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Thread: Helen Took a Bad Fall

  1. #1
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    Default Helen Took a Bad Fall

    Helen took a bad fall this morning as I was preparing breakfast for both of us. She fell 5-6 feet onto a cardboard box and, I think, a horizontal board. I didnít see the fall, but heard it. Either she caught the edge of the box or hit the board, in part.

    In the intermediate aftermath of the fall she appeared dazed or stunned, moving very little. I donít know whether she hit her head or whether that just reflected shock. She is making no noises of pain, nor do I see any white tears.

    Her front left leg is injured. She holds that to her chest and is reluctant to weight it.

    I saw no blood or scrapes or gashes.

    She showed no interest in food after the injury, taking just one bite.

    Initially she pancaked onto of the dresser to rest, then she leapt twice, which I pleaded with her not to do. With each leap her front left side collapsed upon landing. She climbed into bed, under covers, where she has been ever since. Occasionally I hear her scuffing about. She is in my room with me.

    She was zipping about with her usual speed and agility prior to the fall this morning.

    She once, months ago, sprained/strained a front wrist, but this appears far worse.

    I canít say whether or not there is inflammation. I didnít get much time to look at her before she climbed into bed.

    I plan to place some squirrel handicap ramps through out the room to entice her not to leap.

    How should I assess her? What should I be looking for? Is there a way for me to differentiate between a sprain and a break? What are some ballpark figures for healing time in either instance?

    What treatment, if any, should I be considering? (I currently have Naproxen Sodium Caplets, 220 mg; Acetaminophen Capsules, 500 mg; Ibuprofen Soft gels, 200 mg. and can purchase other over-the-counter items.)

    Thanks.

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    Default Re: Helen Took a Bad Fall

    We don't often recommend pain medications for injuries to legs and such, dulling the pain tends to make them run and jump more than they should on the injured leg. If you give analgesics, she should be placed into a cage that will not allow for big jumps and / or falls.

    Minor injuries usually resolve within a few days (7 - 10). Breaks, of course, would take much longer. There is always a concern about MBD when an adult squirrel injures themselves falling only a few feet (5-6 feet is not much of a fall for an adult squirrel... even a fall 2020 adolescent). Of course, injuries are definitely possible from a 6 foot fall if landing on top of things.

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    Default Re: Helen Took a Bad Fall

    Quote Originally Posted by Spanky View Post
    We don't often recommend pain medications for injuries to legs and such, dulling the pain tends to make them run and jump more than they should on the injured leg. If you give analgesics, she should be placed into a cage that will not allow for big jumps and / or falls.
    This was my inclination, not to give pain medications in order to minimize movement which would aggravate the injury. The discomfort doesn't seem bad.

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    Default Re: Helen Took a Bad Fall

    Quote Originally Posted by Spanky View Post
    Minor injuries usually resolve within a few days (7 - 10). Breaks, of course, would take much longer. There is always a concern about MBD when an adult squirrel injures themselves falling only a few feet (5-6 feet is not much of a fall for an adult squirrel... even a fall 2020 adolescent). Of course, injuries are definitely possible from a 6 foot fall if landing on top of things.
    If she had landed square on a cardboard box I don't think there would have been any problem at all. Based on where I found her, I was in the other room when she fell, I think she landed on a box that has a couple of small boards which support the box flaps in the middle and extend past the perimeter of the box. One of these boards is a broken board with an irregular edge. I think at least one limb hit the board and maybe the others not. Also, the boards make the box not a soft landing, it doesn't spring/give. So I really think the board is the culprit in some fashion. Plus, the boxes are irregular in size so are not stacked edge to edge. So she may have fallen partly in between the boxes.

    Big leaps are a regular part of her routine, but this was just something where she slipped, I think, maybe trying to manuever on an edge which is too small. Or maybe a leap to a small, tenuous perch resulted in the fall.

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    Default Re: Helen Took a Bad Fall

    Sending speedy healing vibes for Helen...
    Animals are magical....Thank you everyone who tries to help them, save them tirelessly...

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    Default Re: Helen Took a Bad Fall

    Do you have access to a vet? Sounds like an xray might be needed.
    We live in a heaven created by our virtues --- Muktananda

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    Default Re: Helen Took a Bad Fall

    Dr. Dan Johnson, Avian and Exotic Animal Care, Raleigh, NC 919-844-9166. He sees squirrels.

    I recently had a wild squirrel that was not using a front leg. I trapped him, put him in the RC but couldnít get him to the vet for about 10 days....vet was out till then. When I took him in the vet said his humerus was shattered, probably shot but could have been dropped by a hawk. There were external puncture wounds, too. The wrist, elbow and shoulder were all functioning fine. It had already begun to heal and calcify. She recommended metacam for pain and abs for an infection in one of the wounds. I kept him for 7 more days until his abs were done and released him. It was a 2.5 week period from when I caught him and he wasnít using the leg to when I released him and he was using the leg completely. The leg was slightly shorter than the other leg because of the bad fracture, but he was climbing like a pro.

