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Thread: Inflamed/wounded nipples in lactating squirrel

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Inflamed/wounded nipples in lactating squirrel

    Hi everyone,

    First time poster here — thank you for your patience!

    I live in British Columbia, where I watch and feed the wilds in my backyard. I’ve been feeding them almonds and walnuts (both in-shell), and occasionally add coconut oil to the nuts.

    I have one grey squirrel who has been visiting for a month — I’ve nicknamed her Honey. When she first came, her nipples were visible and but didn’t have any visible wounds. She’s come sporadically since her first arrival — about three times a week. When she does come, it is mostly to eat and have water — she doesn’t tend to hide the nuts I give her. Lately, she’s been eating more than usual.

    This week when she visited, I noticed that her nipples were very inflamed, and wounded. Other than her appetite, she behaves normally and doesn’t seem to be in any pain, but the wounds do concern me.

    Are these kind of wounds normal for a nursing squirrel? Or are her wounds something more serious? Is there anything I can be doing to provide her any relief?

    I’ve provided photos of her current state (June 11) vs before (May 17) to compare.

    Please let me know if I’ve missed providing any information, and thank you so much ahead of time. Honey is such a gentle squirrel, and I feel so sad that she might be in pain.

    Now
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    Before
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    EDIT: Now that I am looking closer at the before photos, I can see the beginnings of the wound just behind her fur. The wounds became visible to my eyes this week, however they were not visible prior.
    Last edited by astrll; 06-12-2022 at 09:28 PM. Reason: Additional information provided.

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    Default Re: Inflamed/wounded nipples in lactating squirrel

    The very best thing you can do is give her lots of nutritional food and fresh clean water IMO.

    I suspect she has a large litter of kits and she is obviously still nursing them but may not be able to provide enough for all... it can seem brutal at times. She looks like a young mother, maybe even a first time mother... hopefully her brood will start eating more wild food and be less reliant on nursing very soon! It could be she travels quite a distance to your feeding station and cannot bring enough back to satiate her entire litter's hunger.

    This is not the norm.

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    Default Re: Inflamed/wounded nipples in lactating squirrel

    OUCH!!! Poor girl! I had a mother who just recently finished raising her spring brood of three. Near the end she was looking a bit sore and red, but NOTHING like this. I bet Spanky's right and she has a huge litter. Probably not enough nipples for everyone, and the ones who have to wait their turn are that much more ravenous. Then she might have trouble producing enough for so many, and that would make them suck harder . . .vicious cycle. The more you can support her with nutritious food, the more milk she can make. Hopefully she's about at the weaning stage. She might have to in self defense. She could probably use extra calcium right now also. And the water too, like Spanky said.
    "I hope everyone got or gets their Baby Love today"~Shewhosweptforest

    https://www.henryspets.com/1-baby-squirrel-care-guide/

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    Default Re: Inflamed/wounded nipples in lactating squirrel

    The very best thing you can do is give her lots of nutritional food and fresh clean water IMO.
    Yes, I had a mom one year who looked similar but not quite as bad as poor Honey. When she got this way, I also noticed she was making Many more trips to our deck for food, about 3x a day. This didn't last too too long, maybe a couple weeks and I'd just give her as much as I could, avocado, fresh coconut chunks, sweet potato, etc. I think you can even buy fresh frozen coconut chunks at whole foods type places now, so handy. Anyway, finally mixed up some teckland block, fruit, shredded coconut and a bit of coconut oil to make boo balls because it was non stop. I believe she had 5 pups.

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    Default Re: Inflamed/wounded nipples in lactating squirrel

    Sparky, Chirps, and Sundoesshine ó Thank you all so much! Iím headed to get groceries tomorrow, so I will pick up some collard greens and avocado for her. Iíll make sure to watch the water bowl too!

    Again, thank you so much ó it feels comforting to not have to navigate this alone. I hope she gets better soon! Thanks again ❤️

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    Default Re: Inflamed/wounded nipples in lactating squirrel

    Pick up a bottle of regular old tablet style, not chewable fruit flavored Tums (or the store brand equivalent). The level of strain a monster brood like this places on mama's calcium levels is awful. As long as you are going to "feed her up" you may as well include some supplements to help her.

    I would grind up a Tums, mix it with some finely chopped nuts and peanut butter or nutella and roll it into little balls. Give her one of these FIRST if you can, so she eats the whole thing.

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    Default Re: Inflamed/wounded nipples in lactating squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by CritterMom View Post
    I would grind up a Tums, mix it with some finely chopped nuts and peanut butter or nutella and roll it into little balls. Give her one of these FIRST if you can, so she eats the whole thing.

