Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Paliative Care: Lessons Learned

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2024
    Location
    Ontario Canada
    Posts
    4
    Thanked: 10

    Default Paliative Care: Lessons Learned

    Hi, everyone

    Last night our little guy succumbed to his advanced Pox. (The main thread is here.) We had him in our care for a week. We found, and tried, a number of home remedies discovered on internet searches, and ultimately learned that for wild ones, basic care is the best care.

    His eyes were completely swollen from the start, so he could not see. I believe he was, at times, able to see shadows or detect movement.

    Housing:

    First we had him in a cat carrier. This was small, but enough room for his blanket nest, water bowl, food, and space to pee. I have an XL dog crate, which we lined with cardboard to prevent escape attempts, and moved the entire carrier into the crate, with the door open. We left him alone to decompress, and he soon located his food and water sources. We never changed their locations or moved things around. I had nests inside the carrier and outside next to it, and he established a little routine of switching to different nests at different times of day.

    Blanket nest construction:

    I used inexpensive fleece blankets, the felt kind you buy in a roll. Thicker was better: too thin, and the nest would collapse and he'd be unable to get back in. If thin is all you have, double it up so it holds its shape. He also didn't like the one that was "furry" feeling, although individual squirrel tastes may differ. I avoided anything with loops so he wouldn't catch his nails in them.

    I folded it into a pocket -- Illustrated instructions can be found here, and are attached to this post.

    1. Cut fleece blanket into quarters
    Material should be thick so the pocket holds its shape;
    if you can only find thin blankets, double up two quarters.

    2. Fold corner-to-corner.

    3. Fold one corner into the middle

    4. Tuck the other corner into the two layers of the first

    5. Pull down top layer of the loose corner to open the pocket

    6. This creates a snug pocket nest with a large "driveway" to help him find it.

    Hygiene:
    Our squirrel was extremely timid and emotionally sensitive. Any large move or attempt to handle him would cause him to panic and freeze up for a couple of hours. (Only apple slice would "reset" him.) So bathing and powdering him with Gold Bond were out of the question, as was treating his sores with peroxide. To not traumatize him with handling and constriction, the best I could do was to change his nests for clean ones, wipe away his pee, and remove his droppings.

    Nutrition:
    For the same reason as the bathing, syringe feeding was not an option: He would have to ingest everything voluntarily. We tried an "immunity-boosting nut paste" recipe, exotic fruit, unsalted nuts, Ebsilac, and Mazuri Rat and Mouse food. He rejected everything except apple slices and unsalted nuts -- although I suspect the Mazuri would have succeeded if he had encountered it before. I'm giving the rest to our other squirrel friends and they seem to enjoy it.

    Supplements:
    These were another money pit and a big fail. We bought MCT oil, Coconut puree, Colostrum capsules, and Quantum SuperLysine+. All of them altered the taste of his food too much and he would not eat anything. I'll be adding them all to my personal regimen, so they're not wasted. As I write this, my order of Fox Valley 20/50 was just delivered. I'm not sure I'm willing to take that.

    Rescuers will always chase miracles, following one false hope after another, going in circles out of compulsion to try just one more thing. Always feeling like you're not doing enough.

    What ultimately worked best for him, overall, was safety, warmth, and predictability. He knew where his food was, no one was going to steal it from him, and he could relax knowing he didn't need to defend himself: nothing bad was going to happen to him.

    He was an absolute joy to have, and we came to love him very much.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. 4 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to Kerry_Perkins:

    Naldinho (07-09-2024), SamtheSquirrel2018 (07-09-2024), supersquirrelgirl (07-09-2024), TubeDriver (07-09-2024)

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2024
    Location
    Ontario Canada
    Posts
    4
    Thanked: 10

    Default Re: Paliative Care: Lessons Learned

    Major Regret:

    With no option for pain management or treatment, we should have euthanized him right away. There is always the fear in the back of your mind that you are cheating them out of their best days, but really you are sparing them their worst.

    From now on I will be much quicker to act -- either to intervene much earlier in their illness, or to speed them if we've missed their window for a recovery.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2023
    Location
    Pleasanton, California, USA
    Posts
    507
    Thanked: 325

    Default Re: Paliative Care: Lessons Learned

    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry_Perkins View Post
    Major Regret:

    With no option for pain management or treatment, we should have euthanized him right away. There is always the fear in the back of your mind that you are cheating them out of their best days, but really you are sparing them their worst.