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    Default Re: Helen Took a Bad Fall

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    Dr. Dan Johnson, Avian and Exotic Animal Care, Raleigh, NC 919-844-9166. He sees squirrels.

    I recently had a wild squirrel that was not using a front leg. I trapped him, put him in the RC but couldn’t get him to the vet for about 10 days....vet was out till then. When I took him in the vet said his humerus was shattered, probably shot but could have been dropped by a hawk. There were external puncture wounds, too. The wrist, elbow and shoulder were all functioning fine. It had already begun to heal and calcify. She recommended metacam for pain and abs for an infection in one of the wounds. I kept him for 7 more days until his abs were done and released him. It was a 2.5 week period from when I caught him and he wasn’t using the leg to when I released him and he was using the leg completely. The leg was slightly shorter than the other leg because of the bad fracture, but he was climbing like a pro.
    Thanks Mel. I am thinking that an x-ray would probably be a good thing. I don't have the funds to pay a vet, certainly not their normal, full fees.

    I am also increasingly worried about a blow to the head. Stunned would be how I would describe her in the aftermath. The fall sounded like a "thunk", not a good kind of sound. I was freaked before I even saw her. I reached my hand into her bed at 8 pm ET tonight and she was alive and responsive, but her response was distinctly muted, not nearly as vigourous or as lively as it normally is in similar circumstances.

    I don't think a strain would send her straight to bed without eating a thing. When she sprained her paw some months ago she protected it and was awkward in movement, but there was no change in her energy level or alertness. That injury I would say took about a week to heal to the point that I didn't notice anything.

    Regarding a head injury, what signs should I look for?

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    Default Re: Helen Took a Bad Fall

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    This is where I think she fell and I think it is partially catching/hitting the boards that did the damage. Furthermore with the board inserted the box is no longer springy. She may have fallen partway between the boxes, placing the majority of the impact force one limb.

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    Default Re: Helen Took a Bad Fall

    I know that for humans, becoming very sleepy after a head injury is a bad sign and merits transport to a hospital to be examined.

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    Default Re: Helen Took a Bad Fall

    Where she fell looks very dangerous. I think I’d wrap those wood ends with a piece of fabric and tie it on to provide some padding to those jagged ends.

    Head injuries can be mild to severe. One eye being larger or swollen, nystagmus, head down position, head tilt, difficult balancing or walking are all signs to look for.

    Do you have prednisone (prednisolone) or metacam?

    I had a released squirrel that had a severe head injury from a fall. She had nystagmus and a head tilt. The vet gave her a shot of dexamethasone and I treated her for weeks with prednisolone. She recovered completely and is free again.

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    Default Re: Helen Took a Bad Fall

    Good morning from the West Coast - How is Helen doing this morning? So hoping she is doing better today! Squirrelly hugs and prayers coming from Tinkerbelle!

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    Default Re: Helen Took a Bad Fall

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    Where she fell looks very dangerous. I think Iíd wrap those wood ends with a piece of fabric and tie it on to provide some padding to those jagged ends.
    Yes, I definitely need to fix that situation.

    In the very beginning of letting her roam I was working non-stop to try to remediate various hazards all over the house. The boards were an ad-hoc solution. I had put the boards there because the box flaps were collapsing inwards and I didn't want her rooting around in there to make a nest and chewing up the appliances and assorted content. Then I just forgot about those boards. Things may have gotten worse as I shifted boxes around to get to things inside one of the boxes.

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    Default Re: Helen Took a Bad Fall

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    Do you have prednisone (prednisolone) or metacam?
    I might have some prednisolone. It sounds like what I have been prescribed for poison ivy. However, there might be a pill or two, but with I might have taken every last one as I got into poison ivy on some other occasions other than the one for which I was prescribed the pills. (I am highly allergic.) Anything I have will definitely be expired. I will look to see what I have.

    I know I have some heavy duty steroid cream, but I don't know how that would be properly diluted.

    Based on her much improved alertness this morning I am hoping that steroids won't be necessary. (I can't say much for my own alertness.) However, they say that head injuries can take a day or two to reach the worst state of reaction to the blow to the head. I will continue to watch for the symptoms that you and Spanky have mentioned.

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    Default Re: Helen Took a Bad Fall

    She is much improved this morning, moving slowly and gingerly. Appetite is still not back to normal, she ate maybe a third of the normal amount and drank some water. Activity level is still off substantially.

    She is still holding her left arm close to her body. The hand hangs down, bent at the wrist, which makes me believe that that is where the injury is greatest. She weights the right arm, but not the left if she is down on all fours.

