applejack Starting Member WI, USA
I am posting this because when my Lilly was first diagnosed there was virtually no information anywhere to help me figure out what to do.
While going in for a check up before I brought home a new baby glider, I found out my nearly 5 year old glider, Lilly, had breast cancer. The vet said it felt like a kidney at first, but kidneys shouldn't be that hard and he found the actual kidney a moment later. While cancer itself is not unheard of in gliders, it is much more common to be liver or oral cancer (as far as my research found). There was only one other incidence of breast cancer I could find on the internet.
We did a biopsy to confirm it was cancer. My vet said the only treatment would be to do surgery, but any surgery comes with risks, especially in such a tiny animal. I decided to wait, some cancers grow and then become benign and, since I am tight with money right now, I thought I would wait to see if this was possibly the case.
Fast forward 7 months. Lilly had good days and bad days, eating more some days than others, exercising more some days than others. I had already decided I was going to do surgery and started a GoFundMe to help pay for it. I took her into the vet because the tumor had a growth spurt and was now growing out of her pouch, she also seemed to be having more bad days than good by this point. In the month since our previous appt, Lilly had lost 14% of her body weight due to the cancer competing for nutrients. At this point, I knew I couldn't wait anymore. Lilly had surgery nearly 7.5 months after first diagnosis.
I got a call before they started surgery because when they removed the hair (they hadn't even cut in yet) they could see 5 more tumors. The vet wanted to know if I wanted to continue with the surgery even though it would be more dangerous, I told him absolutely. Now I felt like a terrible glider mom for letting it get so bad, although the 5 additional tumors were not visible with the hair on her stomach.
Post-surgery is more likely to have something go wrong than surgery itself. If your glider starts to chew at the incision, it has to be put down. The vet put Lilly on a regimen of low dose Metacam (meloxicam, an anti-inflammaory) and TMS syrup (an antibiotic). Lilly absolutely hates taking these. I have been giving her extra food at night so that if she only wants corn, for example, she has enough because we just want her eating anything. We are stopping the metacam today, 8 days after surgery, because she doesn't seem to eat when I give it to her (I forgot yesterday morning and she ate almost everything she had available to her). We will continue with the antibiotic for two more days. The good news is, Lilly is doing better and I will hopefully be able to introduce her to the baby glider I brought home 6 months ago soon.
I know this is a long read, but there was virtually nothing out there to help me understand what was going on and the limited info I did have was usually anecdotes ending with the glider dying from the cancer so I wanted there to be information available for someone else if they went through the same thing. If you are going through this and/or have any questions about our experience or process, please feel free to ask.