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Thread: Swollen Knuckle on 5 Month Old Red

  1. #1
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    Default Swollen Knuckle on 5 Month Old Red

    Hi all!!
    My little guy Squeegee has what looks like an inflamed or infected knuckle on his back right pinky (see photos below)!

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    He is still very active and running around and this is the first day Iíve seen it. I tend to be pretty aware of any physical issues with him so hopefully Iím catching it before it spirals. What should I do? I know different antibiotics are recommended for different ailments (plus dosage differs of course). I also may need some advice on how to acquire antibiotics (Iím in Southeast Michigan). Thank you so much for any help!!!

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    Default Re: Swollen Knuckle on 5 Month Old Red

    Are they able to still bend all those “fingers/toes”? Able to easily grasp something, and climb without pain?

    I can’t speak to what might be going on. But I’m curious to rule out a fracture.

    Could it have gotten caught in something or stuck?

    If blood flow is good, flexibility/strength is the same and it doesn’t seem to cause pain, I believe those are all really good signs. ��

    Their little nails are so long and the bones in hands/feet are so delicate and small, they can easily get them caught on a loop of fabric or cage wire.

    sending you and your little one positive energy and love ��

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    Default Re: Swollen Knuckle on 5 Month Old Red

    How old is he? Did it suddenly appear overnight, or was it smaller at first now bigger?

    it could be an abscess; but also other possible causes. Is the bump squishy, or hard when you feel it.

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    Default Re: Swollen Knuckle on 5 Month Old Red

    Quote Originally Posted by Diggie's Friend View Post
    How old is he? Did it suddenly appear overnight, or was it smaller at first now bigger?

    it could be an abscess; but also other possible causes. Is the bump squishy, or hard when you feel it.
    He is 6 months!! I realized immediately after publishing this that I was off by a month in the thread title 🤦🏼*♀️

    I canít say with absolute certainty that it appeared overnight, but I am confidently leaning toward it being pretty sudden. I noticed it yesterday immediately when I took him out for playtime, and I genuinely tend to be very perceptive about any changes in his physical appearance/demeanor so I definitely donít think I failed to notice it for that long at least. I feel safe saying that if it was swollen the day before, it was incredibly minor at that point.

    So I just now went and touched his knuckle, itís not really squishy, but also not hard like the way a bone is hard. It feels almost like the consistency of a mole or skin tag on a human if that makes sense! Definitely not squishy like a blister or something would be.

    He isnít behaving injured in any wayóno holding weight off that toe/foot, no decreased coordination, no hesitancy to perform his more acrobatic maneuvers. He doesnít seem more bothered by me touching that toe as he does any other toe (I tested a few and he was equally annoyed with my intrusion on all of them &#128514. Also, no indication of lethargy or general malaise that might point to a fever/infection.

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    Default Re: Swollen Knuckle on 5 Month Old Red

    Quote Originally Posted by Tashahaven View Post
    Are they able to still bend all those ďfingers/toesĒ? Able to easily grasp something, and climb without pain?

    I canít speak to what might be going on. But Iím curious to rule out a fracture.

    Could it have gotten caught in something or stuck?

    If blood flow is good, flexibility/strength is the same and it doesnít seem to cause pain, I believe those are all really good signs. ��

    Their little nails are so long and the bones in hands/feet are so delicate and small, they can easily get them caught on a loop of fabric or cage wire.

    sending you and your little one positive energy and love ��
    Thank you so much!!

    So honestly he doesnít seem to be holding weight off that toe whatsoever. I just watched him climbing in his cage for a while to see if he was favoring his other feet/toes and he was hanging upside by that foot with the swollen-knuckled toe gripping equally as hard as the other toes 😁

    I also tested it for tenderness by touching that toe along with a few non-swollen toes to gauge his reaction and he didnít seem any more put off by me touching the swollen toe. Definitely was irritated with all of them, but not MORE irritated with that one specifically 😂

    In terms of it getting caught on something, certainly possible! Heís in a critter nation 2-story cage and I donít have any string or loose bits of fabric in there with him but he has a running wheel! I purchased one that was recommended in another thread on here specifically addressing the issue of toes/tail catching. Itís 12Ē wide, no internal axle, and itís made for sugar gliders. He uses it CONSTANTLY. I just checked that it wasnít bent or coming loose in a way that could create potential pinching. As far as I can tell, nothing was posing an obvious risk. But looking at his cage, knowing how squirrels are, I wouldnít rule out pinching because suddenly Iím aware how literally everything could cause a snag if caught at the wrong angle! Gosh he flies around so fast I donít understand how he ever manages to safely dismount! Like I have a fabric cozy pouch with velcro cage attachments made for squirrels from Henryís Healthy Pets in there, and even with that iím suddenly worried he could accidentally snag his nail crawling in or out of it 😫🤦🏼*♀️ But okay, aside from now feeling very mommy-paranoid about every little thing he could possibly touch, I donít see any glaring hazards!

