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Why a Sugar Glider Should Have a Mate!
Why a Sugar Glider Should Have a Mate!
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Dec 03 2010
04:06:03 PM
I received this email through the SGSS here in Florida. I was appalled at what I read and forwarded it to SESG & Art. Please, if you have a lone glider- please try to find it a mate or re-home it to people who can bond it. This suggie spoke of below DIED. I found that out a few days ago.

Just thought you all needed to read this to put in perspective what loneliness does to Sugar Gliders and how quickly they can go downhill.



Subject: Need Help Rehoming Glider

Hello,

I would like to get a little more information about how your organization helps with finding homes for sugar gliders.

My baby is about 1 year old, male, semi-tame glider. I feel that he has recently, within the past 2 months, started feeling lonley or depressed because he began biting himself (genitalia and anal area). I took him to the vet and the vet told me he had a slight infection and gave me antibiotics for him. That was about 3-4 weeks ago and he is doing a little better, however I still think he has the tendency to bite himself from time to time around the rectal area, so I've been applying medicine every few hours or when I hear him making "the Noise". Unfortunately, Im not home during the day to know if he is biting while I'm away.

I will also be leaving in a few weeks for a trip and I will not be able to take him with me and I dont have anyone else willing to look after him and provide him with the care he needs while I will be away. So, Ive decided the best thing for me to do is to try and find a home for him with someone who has experience with sugar gliders. I also hope that his new home will have some other gliders for him to play with so he's not alone. I haven't been spending as much time with him and giving him as much attention now that I've started working.

I hope you will be able to assist us. I NEED to find a home for him ASAP.

Thank you.

Edited by - Sugar Mama on Dec 03 2010 04:07:02 PM
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Dec 03 2010
05:20:59 PM
KuroNeko Fuzzy Wuzzy Gliderpedia Editor Visit KuroNeko's Photo Album USA 1617 Posts
That's so sad
Did the vet not mention using an e-collar?[retorical]
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Dec 03 2010
05:50:00 PM
torilynn Face Hugger Visit torilynn's Photo Album 789 Posts
Maybe if she would have tried to rehome him sooner.
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Dec 03 2010
06:34:24 PM
Omis n Kais g-ma Pouch Protector Visit Omis n Kais g-ma's Photo Album TX, USA 7524 Posts
Very sad. I'd gnaw on myself too if I were so lonesome.
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Dec 03 2010
07:05:59 PM
Candy Booger Bunny Visit Candy's Photo Album FL, USA 6877 Posts
Sugar Mama -

Your reply to her was dated 3 days after the above email was sent to your Sugar Glider of Sarasota Society. You referred her to Art and SESG to be contacted by Email. She emailed me the next day when she could not get in touch with SESG. Her email to me included the previous email correspondence. - You have been away from the boards and missed that SESG's format has changed to an informational web page and there is a new email address.

Info@southeastcares.org

New Glider Web page: sesg.southeastcares.org

Had she been advised, on the day she first reached out for assistance, to take her glider to a vet, and to get him in an e-collar immediately, the situation may have ended differently.

Please EVERYONE - if someone contacts you because a glider is sick or injured - the first and BEST ADVICE would be to take the glider to a vet immediately.
Do not refer them to others for advice - just send them to a vet.

Referring someone to contact others by email in a situation that needs immediate attention can also delay the help the owner and glider needs. Had she been given phone numbers to contact us, the help and information she needed could have reached her much more quickly. Email and message boards are not effective communication tools in a situation such as this one.

This was not just an issue of a glider being lonely. He was self mutilating and needed an ecollar and vet care, not just a new home placement.

Everyone should have the names and phone numbers of at least 2 vets including one or more open nights and weekends for emergencies.

Everyone should also have the names and numbers of other experienced owners that they can call in the event of a glider medical emergency and share with others when they are in need of immediate assistance.


Edited by - Candy on Dec 03 2010 07:08:11 PM
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Dec 03 2010
07:33:41 PM
Rita Glider Sprinkles GliderMap Gliderpedia Editor Visit Rita's Photo Album Rita's Journal MO, USA 12214 Posts
Excellent post, Candy.
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Dec 03 2010
07:35:29 PM
Ikaria Face Hugger Visit Ikaria's Photo Album WI, USA 732 Posts
That's an excellent idea, Candy. We should have a thread or something where people can post their numbers for emergencies or something of the sort.
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Dec 04 2010
08:48:50 AM
dpatters28 Goofy Gorillatoes GliderMap Gliderpedia Editor Visit dpatters28's Photo Album USA 3134 Posts
Thank you for the excellent advice, Candy! It's something we should all keep in the back of our heads.

I do want to defend Sugar Mama a little bit, though. I think the reason she didn't get the new information regarding SESG is because she's just had a baby and doesn't have the time to participate in the forum as much as she would like to. I'm sure she will take the advice given to heart and apply it from here on out. It's a shame the glider passed away, but I feel that a huge part of that is the owner's own ignorance. Had she done research of any kind before getting a glider she would have known to have a friend for him from the get-go and she would have known he was displaying signs of self-mutilation.
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Dec 04 2010
09:55:10 AM
Something_To_Believe_In Face Hugger Visit Something_To_Believe_In's Photo Album 647 Posts
quote:
This was not just an issue of a glider being lonely. He was self mutilating and needed an ecollar and vet care, not just a new home placement.


