Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Blind squirrel.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    46
    Thanked: 18

    Default Blind squirrel.

    I havenít posted in probably over a year. My squirrel (age about 5 years?) developed cataracts in one eye about a year ago. Took her to the vet and they asked about other symptoms to try to rule out diabetes. There were no other symptoms. They said to watch her eye and if it starts to bulge, itís probably glaucoma and they would need to remove the eye. Otherwise, there was nothing to be done. They gave me some liquid vitamins to administer twice daily.

    The vitamins didnít help at all. Now about a year later, she has equally developed cataracts in the other eye too. She is nearly blind, with only light/dark sensitivity it seems by observation. I donít think itís reversible. But... this seems unusual for a squirrel so young. Is she likely to die soon? Is there anything I can do to improve her quality of life? Has anyone else gone through this? Itís so sad.

    Before you ask, her diet is TSB approved. Two Henry blocks daily. Oxbow Adult Rat triangles, approved veggies (lots of kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage - occasional extras like carrots, radish, zucchini, cucumber, avocado, celery), and the rare fruit/nut.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Northeast Georgia
    Posts
    3,992
    Thanked: 3237

    Default Re: Blind squirrel.

    I am sorry you and your squirrel are faced with this awful situation.

    I am no expert but 5 years of age does seem very young for her to have developed cataracts in both eyes. Hopefully others will chime in with some thoughts or ideas.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    46
    Thanked: 18

    Default Re: Blind squirrel.

    Insult to injury, she was moved with me into a new home (apartment rather than the house she was raised in). She has enough sight to navigate, and I know squirrels have well-developed hippocampi. Itís just hard for me to know how much she does and doesnít see.

    Is it possible to deprive a squirrel of nuts too much? They were rare treats. But they are also in the Henry blocks so I didnít feel like that deprived her?

    Sheís never had MBD symptoms. And sheís such a chill, non-picky eater. I freak out anytime she seasonally loses fur and then remember itís seasonal. Sometimes around fall she stashes food rather than eating it and is overactive and loses weight but she always balances back out.

    I donít know. It makes me feel like a bad squirrel parent and it sucks to see her with impaired vision. (

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    East Coast, USA!
    Posts
    17,285
    Thanked: 7551

    Default Re: Blind squirrel.

    Cataract surgery is fairly routine in humans, is this a possibility with a nearby vet?

    You can give her nut treats weekly a few times after she has eaten her regular meals, that should not be a problem. Not enough nuts is not a problem unless she needs more fat and protein in her diet. The HHb plus mixed veggies should be good and provide what she needs. You could make up some booballs: 60% (Harlan Tekled blocks 18% protein), 40% almonds, all ground up with organic apple sauce as a binder. Give these a few times per week for extra vitamins and protein, sort of a healthy treat! Fish oil (Omega 3) and antioxidants like vit C are supposed to slow down progression if cataracts in humans, some small quantity of these vits added to her diet might slow down the cataract growth?

    If you can't get the cataracts treated, then I think you will just have to keep her in a place where she knows where everything is. Squirrels do have very advanced spatial skills so she can probably remember where objects are etc. I think she could still have a fairly good like as a NR for the remainder of her years!
    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)!

    ďYou become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.Ē
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupťry, The Little Prince

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    207
    Thanked: 399

    Default Re: Blind squirrel.

    Quote Originally Posted by <3MeSomeSquirrels View Post
    Insult to injury, she was moved with me into a new home (apartment rather than the house she was raised in). She has enough sight to navigate, and I know squirrels have well-developed hippocampi. Itís just hard for me to know how much she does and doesnít see.

    Is it possible to deprive a squirrel of nuts too much? They were rare treats. But they are also in the Henry blocks so I didnít feel like that deprived her?

    Sheís never had MBD symptoms. And sheís such a chill, non-picky eater. I freak out anytime she seasonally loses fur and then remember itís seasonal. Sometimes around fall she stashes food rather than eating it and is overactive and loses weight but she always balances back out.

    I donít know. It makes me feel like a bad squirrel parent and it sucks to see her with impaired vision. (
    Hi! I just wanted to weigh in on your blind squirrel. Five does seems young for cataracts, but if she is healthy otherwise, she should be able to learn to maneuver her area as long as you don't move anything.

    I have a 14 yr old male squirrel who is completely blind due to cataracts and I can tell you, his strength and agility are phenomenal. He is very determined and will find where he wants to go pretty quick and easy. I've built him ramps and platform type things so he can climb from one plateau to another and get where he wants to go. He has his own room and has run of it 24/7. He is so lovable and adorable I can't get enough of him. He is my heart and soul. His name is Taz aka Tazzy Boy

  6. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to sqrlnut:

    Diggie's Friend (12-24-2018), TubeDriver (12-24-2018)

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    1,697
    Thanked: 1600

    Default Re: Blind squirrel.

    Though this study focuses on tryptophan deficiency in rats as a cause of cataracts; noted in this study are a number of other dietary nutrient deficiencies have also been found to promote cataracts in rats, including Riboflavin deficiency, and amino acid deficiencies. Also noted is congenital inheritance. With the use of rodent block diets, the greater likelihood is the congenital cause. Other causes are specific compounds.


    https://link.springer.com/chapter/10...642-76640-4_12

    Cataractous changes produced by tryptophan deficiency mayor may not be difficult to distinguish from lesions produced by other causes. Lenticular opacities have been described in rats given diets deficient in one of several essential amino acids, including phenylalanine (Bowles et al. 1947), valine, and histidine (Hall et al. 1948; Ferraro and Roizin 1947), but the frequency, course, and morphology of the lenticular changes have been studied most completely in rats given tryptophan-deficient diets. The cataract produced by a tryptophan deficiency is quite unlike the cataracts produced by administration of xylose or galactose, the feeding of a riboflavin-deficient diet (Totter and Day 1942),..... and some inherited cataracts (Gelatt and Das 1984).

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    1,697
    Thanked: 1600

    Default Re: Blind squirrel.

    Xylose fed to weanling rats cause cataracts. Galactose is similarly cataratogenic.

    the third type of these so-called “sugar”cataracts is brought about by rendering an animal permanently diabetic. L-arabinose, when fed simultaneously with D-galactose, will hasten the onset of cataract (Patterson, 1955), although this sugar has not itself been shown to be cataractogenic.
    https://link.springer.com/chapter/10...-642-46191-0_7

    Also noted (See Fig. 1.) polyols are apparently from this notation, also involved in the development of cataracts in diabetic rats,

    which include: (Sorbitol, Dulcitol (Galactitol), Xylitol , and Arabitol)

    Most fruits contain small portions of these same sugars. Small portions aren't generally a problem, when given together in diabetic rats, it apparently can be.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    1,697
    Thanked: 1600

    Default Re: Blind squirrel.

    Typically the level for testing a source is very high; one study noting a diet with 50 % Galactitol. No need to fear feeding whole food sources with these sugars. A concern, for example, would be using pure Xylitol (marketed as a sweetener) to add a large measure to a food for a rodent, or perhaps feeding a source high in xylitol to a rodent as part of their diet. Better to error on the side of caution in such instances in any case.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •