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Thread: Welp...I'm stumped

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Welp...I'm stumped

    Quote Originally Posted by SamtheSquirrel2018 View Post
    Please be very careful if you decide to take your Squirrel outside for sunlight. Yes, Squirrels need vitamin D but they do NOT need sunlight to get it. As McCarthy points out, Rodent Blocks contain Vitamin D. In reality and sadly so, the popular rodent blocks such as Harlan-Teklad (now Envigo) are made primarily for laboratory rodents who usually never see the light of day and still do fine nutritionally and do not develop Metabolic Bone disease or Calcium or Vitamin D deficiencies or disorders from being kept indoors. Also, there are risks associated with direct sun exposure especially in the hot Summer months. Risks associated with direct sun exposure include the development of skin cancers among other concerns. Exposure to hot summer temperatures, especially by a Squirrel who lives indoors where it relatively cool can quickly lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and even death in a relatively short period of time. If you do decide to take your Squirrel outside please do not put them in an enclosure and location where they are in constant direct sunlight. They should always have shade available. They should also have readily available and accessible of water at all times. Further, you should ideally be in constant attendance to monitor the status of your Squirrel while outside. There are also additional concerns about being outside and these include potential exposure to biting and stinging insects, etc.

    Again, it is truly UNnecessary for your Squirrel to be outside to get Vitamin D as long as you provide a diet that contains adequate Vitamin D such as Harlan-Teklad blocks or supplement with Henrys Healthy Blocks (HHB). Teklad blocks can be free fed but HHB should never be free fed. These blocks are in themselves supplement and as far as Vitamin D is the issue, HHB contain a relatively high concentration of Vitamin D compared with a free fed dietary source such as Teklad. HHB should be limited for the "average" adult Squirrel to two blocks per day but this can be and should be adjusted up or down a block or so depending on the size of the Squirrel and how much they may waste while they eat. Ideally when considering the nutritional needs of Squirrels, a quality rodent block such as Harlan-Teklad should be the major constituent of there diet. Henry's website contains the frequently cited Diet Pyramid (https://henryspets.com/healthy-diet-for-pet-squirrels/) which is quite useful. Most Squirrels seem to appreciate variation in their diet and the Pyramid makes some good suggestions BUT, a Squirrel will do very well nutritionally speaking if they eat nothing but a quality rodent block such Harlan-Teklad and they will not need to run any risk of being outside get their Vitamin D.
    Regards,
    SamtheSquirrel

    The problem right now is that he is not eating enough and is too skinny, hence he is not getting enough vitamin D, so his calcium intake isn't working out. And if he really has MBD, being able to absorb calcium through vitamin D coming from sunlight is paramount.

    But as you said, this need to be in a place and time without risks for too much heat and away from predators.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Welp...I'm stumped

    Quote Originally Posted by synisterkat View Post
    So far so good!! He's pretty mobile. Seems a bit stiff legged when he moves though. Able to sit up and eat on his own. Have stopped trying to syringe him any food even though he could use the extra calories. He's back to his normal food aggressive self! But he still snuggles after he's done eating. He's SO thin. Any tasty treats that aren't too bad for him? I'm running out of things to try.
    Full fat yogurt, possibly mash in a bit of fruit. All mine love unsweetened dried coconut flakes.

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Welp...I'm stumped

    Quote Originally Posted by McCarthy View Post
    The problem right now is that he is not eating enough and is too skinny, hence he is not getting enough vitamin D, so his calcium intake isn't working out. And if he really has MBD, being able to absorb calcium through vitamin D coming from sunlight is paramount.

