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Thread: Need Help! Baby squirrel stopped gaining

  1. #1
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    Default Need Help! Baby squirrel stopped gaining

    Hello, I am new to the board and am needing help. I found two baby fox squirrels (guessing they were a week or two old due to size and lack of fur) after a tree that the mother had her nest in was cut down. We attempted to let mother claim the babies with no luck and due to the cold weather we took them in. We have had them about 2 weeks and they were doing wonderfully then all of a sudden one has stopped gaining and seems to be losing weight by the day. I am fairly certain it is headed toward an emaciated state if it is not there already.

    These babies are currently about 3-4 weeks Peanut the larger one is weighing around 75 grams and is filling out nicely. Kasey the smaller of the two is only weighing in around 64 grams and is very frail and boney. I have been following TSB closely since I found it a few days ago but am unsure of what the best course of action would be for Kasey.

    Initially I was mixing formula -1part water -1 part Pedialyte & -1 part Esbilac powder puppy formula, per online instruction--- Then I recently ready you should not mix the formula with Pedialyte so have switched to 2-parts water 1 part powder Esbilac formula and have been feeding every 3-3.5 hours and they have been on this mix for a day and a half.

    Since she stopped gaining weight, I read she needed to be hydrated so I was hydrating with Pedialyte between her normal formula feedings.--- This evening I read that Pedialyte should not be used more than 24 hr. so I have switched to a solution of 1c water with 1tsp. karo syrup hydrating with 1-1.5ml a couple times between formula feedings where she eats around 3-3.5ml I did notice she perked up more with the sugar water than pedialyte.

    I read some where that added calories in an emaciated squirrel is a must and that heavy whipping cream could be added to the formula, so she has been getting the revised formula mix with 1tsp of heavy whipping cream added to it today. I have also read that Ensure is good for emaciated squirrels but am not sure of when/if to introduce that.

    There is so much contradicting information out on the web but from what I have followed on TSB there seems to be a lot of knowledgeable people who care for baby squirrels on a regular basis. Any advise is greatly appreciated, if a direct care plan can be explained I will do my best to follow it to a "T".

    I should also note that her urine is clear and does not smell. Her stools are yellowish and just recently (today after getting heavy whipping cream added to formula) they have became more formed (not too hard and not runny like they have been.) Her breathing is clear no clicking although there are times when she sticks her tongue to the top of her mouth and you can hear the suction release. When we found her there was minimal scratches, none that broke the skin, no larva, cuts etc. Kasey was smaller than her sister when we found her but the size difference is VERY apparent now and is very alarming you can feel every vertebrae in her spine and all her ribs. I really hope this little sweet pea makes it through this rough patch so she can be released with her sister when the time comes.

    Thanks in Advance.

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    Default Re: Need Help! Baby squirrel stopped gaining

    I suspect the inclusion of Pedialyte in the formula and the on-going attempts to hydrate with Pedialyte were at least part of the problem, which has now been corrected and some results are starting to be seen. Pedialyte has a lot of salts (electrolytes) for a little squirrel... I'd recommend diluting the Pedialyte using equal parts Pedialyte and plain water (for future reference or for anyone else that might read this!). I just have to suspect her electrolytes have been out of whack and giving her a rough go of it.

    I would absolutely continue the hydration between feedings for a while. Were it me, I would add Ultraboost to their formula. Since they are about the right age, maybe order some Fox Valley 20/50, Ultraboost and some Healthy Blocks from Henry's.

    Some folks transition to Fox Valley 20/50 at 4 weeks or so. Some stick with Esbilac. Personally I transition to a combo of 50% Esbilac and 50% Fox Valley 20/50 at 3.5 weeks and use that through weaning. In this case I would use 2 parts Esbilac, 2 Parts Fox Valley 20/50, 1 Part Ultraboost and 10 parts water to mix... you can stick with the heavy cream if you are having good results (my experience is the Ultraboost never causes digestive issues (diarrhea and the like) while heavy cream can in some babies).
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    Default Re: Need Help! Baby squirrel stopped gaining

    This is more of a bump to the thread than anything. Check out Henry’s Healthy Pets Baby Squirrel Care Guide, sorry I don’t know how to put a link in yet. Are you warming the syringes of formula in a cup of water to about 105-110? Do they have a heating pad on low under part of their container? Also you’re probably not too far away from needing some Fox Valley 20/50 in their formula. Also some Fox Valley Ultra Boost may be warranted since one needs a little more help.

