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Thread: Not eating, sleeping a lot

  1. #1
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    Default Not eating, sleeping a lot

    Hello, 2 days ago my year old NR started acting slightly lethargic - wanting to sleep a lot and only eating avocado. Won't touch his blocks or even his favorites, walnut and apple. He is also making little noises - NOT like I've heard with pneumonia - just little chirps when I pick him up etc. He is not struggling to breath or making sounds when he breaths.

    I took him to the vet (not a typical wildlife vet, but one I can trust) who could find nothing wrong other than a little fever. He prescribed albon in case there's an infection. Thinks he may have an upset stomach and suggested acidophilus. I just wanted to put this out there and see if you guys feel we're on the right path.

    One other tidbit. He isn't pooping as much as he usually does. Not eating much, of course, but just tossing it in the diagnosis pot. I'm making sure he gets plenty of water. Thank you.

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    Default Re: Not eating, sleeping a lot

    Why is this Squirrel an NR? What issues does he have? Very often, with both people and animals, knowledge of their history may help lead to defining a cause, explanation or diagnosis for problems that develop later on. Infection of some sort does seem high up on the list of possible causes, however. Albon is a veterinary antibiotic in the Sulfonimide Family of medications and it has a fairly broad activity against a number of bacteria that commonly cause infections and it seems like a good choice. It's good that you are encouraging adequate fluid intake! Best regards to you and your Squirrel! Please give an update soon!
    SamtheSquirrel

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    Default Re: Not eating, sleeping a lot

    Hello, he is NR due to neurological issues.

    I appreciate any help/suggestions. I'm suspecious that the issue is around his mouth. Still won't eat blocks/nuts - anything dense, but is fine with avocado, banana, etc. His teeth do grow funky and have to be trimmed every 10 days. The vet trimmed them yesterday, in fact, and didn't notice anything unusual. I see nothing odd either. Anything special I might look for that's not obvious? Thank you.

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    Default Re: Not eating, sleeping a lot

    It's truly fortunate that you have a Vet who is comfortable with and willing to see Squirrels! With your suspicions focused on your squirrel's teeth, one of the relatively common oral problems is the development of an abscess which is a essentially a "pus pocket" in the tissues of the mouth or around the jaws. It is almost always necessary to have this treated by a surgical procedure where an incision is made in the the skin or mucus membrane that overlies the abscess and with that, the pus has a pathway to drain out. If the abscess is already draining actively sometimes an I&D (Incision & Drainage) may not be required. It can obviously be very difficult to determine if there is an abscess in a Squirrel's mouth and sometimes difficult even if it is located externally to the mouth. One sign to look for at least for an abscess that is external to the mouth is a subtle difference in bulk, shape or size of one side of the head or jaw compared to the other. Also, if you do see pus draining, that would be essentially diagnostic. Unfortunately, antibiotics do not penetrate very well into an abscess and that is why an I&D is usually required. That being said, some abscess do spontaneously begin to drain and this can actually be curative.

    Some suggestions as far as oral intake is concerned; regular fluids are essential to prevent dehydration and it sounds as if you have that well addressed. If it seems that your Squirrel has difficulty either from discomfort or some mechanical problem with his teeth that keeps them from functioning optimally; avoiding blocks and nuts as you are doing is certainly best practice; but, that does not mean that you can't still provide the same nutritional benefit of the blocks; just not the relatively hard blocks themselves. You can grind the blocks into a soft paste or more granular than that if you desire (or your Squirrel prefers) and then mix the ground-up blocks with something that the little guy likes such as Baby Food apple puree or something similar. You can offer this on an outstretched finger if you feel inclined or you can place a "dollop" of the mixture on top of an intact block and put it in your Squirrel's house. A Squirrel I saw several months ago at the request of a friend had an injured tooth and I made a similar mixture using Gerber Pear puree and the Squirrel loved it! I don't know if he ever went back to eating regular blocks! I would also suggest that you continue the antibiotics as prescribed. Has the Vet scheduled a follow-up visit? Please continue to keep us posted!
    Regards,
    SamtheSquirrel

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    Default Re: Not eating, sleeping a lot

    Thank you for the great information! I just gave him another look and don't see anything that jumps out, but it's hard to get a good look inside his mouth. He isn't too cool with it as you can imagine! I'll continue to try. I do have a follow up with the vet next week and will mention an abscess possibility. Will keep you updated and thanks again!

