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Bathing a glider after serious injury
Bathing a glider after serious injury
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Apr 04 2019
05:48:46 PM

I have a glider who is clearing up from a massive wound/abscess on his shoulder. I've spoken to my vet and have been doing everything she told me. I quarantined him to keep the infection from spreading to other wounds (he was malled by another glider who seriously hates him for some reason) cleaning the wound, giving him pain meds and keeping the area medicated (he's nearly 13 and gets tired easily so his cagemates and I have taken over a majority of his grooming so him ingesting it was a minimal risk)

Unfortunately, due to his thick fur, I didn't see it, and I'm assuming with his weaker state in general, it and another smaller wound were able to abscess. Which means draining said abscesses. And I'm sure plenty of you know the smell that comes with that.

So now that said abscess is nearly done draining and the wound is now healing properly I'm stuck with the stench of infection clinging to his fur and anything he touches. I've tried warm washcloths and even nonscented baby wipes and nothing is working.

So long story short I need some suggestions on the best soaps and ways to go about bathing him. I thought to put a cone on him to help stop any water accidentally getting into his nose or ears but beyond that, I'm at a loss. Does anyone have any suggestions to help with the bathing or perhaps other methods I can try before going to that slight extreme?

I'm not really concerned with him getting too cold and going into shock as he has had to be wiped down many times to clean up where the wound was draining. So I've figured out a quick way of wrapping him in a loose towel in front of a heater and allowing him to move from the warmer to the cooler side freely as he dries and I've had no issues with it.
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Apr 04 2019
08:47:50 PM
MelonLeaf321 Joey Visit MelonLeaf321's Photo Album 10 Posts
Hey Halle! So before I begin I am in no way an expert I've only had my suggies for a little over a year but here are some things I would suggest. Also anybody else please correct me if I'm wrong I don't wish to spread any incorrect information on here.

Alright to begin with you said that you have tried using a wash cloth and baby wipes but they didn't work to get the smell out of his fur, correct? That seems a tad strange to me but then again I'm not sure about it but if this is safe but if you really think its necessary to wash him and get the scent away I would think that running a faucet on low (and warm if course) and get a tiny bit of dawn dish soap to clean his fur near the abscess but I would advise not directly on it/the wound.

I read in a different post that somebody used this method once to clean one of their fur babies who had diarrhea and wouldnt clean it off and it worked very well for them. Again I'm no expert but this is what I would suggest because dawn smells decently strong and would probably be very safe and good to clean around the abscess of any bad germs/bacteria.

Also you said you let him dry in front of a heater? I'm not sure if this applies to what you are using to let him dry but I know that blow dryers can harm a sugar gliders' ears very badly because of all the heat and I just want to let you know incase your heater is really hot or something similar.

I've started to ramble now so I think I'm going to end my post here. I really hope someone with more experience comes to help you out but for now I hope your little one makes a good recover and that you can find a way to make him feel better. :)
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Apr 05 2019
10:14:46 AM
Leela Goofy Gorillatoes Gliderpedia Editor Visit Leela's Photo Album Leela's Journal 2902 Posts
I've given more glider "baths" than I can count for medical reasons, Melonleaf is correct and gave some pretty good advice.


I would NOT suggest a ecollar because of the location of his wound. Any wounds around the neck area do not use a cone/ecollar.

Before you do a bath trim the nails! I don't care how docile they are you want to trim the nails first. Wear a tank top or short sleeve shirt do NOT give him added traction especially if your doing this by yourself. I realize at 13 he's probably pretty mellow and slower than younger gliders but water may wake him up a bit

You don't want the water to warm or to cold, test it on your wrist as you would a baby bottle. You want it close to your own body temperature. Just a dab of dawn original dish soap a little goes a long way. You want to make sure you rinse really well.

Have everything you need easy to reach.

You want to give the bath with running water, do NOT fill the sink! allow it to drain but make sure to prevent the glider access to the drain.

Once the water is at the right temp hold the glider at an angle like this / with the gliders head away from the water and let the water run from the back of the head down.

Let the glider hold on to you and YOU support the glider instead of you holding the glider... Let his/her back feet hold on to your left hand as you support his upper body with your right or vice versa if your left handed, this makes them feel more stable. This will also help you keep him slanted and have more control because your not trying to control his feet.