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    Default Re: Need Help! Baby squirrel stopped gaining

    Quote Originally Posted by Spanky View Post
    I suspect the inclusion of Pedialyte in the formula and the on-going attempts to hydrate with Pedialyte were at least part of the problem, which has now been corrected and some results are starting to be seen. Pedialyte has a lot of salts (electrolytes) for a little squirrel... I'd recommend diluting the Pedialyte using equal parts Pedialyte and plain water (for future reference or for anyone else that might read this!). I just have to suspect her electrolytes have been out of whack and giving her a rough go of it.

    I would absolutely continue the hydration between feedings for a while. Were it me, I would add Ultraboost to their formula. Since they are about the right age, maybe order some Fox Valley 20/50, Ultraboost and some Healthy Blocks from Henry's.

    Some folks transition to Fox Valley 20/50 at 4 weeks or so. Some stick with Esbilac. Personally I transition to a combo of 50% Esbilac and 50% Fox Valley 20/50 at 3.5 weeks and use that through weaning. In this case I would use 2 parts Esbilac, 2 Parts Fox Valley 20/50, 1 Part Ultraboost and 10 parts water to mix... you can stick with the heavy cream if you are having good results (my experience is the Ultraboost never causes digestive issues (diarrhea and the like) while heavy cream can in some babies).
    Sorry I posted at the same time, please listen to Spanky.

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    Default Re: Need Help! Baby squirrel stopped gaining

    Thank you for the information and I apologize for the delay getting back to you, I had ordered FV 20/50 and healthy blocks from Henry's earlier in the week and they are to arrive Friday. Yay! I will implement them into the feeding schedule once they are received. For the ultra boost is this a dietary supplement for humans that can be found at grocery store or where can I find it? (I tried googling and it pulled up tennis shoes. lol) I will plan to use the heavy whipping cream until I can get ultra boost and monitor for diarrhea or other negative changes in digestive function. I have notice Kacey has become a little bloated from the formula with the cream would that be cause to discontinue heavy cream before getting the ultra boost?

    I did notice this afternoon that there was a smell to Kasey's urine, not a super strong odor but there was one. The bedding being used in dark so I haven't notice any color to it (I will switch to light bedding tonight) but looking when she urinates is seems mostly clear there may have been a couple drops at first that did appear more cloudy though. Could it be a UTI or do you think that is her body flushing out her system. Should I err on the side of caution and administer antibiotics if so, are there any that do not require a prescription from the vet? If if I shouldn't go ahead and administer is there a place I can order them to get them headed this way in case it does become more apparent?

    I will try to monitor the thread more closely now that I am home from work.
    Again thank you both for getting back to me. I TRULY APPRECIATE IT! I am getting attached to these little girls and really want to give them the best shot at survival once released. I have printed Henry's care guide and will follow it closely.

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    Post Re: Need Help! Baby squirrel stopped gaining

    Sorry I just re-read Spanky's previous message and I will get ultra-boost from Henry's headed this way also.

    Please respond on the other questions.

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    Default Re: Need Help! Baby squirrel stopped gaining

    A UTI is possible though in my opinion, baby squirrel formula pee all smells strong to me!

    I would urge every person who has one of these little magical creatures fall into their lap to to immediately begin networking for any left over HUMAN antibiotics they can get their hands on - leftovers that never got finished even though the doctor told them to. In just about all cases, ONE human sized antibiotic pill or capsule is more than enough for an entire round of meds. If possible, get not only the name of the drug but also the size in milligrams of the pills. If that info is not available, google "pill identifier" and it will bring up some sites where you can enter a description of your pill and bring up photos to compare to to determine exactly the drug and size.

    Once you have antibiotics, giving us a list of the symptoms and any other pertinent info, what meds you have available to you, the size in milligrams of the pills and the size of the squirrel in grams, one of us will get back to you with clear instructions of how to correctly dilute and dose the med that would best deal with the issues you are seeing.

    Best case is that you never have to get into the meds ever because they are all pictures of health. But when one starts to go downhill, having meds ON HAND that can be used to treat them is a really good feeling...

    So find meds, identify them, and while you are doing that, make the dietary changes you have been advised to do and lets hope that the meds are the beginning of an insurance policy you end up not needing.

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    Default Re: Need Help! Baby squirrel stopped gaining

    Sounds good, thank you for the additional information crittermom. I will check with friends and family to see what meds I can get my hands on. I will keep you all posted with changes. As of this a.m. she did put on 3 grams hoping for more by tomorrow morning.

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    Default Re: Need Help! Baby squirrel stopped gaining

    Quote Originally Posted by CritterMom View Post
    A UTI is possible though in my opinion, baby squirrel formula pee all smells strong to me!

