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Sugar Glider Health Issues

If you hear it once, you will probably hear it a million times. Sugar Gliders are NOT your average pet. Just as any other exotic animal, when they start to feel ill, they hide their illnesses. In some cases, by the time you notice it, the illness has already advanced. In some instances, it is even too late to do anything about it.

One of the best ways to fight this is to have a very close bond with your sugar glider. This way, the smallest change to sleeping longer than normal, not eating right, activity level is down,etc. will all be noticed right away and you will know to get your pet into the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Below I will be listing just a few of the health related issues with Sugar Gliders. Although there are many others out there, some of these are most commonly found to cause health issues.






AFLATOXICOSIS


This is a condition of the liver (hepatic disease) caused by the sugar glider ingesting aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are produced by fungi and molds in or on foods.The highest risk of contamination exists among corn, peanuts, and cottonseed. Aflatoxins can lead to cancer. A common way for a Sugar Glider to become contaminated with aflatoxins is by eating crickets or other insects which have been exposed to contaminated corn, or by eating peanuts or moldy feed or food items that have not been stored correctly.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:

Vomiting
Diarrhea
Jaundice
Lethargy
Lack of appetite
Weight loss

TREATMENT:

This can be treated if caught very early on. However, in most cases, this cause of death is found during a necropsy/histopath.

 




CALCIUM DEFICIENCY

This, in most cases, is actually a secondary condition due to another illness which will cause the body to pull nutrients from all other sources of the body to fight the problems.

It is also caused when a diet is fed that is not a proper calcium to phosphorus ratio. The correct ratio for a sugar glider is 1.5:1 -2:1 CA/P Ratio.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:

Limping/lameness
Lethargy
Weakness or tremors
Loss of use or favoring of one or both hind legs

TREATMENT:

This condition can be treated if treated soon. Most Veterinarians will administer Calcivet or an equivalent calcium supplement. It is imperative that a sugar glider is seen by a Veterinarian as soon as symptoms are noticeable or suspected.

Acting quickly if symptoms are shown is important. If left untreated muscle atrophy will occur leading to further paralysis and eventually death of the animal.

 




CONSTIPATION

Constipation is caused by a lack of fiber and moisture in your sugar gliders diet. It will cause pain while trying to defecate. A glider can also become constipated if it is forced to eat insoluble fibers it normally does not eat, this is why blending  vegetables and fruit are recommended.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:

Straining while defecating
Hissing

TREATMENTS:

Offering your sugar glider more water based foods such as melons, grapes and also some dark leafy greens should resolve the situation. If symptoms persist for more than 24 hours please consult with your Veterinarian.

 




DEHYDRATION

This happens when a sugar glider does not get enough liquids into their system or an illness is present. If this condition is not treated promptly, it can be fatal. It is the leading cause in sugar gliders deaths.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:

Lack of Appetite
Vomiting or Diarrhea
The skin remains up when applying the 'tent test'
Lack of balance
Lack of urination
Lack of defecation
Dull, sunken eyes
Droopy ears
Lethargy

TREATMENTS:

Contact your Veterinarian immediately or take your sugar glider to the nearest 24 hour Emergency Clinic.

 




DEPRESSION

This can be caused by a lack of attention, loneliness, the loss of a cage mate or stress.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:

Sleeping more than normal
Lack of interest in playing with toys, running on wheel
Lack of appetite
Sleeping in odd locations
Over grooming
Change in personality
Improper housing

TREATMENTS:

(after you have been to your Veterinarian and all tests
come back that there is not a illness)

Increase amount of attention given

Make sure you have proper housing unit

Get a companion animal for your sugar glider

Proper diet

 




DIARRHEA


A very liquid or extremely soft, loose stool and often frequent. This can be the cause from several things. Parasites, Giardia, Stress, Infections (both bacterial and viral), inability to digest a certain food, too many fruits offered, gastroenteritis, toxins.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:

Frequent runny and loose stools.

TREATMENTS:

First assess your diet. If feeding too many watery and/or citrus fruits, remove them from diet. Offer your sugar glider a small amount of pumpkin or rolled oats. If symptoms persist for 12 hours, please follow up with your Veterinarian. At this time have a fecal float/smear done to find the cause of the problem. Your Veterinarian will give you the proper medications to treat the cause. Follow as directed.

 




GIARDIASIS
(Giardia)

Giardia is a protozoan parasite that resides in the intestinal tract. It is highly contagious and can be transmitted from one pet to another through stool contact, contaminated water or food.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:

Diarrhea (normally containing a very strong, foul odor)
Decreased appetite
Vomitting
Weight loss
Discolored stools (often a pale color or a shade of green)
Dehydration
Fatigue

TREATMENTS:

Take sugar glider to Veterinarian immediately.

Keep sugar glider quarantined from all other animals in your home.

Keep cage, pouch, toys etc, sterilized. Can be cleaned daily with diluted bleach solution.

Wash hands after each contact with warm soap and water.

 




LUMPY JAW

The swelling of the jaw or facial area in a sugar glider. Feels as a hard lump in the area of swelling. This can be caused by a bacterial infection, a dental abscess, sinusitis, and trauma.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:

Slow to fast swelling in facial/neck area
Eye swollen shut

TREATMENTS:

Please contact your Veterinarian immediately.

 




UPPER RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS

An infection in the airways often traveling to the lungs. This can be caused by drafts, drastic and quick temperature changes.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:

Lethargy
Lack of appetite
Popping sound while breathing
Excessive sleeping
Dehydration

TREATMENTS:

Please contact your Veterinarian immediately.

 




URINARY TRACT INFECTION

An infection in the Urinary Tract which is often caused by E-Coli.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:

Hissing while urinating
Frequent Urination
Licking the cloaca
Crystals in Urine (determined be a Veterinarian)
Self Mutilation

TREATMENTS:

Please contact your Veterinarian immediately.

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