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Thread: Baby squirrel refuses to eat formula but will eat rehydration soultion

  1. #1
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    Default Baby squirrel refuses to eat formula but will eat rehydration soultion

    Hello everyone,

    I am hoping someone might have an answer to help me (Jerimy) and the orphaned pine squirrel (Friar Tuck) I am working tirelessly to protect so that she may someday have the opportunity to live the life in the pines she deserves.

    I'll describe the situation from the start. It was June 4th I was shopping at a local grocery store in my city in Montana. As I was walking back to my vehicle I passed a handicap parking space that was empty save for two brand new pinky pine squirrel babies. It would appear their mother had made her nest in the engine compartment of the last vehicle that had parked there and the two babies fell out while the owner was shopping. I immediately took them to the nearest vet and they said I was in luck because a couple of the women who worked there had rehabbed squirrels before. I left them there and gave the woman who was to be caring for them my number so I could be kept up on their progress. They made it through the night and the woman asked if I wanted to come and see them the next day, of course I said yes. When I got there she was feeding them and showed me. I didn't understand at the time how wrong she was doing it. First, she was using the canned Esbilac and second, she was using an old sticky 1cc syringe and third, she had them in a cardboard tissue box with rough and not warm towels inside. She wasn't keeping them on heat and worst of all in front of my eyes she aspirated one of them multiple times and said it was normal but to try not to do that (it ended up dying not long after). I became apparent to me that she had taken on a task that she wasn't willing to put the necessary effort and compassion into when she kept hinting that she was overly tired from waking up to feed them through the night and that I could take them if I wanted. Ultimately I agreed and ended up with Friar Tuck. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into save for the fact that I was now the charge of a completely helpless animal god had put in my path for me to find who seemed destined to be in my care. I took on the challenge and have given it my all from that day on. The beginning was full of mistakes and learning, for example:she stayed in the cardboard box for the first few days but with better bedding (got dehydrated but was re-hydrated with the homemade solution described on Henry's website), I continued to feed her canned Esbilac for the first three days until I found the Henry's website and was able to call the woman there and be directed to all the proper educational material including this forum. After that, I made the switch to the goat milk formula and bought the stuff for making the proper nest box like her website recommends. I ordered the baby raising kit from Henry's that the woman recommended with the Fox Valley 20/50 formula in it and the O-ring syringes and the clear silicone nipples. We made the transition from the goats milk formula to the Fox Valley over the course of a few days and everything has basically been copacetic until recently. She is normally voracious in her feeding even to the point that it's ridiculous. We've had a couple instances where I think she aspirated slightly but no giant bubbles out the nose, just some sneezing and right back to wanting more food. The first time I thought it happened, I called many vets to try and get some Baytril just in case, they are all less than admirable in the lack of help they offered me. I then walked my neighborhood and knocked on approximately 40-50 doors asking if anyone had any leftover pet or human antibiotics. The results were disappointing. No Baytril, no Cipro, no Clavimox. I did end up with a single Amoxicillin pill and some Cephalexin. That was probably a week and a half ago and she has been great since. Recently though, she has decided to refuse her formula and she even had a slight aspiration again even though I was pushing the plunger so so slow with a press pause technique. It has been a couple days of only getting her maybe half the amount of food she should be eating at each feeding if that. She is a whopping 63 grams and I can maybe feed her 1 to 1.5 cc's at a feeding which is nowhere near enough. We were feeding every 3.5-4 hours but I've regressed that back to every 3 or so to try and keep her with enough food. She is not making the aspiration ticking sound and I check very closely very regularly (I lay her on my ear as my head is resting on the bed and I also let her nuzzle her nose into my ear and I listen for aberrant breathing). She is still pretty darn active but for shorter durations at a time. I did the pinch test thinking maybe she was dehydrated and it seemed to show that might be the case a little so I started giving her the re-hydration solution. She will drink that with almost the same vigor that she used to take the formula and shes had around 2.5 cc's between feedings 3 or 4 times now. I also put a small amount of honey on her lips/gums twice over the last two days. She is peeing very well and up until the last couple feedings was pooping well also but no poop lately just pee. I am confused about what is going on and I think I lose at least a month off my life and gain bunches of grey hairs in my beard every time she doesn't feed right now. I hope someone has some answers for me, like I'm sure you all understand, she has grown very dear to my heart and I want to see her to a full healthy life. P.S. I forgot to mention that the formula is plenty warm at feeding and she is also ( I have the heating pad half under the nest box and the box is full of fleece. She doesn't appear to be teething either (she already has her bottom teeth) P.P.S. her left eyelid has just begun to open this very evening and I can see the tiniest glint of the most beautiful eye looking back at me. Please help me save her.