    Heís not acting lethargic or generally ďoffĒ at all either, so he doesnít seem to feel sick like he might with an advanced infection. Heís eating normally, drinking normally, peeing/pooping normally, and being an absolute little hellion normally.

    I wish he could talk so he could tell me what happened and how heís feeling! Iím so worried, but glad that itís currently not impeding his regularly scheduled craziness! Iíll be keeping a very close eye also to see if pain does seem to creep up or if he starts seeming otherwise sick. :-(

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    Default Re: Swollen Knuckle on 5 Month Old Red

    In the first pic it appears whitish, but the other pics just show the reddish purple. Are you actually seeing anything white?

    It looks like an abscess to me, and if it is, it will get bigger and you WILL be able to see yellowish-white in there, which is pus. Often they will break and drain on their own, or you can do that for them. But you don't want to do ANYTHING until the formation of pus tells you that it IS an abscess and also that it is "ready."

    Please don't do this without some help - don't be grabbing a sewing needle and start poking.

    If you dampen a q-tip with alcohol and swab the area with it, it will make it easier to see what is going on under the skin. You do't need much - alcohol does something weird; it makes the surface skin seem more transparent as well as the hair covering it. I have no idea why, and plain water doesn't, but it is an easy way to monitor it.

    If it continues growing and starts to show the pus signs, come back here or PM me and I will tell you how to do this in a SAFE way (for the squirrel, I am NOT responsible if he kicks your @$$). Unburst abscesses can hurt because of the pressure they apply on the skin. When that is released, it feels GREAT, rather than being painful.

    A few months ago I helped a person here who's 11 year old developed a huge abscess on her chest area (have you ever heard someone gross completely out on the phone?). She had been getting more and more lethargic, not eating, just miserable, and after it was drained and wiped down, her mama put her in her bed to rest. Instead, she popped out of bed, did some zoomies, and trundled into the kitchen to sit in front of the refrigerator and wait for some goodies! Mama, who had to do the "surgery" told me that SHE needed the nap to recover, her squirrel was ready to go clubbing!

    So monitor and keep us posted on what you are seeing.

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    Default Re: Swollen Knuckle on 5 Month Old Red

    Quote Originally Posted by CritterMom View Post
    In the first pic it appears whitish, but the other pics just show the reddish purple. Are you actually seeing anything white?

    It looks like an abscess to me, and if it is, it will get bigger and you WILL be able to see yellowish-white in there, which is pus. Often they will break and drain on their own, or you can do that for them. But you don't want to do ANYTHING until the formation of pus tells you that it IS an abscess and also that it is "ready."

    Please don't do this without some help - don't be grabbing a sewing needle and start poking.

    If you dampen a q-tip with alcohol and swab the area with it, it will make it easier to see what is going on under the skin. You do't need much - alcohol does something weird; it makes the surface skin seem more transparent as well as the hair covering it. I have no idea why, and plain water doesn't, but it is an easy way to monitor it.

    If it continues growing and starts to show the pus signs, come back here or PM me and I will tell you how to do this in a SAFE way (for the squirrel, I am NOT responsible if he kicks your @$$). Unburst abscesses can hurt because of the pressure they apply on the skin. When that is released, it feels GREAT, rather than being painful.

    A few months ago I helped a person here who's 11 year old developed a huge abscess on her chest area (have you ever heard someone gross completely out on the phone?). She had been getting more and more lethargic, not eating, just miserable, and after it was drained and wiped down, her mama put her in her bed to rest. Instead, she popped out of bed, did some zoomies, and trundled into the kitchen to sit in front of the refrigerator and wait for some goodies! Mama, who had to do the "surgery" told me that SHE needed the nap to recover, her squirrel was ready to go clubbing!

    So monitor and keep us posted on what you are seeing.
    Yeah, that first pic is a little misleading in terms of color, I think the camera flash just made it appear all white. I just swabbed it with alcohol and took another pic! Name:  1E087C65-48C2-4D68-BA13-68F669C9E4F0.jpg
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    Sometimes when I upload here the quality seems to diminish a bit, but to me it looks like there is a bit of a white tip like a white head zit. It’s definitely not seriously full of pus yet, but my impression is that it’s probably an abscess that just has started to get more full of pus.

