and treatment at all. I am a person that always asks "why". The questions in my first post were still not answered. I am not trying to be a know it all.. actually the total opposite, thats why I am here. I am just trying to gain more knowledge so if i come across things like this when I am rehabbing on my own, I will know. I am a little concerned with some of the staff at the center, one of them told me there is no way to even test for MBD when I asked how it was diagnosed. I guess I will take my questions somewhere else.

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    Default Re: Adult squirrel with upper respiratory infection

    You don't have to take your questions somewhere else. I'm simply asking what your motivations are and explaining how your messages sound to ME. I do not speak for the board. I am one person.

    Feel free to keep asking questions.

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    Default Re: Adult squirrel with upper respiratory infection

    Without an x-ray to confirm diagnosis of MBD (which is the gold standard) we diagnose this condition based on symptom presentation (loss of use of hind legs, presence of pain (white tears), fractures from falls, reduced mobility and activity level, seizures etc etc plus a history of poor diet (poor ca/phos ratio ie lots of peanuts, corn and other junk food along with the lack of rodent block. The treatment for MBD is safe (calcium suppliments and strict diet) so if we even suspect it we will often recommend it as getting a squirrel on a healthy, balanced diet is ALWAYS a good idea.

    I don’t know how you can physically “feel” or palpate a squirrel to diagnose brittle bones? Perhaps that is possible but I don’t know anyone who can do that.

    Upper respiratory infections are fairly common in baby squirrels usually as a result of aspiration/improper feeding. Baytril usually works fast to clear that up which is good since it can kill a squirrel in 36 hours. Other respiratory infections are seen secondarily to trauma, malnutrition, illness. If bacterial then Baytril will usually help. Bordetello is seen in squirrels and is often treated with Doxy. Viral respiratory infections are possible but antivirals are seldom used and are more difficult to identify.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiko View Post
    I am not doubting their diagnosis and treatment at all. I am a person that always asks "why". The questions in my first post were still not answered. I am not trying to be a know it all.. actually the total opposite, thats why I am here. I am just trying to gain more knowledge so if i come across things like this when I am rehabbing on my own, I will know. I am a little concerned with some of the staff at the center, one of them told me there is no way to even test for MBD when I asked how it was diagnosed. I guess I will take my questions somewhere else.
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    Default Re: Adult squirrel with upper respiratory infection

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiko View Post

    1) he was just making and little crying noises like he was in pain or really not feeling well He was also having trouble using one of his back legs. The center quickly shut this idea down and made me feel like I was stupid for suggesting this being the new person there and not knowing much.

    2) They said if he had MBD they would be able to feel the brittle soft bones. I thought the only way to really test for this is through an x-ray?

    3) I have also read that an upper respiratory infection could be the sign of Odontoma? The only way to test for this is an x-ray as well right?

    4) Also how do you test for Bordetella is this done by blood work? I did not hear him sneezing or see anything coming from his nose when I had him.

    5) I emailed them and asked for an update, this is the email I received from them last night. "I just wanted to give you a quick update on the squirrel. Our vet looked at it and it has a respiratory infection which is being treated with antibiotics. He did not see any signs/issues with development or bone softening. The squirrel is very alert and agressive and as long as the repiratory infection clears up it should be releasable. It is bearing weight on the leg that was a concern."
    1) When in doubt start MBD protocol. You are right and they are wrong. Not saying he has MBD but err on the side of caution considering captivity with possible wrong diet, signs of pain, and trouble with hind legs. This squirrel may have MBD along with a secondary respiratory infection. Here: https://www.henryspets.com/what-is-m...-bone-disease/
    And here: https://www.henryspets.com/emergency-treatment-for-mbd/

    Every rehabber/center should have this on hand: https://www.henryspets.com/calcium-c...-powder-100-g/

    2) "Feel the brittle soft bones". REALLY? You can only determine bone density by X-ray. That's someone without basic knowledge.

    3) Odontoma - diagnosis is by X-ray. Not likely in a young squirrel but an X-ray would not hurt.

    4) Test for Bordetella is by lab culture of discharge, not blood: https://cwhl.ahdc.vet.cornell.edu/disease/bordetella

    5) RE: Email response... Someone also needs to go back to school to learn how to spell. I hope with their lack of squirrel knowledge they don't do a hard release once this guy is better....

    Perhaps you should volunteer to take him home and let The Squirrel Board members advise you on treatment and eventual release.

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    Default Re: Adult squirrel with upper respiratory infection

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiko View Post
    I am not doubting their diagnosis and treatment at all. I am a person that always asks "why". The questions in my first post were still not answered. I am not trying to be a know it all.. actually the total opposite, thats why I am here. I am just trying to gain more knowledge so if i come across things like this when I am rehabbing on my own, I will know. I am a little concerned with some of the staff at the center, one of them told me there is no way to even test for MBD when I asked how it was diagnosed. I guess I will take my questions somewhere else.
    When you are the new person at a clinic, you come with fresh eyes and can see things the "regulars" maybe don't see anymore. So don't let the more-established members at that wildlife clinic shoot down your ideas.

