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Thread: A wild squirrel friend in need.

  1. #1
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    Default A wild squirrel friend in need.

    Hi, I really need some advice. I have a wild squirrel friend, Baby Almond, who is about 9 months old and has been a daily visitor to my yard (I've known his mother for well over 2 years now)

    I saw him early afternoon on Monday and he was fine. On Tuesday there was no appearance from him at all and I feared something had happened to him.

    Then on Wednesday he showed up with a huge cheek abscess, was finding it hard to pick up food and eating with difficulty from the squirrel feeder I'd put out on my patio. I tried giving him some clindamycin in peanut butter which I think he did eat. He was so desperate for food he eventually came into the house to eat (it's not unusual form him to come inside as he and his mum and siblings come in and help themselves from a feeder inside the door most times, choose a nut and then jump outside again). He was struggling to eat.

    Because he seemed in such a bad way I closed the door and let him try and eat undisturbed and he was calm and didn't mind, and I noticed he had blood at the base of his bottom teeth, his mouth wasn't closed properly (and reminded me of malocclusion) and his face was very swollen. Managed to tempt him into a pet carrier and closed the door, took him to the vet and had to take him home for the night as the vet said he couldn't work on him until today as this would take time as he thought there was more to it than just lancing and antibiotic administering.

    So today he had the abscess lanced. Was shocked to be told his teeth were badly maloccluded (they must have been knocked out of place as he had perfect teeth prior to this) and that I would have to catch him each month and bring him in for teeth trimmings, and that the abscess had been so bad there had been loads of tracts filled with pus. He said there was a scar there and thinks a bite had caused it. He said to keep him in until the morning as the anaesthetic will not have worn off until then, also given me an antibiotic called enrobactin to put in his food "twice a day". Baby Almond is drowsy but eating and drinking - he was understandably really thirsty and hungry. But he is in a pet carrier at the moment. I need something else to keep him in. The vet had said I could let him go in the morning - but would you really recommend that??

    Any advice would be appreciated. If anyone has had a similar experience with a wild adult squirrel, please share and advise.

    Many thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: A wild squirrel friend in need.

    "catch him each month for teeth trimmings"

    IF you can catch him. IF he stays in the area.
    This sounds like he may not be releasable.

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    Default Re: A wild squirrel friend in need.

    I am hoping that because his teeth were fine prior to all this, that they will grow back normally now that they have been trimmed. Only time will tell how he is. So I would need some kind of suitable temporary housing for him. Is it okay to get an aviary and keep him indoors for now, and if so what size/dimensions would be recommended?

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    Default Re: A wild squirrel friend in need.

    The size is mostly going to depend on what you can afford, or build. Because he has been free... you should try to go large, like 5 foot or taller.

    I have more time than money... so I build my own cages at 6' x 6' x 2.5' (1 inch shorter and less wide than my sunroom door, so I can roll them outside for sun). I use 1x1 untreated wood and 1/2" hardware cloth. Total cost is just over $100 per cage.

    If you are looking more at buying than building, you can find 6' ferret cages with wheels on Amazon for between $90 and $250.
    I would stay away from aviary cages... they are mostly not rated for squirrels.

    As far as keeping him until his teeth (hopefully) grow back out straight, remember that he was docile when you caught him because he was sick. Once he gets well he will be lighting fast, will try to escape, and can bite viciously. You may want to preemptively get a small mesh net and some bite proof gloves. And only open the cage after wheeling it into a small space where you can easily recapture him like a bathroom.

    If you haven't already, read up on all the stuff in the nutrition section to keep him on a balanced diet.
    Post a lot of questions here on the forums, and pictures. We love pictures.

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    Default Re: A wild squirrel friend in need.

    Please do not release him, that will be a death sentence for him. He is going to need a Double Critter Nation at least. https://www.chewy.com/midwest-critte...iABEgIJ5_D_BwE

    So sorry about this. You might want to get a second opinion, what state are you in? Can you get a 2nd vet to look at him?
    Kim Cassidy
    Licensed NY Wildlife Rehabilitator

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    Default Re: A wild squirrel friend in need.

    Poster lives in the UK - considering their attitude toward gray squirrels (I am assuming this is a gray) I am surprised someone would even look at him...

    Yes to hanging on to him, yes to the biggest cage you can manage. You need to get something with very narrow bar spacing - 1/2 inch or smaller, so he does not chew the bars to get out and screw his teeth up even further. 1/2" is small enough that they can't shove their noses through to do this.

    I am very concerned about the meds he gave you. I am going to steer another member here. This is a "new" version of enrofloxacin (Baytril) from what I can tell which means it will not do anything for abscesses - your clindamycin choice was a better one. Keep checking back here on this.

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    Default Re: A wild squirrel friend in need.