Once wet remove him from the running water but leave it running, dab a drop of dawn on him and lather him up from the neck down don't rub right on the wound but don't worry if the soap gets on the wound it won't hurt him.

To free up your dominant hand to lather him up let him hold onto the faucet with his front feet while still supporting his back feet with your other hand he will keep his own head out of the water this way and it'll be easier to return your dominant hand and unfoot him from the facet to rinse. Just simply put your finger under his front feet and lift his feet off and let him hang on again.

Rinse well!! put him back under the water at angle as you did the first time. Now he knowssssss whats happening and may not be so mellow.


I found pajama bottoms the easiest way to dry them... I know it sounds weird but old worn pajama's are very absorbent and you have a tunnel you can tie off the bottom of the pant leg or tuck it in the other pant leg for a bigger tunnel loop. When the glider moves through the tunnel they are going onto/into dry fabric that wicks away the wetness from the glider. This method also keeps them completely covered and safe from any cool drafts. As he tunnels cup your hand over him using dry patches of material to gently rub him dry.

I don't like using towels because the material is looped and it takes foreverrrrr to dry them. Tshirts or pajama bottoms are def easier and dry faster more thoroughly because they wick moisture away.

You do want to make sure he is dry all the way to the skin they have very dense fur. Once dry keep him on your for a while n let him absorb some of your body heat. Even if he's not a bra baby he might turn into one I've had a couple that would never stay in my bra but totally changed after having baths. I'm NOT saying to use baths for bra training, it was just a pleasant side affect of necessary medical bathing.

I've tried a ton of different methods of washing and drying.. this is what I've found is the easiest and I hope it helps you both and I hope he gets better soon.


Melonleaf, "Alright to begin with you said that you have tried using a wash cloth and baby wipes but they didn't work to get the smell out of his fur, correct? That seems a tad strange to me"

It's not strange at all. Wash clothes and baby wipes only touch the surface of very dense fur, and baby wipes even unscented ones taste HORRIBLE and will usually prevent the glider from self grooming and other gliders from grooming him because of the taste and the way they groom . They lick their toes to comb themselves so every time they lick their toe nails they taste buttwipes. It doesn't take long for them to stop grooming because of the gross taste. Which also applies to wounds draining as well I can't imagine how that tastes.

'Bathing" cleans under the dense fur all the way to the skin removing built up body oils and medical smells the glider isn't or can't take care of itself.
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Apr 05 2019
11:06:28 PM
Halle Starting Member 7 Posts


Thank you both so much for the feedback and advice! Mere is doing very well and will recover just fine (if perhaps with a bald patch where the wound was). The last of the abscess drainage had finished and I can already see where the wound itself has already healed up. It is still a sizable wound and i know will take another week or two but so long as the infection is gone and the scab is strong I hope to get him back with he cagemates by Wednesday! We aren't out of the woods yet but I'm certain he'll make a full recovery.

I never thought about dawn, though thinking of it now it seems obvious, so I'm definitely going to go with that. The pajama bottoms are also really smart, I actually cut them up to use as little blankets for my gliders when they start to get old.

And fear not Mellon as my babe is never in direct contact with the air from the heater. Its more like the heater is blowing onto a towel he's hiding in and then can move from the warmer side to the smaller.

and Thanks Leela, I have pretty delicate skin so keeping all my glider's nails trimmed is a must unless I want to look like I have hives. Though it's funny that you worry about the second dip in the water but Mere always freaks at the first. By the time his body is under he just kind of relaxes and enjoys the warmth.

Again thank you both so much I feel much better going forward bathing him fully.
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Apr 06 2019
02:04:27 PM
MelonLeaf321 Joey Visit MelonLeaf321's Photo Album 10 Posts
Yay! I'm very glad I could help out and that your little baby is almost healed from their injury. I hope that your little baby makes a full recovery and can be returned with his cagemates soon.

Also thank you, Leela, for telling me about the baby wipe thing. I didn't think about it like that but now that you put it that way it makes sense that it wouldn't have worked.
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Bathing a glider after serious injury

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Bathing a glider after serious injury