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Thread: Chewed on plastic, appetite not normal, dark stools

  1. #1
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    Default Chewed on plastic, appetite not normal, dark stools

    Hello. I've been lurking & learning on here for about a month.. My sons friend found a baby squirrel after we had a tropical storm on 8/10/20. I have no idea if she fell from a tree (probably) or if mom dropped her.
    Everything has been going good until now..
    She had no visible parasites but seemed very skinny for her age - 3.5 weeks, 54g.
    Going off of her eyes opening at exactly 5 weeks, she is 8 weeks old today.
    On 9/7 I noticed that she didn't have as many bm's in her cage/bed as normal so I gave her 2.5cc of diluted infant apple juice (she had this before when we felt with a little constipation after switching from Esbilac Goats Milk to FV 20/50 on 8/17).
    9/6 she didn't have much of an appetite.. she's usually ravenous with each feeding but throughout the day were less & less (she had been eating 15cc - could have ate more if I let her, her abdomen still soft). I tried to give her formula or diluted apple juice about every 3 hours, so she wouldn't get dehydrated throughout the day.. really had to coax her & got about 4cc into her at each feeding. She was still her active, normal-self and the next day at about 5pm her appitite was back to normal. About 34 hours of untypical appitite. Stools were normal but about 25% less.
    Last night when I was cleaning out her bed & cage (I have her sleeping in her "incubator" bin - though the heat seems to bother her so I make sure it's warm before I put her to bed but have her off the heating pad- Is this okay/normal? She seems to be doing good holding heat with her fur now. Then during the day I was putting her bed in the cage so she could get used to it - she is now. I have her on 1 floor of a Critter Nation cage) so, cleaning out her bed/cage I noticed there wasn't much stools and the ones I saw were dark brown/black.
    I know that usually means old blood. Today I saw that she had chewed on her plastic "bed". I haven't seen any stools today, she is acting normal but at her last feeding, after about 9cc (she is drinking 18cc now) she wasn't really interested in her formula - specifics below.
    I am so worried that she injested the plastic & it messed her up internally. I could kick myself for not taking her bed out sooner 😔.
    Specifics:
    She is on FV 20/50, is drinking 18cc (belly soft, she would eat 18 more (normally) if I let her.
    7-8% is FB Ultra boost
    I've been sneaking in about 3 cc of water with her formula to work on her digestion and using a Simethicone drop with each feeding.
    I feed her about every 5 hours, at night she goes 7-8 hours.
    She is on the 1x a week maintenance of Bene-Bac Plus FOS & Probiotics - next dose is tomorrow.
    I give her a "pinch" of Pure L-Glutamine 2x a week
    She gets 2 Henry's Blocks a day - Hi-Protein in the am, Healthy Block after she has shredded & eaten most of her 1st block.
    The past 2 days she has either hid or thrown her 1st block in her pee corner, 2nd block I then give her at bedtime and she shreads it but I don't think she eats much.
    She always has an antler to chew on
    I give her cherry sticks to chew on when I'm with her (I realize they live in trees but am scared of her biting off and swallowing a splinter).
    According to the charts I saw, she is small for her age & that's one of the reasons why I give her the supplements.
    Her weights:
    3 weeks - 54g
    4 weeks - 59g
    5 weeks - 88g
    6 weeks - 131g
    7 weeks - 176g
    8 weeks - 214g (today)
    I gave her about 1/2 tsp of yogurt today.. about 2 hours before her last feeding at 5. I'm hoping that's why she wasn't as hungry but the black stools really have me worried.
    She doesn't have any clicking noises.
    Sorry this is so long.. I wanted to provide as much detail as possible. I'm trying really hard with this little fuzzy butt and am hoping to be able to release her this spring so she can join the wild ones I feed on my porch.
    (Sorry if the pictures are a bit blurry)
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Chewed on plastic, appetite not normal, dark stools

    She is adorable! Hope she gets better very soon!