    Quote Originally Posted by CritterMom View Post
    Poster lives in the UK - considering their attitude toward gray squirrels (I am assuming this is a gray) I am surprised someone would even look at him...

    Yes to hanging on to him, yes to the biggest cage you can manage. You need to get something with very narrow bar spacing - 1/2 inch or smaller, so he does not chew the bars to get out and screw his teeth up even further. 1/2" is small enough that they can't shove their noses through to do this.

    I am very concerned about the meds he gave you. I am going to steer another member here. This is a "new" version of enrofloxacin (Baytril) from what I can tell which means it will not do anything for abscesses - your clindamycin choice was a better one. Keep checking back here on this.
    Yes, Crittermom is 100% correct. You have the European version of enrofloxacin which in the US is Baytril. We have had no success when treating infection in the mouth, face or neck with this antibiotic. I would strongly suggest that you either switch back to the Clindamycin or at least add it to the Enrobactin. There are members here that can dose it for you. We would need the concentration of the antibiotic in miligrams of your Clindamycin tablets and the weight of the squirrel. We can guesstimate the weight with a pic if you can't get a weight. It taste very bitter so it is unlikely the squirrel would eat it on a nut. You would probably need to dose it orally with a syringe while restrained.
    Last edited by TubeDriver; 12-07-2018 at 10:02 AM. Reason: added orally to dosing

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    Default Re: A wild squirrel friend in need.

    Please do NOT release him back into the wild. If he gets driven off or relocates himself, he would suffer a long, slow, agonizing, wretched death. It would be better to humanely have him euthanized than to release a squirrel with this injury/infection.


    If you can get a single or double level cage (CritterNation for example makes ideal cages) you can care for him and trim his teeth. Hopfully, in 1-2 trimmings (3-6 weeks) , his teeth will reset and start to correctly self-wear. At that point, you can release him back into the wild. We can help you with trimming and treatment if this care is an option.
    The adventures of Sir Max and Explorer Millie!
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    Default Re: A wild squirrel friend in need.

    This is a UK Amazon listing for the cage everyone is mentioning.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/MidWest-Cri.../dp/B001NJ0DAY

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    Default Re: A wild squirrel friend in need.

    Thank you so much to everyone who replied. Sorry this post is so long but also replying to various points as well as an update.

    Regarding the antibiotics, yes you're all correct, as I have treated squirrels successfully in the wild using clindamycin, it's amazing life saving stuff, and I know how bitter it is. Miraculously I've managed to get those wild squirrels with abscesses to take it in either peanut butter or chocolate spread mixed with maple syrup spread on a nut. I have seen them spit it out but tried to make sure they had enough for it to work and it always has, except for one squirrel who didn't visit every day but fortunately the abscess burst safely and she was fine. I think I will try put him on that.

    Although I did put the enrobactin in his food today, thinking it might taste more palatable and hoping it will work, I'm not sure he is actually taking it because there is always a blob of chopped hazelnuts (been feeding him that at the moment because it's very finely chopped). I'm not sure about restraining him and syringing him, whether I can actually do that successfully. I would if I could. I'll try putting a bit in his food with syrup.

    The vet told me originally that he was going to give a long lasting antibiotic shot that would last 2 weeks, but then decided not to because he said although he has treated other animals with it, he is not sure if it is safe for squirrels, that is why he chose enrobactin and gave him 1 shot to last 1 day and the rest oral medicine for me to give him. I will phone tomorrow and find out the name of it and get back to all of you for advice.

    Today I managed to borrow a temporary chinchilla cage from a wildlife rescue run by an elderly couple who have used it for orphan squirrel too. It's too small for long term but just wanted something for him while I researched housing - (this was before I read all your replies as we're ahead of you in time here in UK) But they told me that if Baby Almond's teeth do not grow back normally, that the kindest thing to do would be to put him to sleep as he will never be happy in captivity, especially as he is already an adult. They have looked after a maloccluded squirrel in captivity before but they have said that it is different because that squirrel was raised as an orphan by them, but Baby Almond is an adult.

    He was quiet in the pet carrier and now I have transferred him to the cage and he has been exploring it but very bewildered and making squirrel defensive noises at me and high squeaky noises. I don't know if that means he is distressed. I am so heart broken for him. This should never have happened as his teeth were perfectly normally until whoever bit him caused him such a life changing trauma. I know I need to monitor him because it's not just his teeth but also the abscess that I have to monitor. I'm so worried about his emotional state as well.


