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Thread: Baby squirrel with swollen head

  1. #1
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    Default Baby squirrel with swollen head

    Hi there, I found a baby squirrel on my lawn about 3 weeks ago. It was in poor shape. I found it at 5am in the morning, so I'm assuming it spent the night outside. It's mouth was so full of fly eggs, it couldn't even close it. It had numerous small wounds on its body. I held it in my hands as I waited for my dogs to finish and then hurried to get it inside to help it. After fly eggs removal and setting it up in a warming box, it came around. The story goes on and on, but I think it was a new born. When i weighed it the next day, it was only 10 grams. This was after it had started eating and was not so dehydrated.
    My problem is that it has a weirdly swollen looking head. It always has since I found it in my lawn. He is slow to grow... At 3 weeks he weighs 43 grams and still is almost completely naked. If I push on his head, it feel squishy. Besides his slow to grow, giant bubly head, and nakedness, he eats, poops, screams, just fine. Any idea on his head thing?!?!

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    Default Re: Baby squirrel with swollen head

    Please post pictures, that will help a lot.

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  5. #3
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    Default Re: Baby squirrel with swollen head

    Does his head feel hot the touch or any warmer then the rest of his body? Does it seem to bother him? I wonder if the squishiness is due to fluid accumulating? Definitely post pics

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    Default Re: Baby squirrel with swollen head

    That is very concerning. The fly eggs should have been treated with Capstar for complete eradication. It is nearly impossible to get them all out by visual inspection. They can be deep in the ears or nose. Any oriface actually. They will begin to grow so Iím very concerned. Could you look in the ears?

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    Default Re: Baby squirrel with swollen head

    Name:  IMG_20200705_195307909.jpg
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    Here is Rocky Squirrelson. I can't remember how old he is in the picture. His body is filled out since then, but his head is just as bobbly. It is not any warmer than the rest of his body. I can push on it, and he doesn't seem to mind.

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    Default Re: Baby squirrel with swollen head

    Do you think there could still be a problem with fly eggs? I have had him for 3 weeks and 3 days now.

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    Default Re: Baby squirrel with swollen head

    Can you post a more recent picture of him for comparison?

    And do you have a weight for him?

    Since he is growing slow, please share what your feeding him, how much and how often. He may benefit from switching things up a bit.

    A 10 gram grey is very small, I have never taken in one less than 12 grams (besides flyers). But he could be a red squirrel which I have never rehabbed myself.

    His head does look concerning in this picture, but his features also look disproportionate for a squirrel. And those little ears being "open" like that on a pinky is something I have never seen before.

    Are his nails white? I cannot tell with certainty from the pic.

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    Default Re: Baby squirrel with swollen head

    Quote Originally Posted by tattalia View Post
    Do you think there could still be a problem with fly eggs? I have had him for 3 weeks and 3 days now.
    I sure hope not because it is fatal. The problem with fly eggs is that they hatch and grow into larvae (maggots). They will grow and eat tissue. They are hidden in orifices of the body. It wouldnít hurt to give a dose of Capstar just in case.

    I agree with Spanky. We need a current pic. The baby is emaciated in that photo. The head is a serious problem.

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    Default Re: Baby squirrel with swollen head

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    Okay, here is a picture from right now. I guess he doesn't look much different. Hes filled out and does have more hair, although it's hard to tell. He weighs 42 grams. I am feeding him between 2 and 3 cc every 3 hours. I bought the fox valley baby squirrel food... The young baby one... 30/40 I think. I found him on June 16 at 5am. I mostly have just grey squirrels around me. I have seen one little red one on my street but he's getting Blondy/grey hairs on his face and eyelids. I don't know if there are any fox squirrels around. I'm recently moved to the area and have only seen a lot of grey and black phase squirrels.

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    Default Re: Baby squirrel with swollen head

    Actually he looks much better in this pic. His body has filled out and I donít see the ribs like the first pic. When I went back to the original post I caught that you said the baby has always had this bulbous head.
    I really donít know what that is all about. It isnít normal. Are there any trees near by where the baby was found? Is it possible it was dropped by a hawk?

    The baby squirrel formula from FoxValley is 32:40. If he has been on this since you found him I would continue. Itís getting close to the time when he will be transitioned to the older baby formula which is FoxValley 20:50.

    He is definitely developmentally delayed. I would expect more fur at 3+ weeks. You might want to add a little heavy cream to the formula. Not too much though. You donít want to cause diarrhea. This baby also might benefit from FoxValley UltraBoost. You could order it when you order the FV20:50.

