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This Month in the GliderVet Newsletter
Greetings Glider Groupies, Glider Newbies and Glider Wanna-bes! Welcome to the
March 2011 edition of the GliderVet News.
This month, we answer the recurring question on why SunCoast joeys seem to be
large relative to other joeys in the market. Is it our joeys are in fact large,
or is it many other joeys are too scrawny?
Last month we talked about the importance of vet
wellness visits. Well, I had a vet emergency of my own this month and
that's the reason the newsletter is late (sorry!). More on this below.
And to finish off our focus on animal wellness this month, a hat tip to
those who have a desire to take on the most challenging animals.
Without further ado, letís get to it!
Please remember that this newsletter is intended to express the wishes
of the whole sugar glider community.
Every article published in this newsletter is a result of someone just
like you taking the time to write us with thoughts, ideas, stories and
Send your comments to us here.
If you ever want to find earlier issues of GliderVet News, you can access our
archives here. Fun pics of sugar gliders
sent in by our customers are found here.
If you are looking for sugar glider tested and approved products, check out our
ever expanding store here.
Are you new to sugar gliders or just in the early stages of trying to decide
if one is right for you? Questions you can ask yourself to help make this
very important and long term decision are here.
A very confusing area for those considering glider ownership (and for
some current owners too!) is diet. See what our vet has to say here.
And if you decide that a sugar glider (or two!) would become future members of
your household, then you might want to check out Arnold's great deals on starter kits,
with or without cages.
Scrawny 8 Week OOP Joeys
or, Why Are SunCoast's Eight Week Old Gliders So Big?
ďI have a glider now and your babies are almost as big as my
adult.Ē As I sat down to write this article, the phone rang. It
was a customer who just got her joeys yesterday. I found it
rather funny that as I sit to address this topic, someone calls to ask
me the same question again.
I think, maybe this situation is far more common out there than we
Is it just some breeders are pulling joeys too early?
Why is it that people whoíve bought gliders elsewhere and then get a
joey or joeys from us are astounded by the difference in the size of
our babies and their previously purchased sugar gliders?
Many of these people had their single glider for a year or more, so these gliders are assuredly adults and our babies
are sometimes the same size. What's up with that?
To me, the answer is simple - quality,
and proven husbandry practices. We wean the babies directly to
the adult diet; we do not use a transitional diet because the parents
have already started to wean the babies themselves.
We let Nature guide the process and don't force the joeys from the
parents by separation before they are ready.
We basically make our own "baby foods" out of the same foods the adults
are getting if the baby doesn't eat this food on their own.
For example, on Tuesdays we feed crickets and carrots. We give
the adults crickets and carrots in their natural form.
We puree crickets and carrots for the babies and add a little apple
juice for moisture along with supplements, so each mouthful is balanced
and they can't pick around and eat what they like best, as most baby
sugar gliders tend to do.
Plus, the joeys start to eat the Wholesome Balance pellet food as early
as 6 weeks
OOP, which provides a lot of
micro-nutrients essential to good animal health, as determined by
professional exotic animal nutritionists.
As far as husbandry goes, gliders that are bred in confined
conditions with poor nutrition have scrawny babies. Gliders that
over-bred have scrawny babies. Joeys that are not weaned to a
proven nutritious diet tend to be scrawny. Joeys that are pulled
too soon from their
parents tend to be scrawny.
We have a continual waiting list for our joeys. Eight weeks
old is the standard that we comply with on when our joeys leave
us. We believe that any sooner is too soon and does not give them
the best possible start in life. In the State of
Florida where I live, it is against the law to sell puppies before they
are eight weeks old.
Let's see how many times I talk about dogs in this newsletter!
What can I say, I love sugar gliders AND dogs.
I have had the experience of people questioning whether or not I
really sent them eight week old
joeys - they're so big, they must be older, you know. But here's
thing: SunCoast always has a waiting list for joeys. So, if we
about the money, we'd send them earlier, right? And they'd be
smaller? Why would we hang on to them? The problem is not
with our joeys, the problem is that the first sugar glider, or sugar
gliders, acquired by
the family were not raised under ideal conditions and unfortunately,
We pride ourselves and honor our breeding sugar gliders by doing our best to help them produce big, fluffy, healthy
joeys. We don't do scrawny. If we find that a particular female is having undersized joeys, we retire
her instantly. Itís just that simple.
Scrawny joeys are a sure sign Mom has had enough breeding in her lifetime!
When joeys are pulled too young, which some breeders do, they are
smaller. They are easier to
handle, because they are weaker. They can also be deprived of a
well developed immune system, which is the result of drinking Motherís
Humans can never reproduce the same and right levels of nutrition that
comes from nursing. Yet some breeders
release their joeys early because of the ďahhhhĒ factor - little
is so appealing to many
people. But too little could also indicate too young or not well
Also, a six week old joey is easier to handle than an eight week old
joey, so some breeders sell them younger so they donít need to deal
with new customers learning to acclimate and bond with their new
friends. And if youíve never had a glider experience before, how
would you know the difference? It is easy to convince someone
whoís never seen a sugar glider before that they are of a certain age,
when in fact, they are not
the age being represented.