    Squeegee and I are twins, I literally JUST had two abscesses lanced on my nail bed!! Chronic nail biting caught up with me, it’s like he has a sympathy abscess �� But I know the feeling and the following relief!! Luckily I’m not too squeamish so if it doesn’t drain on its own, I’m not freaked out about manually draining it (properly with your guidance!). Also luckily not too risk-averse, him kicking my butt is expected and won’t stop me from getting in there ��

    Today, he still doesn’t seem lethargic or even like he’s holding weight off of that toe. I think it’s not quite progressed enough to be super tender, he didn’t really seem to mind me swabbing it or anything. But I imagine it’ll get tender as it gets more swollen!! I’m keeping a close eye for any signs of drainage and just keeping up with its swelling. I seriously appreciate the help so much!! You’re an invaluable resource to this community and we all are very grateful!! I’ll keep you updated as things progress also!

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    Default Re: Swollen Knuckle on 5 Month Old Red

    Quote Originally Posted by CritterMom View Post
    In the first pic it appears whitish, but the other pics just show the reddish purple. Are you actually seeing anything white?

    It looks like an abscess to me, and if it is, it will get bigger and you WILL be able to see yellowish-white in there, which is pus. Often they will break and drain on their own, or you can do that for them. But you don't want to do ANYTHING until the formation of pus tells you that it IS an abscess and also that it is "ready."

    Please don't do this without some help - don't be grabbing a sewing needle and start poking.

    If you dampen a q-tip with alcohol and swab the area with it, it will make it easier to see what is going on under the skin. You do't need much - alcohol does something weird; it makes the surface skin seem more transparent as well as the hair covering it. I have no idea why, and plain water doesn't, but it is an easy way to monitor it.

    If it continues growing and starts to show the pus signs, come back here or PM me and I will tell you how to do this in a SAFE way (for the squirrel, I am NOT responsible if he kicks your @$$). Unburst abscesses can hurt because of the pressure they apply on the skin. When that is released, it feels GREAT, rather than being painful.

    A few months ago I helped a person here who's 11 year old developed a huge abscess on her chest area (have you ever heard someone gross completely out on the phone?). She had been getting more and more lethargic, not eating, just miserable, and after it was drained and wiped down, her mama put her in her bed to rest. Instead, she popped out of bed, did some zoomies, and trundled into the kitchen to sit in front of the refrigerator and wait for some goodies! Mama, who had to do the "surgery" told me that SHE needed the nap to recover, her squirrel was ready to go clubbing!

    So monitor and keep us posted on what you are seeing.
    Gahhh okay so now Iím not so sure it IS an abscess! Itís not getting bigger, it actually seems to be LESS swollen and less irritatedÖ

    Here is a photo from today: one with flash and one without flash. I still donít think itís fractured because heís not avoiding using that toeÖat the bottom is an older picture for reference to his ďnormalĒ toe postureÖ
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    I feel like Iíve lost perspective because I keep looking at that toe so much day after day, maybe it is an abscess and itís just slow growing?

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    Default Re: Swollen Knuckle on 5 Month Old Red

    Well, they don't ALWAYS come to a head - sometimes they are absorbed and go away on their own. I would continue monitoring it to see where it is heading.

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    Default Re: Swollen Knuckle on 5 Month Old Red

    Quote Originally Posted by CritterMom View Post
    Well, they don't ALWAYS come to a head - sometimes they are absorbed and go away on their own. I would continue monitoring it to see where it is heading.
    So, quick update, today is one week from when I first noticed the bump. Here is what it looks like as of today (after swabbing with alcohol):

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    I honestly donít notice any significant changes in the abscess (or potential abscess)Öhe still seems completely unperturbed by that toe. Does your experience/instinct still lead you to believe itís an abscess? Is this timeline normal for seemingly no significant progression (or regression)? Thank you so much as always!!!! From both me and Squeegee :-)

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    Default Re: Swollen Knuckle on 5 Month Old Red

    I think it looks a tiny bit smaller. Certainly it isn't increasing in size. I would tend to keep watching it. Getting bigger would be an issue.

    As for how long it takes to reabsorb, well, abscesses like this (if that is what it is) are basically like a big zit. And the time it takes a big zit to go away and no longer be visible is something that should be measured in legal time. That it doesn't hurt and isn't growing - and that he is 6 months and not 6 years old - are all good things I think. A vet could really only do a fine needle aspirate on it to culture anything they could pull out - but with a red squirrel I am sure they would want to gas him down and I don't think I would put him through that at this point.