    I found when I volunteered at my local clinic, the people who worked there everyday had developed procedures where certain animals were given different amounts of care based on species. Birds and reptiles received more prolonged and extraordinary care, while for other species like squirrels, they didn't look far beyond "obvious" diagnosis, nor would they invest as much time with the squirrels. This was a system based on efficiency since they only had so many volunteers and many more animals (and squirrels were viewed as plentiful/borderline nuisance animals). If squirrels didn't immediately respond to heat and hydration, there wasn't a lot of further exploration, and usually they euthanized babies who didn't thrive immediately, or quickly.

    For example, any sign of a dental issue on a BABY squirrel meant the baby was immediately euthanized. Even if that baby was still on formula and a simple tooth trim and hard food could mean the difference between euthanasia and a juvenile with a good set of aligned incisors.

    So don't lose that tendency to question what doesn't look right to you. I've been in your position where you hesitate to push your perspective because you are the "new" person and don't have as much experience. But after seeing squirrels euthanized because I didn't push hard enough to try a different approach, I told myself it would never happen again. Don't be intimidated. The longer people do anything, the more rote their approach becomes.
    We can bring a heart of understanding and compassion to a world that needs it so much. ~~ Jack Kornfield

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    Default Re: Adult squirrel with upper respiratory infection

    The adventures of Sir Max and Explorer Millie!
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...e-the-Explorer!

    See my wild squirrel adventures in the thread "Squirtle's yard!":
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...quirtle-s-Yard!

    See the sisters Pip and Nip!
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...-(Pip-and-Nip)!

    “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”
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    Default Re: Adult squirrel with upper respiratory infection

    I would also like to add that people trained by the "state" (F&W wildlife rehab course) often have the least knowledge. When I have a question I will ask senior members/admin on The Squirrel Board and will always get the correct answer from the vast collective of knowledge. Rehabbers on here use their F&W rehab license as a vehicle to do the right thing by animals and don't follow some state mandated hard line approach. You will also find many non-releasables in permanent care situations with constant guidance by other expert members. I have 8 myself including paralyzed, severe malocclusions, neurological issues, and all live healthy happy indoor lives with correct diet, proper housing and lots of love & enrichment.

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    Default Re: Adult squirrel with upper respiratory infection

    Quote Originally Posted by SophieSquirrel View Post
    1) When in doubt start MBD protocol. You are right and they are wrong. Not saying he has MBD but err on the side of caution considering captivity with possible wrong diet, signs of pain, and trouble with hind legs. This squirrel may have MBD along with a secondary respiratory infection. Here: https://www.henryspets.com/what-is-m...-bone-disease/
    And here: https://www.henryspets.com/emergency-treatment-for-mbd/

    Every rehabber/center should have this on hand: https://www.henryspets.com/calcium-c...-powder-100-g/

    2) "Feel the brittle soft bones". REALLY? You can only determine bone density by X-ray. That's someone without basic knowledge.

    3) Odontoma - diagnosis is by X-ray. Not likely in a young squirrel but an X-ray would not hurt.

    4) Test for Bordetella is by lab culture of discharge, not blood: https://cwhl.ahdc.vet.cornell.edu/disease/bordetella

    5) RE: Email response... Someone also needs to go back to school to learn how to spell. I hope with their lack of squirrel knowledge they don't do a hard release once this guy is better....

    Perhaps you should volunteer to take him home and let The Squirrel Board members advise you on treatment and eventual release.
    I did show them the Henry's pet emergency treatment for MBD but they said they don't ever do this kind of treatment... they said overloading their system with calcium can cause more damage and that treating MBD is gradual and they get their calcium from the Kale salads they feed them I didn't want to argue my thoughts, I wasn't going to get anywhere with them.

    Unfortunalty, this center only does hard releases. I am set up in my home for soft releases but I am still waiting on my actual license to be able to do this. Without my license in hand, they will not let me take him home I passed my test and they did a home inspection a couple days ago that seemed to go ok. Now I am just waiting to hear back from them.

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    Default Re: Adult squirrel with upper respiratory infection

    Quote Originally Posted by missPixy View Post
    When you are the new person at a clinic, you come with fresh eyes and can see things the "regulars" maybe don't see anymore. So don't let the more-established members at that wildlife clinic shoot down your ideas.

    I found when I volunteered at my local clinic, the people who worked there everyday had developed procedures where certain animals were given different amounts of care based on species. Birds and reptiles received more prolonged and extraordinary care, while for other species like squirrels, they didn't look far beyond "obvious" diagnosis, nor would they invest as much time with the squirrels. This was a system based on efficiency since they only had so many volunteers and many more animals (and squirrels were viewed as plentiful/borderline nuisance animals). If squirrels didn't immediately respond to heat and hydration, there wasn't a lot of further exploration, and usually they euthanized babies who didn't thrive immediately, or quickly.

    For example, any sign of a dental issue on a BABY squirrel meant the baby was immediately euthanized. Even if that baby was still on formula and a simple tooth trim and hard food could mean the difference between euthanasia and a juvenile with a good set of aligned incisors.