  3. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Buddy from:

    bre (09-13-2020)

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Chewed on plastic, appetite not normal, dark stools

    Update/Edit (forgot to add..)
    I just fed her last feeding for the night and her appetite was normal Though I didn't see any bm's.. Since her bm's were dark (and not red) I'm trying to flush her out/get her system back to normal. She gets her probiotic dose tomorrow but I was planning to give her a bit more yogurt (besides today, she's only had a few licks off my finger). How much can I give her? She would have ate more than the 1/2 tsp I gave her). I got a water bottle for her cage (hopefully) she'll drink from that, if not then I will try to get her to drink some in between formula. And continue with the gas drops.
    Is this okay.. or should I do something different?
    And in all my rambling, I forgot to add..
    Thank you all for being here, helping people like me. Your forum has been invaluable, thank you for having it open and easily accessible. I have read a lot of stories on here and you guys amaze me.. thanks for all you do for our furry friends
    *FV UltraBoost (autocorrect)
    There have been no changes to her routine or foods. She hasn't fallen.
    I weigh her 1st thing in the morning, everyday.
    After her prior feeding she was laying on my hand, on her belly (checking that my nails were clean ). With my other hand I felt all through her underside. There were no hard/firm spots but I did feel a bump between her lungs - maybe her sternum? I'm not too familiar with their anatomy.
    Her teeth seem to be growing normal.. bottom are straight, maybe 5 mm and the top are growing straight, they are about 2 mm.
    I hope I covered everything.. let me know if you need to know anything else. I keep pretty detailed notes

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

    Buddy (09-14-2020)

  6. #4
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    Default Re: Chewed on plastic, appetite not normal, dark stools

    Smaller, harder darker stool is often a sign of some degree of dehydration and/or constipation.

    I have attached a document concerning 12 Common Stool Problems with Squirrels.

    Stool problems with squirrels.pdf

    This should better help you to understand what is going on now and in the future.

    I have had good luck with Cabot's Plain, Whole Milk Greek Yogurt. Lots of fat and lots of calories. The probiotics can help their digestive systems.

    Usually they don't actually eat the things that they chew on. There teeth grow 6" a year so they have to chew. For their chewing they prefer opponents with a glass jaw, something relatively soft. Plastic is soft. Chewing can also be a sign of agitation and irritation for a number of different reasons. Some time to run and play during the day is essential.

    At this age I would recommend using a clean syringe to dispense the yogurt. I get a regular dinner plate and dispense a handful of drops on the perimeter. If I see any physical signs of struggling to swallow I stop dispensing, no more for that meal. They are inclined to eat too fast at this age. You can add some no sugar added baby food to the mixture if you like.

    Are you feeding any solid foods at this stage?

  7. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Rock Monkey from:

    bre (09-15-2020)

  8. #5
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    Default Re: Chewed on plastic, appetite not normal, dark stools