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    Default Re: Swollen Knuckle on 5 Month Old Red

    Quote Originally Posted by CritterMom View Post
    I think it looks a tiny bit smaller. Certainly it isn't increasing in size. I would tend to keep watching it. Getting bigger would be an issue.

    As for how long it takes to reabsorb, well, abscesses like this (if that is what it is) are basically like a big zit. And the time it takes a big zit to go away and no longer be visible is something that should be measured in legal time. That it doesn't hurt and isn't growing - and that he is 6 months and not 6 years old - are all good things I think. A vet could really only do a fine needle aspirate on it to culture anything they could pull out - but with a red squirrel I am sure they would want to gas him down and I don't think I would put him through that at this point.
    Wait oh my gosh, would a vet probably want to put a red squirrel under for a procedure because of general red squirrel temperament being very ornery? Gotta admire such a tiny creature with such a penchant for feisty mischief!!

    As of now, Iím just going to continue monitoring! I do agree that I think it looks a bit smaller. Iím certainly happy that it at least seems to go unnoticed by the squirrelly patient! Iíll be keeping a close eye on any changes in the (probable) abscess itself as well as Squeegeeís general demeanor. I will keep you in the loop as this saga continues to its end!

    Thank you thank you thank you!!!

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    Default Re: Swollen Knuckle on 5 Month Old Red

    Quote Originally Posted by CritterMom View Post
    I think it looks a tiny bit smaller. Certainly it isn't increasing in size. I would tend to keep watching it. Getting bigger would be an issue.

    As for how long it takes to reabsorb, well, abscesses like this (if that is what it is) are basically like a big zit. And the time it takes a big zit to go away and no longer be visible is something that should be measured in legal time. That it doesn't hurt and isn't growing - and that he is 6 months and not 6 years old - are all good things I think. A vet could really only do a fine needle aspirate on it to culture anything they could pull out - but with a red squirrel I am sure they would want to gas him down and I don't think I would put him through that at this point.

    Update!

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    I think it looks like it might finally be coming to a head? Still isnít bothering him thoughÖeven swabbing it directly with a q-tip and rubbing alcoholÖ

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    Default Re: Swollen Knuckle on 5 Month Old Red

    My baby is dealing with the exact same thing! Iíve researched nonstop and canít find anything on it. Hers is filled with blood, not pus, and feels like itís about to burst. The photos donít show just how dark red this thing is. Itíll seep blood every now and then. I held her little foot under running warm water and she loved it. She didnít move a muscle and started falling asleep. Once it soaked for a while I started to barely, barely squeeze it while drying her off and only blood came out but you could see the relief on her face. Iím desperate to figure out what this is so I can find a way to fix it. I canít get my hands on Baytril in my state so Iím working out plans to possibly drive her to my sisterís vet 8 hours away tomorrow. Iím desperate to help her. I will be watching this thread in hopes that someone knows what these babies are dealing with. Praying your baby heals soon.
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    Default Re: Swollen Knuckle on 5 Month Old Red

    Hi Nutatreerat.

    Though it might burst; I wouldn't call that exactly the same. For when there is that much redness with swelling it indicates a serious infection; perhaps even involving the bone itself.
    There was a case just like yours that looked just like this. Please do not delay seeking vet support, not even a day!

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    Default Re: Swollen Knuckle on 5 Month Old Red

    Vets in my state wonít even look at squirrels. I started a different thread looking for a vet in surrounding states.

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    Default Re: Swollen Knuckle on 5 Month Old Red

    That is unfortunate. Yet again, there may be a rehabber with a vet contact so he can get the care he needs.

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    Default Re: Swollen Knuckle on 5 Month Old Red

    Quote Originally Posted by Syd and Squeegee View Post
    Update!

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    I think it looks like it might finally be coming to a head? Still isnít bothering him thoughÖeven swabbing it directly with a q-tip and rubbing alcoholÖ
    So another update about 5 weeks since I first noticed the bump and about 3 weeks since my last updateÖ

    Honestly? Not a single thing has changed since my most recent post! It isnít going away, isnít getting any bigger, isnít causing any issues. He hangs by that toe just as much as he does any of the others! Itís not really squishy, but not really hard either. It seems to be a bit of a mystery, but luckily it does not appear to be tender and that toe/foot does not appear to be discombobulated in any respect

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    Default Re: Swollen Knuckle on 5 Month Old Red

    Notatreerat, were you able to locate a vet to help?

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    Default Re: Swollen Knuckle on 5 Month Old Red

    Someone sent me antibiotics for her and I used a saline rinse and Vetermycin on it daily and she fully healed. Sheís the cutest little stinker ever and hasnít had a problem since.

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