    But as you said, this need to be in a place and time without risks for too much heat and away from predators.
    The issue with MBD is rarely a problem with inadequate Vitamin D! MBD is essentially a deficiency in calcium intake or an effective deficiency in calcium secondary to a diet containing excessive phosphorus. The development of MBD takes a relatively long time and resolution also takes considerable time. Calcium metabolism definitely requires Vitamin D but it does not take much to reach maximal benefit. Vitamin D, either from the sun or from nutrition will NOT make up for inadequate calcium intake and/or poor Calcium/phosphorus ratio. If your Squirrel is not eating as well as he should be, ways to enhance appetite and nutritional intake are what is required! Also, concentrated foods such as HHB may help as well so that if the appetite is relatively poor for awhile, eating a smaller volume of concentrated food should help to provide an optimal nutitional intake. Although I have no definitive proof of this, I suspect that excessive phosphorus intake especially in relation to the calcium intake is at least as common a cause (and I suspect more so!) of MBD that inadequate calcium intake alone. The secret (if there is one) that will lead to resolution of MBD is providing adequate MAINTENACE Calcium while also providing additional Calcium as SUPPLEMENTATION. The treatment with Calcium MUST also take into account the phosphorus intake and this phosphorus must be specifically limited! Henry's has a good bit of very good information on MBD (https://henryspets.com/what-is-metabolic-bone-disease/). Again, direct sunlight is not necessary for adequate calcium metabolism as long as the diet contains adequate Vitamin D and I have personal concerns about the inherent risks to being outside and being in the sun in general! If those risks can be taken into account, there is no reason not to take a Squirrel outside but it is not necessary.
    Regards,
    SamtheSquirrel

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  5. #24
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    Default Re: Welp...I'm stumped

    Quote Originally Posted by SamtheSquirrel2018 View Post
    The issue with MBD is rarely a problem with inadequate Vitamin D! MBD is essentially a deficiency in calcium intake or an effective deficiency in calcium secondary to a diet containing excessive phosphorus. The development of MBD takes a relatively long time and resolution also takes considerable time. Calcium metabolism definitely requires Vitamin D but it does not take much to reach maximal benefit. Vitamin D, either from the sun or from nutrition will NOT make up for inadequate calcium intake and/or poor Calcium/phosphorus ratio. If your Squirrel is not eating as well as he should be, ways to enhance appetite and nutritional intake are what is required! Also, concentrated foods such as HHB may help as well so that if the appetite is relatively poor for awhile, eating a smaller volume of concentrated food should help to provide an optimal nutitional intake. Although I have no definitive proof of this, I suspect that excessive phosphorus intake especially in relation to the calcium intake is at least as common a cause (and I suspect more so!) of MBD that inadequate calcium intake alone. The secret (if there is one) that will lead to resolution of MBD is providing adequate MAINTENACE Calcium while also providing additional Calcium as SUPPLEMENTATION. The treatment with Calcium MUST also take into account the phosphorus intake and this phosphorus must be specifically limited! Henry's has a good bit of very good information on MBD (https://henryspets.com/what-is-metabolic-bone-disease/). Again, direct sunlight is not necessary for adequate calcium metabolism as long as the diet contains adequate Vitamin D and I have personal concerns about the inherent risks to being outside and being in the sun in general! If those risks can be taken into account, there is no reason not to take a Squirrel outside but it is not necessary.
    Regards,
    SamtheSquirrel
    This is without question true, and a quick scan of the calcium/phosphorus ratios of common foods will tell you exactly why - high phosphorus foods are way, way, WAY more common than foods with high calcium.

    I am an old horse person, and a while ago, you started seeing stuff about flax seed. Horses liked it and it makes their coats shine like 45 minutes with a bottle of Show Sheen. What nobody was looking at is that flax seed is the highest natural source of phosphorus...until the horses started having trouble. Bone issues on a horse are devastating. They still sell flax seed but not alone - it is processed with a ton of calcium to counter the high phosphorus somewhat now.