    Have any of you ever had to keep wild adult squirrels in captivity permanently as opposed to orphans, and if so what are your experiences? And if so did the squirrels come out of their cages and roam around inside the house and be handled ok, and did they seem happy? I'm in such a dilemma. I love Baby Almond so much and it's this emotional bond I have that makes it so hard because I've known him as a juvenile in the wild until now and I feel such a loving bond with him, yet I don't want him to live a long but sad life in a cage either. I'm desperate for his teeth to grow back normally but I'm not holding out much hope right now. But thanks, Tube Driver, for giving me that hope, and I really do hope so very much that that is what will happen and after a few trimmings he will be back to normal. I am so desperately hoping for that.

    And thanks to all of you for your Double Nation housing advice, and thanks Critter Mom for the Amazon link. The earliest I can get it on Amazon is mid December. I may have to look for a temporary bigger one than what he is in now for next week.

    Many thanks to everyone for all your advice! Please do let me know if any of you have had or have a wild adult squirrel in permanent captivity and your experiences.

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    Default Re: A wild squirrel friend in need.

    Could you get some photos of his mouth, his teeth? That would be helpful for us.

    I have rehabbed injured adults, some were inside for months. Each squirrel was different. All settled down a bit after a while. One actually seemed sort of content (but when I released him he took off like a bat out of hell), others seemed to put up with it a bit but not like it and one never really warmed up to us at all. None could be handled easily outside of the cage. I don't really know how they would have reacted if they were inside longer? I think there are some people here who have rescued adult NRs, hopefully they will chime in.

    I think it is certainly worth it to clear the infection and try a few trimmings to see if his teeth will reset. It worked for one of my wilds although he did not have an infection.
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    Default Re: A wild squirrel friend in need.

    Quote Originally Posted by TubeDriver View Post
    Could you get some photos of his mouth, his teeth? That would be helpful for us.

    I have rehabbed injured adults, some were inside for months. Each squirrel was different. All settled down a bit after a while. One actually seemed sort of content (but when I released him he took off like a bat out of hell), others seemed to put up with it a bit but not like it and one never really warmed up to us at all. None could be handled easily outside of the cage. I don't really know how they would have reacted if they were inside longer? I think there are some people here who have rescued adult NRs, hopefully they will chime in.

    I think it is certainly worth it to clear the infection and try a few trimmings to see if his teeth will reset. It worked for one of my wilds although he did not have an infection.
    Thanks TubeDriver. Did your wild rehabbed squirrels ever return to visit you? Did you know them beforehand?
    I will try and get some pictures of his teeth. His cheek looks like there is still a bit of a knot there. I couldn't see so well yesterday because he was in the pet carrier and it was dark inside.
    I will take some pictures tomorrow - Baby Almond is asleep now. Thanks again.

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    Default Re: A wild squirrel friend in need.

    Yes and Yes. I knew them before they got injured and they came back to visit me for treats after I rehabbed and released!


    Quote Originally Posted by TheSquirrel View Post
    Thanks TubeDriver. Did your wild rehabbed squirrels ever return to visit you? Did you know them beforehand?
    I will try and get some pictures of his teeth. His cheek looks like there is still a bit of a knot there. I couldn't see so well yesterday because he was in the pet carrier and it was dark inside.
    I will take some pictures tomorrow - Baby Almond is asleep now. Thanks 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

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    Default Re: A wild squirrel friend in need.

    Five years ago (early December 2013) I rescued a wild adult female squirrel (named Momma Squirrel who, at that time of rescue, was about 4 years old) that had her teeth messed up/maloclussion due to an abscess. After several trimmings her teeth finally realigned. She ended up not being released back to the wild and totally enjoys her life indoors. Originally when I first noticed her with the abscess and long/overgrown teeth she was captured, her teeth were trimmed and she was released back into my yard. Once released back into the wild her teeth grew back pretty quick and she had to be re-captured. If interested in her story see my Backyard Buddies thread (in the Grey Squirrel Forum) post #990 is where her story starts and it is many pages long. Post #1234 will show how bad/long her teeth were when captured the second time. Post #1261 of her doing quite well in captivity. Last I heard, months ago, she was doing great and her forever keeper had once said that she is more friendly than their hand raised pet squirrel. Momma Squirrel adjusted extremely well to the captive life. Good luck with your squirrel.

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    Default Re: A wild squirrel friend in need.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyBushyTail View Post
    Five years ago (early December 2013) I rescued a wild adult female squirrel (named Momma Squirrel who, at that time of rescue, was about 4 years old) that had her teeth messed up/maloclussion due to an abscess. After several trimmings her teeth finally realigned. She ended up not being released back to the wild and totally enjoys her life indoors. Originally when I first noticed her with the abscess and long/overgrown teeth she was captured, her teeth were trimmed and she was released back into my yard. Once released back into the wild her teeth grew back pretty quick and she had to be re-captured. If interested in her story see my Backyard Buddies thread (in the Grey Squirrel Forum) post #990 is where her story starts and it is many pages long. Post #1234 will show how bad/long her teeth were when captured the second time. Post #1261 of her doing quite well in captivity. Last I heard, months ago, she was doing great and her forever keeper had once said that she is more friendly than their hand raised pet squirrel. Momma Squirrel adjusted extremely well to the captive life. Good luck with your squirrel.
    Thanks for this MyBushyTail.

