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 Experience with Reoccurring Facial Abscess

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Louielove13 Posted - Apr 04 2019 : 08:45:37 PM
My 5 year old sugar glider Louie is currently experiencing a reoccurring abscess on his sweet little face. This is the first health issue that I have experienced in the 5 years that I've had my babies and have spent hours and hours doing research and being worried sick. I wanted to share our experience in case the information could help other gliders/worried owners having a similar issue and also serve as a place for recommendations. I have turned to this site a lot for peace of mind and wanted to return the favor, as there is not a ton of specific information regarding abscesses.

March 8th: I woke my gliders Louie and Abu up to play with them and feed them before going to work and noticed a large bump above Louie's left eye (cue sheer panic). As you can imagine, this terrified me and I spent the next several hours watching him to see if he was symptomatic in any way. Louie seemed completely unfazed by the bump. He was eating, drinking, playing, peeing/pooping no different than he ever had. I made the decision to wait until morning and call the exotic vets office to make an appointment and hoped for the best.

March 9th: I called the vet first thing in the morning and was able to get an appointment immediately, so I packed up Louie and off we went. The vet did a physical and oral exam and diagnosed him with an abscess. She was unable to aspirate fluid from the bump for a sample due to Louie moving around and the bump being so close to his eye, as she didn't want to damage his vision. So she prescribed him Clavamox (antibiotic) every 12 hours for 10 days and Metacam (anti-inflammatory) once daily for 7 days. She said if the swelling didn't improve after the medications, he would have to come back in to be put under anesthesia to do another dental exam, dental x-rays, and to drain the abscess. Apparently the most common cause of facial abscesses in sugar gliders is a fractured tooth, which causes a tooth root abscess. So off Louie and I went with antibiotics and our fingers crossed.

March 10th-25th: Louie started his medications and let me tell you.. he was not a fan of the Clavamox. With some resistance, he let me give it. He received his meds for the prescribed time and continued being the happy boy he is. Unfortunately the meds didn't work and the swelling was still the same after 10 days. He was still unfazed by the bump and showed no signs of being sick or in pain, thankfully. I called the vet to update her and made and appointment.

March 26th: I nervously took my Louie baby to the vet and hoped for the best. The vet put him under anesthesia and did a dental exam and took dental X-rays to rule out a broken tooth being the culprit. The exam and X-rays showed no evidence of a tooth issue, so she proceeded to lance and drain the abscess, rinse the wound, and send us on our way with another round of Clavamox, Metacam, and Silvadene cream for his incision. Due to the incision being left open to continue to drain, the vet recommended I keep Louie and Abu apart for the night so Abu didn't try to clean Louie's wound and irritate it. I took Louie home and cuddled with him for the next several hours so I could keep a close eye on him. He was a trooper and acted as if nothing had happened, except for being mad that he had to be in a hospital cage away from Abu for the night.

March 27th-April 2nd: Louie healed quickly and continued to do great. The only evidence that he had a procedure was the little shaved spot where the abscess used to be.

April 3rd: I opened the glider pouch to give the boys a treat and noticed a new swelling under Louie's left eye and his third eye lid was visible in a crescent moon shape on his eyeball. I was so upset. I immediately called the vet and got an appointment for the next day.

April 4th: Back to the vet we go. On arrival the vet did an exam and said based on the location of the swelling and exposed 3rd eyelid, she thinks this is a retrobulbar abscess (abscess behind the eye) and the only treatment that will guarantee the abscess doesnt reoccur is to have Louies eye removed. I had a breakdown and was not accepting her answer. To go from 2 rounds of 1 kind of antibiotic to removing my poor babies eye was not acceptable to me, which I expressed to the vet. I felt he didnt even have a proper chance to heal. She hesitantly gave me 2 new antibiotics to try (Baytril and SMZ), told me I would have to make a decision, and sent me on my way. I wasnt even to my car in the parking lot of the vet when I called another exotic animal vet for a second opinion. They were wonderful and got me in within an hour of my call.

The second vet reviewed Louies medical records and dental X-rays and did a physical exam. 4 exotic vets at the practice each looked at his eye and agreed that the swelling could either be a retrobulbar abscess or swelling from the initial abscess procedure. More likely being the first. But she gave me a glimmer of hope and said my baby is not to the point of needing his eye removed. She changed his antibiotic regimen, as she felt Baytril and SMZ cover the same kind of bacteria and was not the right choice for him. She prescribed him Amoxicillin twice daily, Baytril once daily, and Flagyl twice daily, all for 28 days. She also gave him more Metacam to be taken once daily for 7 days. She is hoping that this combination of antibiotics will take care of any/all bacteria that could be present.
So now begins the most nerve wracking 28 days. I hope and pray with every fiber of my being that this course of antibiotics works for him and he does not have to have his eye removed. This would absolutely break my heart.

I hope this information helps in some capacity. The number one thing I cant stress enough is do not delay vet care to wait and see. Every day counts and I cant imagine how much worse Louie would be if I waited.

Feel free to leave any recommendations or your own experience with abscesses.

Thank you and best wishes