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    Default Re: Not eating, sleeping a lot

    Hope all goes well! I'll check frequently for your updates! Glad I could be of some help to you and your Squirrel!
    SamtheSquirrel

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    Default Re: Not eating, sleeping a lot

    Bring up the suggestion of odontomas to the vet. The only way to diagnose them is with an X-ray of the head/jaws. Odontomas can develop from trauma to the teeth. The teeth grow inward instead of growing outward.

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    Default Re: Not eating, sleeping a lot

    Thanks for mentioning the possibility of an odontoma Mel! Usually there is nasal congestion and development of sinusitis as early signs of odontoma in Squirrels and with Squirrels, this is oftentimes particularly noticeable as they are almost obligate nose breathers and as such, are not able to easily transition to mouth breathing when their nasal passages are blocked or obstructed and they appear congested and exhibit difficulty breathing through their nose. Odontoma is certainly something to be investigated however! Again, thanks so much for bringing up this possibility!!
    SamtheSquirrel

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    Default Re: Not eating, sleeping a lot

    Will do. I'm certain this is centered around the mouth. He still won't eat a nut, but is hungry and eating soft foods.

    I feel I need to give him some pain medicine. Do you know if it's okay to combine metacam and albon?
    Thank you

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    Bring up the suggestion of odontomas to the vet. The only way to diagnose them is with an X-ray of the head/jaws. Odontomas can develop from trauma to the teeth. The teeth grow inward instead of growing outward.

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    Default Re: Not eating, sleeping a lot

    I'll read more about this condition. Thank you both. Curious, sounds like odontoma may take a while to develop, but can it come on suddenly? Reason I ask - the other morning he took a little tumble out of a small dog bed. I know that sounds odd, but it has 3 side walls - you've seen them for small dogs to cuddle up in. He hops in and leans against the sides for balance when eating (coordination issues). Anyway, he likes to lean/hang over the side sometimes and the other day he tipped nose first to the floor. Only about an 1" fall or less, but could this have anything to do with..well, anything? I didn't think much of it, no blood or anything, but it was the same time this all started. Sorry for the long ramble - just trying to include any viable facts. Thanks!



    Quote Originally Posted by SamtheSquirrel2018 View Post
    Thanks for mentioning the possibility of an odontoma Mel! Usually there is nasal congestion and development of sinusitis as early signs of odontoma in Squirrels and with Squirrels, this is oftentimes particularly noticeable as they are almost obligate nose breathers and as such, are not able to easily transition to mouth breathing when their nasal passages are blocked or obstructed and they appear congested and exhibit difficulty breathing through their nose. Odontoma is certainly something to be investigated however! Again, thanks so much for bringing up this possibility!!
    SamtheSquirrel

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    Default Re: Not eating, sleeping a lot

    Yes, it should be OK. Do you have some guidelines for use of Metacam in Squirrels? If not, please let me offer some suggestions for your use of Metacam (this is the Veterinary Brand of Meloxicam; a Nonsteroidal Antiinflamatory Medication). I would recommend a dose of 1 milligram per Kilogram, dosed orally once per day and I would strongly recommend limiting use to 1-3 days and never more than 3 consecutive days. There are 2.2 pounds in a Kilogram so the dosing for most Squirrels is less than 0.5 milligrams; a very small amount! There are two oral preparations of Metacam; 0.5 mg/mL and 1.5 mg/mL. Please make sure you know which preparation you have and calculate the amount accordingly. Any NSAID, not just Metacam, can cause GI upset and bleeding and affect the kidneys directly among other adverse effects. That is why these medications should ordinarily be given only for a very short period of time, only if needed, and of course, dosed accurately! Also, if there is any chance that your Squirrel is dehydrated, I would suggest "topping off" his fluids before considering use of any NSAID including Metacam as use of an NSAID while fluid depleted puts the kidneys at increased risk for injury!

    All that being said, if the little guy needs some pain relief, this medication is truly a good choice as it not only helps reduce pain but can decrease inflammation if present as well and it is dosed only once a day so this is less bother for you and your Squirrel! I would also recommend that you give the Metacam along with some food. You can also mix the calculated amount of Metacam Suspension with some extra water (a milliliter or so, not a lot) to make it easier to ensure the Squirrel ingests most or all of the medication. You can use a plastic eye dropper or small plastic syringe and hold the Squirrel upright (never on his back!) and administer only one or two drops at time into the Squirrel's mouth and let him swallow it before you give the next drop or two. Go slow and give small amounts (1-2 drops) and let him swallow that before giving more. These practices will help avoid aspiration of the fluid into his lungs and help ensure complete dosing.
    Regards,
    SamtheSquirrel

    Edit:
    All medications for squirrels are dosed according to their body weight.
    The above is very vague since it would take a 2500 gram squirrel to be
    dosed at 0.5 milligrams properly dosed/calculated at 0.2mg/kg.
    Last edited by stepnstone; 02-15-2021 at 08:17 PM. Reason: Finding it nessasary...