    From now on I will be much quicker to act -- either to intervene much earlier in their illness, or to speed them if we've missed their window for a recovery.
    Ms. Kerry, if I may comment: Hindsight is always 20/20 but when things are happening, we can only see what's in front. Regrets are not fair to oneself as we can't see the future. Animals can't talk to us directly so its always our best estimate for the situation at hand.

    I'm so glad you both committed to helping the little squirrel to live and hopefully recover. Squirrel pox is a dreaded disease with less than favorable survival rate but there have been cases where squirrels do indeed make full recovery with supportive care. I like to bet on the side of life and try hard to save it. There are obviously cases where euthanizing is only humane option but in this case with all we know and the full support of you guys, it was worth the try. I would do it again under the same circumstances. For the record, I have no regrets but that's easy for me to say since I wasn't directly involved.

    I said it before, it takes special people like you guys to be part of the 1% to get involved and give animals a fighting chance. I'm not a Vet or Rehabber, just experienced with wildlife care and want to help animals in trouble. My yard is full of wild squirrels and many have been helped with injuries. Some have recovered and unfortunately some have passed.

    I sincerely thank you both for efforts to save a hurting squirrel. Unfortunately, pox was too much.

    Mr.SSG

  5. 3 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to supersquirrelgirl:

    Kerry_Perkins (07-09-2024), SamtheSquirrel2018 (07-09-2024), TubeDriver (07-09-2024)

  6. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    East Coast, USA!
    Posts
    20,186
    Thanked: 12695

    Default Re: Paliative Care: Lessons Learned

    Godspeed little black squirrel.

    At least he passed in a quiet, safe place with food and water. Thanks for trying to help him. That case of Pox was very advanced so I am not surprised he passed. On the other hand, sometimes squirrels recover from terrible injuries/illness so it's hard to just count them out. One thing I definitely recommend to the big hearted people out there who are willing to roll up their sleeves and help a hurt animal..... is stock up on some commonly needed supplies (cage, fleece, food, formula)) and if possible meds (pain, antibiotics, anti-worm/parasitic). It helps to have some on hand so you can act quickly during a rescue.

    Thanks again for trying to save this little one.
    See my wild squirrel adventures in the thread "Squirtle's yard!":
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...quirtle-s-Yard!

    Loving dad to Sir Max, 2017-2018. There is no foot so small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.

    "Once in a while you get shown the light, In the strangest of places if you look at it right."
    -Grateful Dead

  7. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to TubeDriver:

    Kerry_Perkins (07-09-2024), SamtheSquirrel2018 (07-09-2024)

  8. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2024
    Location
    Ontario Canada
    Posts
    4
    Thanked: 10

    Default Re: Paliative Care: Lessons Learned

    You are right, SuperSquirrelGirl -- I'm trying to bear in mind that compared to the outdoors, this was a major improvement. It's still very hard.

    TubeDriver, I have quite a stockpile now! I kept all the unused fleece, the Infant Motrin, and now the Fox 20/50. If we're ever prescribed relevant medications, I'll set a few aside for these occasions.

    We have made the acquaintance of many animal neighbours over the years. Now that I know what I observed on them, pox has come and gone a few times over the years -- mostly on their toes, and only for a while.

    I've never seen anything like this.

    My mother offered a corner in her garden, and we laid him to rest this evening.

    This one will haunt me forever.

  9. 3 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to Kerry_Perkins:

    SamtheSquirrel2018 (07-09-2024), supersquirrelgirl (07-10-2024), TubeDriver (07-10-2024)

  10. #6
    Join Date
    May 2023
    Location
    Pleasanton, California, USA
    Posts
    507
    Thanked: 325

    Default Re: Paliative Care: Lessons Learned

    Please don't let this haunt you......

    Celebrate his life, Be Glad you were there to help him, and Rejoice that he is at peace and free of pain. Amen!

  11. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2024
    Location
    Knoxville
    Posts
    3
    Thanked: 0

    Talking Re: Paliative Care: Lessons Learned


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •