|LuckyGlider Zippy Glidershorts TX, USA
Earlier this year (2011), Lucky Glider Rescue & Sanctuary published a blog on a variation of the so-called "wet method" of introduction. I made variations to it after speaking to Kazko in January and after hearing of his success with the method. The variations we made included a gentler way to get them wet and an experiment in scent masking.
The reaction from the glider community at large was mixed - ranging from accolades from beleaguered "at risk" glider owners who found hope in the method - all the way to "agitated and angry" from others. A lot of explanations, argument, and rationalizations ensued. It was determined that a good way to air the issue was to get the opinion of veterinarians.
At that point, we made a promise to publish a research paper and to share it with trusted veterinarians. We sent the paper to doctors suggested by glider community people who sent along requests. We are not going to publish the vet's names or exact comments for privacy reasons.
If you want to contact your own vet and send the paper along (see URL below) you are free to do that. You may also wish to contact a vet you know from our list and ask them what they thought.
Not surprisingly, only a handful of vets provided a direct response to us. Not all of the vets at these facilities responded, but the list included: Camino Al Norte Animal Hospital, North Las Vegas, NV; Caring Hands Animal Hospital, Las Vegas, NV; Animal Kindness Veterinary, Las Vegas, NV; Texoma Veterinary Hospital, Sherman, TX; Animal Clinic of Farmers Branch, Farmers Branch TX; VCA Oso Creek Animal Hospital, Corpus Christi, TX; Parker Animal & Bird Clinic, Plano, TX; Alameda East Veterinary Hospital, Denver, CO; Watson Road Veterinary Clinic, St. Louis, MO; Clarkson Wilson Veterinary Clinic, Chesterfield, MO.
The vets at both Caring Hands Animal Hospital and Texoma Veterinary Hospital were positive enough about the paper that they have offered to get it published in veterinary circles. The general sentiment of those who gave us feedback is (collectively paraphrased): "Yes getting them wet for a while can be stressful for a glider but it's worth it if they can be paired with another glider if they are at risk. The chance of a better overall life outweighs the short-term stress associated with this method of introduction." Another vet concluded that any glider acclimated to hydrotherapy to treat open wounds would be less stressed by the method.
None of them characterized the method as "torture" or were outwardly negative about it.
But some of them did not respond so there is a chance that some negative sentiment exists, even though it was not shared with us. But it's more likely they are just too busy to respond. We followed-up a few times with each facility but dropped it after that because we did not want to be too aggressive in our solicitation.
The paper is called:
"Efficacy of Scent Masking and Wet Introduction Methods on At-Risk Sugar Gliders (Petaurus breviceps)"
You can find it at:
Based on the feedback we have received our guidance is as follows:
1. Try traditional methods of introduction first as described in the paper
2. If all else fails, use scent masking and wetting with "at risk" gliders as described in the paper
3. Use a damp cloth to wet the gliders while you gently hold them, not a hose or shower
4. Use a non-alcoholic scent masker like tuna juice or non-alcoholic vanilla extract
5. During the night you can feed them separately but not together. Then feed full in morning.
Now that we have generally positive feedback from some veterinarians and no outright negative feedback from them, we consider this matter well discussed. If anyone would like to chat about it you can call me directly on 702-301-2445.
Ed M. co-director, Lucky Glider Rescue & Sanctuary
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