I just want to reiterate this point. Gliders do not self mutilate from depression. This is a myth. There are a whole lot of health issues that CAN come from depression, but gliders do not self mutilate from depression. They SM when they are in PHYSICAL distress.

We have not one single well documented case of a sugar glider SMing from depression. Every time I say this, people come forward and tell me it happened to so and so or to themselves, but when asked if the glider was tested for parasites, bacterial infection, impaction, cancer, skin disorders, etc, the answer is always NO. Therefore, there is no proof that depression was the cause. In cases where there IS testing for gliders SMing, there has been found SOMETHING to be causing the physical discomfort.

Gliders can be tested for these things even after death. The SUGAR Group is actively collecting necropsy and histopathology results from gliders that pass away from SMing. So far, all that I have said above has held true.

If a glider is SMing, it needs IMMEDIATE vet care and a complete battery of tests to find the cause of the SMing.

Interestingly, for cloacal SMing, the most prominent cause we are finding to date is physical deformity (found after death upon necropsy). Our pathologists suspect these physical deformities are a result of inbreeding from our lovely mill breeders.
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Dec 04 2010
11:07:58 AM
dpatters28 Goofy Gorillatoes GliderMap Gliderpedia Editor Visit dpatters28's Photo Album USA 3134 Posts
quote:
Originally posted by Something_To_Believe_In

quote:
This was not just an issue of a glider being lonely. He was self mutilating and needed an ecollar and vet care, not just a new home placement.


I just want to reiterate this point. Gliders do not self mutilate from depression. This is a myth. There are a whole lot of health issues that CAN come from depression, but gliders do not self mutilate from depression. They SM when they are in PHYSICAL distress.

We have not one single well documented case of a sugar glider SMing from depression. Every time I say this, people come forward and tell me it happened to so and so or to themselves, but when asked if the glider was tested for parasites, bacterial infection, impaction, cancer, skin disorders, etc, the answer is always NO. Therefore, there is no proof that depression was the cause. In cases where there IS testing for gliders SMing, there has been found SOMETHING to be causing the physical discomfort.

Gliders can be tested for these things even after death. The SUGAR Group is actively collecting necropsy and histopathology results from gliders that pass away from SMing. So far, all that I have said above has held true.

If a glider is SMing, it needs IMMEDIATE vet care and a complete battery of tests to find the cause of the SMing.

Interestingly, for cloacal SMing, the most prominent cause we are finding to date is physical deformity (found after death upon necropsy). Our pathologists suspect these physical deformities are a result of inbreeding from our lovely mill breeders.



Thanks for the info, Val! I always thought (was told) SMing was a sign of depression myself. It's interesting to know that is just a myth.
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Dec 04 2010
12:09:25 PM
daddyglider Super Glider Visit daddyglider's Photo Album 309 Posts
Candy:
I'm not sure when you were contacted by Tina or when you adviced, about a vet or e-collar, to her was.
We were contacted Sat afternoon by Rebecca and then we e-mailed her no later than sat. late afternoon. We(Paulette and I-told --PKM) to tell her to GO TO THE VET. She said she had a Monday appt. Also told her about an e-collar or/and you would have to sit up ALL night to keep him from chewing himself.
I was at the Manatee civic center for the weekend, even had a friend let Paulette e-mail her on facebook so I could read the e-mail and the situation.
From our understanding people were un-avialable so I gave her the best advice according to what she was telling us.

Then we heard the suggie pasted Sunday night at the vets, I am still waiting to hear the cause of the glider passing when she finds out from the vet.
I also offered her to bring the glider to us Sunday morning for us to look at..we have a vet and at least three rescue groups were at the show and a few vet techs. She was suppose to stop by and then we heard(Sunday evening) that the glider was gonna be homed after his sunday vet visit. I only got involved when she told us that sesg was un-responsive to her e-mail or I believe a phone call. It wasn't known that Rebecca had the old contact numbers.

Val: I would agree to a certain extent that being alone may not cause s-ming, but stress is known to cause alot of physical and mental problems in people as well as critters. I know it can cause a momma glider to pull and kill her joeys or strange human smells with certain suggies can also cause baby problems. This is not something I have read but have sadly lived through years ago...
Art
I agree that we need to have up to date numbers to contact rescue groups or other persons that can direct them in the right direction. Sometimes persons will not run to the vet right away or money may stop them or just not realize that it is a very serious situation. Not that anybody can replace a vet with advice but sometimes hearing it in person or a private e-mail may get through to them.
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Dec 04 2010
03:06:48 PM
thefotokat Glider 177 Posts
A few words on this issue:

1. Rescue work is incredibly demanding...a 24/7 job. It is one I do because I love it. When I decided to operate as a rescue home, I realized that it would require determination, hard work and sacrifice. It was a choice I made ONLY after thinking about the consequences of my decision. CHOOSING to be an animal rescue or operating any type of animal welfare organization carries responsibility above that of an individual pet owner. While individual owners are an excellent source of help, rescue homes and animal welfare organizations put themelves in a position where it is our ethical duty to help. Helping does not mean taking in a glider or offering hands on assistance. Sometimes it's just a matter of recommending a vet or discussing diet or enrichment options. An individual owner is not expected to be equipped or knowledgeable in dealing with illness and injury. They would be expected to get the animal to a veterinarian for immediate treatment. An organization who has CHOSEN to operate as a rescue home or who has CHOSEN to offer classes or who has CHOSEN to function as an animal welfare group would be expected to operate at a higher standard of care just like a paramedic would be expected to offer a higher standard of care then a school teacher at the site of a car crash. It's a responsibility the individual CHOOSES to accept when they take the job or rescuer/animal welfare worker. While it's acceptable and commonplace for a rescue/animal welfare organization to refer to another individual or organization in a simple rehome situation, it is not acceptable for a rescue/animal welfare organization to not respond when it's a medical emergency. Life is busy for all of us, but for those who make the CHOICE to operate as more than an individual owner, we must satisfy our obligations. If there is a time when our lives prevent us from doing so, we must make the CHOICE to step back from the role of rescue/animal welfare organization.

2. As SouthEast Sugar Gliders Rescue and Sanctuary, I (and anyone working as my representative) am bound by a confidentiality agreement the minute the glider becomes the facility's legal "property". This glider did not make it to me, so I am able to share some of his story. I spoke with this owner within a few minutes of receiving an email. As soon as she told me the glider was "chewing and biting" himself, I told her to get him in an ecollar. This owner did not withhold ANY care. She had taken him to a vet several times for treatment prior to deciding to rehome him, she had tried to get him in an ecollar and was finally able to do so after being given instructions. She had already contacted the vet and had an appointment set up for the Sunday this was happening. She complied with all my recommendations for tests/treatment. Money was not a factor in this case. Treatments had been done previously and this was an ongoing issue. She realized that she was unable to offer this glider the care he needed long term and made the decision to find someone who could. She did EVERYTHING she was supposed to. She reached out for help from an animal welfare organization. She actively searched for help for this glider. She was not ignorant or neglectful.

3. The title of this post was why a glider should have a mate. As Val said, we have not had a documented case of a glider self-mutilating due to loneliness. Although the email stated the owner needed to rehome her glider, the text described a medical emergency. Had this email been a post on a board, the owner would have likely been given a phone number for someone who is experienced with injury/illness immediately. Like the majority of owners rescue homes deal with, this owner was not familiar with the online boards. When she decided that this glider needed more care than she could provide, she searched for someone who was experienced with sugar gliders. She found the Sugar Glider Society of Sarasota website which says they offer sugar glider workshops and have a paid membership and newsletter. To the owner, the website represented an organization which was knowledgeable and experienced so she contacted them. The response she received was a referral to other people. Nothing was said about the seriousness of the self-mutilation. The owner did continue to reach out and was finally directed to me a few days later. By that time, a lot more damage had been done. The glider did have more surgery, but was unable to recover. I believe that this could have been prevented. Its not about someone not knowing that SESG had moved or having an old email address. In a simple rehome situation, the time delay wouldnt be that important, but this was not a simple rehome. The fact that the glider was self-mutilating just wasnt addressed. To me, thats the issue. I hope that this story does serve as a reminder of the consequences of our decisions. It is a CHOICE to become a rescue home or an animal welfare organization. It is a CHOICE that comes with a lot of responsibilities. When we make that choice, we must be able to recognize true emergencies and react accordingly. While owner ignorance is often a causative factor, it wasnt in this case.


I am extremely proud to be an animal rescuer. It is work that I love. I take it to heart and have been lucky enough to share in the joy of owners I talk to. Likewise, I have shared the tears when a glider dies. This situation really upset me because I think it could have had a different ending for the glider. I hope that everyone who hears this story realizes that rescuers are not being "judgmental" when they say rescue work is not for everyone. I know a lot of fantastic people who love animals and are always ready to help when they can, but whose lives do not afford them the ability to operate as a rescue home/animal welfare organization. They CHOOSE to help in other ways. I keep emphasizing choice. This is because no one forces us to do animal rescue or to form an animal welfare organization. We made the choice and it comes with consequences. This gliders name was Smokey. He died 2 weeks ago.



Edited to add: Yes, stress can and does cause behavior issues and can increase the chance of illness. It can also increase the chances of joey rejection. I agree that it's usually best for gliders to have cagemates, but I know of many single gliders who thrive on their human companionship.
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Dec 04 2010
11:27:15 PM
tomHatter Joey GliderMap Visit tomHatter's Photo Album tomHatter's Journal KY, USA 34 Posts
In the letter the person states that a glider makes a certain noise when SM'ing. what does it sound like? or is their a link anyone knows of?
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Dec 04 2010
11:28:48 PM
Ikaria Face Hugger Visit Ikaria's Photo Album WI, USA 732 Posts
Good question, Tom. Incredibly valuable information, Val.
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Why a Sugar Glider Should Have a Mate!

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