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    Angry Re: A wild squirrel friend in need.

    Please can someone advise me about the antibiotic "convenia" which the vet said is a caphalosporin antibiotic. That was the long lasting shot he wanted to give originally but thought it may not be safe for squirrels. It may have a different name in the US.

    I tried putting the clindamycin in very finely ready chopped hazelnuts but I don't think he has eaten any of it as it looks about the same amount and Baby Almond seems very depressed, huddled in a box in his cage. This is so sad.
    I've put some fresh food out with a drop of the enrobactin as the food he had overnight was gone this morning and it had had the enrobactin in it.

  26. #17
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    Default Re: A wild squirrel friend in need.

    My vet used Convenia numerous times on my Angel II and my Angel III with no issues at all. This vet is one of the best squirrel vets/experts here in my state and saved my Angel III several times from like near death situations. Others may feel differently about the use of Convenia for squirrels but I have never had any problems with it and have always had great results with it on my squirrels.

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    Default Re: A wild squirrel friend in need.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSquirrel View Post
    Please can someone advise me about the antibiotic "convenia" which the vet said is a caphalosporin antibiotic. That was the long lasting shot he wanted to give originally but thought it may not be safe for squirrels. It may have a different name in the US.

    I tried putting the clindamycin in very finely ready chopped hazelnuts but I don't think he has eaten any of it as it looks about the same amount and Baby Almond seems very depressed, huddled in a box in his cage. This is so sad.
    I've put some fresh food out with a drop of the enrobactin as the food he had overnight was gone this morning and it had had the enrobactin in it.

    Do they sell Nutella over there? It is a chocolate hazelnut spread that is divine, and squirrels love it. I would get the hazelnuts you are chopping really fine and add enough Nutella so they hold together but aren't super soft and sticky, and try that as your clindamycin carrier.

    Do you have access to Clavamox a.k.a. Augmentin a.k.a. "amoxi-clav" a.k.a. Amoxicillin/Clavulanic acid? It is another antibiotic that might help and isn't as vile as the clindamycin is.

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    Default Re: A wild squirrel friend in need.

    [SIZE=6]Thank you for your replies re the antibiotics, MyBushyTail and CritterMom.
    I forgot but I do have some clavamox stashed away, but when I took it out of the box as it turns out it is well past its expiry date (Jan 2015!)

    I also forgot that I have used nutella in the past to mix clindamycin - some times I've used peanut butter, other times nutella. I've used peanut butter with Baby Almond so I will give the nutella a go.

    But I would also like to ask if an abscess that has been lanced can heal without antibiotics? Has that happened to anyone here? Because I was thinking the pus was lanced at the vet's on Thursday so it's a question of staving off any recurring infection rather than having to break down lots of pus, and wondered if it has drained okay then is it possible to heal by itself?
    Of course I will continue to add antibiotics to his food but I think that even with the enrobactin he is not taking all of it, although he is sometimes. I was trying to research this and came across a site somewhere which mentioned that a study on abscesses in humans showed that 93% of those who had abscesses lanced healed properly with follow up antibiotics, compared to 86% in those who had their abscesses lanced but with no follow up antibiotics. So I knows this is a study on humans, but I was uncertain as to whether it was possible for an abscess to heal properly without antibiotics if it had been lanced.

    Also I went to the Animal Aid Christmas fayre in London today and there was a grey squirrel rehabber and campaigner running a stall www.urbansquirrels.co.uk and had a chat to her and she says she is going to send me some septrin antibiotics to try.

    He would be having quite a mix of antibiotics so would this be ok?

    Any thoughts, shared experiences or advice much appreciated.
    [/SIZ
    E]

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    Default Re: A wild squirrel friend in need.

    The Septra (I think this is what the rehabber meant) may do, too. It is slower acting than the clavamox would be but it does work with abscesses. I would personally use the outdated clavamox if it has been carefully stored, but this other med will do, too.

    The problem with just going with draining and not following up with antibiotics is that it can be all but impossible to get ALL of the gunk out, AND it can reform (which is why the will put in a drain sometimes). Abscesses really need both - the antibiotics need the infection to be "debulked" before it can clean up the remaining infection, and the infection needs the antibiotics to prevent the abscess from reforming.

    Septra is slow, so I would think at LEAST 10 days on it. Make sure the squirrel drinks plenty when on Septra - it can be hard on the kidneys otherwise.

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