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Thread: What went wrong

  1. #1
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    Default What went wrong

    I got a call about a flying squirrel caught in a house.
    He was a juvenile, seemingly healthy, parasite free. He was missing part of his tail, but it wasn't a fresh injury.
    Squirrel was reported as being slow moving,(strange for a flyer), but the woman,whose house is infested, said they usually are. He was in a metal strainer all day before I picked him up. There were no signs of urination or deification.
    Brought him home and left him in the carrier with warm bedding and fresh water, for about an hour.
    He was lethargic, did not drink.
    Upon exam he was cool and severely dehydrated.
    Slowly warmed him and tried giving LR with a syringe. He would not drink. Gave a 1 cc subcutaneous injection of
    Of warm LR.
    No response.
    I could not get his body temperature up and he began seizing within the hour.
    He died half an hour later.

    He urinated when I tried feeding him a syringe of fluid and there was small amount of feces,(normal looking), near his anus.
    What did I do wrong? I've successfully raised neonates who were severely dehydrated upon arrival. This squirrel was seemingly healthy. I did not expect this.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What went wrong

    I don't have experience with fliers but it sounds like you did the correct thing in warming and then starting hydration/sub Q. If the little one was severely dehydrated, cold, probably in shock, his organ system probably started shutting down and was too far gone to recover. You never really know what the OFers did to it (or for how long) before it got to you.

    Godspeed little flyer, soar high now!
    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!

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

    “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: What went wrong

    Could 10 hours in a cold strainer with no food or water been enough to chill and dehydrate him beyond saving?
    I took him in to over winter, really never expected this outcome. He was barely moving when I picked him up. Put up no fight for transfer. I figured he was stressed and in shock.
    I feel horrible.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: What went wrong

    The fact the finder said he was "slow" and that he got caught suggests he was already having some problems. Combined that with cold and the stress of being in a metal strainer for 10 hours could easily have led to shock. You might have tried getting him on heat immediately instead of waiting an hour but it sounds like he was already too far gone. You got him warmed up and tried to orally and SubQ hydrate but it was just too late. At least he passed in a quiet, warm place with you and not in a damn metal strainer in a cold room.

    We try our best and hope for success, sometimes it is just not meant to be.




    Quote Originally Posted by Squirrelgrl View Post
    Could 10 hours in a cold strainer with no food or water been enough to chill and dehydrate him beyond saving?
    I took him in to over winter, really never expected this outcome. He was barely moving when I picked him up. Put up no fight for transfer. I figured he was stressed and in shock.
    I feel horrible.
    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.”
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

  6. Serious fuzzy thank you's to TubeDriver from:

    island rehabber (11-30-2018)

  7. #5
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    Default Re: What went wrong

    Thank you for your response. I should have warmed him more/sooner The difference in temperature between the cold strainer and the warmed, bedded carrier was quite significant. I didn't want to stress him with too much of a temperature increase. I really thought letting him acclimate to the new conditions was best to destress him. In hindsight, I should have taken more drastic measures to warm him.
    My overconfidence in his health and ability to rebound was probably the cause of his demise.
    The finder stated that her house is infested and the squirrels are always slow enough for her,(but most often, sigh, her dog), to easily catch. Slow flyers has not been my experience, but I never had them in cold winter months. Given her statements, I assumed, stupidly, that flyers must be sluggish in the cold and therefore his inactivity was not aatypical.
    I am sad I lost him. I feel horrible. but I will never again make the mistake of waiting for a seemingly healthy animal to acclimate before giving a thorough exam.

  8. #6
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    Default Re: What went wrong

    i am wondering if something had fgotten him like a cat or the dog since he had some tail missing?? If so Cat saliva is very toxic. Sorry you lost him.