    Oh, thanks! That sounds really interesting, Iíve never heard of that! Would this be okay? https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/tums-ul.../6000016943387

    After reading your suggestion, I went to research Tums and thatís amazing! I wouldíve never considered Tums to supplement calcium carbonate. I always assume that ďhuman foodĒ (like Tums) would be a big no for squirrels, but I learned a lot. There were some things that were unclear to me ó I hope you donít mind if I ask some questions!

    1. Is offering Tums the same as supplementing pure calcium carbonate? When I was reading through different forum posts, I saw Henryís calcium carbonate come up a lot.
    2. I also mostly read up on squirrels who do not live in the wild, unlike Honey. Is it okay to offer wilds Tums/calcium carbonate? What signs do you look for in a wild squirrel before offering Tums or calcium carbonate? Iím always nervous I might do something that disturbs the way they live in the long run, but I do really want to offer help if I can. The paradox is real!
    3. How long would I need to offer the Tums ball to Honey? Is there any changes I should be watching for? I was reading about squirrels who have too much, though again these were squirrels who donít live in the wild.


    The most Iíve ever intervened with wilds is offer almonds coated with a little coconut oil (after some research since I was unsure). Just like with the oil, Iím nervous to do something wrong!

    Thanks for your help and patience again, I really appreciate it! I love Honey very much, so I canít express how much I appreciate it. ❤️

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    Default Re: Inflamed/wounded nipples in lactating squirrel

    Yes, that one is fine, as is Walmart's store brand. They are basically calcium carbonate with flavoring and pill stuff to stick together, hold its shape, etc. And very, very easy for the average person to get their hands on quickly.

    Normally, wilds get a pretty varied diet and don't NEED supplementing, but in a situation like this I wouldn't hesitate for a second, because she is quite literally being sucked dry!

    It would be short term, once she wises up and HURLS them out of the nest she will get her mojo back pretty quickly. If you could give it to her until you start seeing the teats start to heal, her little body will thank you.

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    Default Re: Inflamed/wounded nipples in lactating squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by CritterMom View Post
    Pick up a bottle of regular old tablet style, not chewable fruit flavored Tums (or the store brand equivalent).
    GReat idea. That reminds me that when supplementing our girl, I would add ground eggshell powder or calcium carbonate to the boo balls because I saw her gnawing on the cow skull that I have for them, so I figured it was her way of telling me she needed that calcium.

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    Unhappy Re: Inflamed/wounded nipples in lactating squirrel

    Hi everyone,

    Honey came back today and I tried to feed her the Tums peanut butter balls. She ate half but unfortunately one of my other male regulars was distracting her. Timing!

    I have a concerning update though — Honey either has mange or is losing hair from stress. She came back today with a nickel-sized bald spot on her behind. The skin of the bold spot doesn’t look dry, but is really pale. Her tail is also much thinner than it looked yesterday. Her nipples are not inflamed today, but they do look shockingly pale.

    Today, her behaviour was the same as usual except I noticed she kept draping her tail over herself. I couldn’t get a photo of the bald spot because her tail kept covering it.

    I gave her one crushed up Tums and separated it into six little balls. She ate about three, so she’s had about half of the tablet. The other three balls are out there, but she’s now avoiding them as well as the greens. But I feel like once she sees there are no nutty treats out there anymore, she’ll come eat the balls and greens. I also put some coconut out there and she’s nibbled at those. Her appetite seems normal — but she’s used to the almonds we toss her.

    What do you folks think is happening? Is this mange or something else? I wish I could wrap her up and protect her

    How can I help prevent possible infection to the others (especially to the young ones)? I wash the water and food bowls every night but if there’s anything else I can do, please let me know.

    Thanks in advance, I appreciate you folks so much ❤️

    UPDATE: She just ate another one of the balls, so she’s had 1/3 of the tablet now! She got chased away again by one of the dominant female squirrels that visits. I think she’ll come back though, since she usually does.
    Last edited by astrll; 06-14-2022 at 06:50 PM. Reason: Update

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    Default Re: Inflamed/wounded nipples in lactating squirrel

    Keep trying to get a pic, but it doesn't sound like mange at all. By the time mange has gotten bad enough that it causes the hair to fall out, the skin is red and inflamed. You normally see it starting around the face and ears because they have less hair to hide the rough skin.

    I think she has been sucked dry by these babies and her little body is reacting to it. I am glad you are giving her the Tums. Make them tastier - chop up some of her almonds fine, add to the peanut butter and Tums powder - maybe she will eat them a little faster.

