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Thread: Rescued Paralyzed Grey Squirrel - Treatment and Care

  1. #1
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    Default Rescued Paralyzed Grey Squirrel - Treatment and Care

    Hello, As I was leaving for work today I observed an adult grey squirrel in my driveway that appeared to have lost use of its back legs and tail. When I returned home the squirrel was still in the driveway and I confirmed that it displayed hind leg paralysis. The squirrel's tail also appears to be abnormally flat, there is also some mild redness on the squirrel's back, though there appears to be little to no swelling. I have been unable to examine the back legs in any detail as the squirrel tends to position its body over them and I am reluctant to spook the squirrel with a more forceful examination.

    Since the squirrel seemed to like hiding under cars and I feared that it would be accidentally run over; I lined a cardboard box with some newspaper and cut out a side to form a ramp. I then lured the squirrel inside the box with minced grapes and strawberries. The squirrel appeared eager to eat and displayed fairly adept movement with is remaining legs. I am uncertain if there are any other immediate actions I can perform to help the squirrel's chance of survival through the night.

    The next part of my question is what to do with the squirrel tomorrow. My understanding is that most wildlife rehabilitators will euthanize a squirrel with hind leg paralysis as it cannot be rehabilitated and returned to the wild. Given that the squirrel appears to be in good condition besides its paralysis, I am reluctant to have it euthanized if the possibility of a happy and healthy life in captivity remains. My state does allow for owning a squirrel as a pet provided you have the correct license, which I do not have, and I am uncertain if I could get away with bringing the squirrel to a vet without having the proper documentation. While I possess medical training (and the ability to write prescriptions) I lack the knowledge of what I should be doing to help the squirrel myself.

    I would appreciate any help and assistance in this matter.

  2. Serious fuzzy thank you's to hexxart from:

    RockyPops (05-21-2020)

  3. #2
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    Default Re: Rescued Paralyzed Grey Squirrel - Treatment and Care

    Thanks for helping this baby.

    I can't help you but others here can so check back often.

    Meanwhile, pics for an estimated weight may help. You think you can get the squirrel into a cage or carrier to keep it safe?

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Rescued Paralyzed Grey Squirrel - Treatment and Care

    Hind end paralysis can sometimes be helped with giving either gabapentin Or prednisone. Do you have a way to care for it by moving it into a cage as the treatment will take many days/weeks and you need it contained? The cage doesnít have to be too large since it isnít able to currently jump. Someone on here can dose the medicine and guide you. We would need a weight on the squirrel and the strength of the medicine. A member just recently posted that he had amazing results with Gabapentin. He uses a 600mg pill if you can write a Rx and get some.

    We have members located in some northeastern states like, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania. Would you like us to try and locate someone? I have no idea how close anyone might be to you.

  5. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Mel1959 from:

    island rehabber (05-22-2020)

  6. #4
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    Default Re: Rescued Paralyzed Grey Squirrel - Treatment and Care

    I have two like this... one is getting better, the other is not.

    In cases where the injury is less than 8 hours ago I suggest prednisone or steroids.
    In a case (like this) of more than 8 hours the drugs do not see to have any benefit.

    My suggested course is to get her into a large plastic tub with blankets and a locking lid. Cardboard boxes pull water from the air and dehydrate animals.
    Dose her with metacam (meloxicam, loricam, many different names for same drug). If you can get it and tell us the strength and her weight we can suggest the dosing.
    Since she is a wild, you will have to pin her under a thin cloth,and then wrap her in it to immobilize her to get drugs in her. Be careful to not get near her teeth!
    A dish with water, and a healthy mix of vegetables with limited fruit and nuts.

    Squirrels have amazing healing powers.. if they can get healthy foods and rest.
    But it can take months of slow healing to regain full mobility.
    The one I got two months ago just like this just started waddling around her cage yesterday, and not hiding in her blankets.
    I gave her metacam for the first week.. and the rest was just time.

    If she does get to the point where she starts to use her back legs you will need to look at getting her a cage or building one.

    If she does show signs of movement in the back legs or tail within a month, it may be permanent, and you might have to consider euthanasia, or getting her to a rehabber who will accept a non-releasable.

  7. #5
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    Default Re: Rescued Paralyzed Grey Squirrel - Treatment and Care

    Update: I tried to catch the squirrel to move it to a prepared nest/cage but the little bugger proved too fast for me. He got out of his cardboard box and is now hiding under a car again. I've tried putting out food and water but the squirrel appears uninterested in them. When I'm inside the house the squirrel will occasionally come out from the car to sunbathe for a few minutes, but will retreat as soon as I come out. I'm starting to get concerned that he isn't eating or drinking, how much should a squirrel be consuming daily? I also haven't found any evidence of urination or defecation, should I be concerned about this? I know that some paralyzed squirrels can have trouble voiding themselves without assistance.

    Does anyone have advice on how to capture this little guy? He's pretty fast when he wants to be and there's plenty of places where he can hide, where I can't reach him. Using food or water to lure him out isn't having much success.

    If I do manage to capture him what does a healthy diet for a squirrel look like? I know calcium is important, but not much else.

    If anyone knows a vet or a rehabber in NH who will care for a squirrel please contact me, I want to take care of the little guy but my work schedule is incredibly hectic right now and I'm not sure I can manage the time commitment for an injured squirrel by myself.

    I have to head out to my job now, but I'll post updates when I return tonight.

  8. #6
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    Default Re: Rescued Paralyzed Grey Squirrel - Treatment and Care

    Addendum: just as I was leaving today, I saw the little guy eating and I observed what appeared to be a puncture wound by its back leg.

    Iím planning on writing a script for meloxicam snd an anti biotic ( probably amoxicillin). Is there anything else I should do,

  9. #7
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    Default Re: Rescued Paralyzed Grey Squirrel - Treatment and Care

    If the puncture wound is from a cat it’s imperative that he receive an antibiotic. Cat saliva is deadly to squirrels.

    Folks have set havahart traps to capture. They’ve also used nets. If you can’t capture him you can dose the medication in the grooves of a nut, allow it to dry or cover it with a little almond butter.

    I think Clavamox (Augmentin) would be a better antibiotic.

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