    I would urge every person who has one of these little magical creatures fall into their lap to to immediately begin networking for any left over HUMAN antibiotics they can get their hands on - leftovers that never got finished even though the doctor told them to. In just about all cases, ONE human sized antibiotic pill or capsule is more than enough for an entire round of meds. If possible, get not only the name of the drug but also the size in milligrams of the pills. If that info is not available, google "pill identifier" and it will bring up some sites where you can enter a description of your pill and bring up photos to compare to to determine exactly the drug and size.

    Once you have antibiotics, giving us a list of the symptoms and any other pertinent info, what meds you have available to you, the size in milligrams of the pills and the size of the squirrel in grams, one of us will get back to you with clear instructions of how to correctly dilute and dose the med that would best deal with the issues you are seeing.

    Best case is that you never have to get into the meds ever because they are all pictures of health. But when one starts to go downhill, having meds ON HAND that can be used to treat them is a really good feeling...

    So find meds, identify them, and while you are doing that, make the dietary changes you have been advised to do and lets hope that the meds are the beginning of an insurance policy you end up not needing.
    https://photos.google.com/album/AF1Q...P9tiPhzVRT6-Q7
    This was Coco in summer 2022 a day after we got her, fur all matted, fleas, under nourished, thin-bony, and very foul odor from her pee. She was found running up to anyone at the local fries shack, begging for food, no mama in sight. Chippy's pee never had that odor, but at first we thought maybe its different for some red squirrels. A few weeks later we followed your advice to dose some antibiotics. It took about 2 weeks for the odor to eventually disappear and fine since. Just like to thank you for helping us save her ( you can see we were feeding her esbilac with a meds dropper, we know better now... not right ! )

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    Default Re: Need Help! Baby squirrel stopped gaining

    Hello again, Checking back in with an update on my little Kasey.
    Her improvement has been minimal. (I was so optimistic the day after I had posted and she had gained 3 grams.) She gained 3 grams the 20th, stayed at 67 grams on the 21st, and dropped 1gram today. I had continued to hydrate between formula feedings the 20th and 21st but on the 21st I noticed she was not eating the amount her weight said she needed to be eating (less than 5% I was shooting for 7%). At first I thought maybe the heavy whipping cream was filling her up fast or hurting her tummy (even though her poop was perfect while on the whipping cream.) I switched back to the plain Esbilac mid day and by evening she was eating more but had started in with diarrhea. When weighing her this a.m. and seeing that she lost rather than gained, I decided to stop the hydrating (since she had 3 days of hydration and doesn't look so dehydrated anymore) and just do formula I added the smallest bit of whipping cream back in hoping to stop or at lease slow the diarrhea. She has continued to eat smaller amounts I would guess between 4%-5% today but the diarrhea has slowed way down (Thank goodness). I got home from work and found the Henry's healthy blocks and FV 20/50 waiting for me. I have placed a block in with them and will start with the FV20/50/Esbilac formula tonight.

    Spanky, what would you suggest the ratio for this mixture would be? (I dont have the Ultraboost yet, it says it should be here Monday.) Should I continue to add a little whipping cream since that seems to help form her stools? Or should I just try Esbilac/ FV 20/50 mix?

    Since the 20th I have seen more changes indicating possible infection. She has become very lethargic, and has started doing this weird jerky thing with her head. He urine has developed a strong odor and her privates are red although I do not know if that is from infection or diarrhea. She has also really began to squirm and act as though she feels uncomfortable during toileting her. I took crittermoms advice and started asking for meds with little luck,I did find one 800mg Bactrim pill. Please let me know if you think I should administer meds. if so please advise of dosing. Kasey is weighing 66 grams today.

    I won't be back around my computer until a little later tonight but will try to implement any thing advised in this evenings later feeding.

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    Default Re: Need Help! Baby squirrel stopped gaining

    Quote Originally Posted by Missys2squirrels View Post
    Spanky, what would you suggest the ratio for this mixture would be? (I dont have the Ultraboost yet, it says it should be here Monday.) Should I continue to add a little whipping cream since that seems to help form her stools? Or should I just try Esbilac/ FV 20/50 mix?
    Half FV 20/50 and half Esbilac... so 1 part FV 20/50, 1 part Esbilac and 4 parts water.

    Is the Esbilac powder being stored in the freezer... or minimally the fridge? I know it says this is not necessary, but we find that it does go rancid at room temp pretty quickly. Same with the Fox Valley... any opened powdered formula should be stored in the freezer, or the fridge at a minimum!

    It is curious that the whipping cream helps with diarrhea, since more often it is the cause... I suppose I would add a bit of whipping cream to the mix until the Ultraboost arrives.

    Shoot for 5% right now... how frequently is she being fed?
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    Default Re: Need Help! Baby squirrel stopped gaining

    Thank you for getting back to me spanky, I will mix as instructed.

