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Thread: Lethargic baby red squirrel

  1. #1
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    Default Lethargic baby red squirrel

    Briefly, we have a young red that we found lying in the street about 10 days ago. Very poor condition. No local rehabbers available. We did the research and the food/housing is as recommended, and he recovered well.

    Best guess, about 5 1/2 weeks old now. Up until yesterday he was doing well. Eating, active, gaining weight. Was at 38 grams a week ago, now at 54 grams. Climbing and exploring.

    Last night he refused formula, and at one point he almost fell over and laid there for a bit. Then he got up after a few minutes, ate about 3-4ccs and was back to being active.

    But he hadnít eaten since (18 hours or so, previously was eating every 3-4 hours), and this morning had another brief episode where he seemed to lose balance and lie on his side. Not sleeping, just laying there. Got up again shortly, but not as active as he was earlier in the week. Heís urinating and producing small stools.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    What formula is he eating?

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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    Esbilac. We recently added a couple of drops of whipping cream as per recommendations on orphanedwildlifecare.com website. He also recently got a piece of the rodent block and couple of sunflower seeds and piece of walnut, but hasnít touched them.

    We just tried again a short time ago, new batch of formula without the cream. Again, refused, and he did the same sort of fall-over for a few minutes, then perked up for a while. He spent a few minutes cleaning himself, then fell asleep in my hand. Back in the cage again now.

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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    Question 2 - where are you keeping the esbilac powder? It should be kept in the freezer, because the powder will go rancid if left out. Of course the container doesn't say anything about that. It would cause the baby to not eat.

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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    ďCool dry placeĒ as per the instructions on the can. The can was opened 9 days ago.

    We mix a dayís worth of the formula at a time and been refrigerating it, again, as per instructions on the site I mentioned.

    This is just now. Very lethargic. Attachment 319679


    Wondering if we should take him to a vet?
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    Stash,

    I am wondering if your baby might have MBD. He looks rough.
    This is a printout from Henryís healthy pet. Start the treatment and results show quickly.



    PRINT

    Get calcium into the squirrel IMMEDIATELY, not later, not tomorrow, NOW. Delaying treatment can cause death or permanent paralysis.

    You will need:

    Tums, rolaids, or calcium supplement (any kind)*
    a syringe or spoon
    Crush one pill and add a little water or fruit juice to make a toothpaste consistency. Use a syringe or spoon to force-feed the mixture.

    After you give the initial dose of calcium, give 100 mg every 4 hours (50 mg for smaller squirrels such as red squirrels, flyers, or juveniles less than 12 weeks old). The first day, getting calcium dosed quickly is more important than the type of calcium or amount. Going forward, most squirrels will need around 500 mg per day (250 mg for flyers or small squirrels). See the Long-Term Treatment for MBD, below.

    *Any kind of calcium pill is okay for the first dose, and you can use Tums for a few days, but long-term itís best to use plain calcium carbonate (without Vit D).

    Dosage Methods

    The easiest way to dose calcium longer term is to mix it with a small amount of peanut butter, crushed nuts, yogurt, baby food, or any food the squirrel likes. This way you don't have to continue to force-feed the calcium, which stresses the squirrel.

    Example: If you mix 500 mg of calcium with 1/2 teaspoon of peanut butter and roll it into 5 little balls, each ball will contain 100 mg calcium. You can also mix the calcium with formula or fruit juice which can be licked from a syringe or spoon. You might need to experiment to find what works best for your squirrel.

    What to Watch For

    Your squirrel's symptoms should improve within a few hours or days (younger squirrels typically respond faster). If the squirrel is feeling better but still paralyzed, he may have a spinal injury due to his weak bones.

    The acute symptoms (weakness, loss of appetite, lethargy, seizures, paralysis) will usually improve within a few hours or days, but this does not mean the squirrel is cured. It will take months to rebuild the calcium in the bones.

    More Tips

    MBD causes brittle bones that break easily. You should pad the bottom of your squirrel's cage and keep him away from high places, where he might jump and break a bone.

    Heat is soothing for a squirrel with MBD. Use a heating pad set on low heat (make sure he can't chew the pad or cord) or a rice buddy (a sock filled with dry rice/beans, microwaved for about 20 seconds).
    redwuff
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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    OK, we got some calcium into him.

    About an hour ago we took him out to try another feeding. He was very active, climbing on my shoulder and running around behind me on the couch for a few minutes, then he sort of fell off my shoulder and gently rolled down my arm onto my chest, landing upside down. He twitched a few times, managed to roll himself over, then just laid there for a while.

    He did take in a little bit of formula, maybe 1cc, then curled up and fell asleep in my hand. We put him back in his home.