    So don't lose that tendency to question what doesn't look right to you. I've been in your position where you hesitate to push your perspective because you are the "new" person and don't have as much experience. But after seeing squirrels euthanized because I didn't push hard enough to try a different approach, I told myself it would never happen again. Don't be intimidated. The longer people do anything, the more rote their approach becomes.
    This is so said.. I'm not going to last very long there if I see this happening

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    Default Re: Adult squirrel with upper respiratory infection

    Congrats and I hope you get your license in time to rescue this little squirrel from the "Rescue Center" and take it home for a proper soft release!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiko View Post
    I did show them the Henry's pet emergency treatment for MBD but they said they don't ever do this kind of treatment... they said overloading their system with calcium can cause more damage and that treating MBD is gradual and they get their calcium from the Kale salads they feed them I didn't want to argue my thoughts, I wasn't going to get anywhere with them.

    Unfortunalty, this center only does hard releases. I am set up in my home for soft releases but I am still waiting on my actual license to be able to do this. Without my license in hand, they will not let me take him home I passed my test and they did a home inspection a couple days ago that seemed to go ok. Now I am just waiting to hear back from them.
    The adventures of Sir Max and Explorer Millie!
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...e-the-Explorer!

    See my wild squirrel adventures in the thread "Squirtle's yard!":
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...quirtle-s-Yard!

    See the sisters Pip and Nip!
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...-(Pip-and-Nip)!

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    Default Re: Adult squirrel with upper respiratory infection

    Quote Originally Posted by TubeDriver View Post
    Congrats and I hope you get your license in time to rescue this little squirrel from the "Rescue Center" and take it home for a proper soft release!
    Me too! And thank you

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    Default Re: Adult squirrel with upper respiratory infection

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiko View Post
    This is so said.. I'm not going to last very long there if I see this happening
    Well as soon as you have your license you can start making a difference. Specialize in squirrels! You have the entire squirrel board to advise you.

    If it were not for TSB and Mel1959 (sr member) my "Buddi" the dwarf squirrel would not have lived as long as she did.

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    Default Re: Adult squirrel with upper respiratory infection

    Quote Originally Posted by SophieSquirrel View Post
    1) When in doubt start MBD protocol. You are right and they are wrong. Not saying he has MBD but err on the side of caution considering captivity with possible wrong diet, signs of pain, and trouble with hind legs. This squirrel may have MBD along with a secondary respiratory infection. Here: https://www.henryspets.com/what-is-m...-bone-disease/
    And here: https://www.henryspets.com/emergency-treatment-for-mbd/

    Every rehabber/center should have this on hand: https://www.henryspets.com/calcium-c...-powder-100-g/

    2) "Feel the brittle soft bones". REALLY? You can only determine bone density by X-ray. That's someone without basic knowledge.

    3) Odontoma - diagnosis is by X-ray. Not likely in a young squirrel but an X-ray would not hurt.

    4) Test for Bordetella is by lab culture of discharge, not blood: https://cwhl.ahdc.vet.cornell.edu/disease/bordetella

    5) RE: Email response... Someone also needs to go back to school to learn how to spell. I hope with their lack of squirrel knowledge they don't do a hard release once this guy is better....

    Perhaps you should volunteer to take him home and let The Squirrel Board members advise you on treatment and eventual release.
    I'm pretty sure this center does not do xrays. What do other rehabbers do in situations where they may need an xray to determine things like
    Odontoma or MBD? I do have a vet that agreed to work with me when I get my license but I'm sure this stuff is going to be coming out of my pocket, I would imagine just an xray would be pricey.. but then if its Odontoma, that would require surgery, I wouldn't think my vet would be doing this voluntarily, but I haven't asked her. She did sign a paper from the state that states she is not expected to do anything free of charge. Maybe this is why the center doesn't bother to check for these things because of the costs? I just want to be prepared if something like this falls into my hands. I am prepared and able to cover costs for orphans for formulas cages ect but what about those unexpected emergencies?
    Maybe I should start a go fund me page or something to ask for donations to cover costs of emergency situations?

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    Default Re: Adult squirrel with upper respiratory infection

    Quote Originally Posted by SophieSquirrel View Post
    Well as soon as you have your license you can start making a difference. Specialize in squirrels! You have the entire squirrel board to advise you.

    If it were not for TSB and Mel1959 (sr member) my "Buddi" the dwarf squirrel would not have lived as long as she did.
    Yes! This is my plan, to specialize in Squirrels !

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    Default Re: Adult squirrel with upper respiratory infection

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiko View Post
    Maybe I should start a go fund me page or something to ask for donations to cover costs of emergency situations?
    There you go! I have transported/consulted on Prairie Dogs for zoos and zoo vets and never get a "free ride". I do get excellent vet referrals and some discounts sometimes.

    The only "freebies" I get are from my rehab license holder I work under who is also a vet. That's a rare combination. In Florida if you hold the license you are not supposed to keep NR's but as a sub rehabber (volunteer) you are good to go with the proper paperwork. I spend summers in Michigan under a holding permit.

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