  9. #7
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    Default Re: What went wrong

    Don't second guess yourself too much here. I think that if an animal is really cold, you want to start getting them on heat sooner rather rather than later but waiting a little bit (1 hour) for him to settle down before getting him on heat is almost certainly NOT was caused his death. The smaller the animal, the less it can resist cold. Her dog might have "shaken" this little one without causing punctures (so very difficult to detect) and that would certainly lead to significant internal trauma. There are just so many possibilities. Other more experienced folks might chime in here but I would say that your willingness to question yourself, to examine what might have happened speaks highly of your ability to rehab animals! We all learn more as we gain experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squirrelgrl View Post
    Thank you for your response. I should have warmed him more/sooner The difference in temperature between the cold strainer and the warmed, bedded carrier was quite significant. I didn't want to stress him with too much of a temperature increase. I really thought letting him acclimate to the new conditions was best to destress him. In hindsight, I should have taken more drastic measures to warm him.
    My overconfidence in his health and ability to rebound was probably the cause of his demise.
    The finder stated that her house is infested and the squirrels are always slow enough for her,(but most often, sigh, her dog), to easily catch. Slow flyers has not been my experience, but I never had them in cold winter months. Given her statements, I assumed, stupidly, that flyers must be sluggish in the cold and therefore his inactivity was not aatypical.
    I am sad I lost him. I feel horrible. but I will never again make the mistake of waiting for a seemingly healthy animal to acclimate before giving a thorough exam.
    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.”
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

  10. #8
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    Default Re: What went wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by BCChins View Post
    i am wondering if something had fgotten him like a cat or the dog since he had some tail missing?? If so Cat saliva is very toxic. Sorry you lost him.
    I contacted the finder to ask about possible poison,(no), how long the squirrel could have been loose in the house, away from his nest before capture,(no more than 9 hours), she stated that it could have been possible for her dog to have caught and lost it before she captured it.
    However, there were no visible signs of recent animal attack. Even the tail, missing about 1/3, was completely healed, perhaps not even a wound at all, but a congenital deformity.
    This certainly doesn't rule out internal injury, but it didn't present if there was.

    I just feel bad.

    It always sucks to lose an animal, even if you've only had it for a few hours, but I don't usually get surprised like this. Most animals I've gotten, are either neonates who can always go either way, or animals that are clearly goners or survivors.
    As I learn and reflect I always discover ways that I could have done things better, even with the positive outcomes.
    In this case I hope that I did the right things and my failure was in not doing them soon enough. I hope,(selfishly), that he was already too far gone when I got him and that his demise was unstoppable. But, I will never know, because I chose to let an assumed healthy animal acclimate to its new surroundings with a dish of water instead of immediately examining him. (I had transferred him with a hand towel and although I assumed he was cold, only touched his belly with bare hand, it was neither warm or cold).
    His little death won't be in vain.
    I appreciate all responses!!!
    If there is anything else anyone thinks I should have done differently, PLEASE, give me your suggestions!!!
    Your collective wealth of knowledge is invaluable. The finder has assured me that I will be getting many more calls from her with flyers to overwinter. I don't want this to happen again!

  11. #9
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    Default Re: What went wrong

    I would just say that squirrels (and many other animals too) can be masters of hiding injury and illness. Sometime they can appear pretty strong and by the time they can no longer keep up the pretense, it means they are deathly ill.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squirrelgrl View Post
    I contacted the finder to ask about possible poison,(no), how long the squirrel could have been loose in the house, away from his nest before capture,(no more than 9 hours), she stated that it could have been possible for her dog to have caught and lost it before she captured it.
    However, there were no visible signs of recent animal attack. Even the tail, missing about 1/3, was completely healed, perhaps not even a wound at all, but a congenital deformity.
    This certainly doesn't rule out internal injury, but it didn't present if there was.

    I just feel bad.

    It always sucks to lose an animal, even if you've only had it for a few hours, but I don't usually get surprised like this. Most animals I've gotten, are either neonates who can always go either way, or animals that are clearly goners or survivors.
    As I learn and reflect I always discover ways that I could have done things better, even with the positive outcomes.
    In this case I hope that I did the right things and my failure was in not doing them soon enough. I hope,(selfishly), that he was already too far gone when I got him and that his demise was unstoppable. But, I will never know, because I chose to let an assumed healthy animal acclimate to its new surroundings with a dish of water instead of immediately examining him. (I had transferred him with a hand towel and although I assumed he was cold, only touched his belly with bare hand, it was neither warm or cold).
    His little death won't be in vain.
    I appreciate all responses!!!
    If there is anything else anyone thinks I should have done differently, PLEASE, give me your suggestions!!!
    Your collective wealth of knowledge is invaluable. The finder has assured me that I will be getting many more calls from her with flyers to overwinter. I don't want this to happen again!
    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.”
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