Iíve seen this firsthand. Iíve had quite a few people over the
years come with a sugar glider they recently purchased that was stated
10 - 12 weeks old, and my 8 week old joeys are significantly larger.
Sometimes pet stores, breeders, brokers simply donít tell the truth - the whole truth and nuttin' but the
truth - about age! Do your research; too good
to be true usually is. If you want to see what gliders typically look
like at each week, 1 week - 5 weeks, see pics here.
The tail starts to fluff at about 5 weeks, so a fluffy tail does not mean the
joey is 8 weeks old.
A typical 8 week old joey from SunCoast looks like
Big and fluffy rocks!
Don't Hesitate to go to the Vet!
I am an avid dog lover. Iíve had dogs my whole life and quite
honestly, it is the heart and connection of sugar gliders that has
drawn me to them so strongly.
I think like dogs, gliders have very loyal hearts once bonded.
Dogs and sugar gliders both really want to spend time with us, and to
me, that is a huge plus and
a very attractive quality in both species.
I make many trips to the veterinary office. Someone around
here, be it dog or sugar glider, is
always due for their wellness visit. Even with the attention to
regular ongoing veterinary care, things come up and this past month
my dog Georgia developed a baseball size mass on the back of her leg in
less than three weeks.
She had just had her wellness visit six weeks ago.
I made an emergency appointment with my vet to bring in Georgia to have the lump examined.
Before I left the vetís office that day, I had to make a very, very difficult
Georgia has a few lipoma (fatty tumors) lumps on her body. She
is approaching the grand age of 10 and this is normal for
The vet thought upon first exam that her large and rapidly growing lump
was just another lipoma.
To diagnose lipoma, an extraction is taken with a needle and then the
fluids are examined to confirm the diagnosis.
Diagnosing is often about the process of elimination. Well, the
first bit of bad news hit me like a ton of bricks.
If you happened to speak to me on the phone last week, you might have
noticed, I was not quite myself.
The test did not come back lipoma. The next most likely
condition, which would need to be confirmed via biopsy and xrays, was
For those of you who are fellow dog lovers, bone cancer is up there
with just about the worst news possible.
It is often not curable, spreads quickly and the best one can do is to
keep their pet comfortable at that point.
We scheduled the biopsy for the next morning. I am an optimist
by nature, almost Pollyanna-ish, and this was very unwelcome news to
But I needed to know if the lump was indeed cancer. Most
veterinarians will provide estimates for such procedures in advance.
The reality is, such procedures may look like they are estimated in
dog dollars, but it is really people dollars.
In other words, veterinary care is expensive. I have a special
savings fund for my vet care needs as I never want the issue of ďis
this financially feasibleĒ to be part of my decision making
Unfortunately, many people have pets where the financial issue will
choices; and not just for their pets - I know people who do it to
themselves as well.
ďI can delay that dental work, Iíll have that mole checked out later,
Iím sure my acid reflux is nothing really, etc.Ē
Now to the good news! Georgiaís biopsy came back that the
tumor was indeed lipoma, but it was on the hip bone, under the muscle
and around her sciatic nerve.
So the vet removed the tumor instead of just doing a biopsy as planned
and she assured me with confidence that Georgia would make a full
And boy oh boy, has she ever! Now my challenge with her is
keeping her from running and
jumping, because she has a fanny full of stitches!
My friends, sometimes all we can do is the best we can do. We
try and make good decisions and we win some and we lose some.
Itís hard for all of us to not second guess our choices, and right now
Iím just very grateful that I didnít have to make a life or death call
on my beloved Georgia.
To me, putting an animal down is THE hardest decision of having fuzzy
So please don't hesitate to take your animals to the vet at the first signs
of trouble. And I realize times are tough for many, but if you can,
consider creating an emergency vet care fund of your own so you can more easily
handle these situations when they arise.
Send Me an Ornery One!
Every single person getting this newsletter is an animal lover, no doubt.
Some people are just in the curiosity stage and others of us are in full blown glideritis mode.
Once in a blue moon, when talking to a prospective glider keeper, I get an unusual request.
That request is to ďgive me an ornery oneĒ.
It tickles me to pieces to know that there are people out there who
take on the burden of the misfit, invite the burden into their lives
with full intention to make friends with those animals who may be
shunned and unwanted by others.
To those of you who ask for the ornery one, or want the dog with three legs (there she goes on dogs
again) or otherwise challenged animal, I just wanted to publicly say thank you.
You are my heroes and your inspiration and love for animals is heartfelt and true.
You simply rock my world!
'Til next time - in good health for you and your gliders, we sign
off in appreciation of all of you who share great glider adventures
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Your resource for safety first, expert
advice on our sugar glider friends!
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That's it for this month's GliderVet Newsletter. I hope you liked what
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