  6. #25
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    Default Re: Welp...I'm stumped

    Quote Originally Posted by SamtheSquirrel2018 View Post
    The issue with MBD is rarely a problem with inadequate Vitamin D! MBD is essentially a deficiency in calcium intake or an effective deficiency in calcium secondary to a diet containing excessive phosphorus. The development of MBD takes a relatively long time and resolution also takes considerable time. Calcium metabolism definitely requires Vitamin D but it does not take much to reach maximal benefit. Vitamin D, either from the sun or from nutrition will NOT make up for inadequate calcium intake and/or poor Calcium/phosphorus ratio. If your Squirrel is not eating as well as he should be, ways to enhance appetite and nutritional intake are what is required! Also, concentrated foods such as HHB may help as well so that if the appetite is relatively poor for awhile, eating a smaller volume of concentrated food should help to provide an optimal nutitional intake. Although I have no definitive proof of this, I suspect that excessive phosphorus intake especially in relation to the calcium intake is at least as common a cause (and I suspect more so!) of MBD that inadequate calcium intake alone. The secret (if there is one) that will lead to resolution of MBD is providing adequate MAINTENACE Calcium while also providing additional Calcium as SUPPLEMENTATION. The treatment with Calcium MUST also take into account the phosphorus intake and this phosphorus must be specifically limited! Henry's has a good bit of very good information on MBD (https://henryspets.com/what-is-metabolic-bone-disease/). Again, direct sunlight is not necessary for adequate calcium metabolism as long as the diet contains adequate Vitamin D and I have personal concerns about the inherent risks to being outside and being in the sun in general! If those risks can be taken into account, there is no reason not to take a Squirrel outside but it is not necessary.
    Regards,
    SamtheSquirrel


    OP stated that she is providing adequate calcium intake on a very strict diet based on the pyramid, that includes rodent block, and he STILL may have gotten MBD. If her squirrel has MBD, this leaves only the assumption that the vitamin D intake is the lacking variable. There are plenty of articles on this topic, see below. The main cause for MBD in captive pet squirrel is the lack of sunshine and it is suggested to provide just that. And a spot in a window doesn't cut it.

    She also wrote that he is refusing food intake, and that she dropped formula again, so this brings us back to not enough calcium intake AND not enough vitamin D because the vitamin D food intake is lacking as well and he is not exposed to sunlight. That's a lose:lose situation.

    With no sunlight AND not eating enough, he will lack vitamin D and calcium absorption is limited no matter how much calcium you add to his remaining diet. Trying to argue against this fact is dangerous. Are you willing to be responsible for the outcome?

    --

    "MBD is most often caused by improper diet. Vitamin D, which under normal circumstances the body produces on it's own (needing sunlight to do so), is vital to the body's ability to absorb calcium. Sun received through windows and window screens is not adequate because these filter the important UV rays necessary for this to take place. Professionally formulated milk replacers have vitamin D in them, but as the animal is weaning they are receiving less and less of this vital nutrient so 20 minutes of full sun a day is recommended, or all spectrum or full spectrum bulbs can be used if the former is not possible. Because the formula we feed is balanced with *all* the vitamins necessary, the weaning diet is critical."

    Source: https://www.squirrel-rehab.org/rehabinfo/mbd.html

    Source: https://www.squirrelrefuge.org/metab...e-in-squirrels

    --

    "Sun received through windows and window screens is not adequate because these filter the important UV rays necessary for this to take place. So – ignorance, diet and not enough sunlight cause Metabolic Bone Disease. Educate the public – squirrels should not be kept as pets."

    Source: https://www.wildlifecenter.org/sites...Squirrel_0.pdf

    --

    "Unfortunately, MBD is most commonly seen in those ... species which require ultraviolet light (or UV) such as sunlight"

    Source: https://www.madisonherps.org/kicksta...ne-disease-mbd

    --

    "Save our squirrels: Natural sunlight helps a squirrel’s body to produce Vitamin D."

    Source: https://www.reporternews.com/story/l...ce/9571771002/

  7. #26
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    Default Re: Welp...I'm stumped

    Obviously you shouldn't bring a squirrel outside when its 100 degrees, coming from a 75 degree AC'ed home.