  12. #10
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    Default Re: What went wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by TubeDriver View Post
    Don't second guess yourself too much here. I think that if an animal is really cold, you want to start getting them on heat sooner rather rather than later but waiting a little bit (1 hour) for him to settle down before getting him on heat is almost certainly NOT was caused his death. The smaller the animal, the less it can resist cold. Her dog might have "shaken" this little one without causing punctures (so very difficult to detect) and that would certainly lead to significant internal trauma. There are just so many possibilities. Other more experienced folks might chime in here but I would say that your willingness to question yourself, to examine what might have happened speaks highly of your ability to rehab animals! We all learn more as we gain experience.
    Thank you so much for your kind words!!! I appreciate it so much, rehabbing can be very discouraging at times.
    It's most bothersome when you are left wondering what you did wrong. I appreciate all words of wisdom! If I don't learn from this, whether my care was appropriate or not, his death was in vain.

  13. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Squirrelgrl from:

    TubeDriver (11-30-2018)

  14. #11
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    Default Re: What went wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by BCChins View Post
    i am wondering if something had fgotten him like a cat or the dog since he had some tail missing?? If so Cat saliva is very toxic. Sorry you lost him.
    I contacted the finder to ask about possible poison,(no), how long the squirrel could have been loose in the house, away from his nest before capture,(no more than 9 hours), she stated that it could have been possible for her dog to have caught and lost it before she captured it.
    However, there were no visible signs of recent animal attack. Even the tail, missing about 1/3, was completely healed, perhaps not even a wound at all, but a congenital deformity.
    This certainly doesn't rule out internal injury, but it didn't present if there was.

    I just feel bad.

    It always sucks to lose an animal, even if you've only had it for a few hours, but I don't usually get surprised like this. Most animals I've gotten, are either neonates who can always go either way, or animals that are clearly goners or survivors.
    As I learn and reflect I always discover ways that I could have done things better, even with the positive outcomes.
    In this case I hope that I did the right things and my failure was in not doing them soon enough. I hope,(selfishly), that he was already too far gone when I got him and that his demise was unstoppable. But, I will never know, because I chose to let an assumed healthy animal acclimate to its new surroundings with a dish of water instead of immediately examining him. (I had transferred him with a hand towel and although I assumed he was cold, only touched his belly with bare hand, it was neither warm or cold).
    His little death won't be in vain.
    I appreciate all responses!!!
    If there is anything else anyone thinks I should have done differently, PLEASE, give me your suggestions!!!
    Your collective wealth of knowledge is invaluable. The finder has assured me that I will be getting many more calls from her with flyers to overwinter. I don't want this to happen again!

  15. #12
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    Default Re: What went wrong

    I concur with Tube Driver's responses pretty much to the letter. The old adage here, "Cool quickly, warm slowly" suggests that you did the right thing in not warming him faster than you did. Truth be told, after the trauma of 10 hours in a cold metal contraption that leached warmth from his little body rather than protected it, the only thing fast warming up would have done IMHO would be to hasten his death.

    The finder has a lot to blame HERself for here. Don't keep live creatures in metal strainers. Don't let your dogs attack wild creatures in your home and, most of all......

    REPAIR THE HOLES IN YOUR G*DDAM HOUSE WHERE THEY ARE GETTING IN THE FIRST PLACE!!
    "INFESTED"? CALL A HUMANE TRAPPER!!

    Gah, you can't fix stupid, can you.

    Squirrelgirl, you did your best and I believe you did the right thing.