    Thanks for your reply. I have read through that document & a lot of posts on here about constipation.. trying to figure out what is going on with her system.
    The only solid food she has had are Henry's Blocks. She got to the point where she was eating ~1/2 of each block (I give her a Hi-Protein block & after she shreds up & eats most of it (I take it out of her cage after ~6 hours) I then give her a Healthy Block. I was going to start offering her broccoli but then these eating/constipation issues started and didn't want to introduce anything new without resolving them.
    With the yogurt, I (2nd time was today) give her about 1/2 a tsp of the Oui by Yoplait French style vanilla/strawberry flavor. (7g fat. ingredients: Pasteurized Grade A Milk,, Cane sugar, Strawberry, Pectin, Natural flavor & Yogurt cultures) I have been giving it to her from a plastic baby spoon. She does a great job of eating it off of there.. licks the spoon clean. I know to start them on veggies first.. this is just what I typically have at my house. She doesn't get any actual Strawberry.. just the flavor
    Is the Oui okay or should I switch to the Cabot's Plain?
    I always have something with her that she can chew on, though she doesn't seem to care for the antlers. She chews the wood in her cage mostly. We had chinchillas for a while and their teeth were the same way.
    She is still very playful, loves running around her cage & showing off (You can see in the 1 picture.. the wood perch I have hanging from the top of her cage. The 1st day I helped her learn to balance on it & now when she knows I'm watching she will jump up on it and do a little gymnastics show 2 It's adorable). She gets time out of her cage as well & loves climbing/running around her "human" trees.
    The past week has been either hit or miss with her Henry's blocks.. sometimes she shreds them & eats a bit, some days she doesn't even touch them.
    It kinda seems like the probiotics might be upsetting her stomach. If your not familiar with the Bene-Bac probiotics.. the 1st week she got a dose on days 1,3,5 & 7. Then a weekly "maintenance" dose. She did great through the first course. The first time she was refusing formula it was the day she got her dose - the 2nd feeding after is when she started to refuse. Yesterday (Monday) I gave her the probiotics with her 2nd feeding - at the next feeding she refused her formula after about 6cc. I'm still seeing only about 2 black bm's in her bed/cage (haven't checked yet this am.. I'm up early).
    Should I be giving her yogurt if she is refusing her formula? I'm almost certain she would have eaten the yogurt even after refusing the rest of her formula. I didn't give it to her because I'm also worried that she is refusing because she wants yogurt instead.
    I hope her appetite is back this morning and I find some gold nuggets.

  9. #6
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    Default Re: Chewed on plastic, appetite not normal, dark stools

    I would eliminate the yogurt/probiotics, and anything else, other than block and formula. Offer her slightly sweetened sugar water in between feedings. If you have clear corn syrup use that as the sweetener as it has some laxative properties to it. Many times constipation is the result of dehydration. Even though they are drinking lots of formula itís not the same type of hydration that water provides.

    Keep us posted.

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

    bre (09-16-2020)

  11. #7
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    Default Re: Chewed on plastic, appetite not normal, dark stools

    Bre,

    With squirrels it is a good idea to avoid foods with sugar added. Firstly, the sugar isn't great for them. Secondly, once they have had stuff that is sweetened they don't want stuff that is unsweetened.

    If you look at the nutritional information for most fruit, they don't actually have that much sugar on percentage basis, plus they have fiber and an assortment of minerals and vitamins. Try to stick with foods in their natural, simple state.

    Cabot's is high calorie, but not due to added sugars. It has heavy cream. It is high in good fats.

    It seems like you are a detailed oriented person. If you aren't already, I would start taking notes about inputs and outputs. If nothing else it will help you feel a little more on top of things and in control and frees up your mind to think about other things.

    Simplification of diet can make it easier to get a better idea on cause and effect. More man made products in the diet increases the possibility of negative interactions.

    Unless it is an emergency situation try only to change one thing in the diet at a time. Then see if anything changes regarding outputs, energy level and appetite.

    The simplest way to take care of squirrels is with the formula and block combination. It makes life a lot easier for a person taking care of a lot of animals. However, it isn't the only viable diet for a squirrel, just like there isn't only one diet that contributes to making a healthy person.

    Exercise is very important. The bodies lymphatic systems moves material around as a result of movement. Regular exercise also facilitates a healthy digestive system. Getting to run around outside of the cage also lifts a squirrel's spirits which are linked to health.

    Chewing on the cage can lead to malocclusion which is difficult and expensive to treat and can make the squirrel NR. So, chewing on the cage is a problem. Malocclusion if not treated is usually fatal.

    Try adding some freshly cut oak branches to the cage. It is natural for them to feed on the cambium layer. This is something they do in the wild.

    Chewing can be an expression of agitation and anxiety.

  12. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Rock Monkey from:

    bre (09-16-2020)

  13. #8
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    Default Re: Chewed on plastic, appetite not normal, dark stools

    I would say you have too many things going into this squirrel. That is my impression. It is like person who takes a bunch of medications, then takes more medications for the side effects caused by the medications.

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