    Then I saw your post, read the article and mixed up the calcium. He didnít seem to mind it. Back to sleep again.

    It does sound like he has some of the symptoms of MBD, but Iím wondering about the possible cause, since the article says itís usually in older squirrels but theyíve seen it in squirrels under 4 months (heís less than 1 1/2 months - they would likely have mentioned the youngest age theyíve seen it) and itís usually due to improper weaning, and heís not weaned yet. I hope that calcium when itís actually not needed isnít harmful.

    Thanks you very much for the information. Iíll post in the morning and let you know how heís doing.

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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    In the past there has been issues with the Esbilac formula. I canít remember how long he has been in but I do remember that he was in rough shape. I do not know if it could be a calcium issue. But MBD Iíd deadly if left untreated. He looks a bit dehydrated also, I would give him some hydration fluid. Let us know how he does.
    redwuff
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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by Stash View Post
    It does sound like he has some of the symptoms of MBD, but I’m wondering about the possible cause, since the article says it’s usually in older squirrels but they’ve seen it in squirrels under 4 months (he’s less than 1 1/2 months - they would likely have mentioned the youngest age they’ve seen it) and it’s usually due to improper weaning, and he’s not weaned yet. I hope that calcium when it’s actually not needed isn’t harmful.
    The extra calcium will not be harmful. If his stools turn up white or very light colored, you can back down (but not stop) to calcium.

    Squirrels getting nutritionally correct formula (or mom's milk) usually are not at risk for MBD. However, improper formula or when there are issues with formulas (like issues we've seen with Esbilac and others in the past) MBD can occur in very young squirrels. I have taken in and treated many weeks old babies suffering from MBD (verified by x-rays).

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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    Thanks to you also.

    Can you confirm the dosage we should give him? The article suggests 50mg every 4 hours. Do you agree? And for how long at that dosage?

    Tonight all we have is Rolaids. One tablet is 1.75 grams so Iíll divide it as best I can, but my scale isnít that precise.

    Weíll get some calcium carbonate powder tomorrow.

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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    Correction - one tablet has 675mg calcium, so a bit less than a tenth of a table per dose.

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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by Stash View Post
    Thanks to you also.

    Can you confirm the dosage we should give him? The article suggests 50mg every 4 hours. Do you agree? And for how long at that dosage?

    Tonight all we have is Rolaids. One tablet is 1.75 grams so Iíll divide it as best I can, but my scale isnít that precise.

    Weíll get some calcium carbonate powder tomorrow.

    Yes, I agree with the 50mg every 4 hours. If his poops turn white, start backing off the amount of calcium per dose until they appear more normal. White-ish poops indicate he is getting more calcium than his body can process (this is not harmful, but you'll want to back off the dose to find the right balance).

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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by Stash View Post
    Correction - one tablet has 675mg calcium, so a bit less than a tenth of a table per dose.
    And I screwed up again...675mg calcium carbonate. Only 270mg actual calcium. Iíve been underdosing the little guy.

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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by Stash View Post
    And I screwed up again...675mg calcium carbonate. Only 270mg actual calcium. Iíve been underdosing the little guy.
    We should have mentioned something, we usually do.. those antacids are notorious for making it hard to ascertain the actual elemental calcium amounts per tablet.

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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by Stash View Post
    ďCool dry placeĒ as per the instructions on the can. The can was opened 9 days ago.

    We mix a dayís worth of the formula at a time and been refrigerating it, again, as per instructions on the site I mentioned.

    This is just now. Very lethargic. Attachment 319679


    Wondering if we should take him to a vet?

    If "cool and dry" isn't in the freezer, it could be rancid. This isn't theory - I had it happen. If it is a problem with the formula powder he won't want to eat it and if he does it will make him ill. It may NOT be the problem but I sure would eliminate it to see if things change.

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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    Slight improvement today. He ate a bit and had some calcium around 4:00am. Just now he had a good amount of formula, but we couldnít get him to take more than a little bit of the calcium. Probably should have given it to him before he ate.

    But he seems to be slightly improved. He climbed around on my shoulders and neck for a bit, and he remained active longer than he did yesterday.

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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    Stash if this is mbd, he should not be allowed to run around, especially if he is having Ďífainting spellsĒ. Bones are extremely brittle. Do you have any Fox valley 20/50 formula to see if that would make a difference?
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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    I’m sad to report that the little guy didn’t make it.

    He wouldn’t take any food and was barely able to stand up for a few seconds about 4:00 am, and this morning he couldn’t get up at all. My wife was holding him and about to try formula again when he gave a few gasps and just stopped breathing.

    Thanks, everyone, for trying to help.

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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    I am so sorry for your loss.

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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    I am so sorry to hear this. Wonder what was going on for this little red. Fly with the angels little one
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