    Island Rehabber
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    Wildlife Rehabilitator


    "Ancora Imparo" (I am still learning)
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    *
    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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  17. #13
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    Default Re: What went wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by island rehabber View Post
    I concur with Tube Driver's responses pretty much to the letter. The old adage here, "Cool quickly, warm slowly" suggests that you did the right thing in not warming him faster than you did. Truth be told, after the trauma of 10 hours in a cold metal contraption that leached warmth from his little body rather than protected it, the only thing fast warming up would have done IMHO would be to hasten his death.

    The finder has a lot to blame HERself for here. Don't keep live creatures in metal strainers. Don't let your dogs attack wild creatures in your home and, most of all......

    REPAIR THE HOLES IN YOUR G*DDAM HOUSE WHERE THEY ARE GETTING IN THE FIRST PLACE!!
    "INFESTED"? CALL A HUMANE TRAPPER!!

    Gah, you can't fix stupid, can you.

    Squirrelgirl, you did your best and I believe you did the right thing.


    Just a little note in defense of the finder. She and her husband live in a converted barn. They have hired a company specifically for closing up squirrel holes to no avail. They lived peaceably with the little critters for years, but with a new child they no longer feel safe letting them run free in their home. They really do adore them and meant no harm.
    I am sure that she, like so many people, thought she was doing the humane thing in catching and trying to find a rehabber. (A mutual friend connected us, finally). In theory she was correct, she just didn't think or know
    how the conditions of his entrapment would effect him.
    Hopefully, she is now educated. As I left her house, before knowing how this would turn out, I told her that I would leave her a warm carrier to house them in if she were going to continue catching them.

  18. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Squirrelgrl from:

    TubeDriver (12-01-2018)

  19. #14
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    Default Re: What went wrong

    They sound like kind hearted but misguided folks. Your connection with them, education you offered, humane carrier, and offer for future help will help save squirrels in the future. In a large old converted barn, there will almost ALWAYS be critters.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squirrelgrl View Post
    Just a little note in defense of the finder. She and her husband live in a converted barn. They have hired a company specifically for closing up squirrel holes to no avail. They lived peaceably with the little critters for years, but with a new child they no longer feel safe letting them run free in their home. They really do adore them and meant no harm.
    I am sure that she, like so many people, thought she was doing the humane thing in catching and trying to find a rehabber. (A mutual friend connected us, finally). In theory she was correct, she just didn't think or know
    how the conditions of his entrapment would effect him.
    Hopefully, she is now educated. As I left her house, before knowing how this would turn out, I told her that I would leave her a warm carrier to house them in if she were going to continue catching 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)!

    “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

  20. #15
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    Default Re: What went wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by TubeDriver View Post
    They sound like kind hearted but misguided folks. Your connection with them, education you offered, humane carrier, and offer for future help will help save squirrels in the future. In a large old converted barn, there will almost ALWAYS be critters.
    It's true. The top half of her home has not been converted yet,(where they enter), but will be in the spring. They will also be removing the wall in her bedroom where she believes the nest is.
    They are trying their best, I'm glad that we connected so that any squirrels she catches have safe place to winter and later be released,(the more the better).
    Education is key!!!
    This story falls in line with so many "have a heart" horrors I've witnessed. In theory these traps are great, and used with the best humane intentions. But too many times,(disturbingly many), I have witnessed panicked, starved, dehydrated and injured,(from trying desperately to escape), animals...who have spent god knows how many hours in them.
    Have A Heart...but Have Common Sense TOO!
    I suppose her genuine concern for the squirrels was enough to dampen my usual outrage and angry lecture!

  21. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Squirrelgrl from:

    TubeDriver (12-01-2018)

  22. #16
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    Default Re: What went wrong

    The flyers I raised and released prior had been fed cow's milk for 2 days by the finders,(they cut down the tree they werenesting in). It took them 2 days to find me,(a county away). They lost one before I took them in.
    Im sure my eyes showed horror when I heard their diet, but the fact, is they would never have made it to me without it. I truly thought they were goners...dehydrated and soooooo tiny. But, they made it. They live in the trees now...perhaps they sufferer from early malnutrition...but..."a day in the trees..."
    I hold a place in my heart for any good samaritan who tries...especially if doing all they can while looking for someone more knowledged to care for them.

  23. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Squirrelgrl from:

    Sottinger (12-01-2018)

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