    At the moment the dry formula is stored at room temp. I would assume this could be what made the squirrels bloat so bad when I was just giving them the Esbilac. I will use the little that is made up that has been kept refrigerated and will toss what is left in the can and get a fresh one for them tomorrow.

    Right now she is being fed every 3-3.5 hours with the longest stretch being 4 hours once in a 24hr period. Thank you again for getting back to me I appreciate it.

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    Default Re: Need Help! Baby squirrel stopped gaining

    I believe it is time to space the feedings out to every 4 hours and I continue to feed under weight kids around the clock. They may be getting to much fur and too big to see their milk line but spacing them out a bit may see her eating 5% and even more maybe.
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    Default Re: Need Help! Baby squirrel stopped gaining

    I see Spanky is helping you and you are questioning if you should start an antibiotic. I will let Spanky advise if he thinks you should treat her. Lethargy and not eating are both signs of possible infection.

    Please confirm the strength of the Bactrim pill and her current weight. Both are needed for proper dosing.

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    Default Re: Need Help! Baby squirrel stopped gaining

    Good Morning Kasey has lost even more with this mornings weigh in she is back down to 64 grams here is what the pill was identified as using online identification sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim. Strength: 400-80 Mg.
    Please let me know the proper dosage.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Default Re: Need Help! Baby squirrel stopped gaining

    Dosing sent via PM, let us know if there are any question or clarification needed!
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    Default Re: Need Help! Baby squirrel stopped gaining

    Quote Originally Posted by Missys2squirrels View Post
    At the moment the dry formula is stored at room temp. I would assume this could be what made the squirrels bloat so bad when I was just giving them the Esbilac.
    We have found that the formulas can (will?) go rancid in as little as a few days when left at room temperature after being opened... could be that 70 degrees is okay but 75 is not or something (variances in what any one person's house temp). Or maybe moisture levels... who knows?!?

    Regardless, storing int he freezer is always the best way to guard against the formula powder going bad after opening... at a minimum, keep it in the fridge.

    There are a number of things that can result in bloat, including spoiled formula:
    - Overfeeding
    - Feeding a cold baby
    - Using the wrong formula(s)
    - Intolerance (happens fairly often with heavy cream)
    - Feeding cold formula
    - Infections
    - Feeding too frequently

    The last one is why I suggested adding another 30 minutes minimum in between the feedings. Babies that are 4 & 5 weeks I feed every 4 hours. At six weeks I move that out to about every 5 hours... with underweight babies I continue to feed around the clock and them to get 5 feedings every 25 hours. When they are eating some solids (block is always the first and only solids) and are around 8 weeks they can go to 3 times a day feedings... as logn as they are gaining weight / growing and healthy! And so on... I am attaching a feeding amounts and a feeding frequency cheat sheets.

    Feeding Frequency.pdf
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    Default Re: Need Help! Baby squirrel stopped gaining

    Thank you again for the guidance on care and dosage as well as the cheat sheets. I will post back if I have any questions or have any updates.

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    Default Re: Need Help! Baby squirrel stopped gaining

    Hello, just wanted to give an update Kasey. Earlier in the week she was continuing to loose weight and got down to 57g. However after the antibiotic stated taking effect and we finally got the ultra boost introduced into her diet (due to bad weather it came in late.) She has FINALLY started to put weight back on. About a week ago she was at 57g, she lingered at 60-61g for what seemed like forever, then this morning at weigh in she was up to 65g. She has started eating more the last day and a half (about 7-8 cc every 4 hours for the past day). I hate to slow her down but want to make sure that it is okay for her to be eating 11-12% of her weight? Hopefully we see the gaining trend continue. Please let me know if its okay that she is eating so much.

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    Default Re: Need Help! Baby squirrel stopped gaining

    Quote Originally Posted by Missys2squirrels View Post
    Hello, just wanted to give an update Kasey. Earlier in the week she was continuing to loose weight and got down to 57g. However after the antibiotic stated taking effect and we finally got the ultra boost introduced into her diet (due to bad weather it came in late.) She has FINALLY started to put weight back on. About a week ago she was at 57g, she lingered at 60-61g for what seemed like forever, then this morning at weigh in she was up to 65g. She has started eating more the last day and a half (about 7-8 cc every 4 hours for the past day). I hate to slow her down but want to make sure that it is okay for her to be eating 11-12% of her weight? Hopefully we see the gaining trend continue. Please let me know if its okay that she is eating so much.
    so much for the update, it is appreciated (all too often we never hear back from folks).

    Sometimes we see them go up to 10% when they get a little older / bigger. I think I would stop at 8-9% at her size (at the most). And only if she does not develop loose or white stools.
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  22. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Spanky from:

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