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    Default Re: Inflamed/wounded nipples in lactating squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by CritterMom View Post
    Keep trying to get a pic, but it doesn't sound like mange at all. By the time mange has gotten bad enough that it causes the hair to fall out, the skin is red and inflamed. You normally see it starting around the face and ears because they have less hair to hide the rough skin.
    Oh, thanks! I will keep trying to take a photo. Yes, that doesnít look like what she has at all then. Iíve prepped some Tums balls now to feed her when she comes back. Poor girl, thatís sounds so painful

    Thanks again ❤️

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    Default Re: Inflamed/wounded nipples in lactating squirrel

    I was able to get some photos! Her tail is quick to pop up, so theyíre at bad angles ó I hope theyíre still helpful.

    This morning she ate all of the Tums balls! I added a little coconut oil to the balls and she seemed to gobble it up quicker. She also had a few gulps of fresh water, and a small nibble of kale.

    Here are the photos of her coat as well as how her nipples are doing. They seem far less red, though the wounds are still there.

    Nipples
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    Bald spot
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    Coat
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    Default Re: Inflamed/wounded nipples in lactating squirrel

    Hey everyone,

    Honey hasnít visited since last week. When she was here, she wouldnít take any of the Tums unlike how she previously gobbled it up. Her bald patch on her back was about the same too. She did eat some veggies and almonds when she was here.

    Iíve seen her fleetingly in the trees, but she hasnít stopped by in a place where I can feed her. Iím not very well informed on what new mothers do, but she seems to be foraging. Iím not sure why she stopped visiting though. Iím happy sheís well enough to move through the trees, but I do hope she comes back for some water, veggies, and nuts. I miss her!!!

    Iíll update again as soon as she visits.

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    Default Re: Inflamed/wounded nipples in lactating squirrel

    That's not how a normal, nursing squirrel looks like. There is something else going on. My best guess is parasites of some form that inflamed the wounded nipples and also got a hold on her back. I'd try to feed her some medication for parasites. Others will make suggestions if they agree.

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    Default Re: Inflamed/wounded nipples in lactating squirrel

    Thanks McCarthy, I agree that something else must be going on. Iím no expert on the parasites that can harm squirrels, so I canít identify what might be going on with Honey.

    After reading a few posts on here, Iíve stumbled across Revolution to treat squirrels. Do you think that might help her? I really hope she comes back so I can see how sheís progressing.

    Thanks again ❤️

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    Default Re: Inflamed/wounded nipples in lactating squirrel

    Last Sept one of my released squirrels had a nipple bit almost off, she let me put colloidal silver on it. I wanted to get her to my vet however she was still feeding her babies. It got worse the babies were on their own I brought my Irmie in the house started her on antibiotics, but I could smell her the nipples were black😥 she passed away in my arms the next morning😭
    If I could do it again babies or no babies I'd have started her on antibiotics as soon as I noticed it. Still I don't know if that would have done any good.
    I so miss her☹️
    Sending prayers to this baby🙏
    Yes put one drop revolution on a half of a nut let it soak in for awhile then give her the nut, you can do that again in 2 weeks, it will get rid of parasites, fleas many other things. I give mine once a month. I notice the ones I give it to have zero to not many bot flys
    It can't hurt👍
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    Default Re: Inflamed/wounded nipples in lactating squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by astrll View Post
    After reading a few posts on here, I’ve stumbled across Revolution to treat squirrels. Do you think that might help her? I really hope she comes back so I can see how she’s progressing.

    If you treat her with Revolution, that would be fine... Likely more upside than downside. Use the plain Selamectin version and not the ones that have any other ingredients. Selamectin does not pass through breast milk while variations of Selamectin will as will Ivermectin...

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    Default Re: Inflamed/wounded nipples in lactating squirrel

    Thanks so much everyone, I will definitely do that. I almost want to “not” trespass on the property behind me where I’m sure her drey is.

    Is this the correct one (for kittens)?
    https://www.joespetmeds.com/flea-tic...-cats-dogs.htm

    Thanks again!

    EDIT: Nuts! Joes Pet Meds doesn’t ship to Canada. Does anyone know how I can get Revolution without and Rx?

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    Default Re: Inflamed/wounded nipples in lactating squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by astrll View Post
    Thanks McCarthy, I agree that something else must be going on.
    Yeah, I also agree. She's just looking a bit too red and weary. Even when our wild was nursing her 5 pups and was extremely sore looking, she was never as red as Honey. Think she'd tolerate some yogurt? it may help her gut/immune system.

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