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    Default Re: Not eating, sleeping a lot

    As far as the development of an odontoma, no, they are not likely to develop quickly. With rodents, odontomas usually become suspected when they impinge upon the nasal passages and difficulty breathing ensues. Odontomas are well known in man and that is where most of my knowledge of this condition is centered. Odontomas are relatively common in humans and represent what is usually considered a Hamartoma which is essentially a non-cancerous but disorderly overgrowth of mature tissues and while they certainly can cause problems in humans and Squirrels alike; they can cause very significant breathing problems in Squirrels. While it does take considerable time for an ondontoma to develop; again, certainly more than a few days, but symptoms can begin relative quickly when the tumor-like growth of the odontoma reaches a size that causes tooth, jaw, and breathing problems. I truly don't believe that the signs your Squirrel has exhibited are due to an odontoma but I really do appreciate Mel having mentioned it because it is still in the Differential Diagnosis (the list of possible problems) and there may also be multiple causes which may include an odontoma(s) which as Mel pointed out may be found on x-ray studies.
    Regards,
    SamtheSquirrel

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    Default Re: Not eating, sleeping a lot

    Thank you! That's more in-depth info than I've ever read. Going to print this for my notes.

    Quote Originally Posted by SamtheSquirrel2018 View Post
    Yes, it should be OK. Do you have some guidelines for use of Metacam in Squirrels? If not, please let me offer some suggestions for your use of Metacam (this is the Veterinary Brand of Meloxicam; a Nonsteroidal Antiinflamatory Medication). I would recommend a dose of 1 milligram per Kilogram, dosed orally once per day and I would strongly recommend limiting use to 1-3 days and never more than 3 consecutive days. There are 2.2 pounds in a Kilogram so the dosing for most Squirrels is less than 0.5 milligrams; a very small amount! There are two oral preparations of Metacam; 0.5 mg/mL and 1.5 mg/mL. Please make sure you know which preparation you have and calculate the amount accordingly. Any NSAID, not just Metacam, can cause GI upset and bleeding and affect the kidneys directly among other adverse effects. That is why these medications should ordinarily be given only for a very short period of time, only if needed, and of course, dosed accurately! Also, if there is any chance that your Squirrel is dehydrated, I would suggest "topping off" his fluids before considering use of any NSAID including Metacam as use of an NSAID while fluid depleted puts the kidneys at increased risk for injury!

    All that being said, if the little guy needs some pain relief, this medication is truly a good choice as it not only helps reduce pain but can decrease inflammation if present as well and it is dosed only once a day so this is less bother for you and your Squirrel! I would also recommend that you give the Metacam along with some food. You can also mix the calculated amount of Metacam Suspension with some extra water (a milliliter or so, not a lot) to make it easier to ensure the Squirrel ingests most or all of the medication. You can use a plastic eye dropper or small plastic syringe and hold the Squirrel upright (never on his back!) and administer only one or two drops at time into the Squirrel's mouth and let him swallow it before you give the next drop or two. Go slow and give small amounts (1-2 drops) and let him swallow that before giving more. These practices will help avoid aspiration of the fluid into his lungs and help ensure complete dosing.
    Regards,
    SamtheSquirrel

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    Default Re: Not eating, sleeping a lot

    I discovered there's a gaping hole behind one of his top teeth! What could this mean? As far as I know, it's new. I've never seen it before and the vet trims his teeth often - as recently as last week. It's pretty hard to see. I had to practically turn him upside down to get a pic. once I caught a glimpse. The other tooth looks really rough, too. I would attach photos, but I don't see an upload option. Thoughts? I'm going to continue to research. Vet is closed/not answering today - terrible weather.

    I've heard people here speak of Dr. E. in FL. Should I reach out? Does she do video appointments?

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    Default Re: Not eating, sleeping a lot

    I would definitely reach out to Dr. E. 386-788-1550. I believe she is off on Wed and Thurs. I have heard of other squirrels that have had this happen and she has had to put a stitch in the palate to close the hole. It is a prime place for food to get lodged and create an infection.

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    Default Re: Not eating, sleeping a lot

    Thank you, I'll try to call tomorrow. Road trip!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    I would definitely reach out to Dr. E. 386-788-1550. I believe she is off on Wed and Thurs. I have heard of other squirrels that have had this happen and she has had to put a stitch in the palate to close the hole. It is a prime place for food to get lodged and create an infection.

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