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

    Chirps (06-30-2020)

  3. #2
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    Default Re: Baby squirrel refuses to eat formula but will eat rehydration soultion

    Thank you for helping her. If she’s taking that much hydration she probably isn’t dehydrated any longer. Try dropping the hydration down to only once a day in between a regular feeding time. It could be that her belly is so full of hydration that she’s not hungry for her formula. You could also try feeding every 4 hours so she has a chance to get hungry before the next feeding.

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  5. #3
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    Default Re: Baby squirrel refuses to eat formula but will eat rehydration soultion

    Sometimes not eating may be related to the preparation and storage of the formula, so I will go over that just to confirm. The Fox Valley 20/50 should be mixed 2 parts hot water to 1 part powder. ( ) It should be mixed up several hours before using to allow the powder to more fully dissolve. Ideally, leave it sit overnight in the fridge. The mixed formula needs to be stored in the fridge... the powder should be stored in the freezer or fridge after opening (it can go rancid).

    Mixed formula should never be reused once it has been warmed... any formula that was warmed for feeding but not used should be discarded. Re-using previously warmed formula is a common reason for the babies to reject it (and diarrhea).

    If he is opening his eyes, I would extend the feedings to every 4 hours. Could be the feedings are simply too frequent... if you worry he is not getting enough continue to feed overnight (we usually can stop when their eyes open, but for compromised or little ones we have concern I continue feeding overnight).

    Second is the hydration. If he is dehydrated that will cause a loss of appetite which leads to not eating which leads to weakness which worsens the dehydration... it is a vicious circle. So I would suggest you focus on making sure he is well hydrated. If you can post pictures we'll try to help assess.

    Last edited by Spanky; 06-30-2020 at 06:50 PM. Reason: Correct water to water ratio....

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  7. #4
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    Default Re: Baby squirrel refuses to eat formula but will eat rehydration soultion

    Hi,

    Thanks you two for responding! Here's an update: I have discontinued the re-hydration between feedings for the time being. She actually ate her full recommended amount of food the last two of three times and she seems way way more active and normal again. I believe part of the issue may have been on my account. I think I got so afraid after our little aspiration issue that I was overly tentative to depress the plunger on the syringe fast enough and she was just getting terribly upset and then giving up on trying (I was going so so slow). I am still going incredibly slowly but a tiny bit faster than before. She seems to appreciate that a lot ( although she still wants it faster than I give her). The things about the formula I didn't know were as follows: I hadn't been keeping the dry formula in the fridge/freezer but am now, I have been mixing it in a ratio of 2 parts warm water to 1 part powdered formula and not shaking to mix but swishing around in a circle so as not to form anymore bubbles than possible (Is my ratio incorrect then?), I make the formula fresh for every day at least 3-4 hours in advance of the first feeding with it and never reuse any (if she doesn't eat, I get fresh for the next time. I will reinsert the syringe into the warm water bath in the middle of feeding though if it starts to cool down). I am attempting to attach pictures I just took prior to writing this post, if they come through please let me know what you think.

    Thank you all very much,
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    Chirps (06-30-2020)

  9. #5
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    Default Re: Baby squirrel refuses to eat formula but will eat rehydration soultion

    Your ratio is correct. 2 parts hot water to 1 part of powdered formula.

    Is she a baby red squirrel?

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    Spanky (06-30-2020), Tellurian (06-30-2020)

  11. #6
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    Default Re: Baby squirrel refuses to eat formula but will eat rehydration soultion

    Yes, I believe she is an American red squirrel. It's between that or a Douglas but I think it's the former. She seems to be doing much better whatever her issue was.

    Also, am I able as a junior member to post on the non emergency pages? I have more questions but they aren't life threatening ones. I tried earlier and it didn't work for some reason.

  12. #7
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    Default Re: Baby squirrel refuses to eat formula but will eat rehydration soultion

    I suggest you continue to post in this thread... it is best to have all the info on a squirrel in a single thread.

    We (an admin) can move the thread to a general forum later on...

  13. #8
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    Default Re: Baby squirrel refuses to eat formula but will eat rehydration soultion

    Ok, sounds good, thanks.

    You've seen some pictures of her a couple posts back, right? Does she look ok to everyone? Any obvious signs of concern? Undernourished, dehydrated, unhealthy in any way?

  14. #9
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    Default Re: Baby squirrel refuses to eat formula but will eat rehydration soultion

    I think she looks great!

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    Tellurian (07-07-2020)

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