    I have some scraps of OSB and plywood which I placed about the room to connect various objects and to allow her to get up and down from the floor. She mostly uses them. She is a little impatient, still inclined to get to where she wants to go directly by leaping, rather than taking the long way with the ramps. Then she is reminded why that is a bad idea. She did a four foot horizontal leap, then sort of skidded and wiped out on landing.

    I noticed that her left rear limb was skewed off to the side on occasion. I don't know if this is compensation to take weight off the left front or whether that rear leg suffered some injury as well.

    She doesn't have that stunned look anymore. After being up for about an hour she went back to bed, though I could hear her snort occasionally which is normal for her when she isn't in a deep state of sleep.

    Nothing was blaringly inflamed this morning. I need to look more closely at all of her limbs and head next chance she is up.

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    Default Re: Helen Took a Bad Fall

    I'm glad it sounds like she has weathered the initial trauma. I wonder if she hurt her mouth at all and that is why she doesn't want to eat?

    Would it be advisable to keep Helen confined so she doesn't further injure herself? Maybe that would be traumatic for her if she's never in a cage though. What you described with the back left leg sounded to me like it would be compensating for keeping the weight off the front left leg.

    I'm sure you're watching her like a hawk! Take care!


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    Default Re: Helen Took a Bad Fall

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinkerbelle View Post
    I'm glad it sounds like she has weathered the initial trauma. I wonder if she hurt her mouth at all and that is why she doesn't want to eat?

    Would it be advisable to keep Helen confined so she doesn't further injure herself? Maybe that would be traumatic for her if she's never in a cage though. What you described with the back left leg sounded to me like it would be compensating for keeping the weight off the front left leg.

    I'm sure you're watching her like a hawk! Take care!

    I am worried about her appetite too. I expected it to pick up more.

    As far as her mouth goes, she ate half of a walnut, unshelled without any seeming problem. She ate some sweet potato and some avocado.

    I have been giving her space. She tends to move around a lot more if I am around, partly to play, partly to show off and partly to prevent me from keeping her cooped up in the room, which she lost her patience with many months ago. She is much more likely to be destructive if I am around for an extended period of time. Since it started getting cold months ago, she has been much less active, spending much of the day snoozing in one of her nests if she is free to roam the house.

    Regarding her appetite, she may have suffered an impact to the torso against the board when she fell. So there may be some bruising and damage there. I don't think all four limbs made even contact on landing. I know she hit the box in part from the sound it made, but it sounded like a hard impact.

    When I returned to the room after the sun had set I thought I would find that she had eaten more of her food. However, she seems to have eaten little, if any. I am going to have start weighing the food in order to know how much she is eating.

    Regarding a cage, I don't have one and I think she would be profoundly upset and likely to injure herself trying to get out or even stroke out from stress. So, I don't that is an avenue that is worth pursuing. She is using the ramps that I have set about the room, though not all of the time. That should help reduce aggravation of the injury.

    This evening I have heard her scuffing about in her bed fairly vigorously. Partly I think this is her way of showing some annoyance at being awoken by the sounds of me moving about the room.

    She did produce some poop and pee today. I will need to monitor that as well.

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    Default Re: Helen Took a Bad Fall

    It sounds like things are on the right track. What a relief! Keep up the good work!!
    Sending scritchies & nibbles

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    Default Re: Helen Took a Bad Fall

    She was moving about better today, but still leaping sometimes when she shouldn't. She is using the ramps and bridges that I have set up so seems aware of her limitations most of the time.

    Her appetite is still off substantially. I would say that she ate maybe 1/4 of the amount that she had been. Maybe that reflects that she is spending most of the day laying in bed, but I think it also reflects that she doesn't feel well. She may have taken some impact to the torso.

    Poop output was pretty good, though seems like she could use more hydration. I have a couple of water dishes set about the room which I change daily and I do see her drink, but it seems not quite enough.

    When sitting on hind legs, the left wrist hangs limp.

    Despite being way off the mark in agility and speed, she still started working the "Don'ts" which is her usual way of expressing frustration and trying to get let out of the room. I think her recovery period is going to be trying for the both of us.

    As I went to get us both breakfast, she went to check out her number one nest and almost slipped trying to get to it. That would have been another fall. I guess I should add additional padding below her nest entrance.

    Is this fall off in appetite typical for a serious injury?

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    Default Re: Helen Took a Bad Fall

    Her appetite being off could just be a result of her not feeling well. I would think if there was some type of internal damage you would have seen something noticeable by now.

    Without an X-ray to determine what happened to her wrist youíre just going to have to play it by ear. My vet does prescribe metacam even for extremity injuries. Maybe because itís also an anti-inflammatory as well as a pain killer.

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