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  21. #11
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    Default Re: Baby squirrel with swollen head

    I do have a tree in my front yard where I found him. It's not big enough that I can't see all the way to the top. Trust me, I was hoping to find a nest.
    He did have suspicious bird like damage. I mean, the wounds were in a bird claw formations. A big one under his neck and several on the back of his neck and head, and one near his lower belly and several on his back by his tail. He landed in the grass not the driveway. Wouldn't a head injury get better or kill him by now?
    I also ordered enrofloxacin with everything else for him. It's 10% liquid suspension. It was a just in case buy. Do you think it would benefit him to put him on a series of antibiotics? I mean for his head. His breathing is fine.

  22. #12
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    Default Re: Baby squirrel with swollen head

    I believe this is water trapped in the tissues over his brain -- hydrocephalus. I have seen it in a few baby squirrels. To prepare you for the worst, it often causes seizures, erratic behavior, and is often fatal. I am sorry, because this sweet baby deserved none of that.

    There are treatments. I would not throw antibiotics into him without a vet consultation if you have one that will see squirrels. Sometimes the swelling will go down on its own and the baby will "catch up" developmentally. This sweet little has been through so much already -- I would give him every chance.
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    Default Re: Baby squirrel with swollen head

    I have raised many animals, domestic and wild, but I am not a licensed rescuer. Should I contact one? Would they just put him down? I went to the DNR website and I know there are none in my county. In the counties surrounding my own, I found 1 name to contact. Otherwise the rescues only took from that county or stated that they are currently not taking wildlife.

  25. #14
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    Default Re: Baby squirrel with swollen head

    Quote Originally Posted by tattalia View Post
    I have raised many animals, domestic and wild, but I am not a licensed rescuer. Should I contact one? Would they just put him down? I went to the DNR website and I know there are none in my county. In the counties surrounding my own, I found 1 name to contact. Otherwise the rescues only took from that county or stated that they are currently not taking wildlife.
    His best chance is with you. It is very likely he would be euthanized with a rehabber. Iím sure in the time you have had him, he has captured your heart. Give him a chance and time. We have seen miraculous things happen to squirrels that seemingly had no hope. No one knows what the future holds for him. He might break your heart or he might be your greatest blessing.

    What is his name?

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    Default Re: Baby squirrel with swollen head

    Quote Originally Posted by HRT4SQRLS View Post
    His best chance is with you. It is very likely he would be euthanized with a rehabber.
    I agree 100% that his best chance is with you. Rehabbers are usually overloaded with healthy babies,
    and have little/or no time to try to "nurse" one back to health.
    You are doing fantastic and if nothing else, this little one KNOWS he is loved.
    Thank you for helping this little soul and for having such a caring heart.

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  29. #16
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    Default Re: Baby squirrel with swollen head

    We will help you as much as we can. Because of Covid, many vets are willing to give advice and even Rx via phone, live chat or email....using pix and video to make their diagnosis. Keep charting the little one's progress and take both pix and video for this purpose, ok? You are doing great!

    Just my .02: Ultra Boost is a wonderful supplement to regular formula. Because of this little one's developmental issues, I think it may really help.
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  31. #17
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    Default Re: Baby squirrel with swollen head

    I called a rehabber that is in a county near me, and he was very nice but said that he would probably put Rocky down if he indeed had hydrocephalus. I told him that I would keep him then and let him live as long as he was not in pain. He is still growing in size, but not in hair! His ears are starting to stick out and suddenly on Saturday he got his skin pigment. The last picture from above was Friday night and this picture was Sunday. He's starting to try and walk around. He looks like a stink bug at this time. Butt in the air, and head down. I think it's hard for his arms to get his big head up. Name:  IMG_20200715_054059332.jpg
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    Thank you, everyone for all your help. I love my Squirrelson, and although I don't love wild animal pets (I'm a rat and dog person) I will keep Rocky as well as I can for his life.

    Oh and I did order ultra boost and the older squirrel formula when you mentioned it a few posts back. And he hates heavy cream, so I only put a little in his formula, or he won't drink it... The picky...

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  33. #18
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    Default Re: Baby squirrel with swollen head

    Rocky Squirrelson

    I have no doubt that Rocky will be loved and spoiled his entire life.
    Please start a thread for Rocky in the Nursery. We would love to know how he progresses.
    He is precious.

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