    OP lives in Bakersfield, CA. They have 76 - 78 F early in the morning. Perfect conditions for an hour of sun.


    Quote Originally Posted by SamtheSquirrel2018 View Post
    ...inherent risks to being outside and being in the sun..
    That perspective doesn't sit well with me, at all. Squirrels live outside, and they prefer to be outside. Being outside is the normal, being captive is not. Implying that the outdoor world is dangerous while we humans decide to keep them captive where they can't decide when to fill up on sunlight and what to eat, is backwards in my book.

    When I face health issues, I look at nature and opportunities to make things better, not worse by living in fear and limiting my options.

  8. #27
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    Default Re: Welp...I'm stumped

    Quote Originally Posted by McCarthy View Post
    That perspective doesn't sit well with me, at all. Squirrels live outside, and they prefer to be outside. Being outside is the normal, being captive is not. Implying that the outdoor world is dangerous while we humans decide to keep them captive where they can't decide when to fill up on sunlight and what to eat, is backwards in my book.
    The danger is a squirrel being CAPTIVE inside of a cage that is in the outdoors, left in the sun. Sun stroke is a real thing that has killed more squirrels than I care to rehash. Have you researched how squirrel dissipate heat from their bodies on extremely hot days? I am sure Sam was not talking about a wild squirrel that is living their best life free in the trees... 2 totally different things.

    Sam's advice on vitamin D spot on IMO... and the thing that folks, IMO, don't seem to grasp all too often is the part about diet's containing "
    excessive phosphorus"... a squirrel cannot possibly eat enough calcium to counteract "excessive phosphorus". My (perhaps infamous?) analogy is always about having a diet coke with a Super-Sized Big Mac Meal and proclaiming this a healthy meal. Lord knows we try to preach the Ca:P ratio info.


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  10. #28
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    Default Re: Welp...I'm stumped

    Quote Originally Posted by Spanky View Post
    Sam's advice on vitamin D spot on IMO... and the thing that folks, IMO, don't seem to grasp all too often is the part about diet's containing "excessive phosphorus"

    It is not spot on. OP clearly stated no nuts and a very tight diet. See quote below:

    Quote Originally Posted by synisterkat View Post
    Diet is 2 Henry's Healthy blocks, greens (lettuce, kale, spinach etc) small bit of fruit, squash, snap peas, avocado, and so forth. Have Harlan Teklad (Envigo now I guess) available at will. No nuts, no corn, no cookies. He gets occasional wild treats like magnolia buds and seed pods, pinecones, Apple blossoms and branches.
    I already addressed excessive sunlight in prior posts. That the squirrel needs shade as on option is obvious.


    Quote Originally Posted by Spanky View Post
    [FONT=comic sans ms]Have you researched how squirrel dissipate heat from their bodies on extremely hot days?
    I just wrote what the weather temp in OP's location is, in the early AM, it is basically room temp. Putting one half of the cage into the sun will be zero issue.

    I have raised and been dealing with, and reading on squirrel / rodent topics for 28 years, I think I stated that in my welcome thread.

    While most others still have a job and / or family to take care off, I have literally 17 hours every single day that I can use for whatever I want. These days I spend easily 10 hours every day on squirrel related issues. I go to the park interacting with over 20 squirrels at least every other day. When I go, I stay often for 6 hours. When I come home, I keep reading on these topics, watch videos, etc. I'm not pulling my responses out of my hat.

  11. #29
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    Default Re: Welp...I'm stumped

    Quote Originally Posted by McCarthy View Post
    It is not spot on. OP clearly stated no nuts and a very tight diet.
    Yeah, unfortunately I think we have traveled away from the OP's issues with Percy, but I am glad he is doing better. I think it was established he has a well-rounded diet that includes Vitamin D and his current challenges are not likely to be MBD with the diet as identified which includes the necessary calcium, contains low phosphorous and sufficient vitamin D ... but yet we are going back and forth about Vitamin D; diet versus sun.

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