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Thread: Blind 8-week-old rock squirrel

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    Default Blind 8-week-old rock squirrel

    I received an abandoned rock squirrel at approx 5 weeks old. (The next day I received two more babies from the same litter) The top of the first baby's head was swollen and she had a few small abrasions on her body. The swelling was resolved with a course of metacam after 9 days. She is blind, however. I don't know if she was blind initially or as a result of her head injury. My question is, can blindness in squirrels be temporary and resolve?

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    Default Re: Blind 8-week-old rock squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by Pintabean View Post
    I received an abandoned rock squirrel at approx 5 weeks old. (The next day I received two more babies from the same litter) The top of the first baby's head was swollen and she had a few small abrasions on her body. The swelling was resolved with a course of metacam after 9 days. She is blind, however. I don't know if she was blind initially or as a result of her head injury. My question is, can blindness in squirrels be temporary and resolve?
    Hi Pintabean:
    Thanks your for your post! First of all, are you experienced in the care of baby Squirrels? If not, I would strongly recommend that you go to the Henry's Pets website ASAP and view their very thorough and concise 6 pages of recommendations for the care and feeding of Squirrels. Here is the link:
    ( https://www.henryspets.com/1-baby-squirrel-care-guide/ ).
    From your profile it appears that you have some experience with rehabbing from a zoo small animal perspective but Squirrels are have their own particular care requirements and I would strongly recommend reviewing the excellent information at Henry's without delay!

    What are you using as evidence to suggest that your baby Squirrel-girl is blind? Do you suspect blindness in one eye or both? By asking these questions; I am not implying that your Squirrel is not in fact blind BUT blindness is often one of the first things rehabbers think of when a Squirrel (or other animal as well) seems to have difficulty walking, avoiding obstacles or in other ways appearing uncoordinated!

    In regard to your question, Pintabean, I do need to tell you that I am not a Vet but if I might still comment from an anatomic and physiologic standpoint; it is far more difficult to explain the complete loss of sight in both eyes to a closed head injury than it would be to attribute certain behaviors such as uncoordinated walking that might suggest blindness; to this closed head injury. The reason for this is that for there to be blindness in both eyes from a head injury, it would require destruction, interruption or incapacitation one or more major structures such the effective destruction of the visual cortex of the brain on both sides, total interruption of the nerve fibers leading to the visual cortex on both sides of the brain, damage to both optic nerves or significant damage to both eyes themselves. Again, it would help to have a detailed description (or video) of the behaviors that are suggesting the blindness. Videos cannot be directly uploaded to The Squirrel Board but they can be put on YouTube and link placed in your thread.

    IF it can be assumed that your little Squirrel has sustained a traumatic brain injury of sorts, use of a steroid such as prednisone or prednisolone may offer some benefit. Do you have access to either of these medications. Top dose these, it will be necessary to know the weight of your Squirrel in grams and the strength of the medication in milligrams (mg). And, again, to get back to your question, the effects of brain injuries can certainly improve but the likelihood of this and especially the degree of any improvement is very difficult to predict.

    Please keep us updated and thanks for finding The Squirrel Board!

    Regards,
    SamtheSquirrel

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    Default Re: Blind 8-week-old rock squirrel

    Hello SamtheSquirrel,

    Thank you for your reply. For clarification, I have been rehabbing squirrels and chipmunks for 3 years with great success, however, I am by no means an expert. I volunteer at a local zoo/sanctuary and have been part of the rescue team since its inception. I am an experienced vet tech. I have read all the Henry's info and been to other squirrel rehab websites.

    Here are the reasons I believe my little rock squirrel is totally blind (both eyes): she does not look up at me when I approach the bin she and her littermates are housed in. In fact, she never looks up or turns her head to my voice. Her littermates look at me and come to my extended hand. When I place my finger in front of her nose,, she does not extend her nose to my finger. She does not blink or move when I move my finger toward either eye. When I take her out of the bin for runaround time,, she stays mostly in one spot and does not explore as her littermates do. She stares straight ahead and may take a few steps to the right or left but does not walk in circles or tilt her head. The few times she has ran, her gait is normal but she runs over things as if they are not there. She suckles her milk well and is a good weight. She does not eat rodent block even when it is placed under her nose. She doesn't even sniff it. Her littermates eat the block readily.

    I will give some prednisone and see if there is any improvement.

    Pintabean

  4. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Pintabean from:

    SamtheSquirrel2018 (09-13-2023)

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    Default Re: Blind 8-week-old rock squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by Pintabean View Post
    Hello SamtheSquirrel,

    Thank you for your reply. For clarification, I have been rehabbing squirrels and chipmunks for 3 years with great success, however, I am by no means an expert. I volunteer at a local zoo/sanctuary and have been part of the rescue team since its inception. I am an experienced vet tech. I have read all the Henry's info and been to other squirrel rehab websites.

    Here are the reasons I believe my little rock squirrel is totally blind (both eyes): she does not look up at me when I approach the bin she and her littermates are housed in. In fact, she never looks up or turns her head to my voice. Her littermates look at me and come to my extended hand. When I place my finger in front of her nose,, she does not extend her nose to my finger. She does not blink or move when I move my finger toward either eye. When I take her out of the bin for runaround time,, she stays mostly in one spot and does not explore as her littermates do. She stares straight ahead and may take a few steps to the right or left but does not walk in circles or tilt her head. The few times she has ran, her gait is normal but she runs over things as if they are not there. She suckles her milk well and is a good weight. She does not eat rodent block even when it is placed under her nose. She doesn't even sniff it. Her littermates eat the block readily.

    I will give some prednisone and see if there is any improvement.

    Pintabean
    Thanks Pintabean:
    Please keep us updated on the condition of your little Squirrel!
    Regards,
    SamtheSquirrel

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    Default Re: Blind 8-week-old rock squirrel

    Sadly, this little gal did not improve after a course of prednisone. She was clearly blind and therefore non-releasable. I had no option but to humanely euthanize. Broke my heart to do so.

    Pintabean
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    Default Re: Blind 8-week-old rock squirrel

    Hi Pintabean: I'm so sorry! You did the right thing for all of the right reasons! RIP Little Squirrel as now you are without fear or suffering!
    Thank you for the love you bestowed upon this Little One Pintabean! I wish Peace for you!
    Regards,
    SamtheSquirrel

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    Default Re: Blind 8-week-old rock squirrel

    Quote Originally Posted by SamtheSquirrel2018 View Post
    Hi Pintabean: I'm so sorry! You did the right thing for all of the right reasons! RIP Little Squirrel as now you are without fear or suffering!
    Thank you for the love you bestowed upon this Little One Pintabean! I wish Peace for you!
    Regards,
    SamtheSquirrel
    Thanks SamtheSquirrel. I am putting all my love and energy into her two littermates now. They are doing great! But I find myself getting weepy at times when I am with them. I know it was the right thing to do, but it was still an agonizing decision.

    Pintabean

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