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Thread: Lethargic baby red squirrel

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  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 hadn’t 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. He’s urinating and producing small stools.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    What formula is he eating?

  3. #3
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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 hasn’t 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.

  4. #4
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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.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    “Cool dry place” as per the instructions on the can. The can was opened 9 days ago.

    We mix a day’s 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  

  6. #6
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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 Henry’s 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 it’s 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
    State Licensed
    Master Wildlife Rehabilitator

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by Stash View Post
    “Cool dry place” as per the instructions on the can. The can was opened 9 days ago.

    We mix a day’s 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.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    Stash, that just breaks my heart. 💔 Your situation is similar to mine except that you did everything possible to help your baby. I had my first baby 17 days and he died. Unfortunately he died due to a mistake I made because of lack of knowledge. It just killed me. I cried for two months. I also have had many pets but that loss was earth scattering for me. I couldn’t move past it. Months later I found The Squirrel Board and started learning everything I could to help squirrels. Since that time 10 years ago I have done everything I can to help squirrels in his memory.

    Don’t get rid of the release cage. Others will find you and you will need it. There is no way to explain how that happens but it does. There is also no way to explain the depths of our grief over losing them. I am so very sorry.

  9. Serious fuzzy thank you's to HRT4SQRLS from:

    stepnstone (09-24-2021)

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Lethargic baby red squirrel

    I am so sorry for your loss.

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