Why Mel was MIA


Why Mel was MIA. Oct 15, ’07 11:55 PM
for Mel ‘s contacts
The last two days have been CRAP CITY over here. Monday Cody came home sick from school… I was preoccupied with getting him settled and making sure he had things to eat and drink, so it was well into the afternoon before I went in the office to put Mack in the pouch.

When I walked in, he was awake and hanging from the ceiling of the cage. WTH? He is nocturnal and NEVER awake in the day. So, I started talking to him and he started freaking out, so I started freaking out. I put my hand in the cage to grab him and he lunged at me, as if to bite me. But it was like he couldn’t really see me. I kept trying to put him in his hutch or wrap him all cozy in his blanket, hoping maybe he was just startled and confused, or maybe his eyes weren’t adjusted to the bright light yet. But after a few more minutes it became more and more apparent that something was VERY wrong.

I started calling vets. I exhausted all options in the town I live in, there are no vets that see pets that exotic. So, I moved on the nearest big city. Still no luck. Finally I called the “exotic” vet I took the rabbits to this spring. It took them several minutes to search their Rolodex to find a vet that would see him, when they did the vet was in Columbia (over an hour from me.) So I call, and they say it is near closing time for them (5pm) and they give me the number to their emergency clinic. I call there. Guess what? They don’t see gliders either. F*CK!!! I call back the first clinic, too late, they are closed, I get an answering machine message.

So, I start looking on google. Everything I read is just freaking me out MORE. The information I find says that by the time they start showing those signs (abnormal behavior. lethargic, not sleeping, not eating, etc…) it is too late, they die within 12hrs whether you get them to the vet or not. They don’t show signs of sickness until they are near death, it is self preservation for them, if they show weakness in the wild they they get picked off by a predator. So, he was probably not feeling well for a while and I had no way of knowing.

I manage to get him to lick some tablespoons of yogurt off of a spoon, and I found a tiny syringe and gave him some water, but nothing was helping. He wandered aimlessly around the cage or the pouch, not seeming to be aware of anything. I cried and swore, and searched the internet again, tried more yogurt, more fluid, etc… finally I decided to go to sleep and get up early to take him in to the vet in Columbia. I barely slept at all, I got up every hour or two to see if he was still alive. This morning I dropped the kids off at school, came home and called the vet every two minutes until they opened. Then I drove the hour and 15 minutes there.

The kept him for observation almost all day… they gave him sub-cu fluids (under the skin) and glucose. They determined that he was drastically low on calcium from improper diet, and that made him stop eating, which spiraled him into dehydration and low glucose levels.

The thing is, I was following the breeder’s instructions to the letter, but came to find out from the vet that their information was drastically incorrect. The breeder told me no new foods (veggies, fruit, etc…) until he was six months old or so, they said his tummy was too sensitive to handle anything besides the glider chow and apples. I had even sent e mails questioning that logic, once I started reading information that listed all the foods that they should be eating and NOTHING about waiting until their tummy was ready. I was told not to rely on the internet for information, that there are too many sites run by private owners that provide misinformation. So, I trusted the breeder.

The vet said it wasn’t my fault, hugged me and told me it was ok, not to blame myself. He asked for the name of the breeder, so he could be sure not to reccommend them to anyone. He told me that I had to think of it like this, in the wild do they survive on glider chow and apples for six months? NO. They are eating a wild variety of foods from the time they are weaned. Which made SO MUCH sense as soon as he said it, but have not occurred to me before I heard the words come out of his mouth. He told me to call if I EVER had anymore questions and gave me the phone number of a guy that lives in Columbia, who has two Sugar Gliders as pets that are thriving, he said the guy would love to help me out with anything I needed, and he knows everything there is to know.

So… I have liquid calcium and liquid nutrient to give him for the next few days, along with continuing to spoon feed him (baby food and yogurt) and use the syringe to give him fluids. I start immediately offering him fresh fruit/veggies, even though it will be a few days before he is strong enough to start eating on his own.

Luckily the crisis was averted, the vet said I was pretty lucky, that he was surprised Mack made it through the night, that he is quite a little fighter. I thought about leaving Mack with them until he was a bit more stable, but the vet said I was perfectly capable of handling it, and that he could tell how much I loved him. That made me feel a little bit better, but I still have mixed feelings… I feel SO bad for thinking I was doing everything right, for trusting the breeder and not consulting a vet. And I am SO angry at the breeder, you better believe that the next thing I do is fire off a angry letter to them. GAH!

So, forgive me if I am not around much for the next few days. I am going to have my hands full being a 24hr a day Sugar Glider nurse, but I will do so happily. I am just SO glad that he is going to be ok.


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