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Your resource for safety first, expert
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This Month in the GliderVet Newsletter
Welcome friends, keepers of sugar gliders and sugar glider wannabes!
Summer is upon us as we bring you the June issue of the GliderVet
We have another cool lineup for you, but first a brief message from
Things are heating up rather quickly here in Florida and as the
temperature rises, make sure you keep your little buddies well
We are rapidly approaching the “heat embargo” time of year. What
this means is that the airlines will begin restricting flight activity
for live animals.
It’s actually more challenging to transport our dear little critters
when the heat is raging than it is in the cold blustery winter.
We can always bundle up our little bundles of joy and add extra heat
packs to keep them warm and safe, but keeping things cooler can be a
challenge during transport.
For those of you planning trips or even just outings with your
suggies this summer, please remember that car temperatures can get
extremely warm and it doesn’t take long for tiny little gliders to
suffer the ill effects of dehydration.
In order to combat the effects of heat, we suggest you have a fresh
water supply handy for your critters at all times.
Now let's jump right in to this month’s topics.
Dr. C will be discussing the practice of spaying female sugar
gliders and identify some “bad” neutering practices.
Some things just shouldn’t be done … so be informed and don’t let
someone talk you into a procedure that may be harmful to an innocent
But before we get to Dr. C’s contribution this month, Debbie and I
will discuss trimming gliders nails ….
is that a sigh of relief I hear out there? This is a major
question that most glider keepers have and we have a really neat photo
demonstrating how to do it safely.
And of course, we'll have another exciting episode of Dear Arnold,
featuring Mr. Gotta Get My Two Cents In, Arnold T. Schwarzenglider!
Before we get to our feature articles, please remember that this
newsletter is intended to express the wishes of the whole sugar glider
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.
If you haven't been to the store for awhile, we've updated our toys and added
some new ones; check 'em out here.
What's the Best Way to Trim a Sugar Glider's Nails?
Trimming Nails – Part I (Part II here)
By Lisa and Debbie
With Illustrations Provided by Gil Hidalgo (thanks Gil for your wonderful submission).
Well, as the cliché goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words" and
we’ve been asked at least a thousand times about tips and techniques on
how to safely trim a glider’s nails.
So today we present you with Part I of Two Parts on trimming your
The traditional method of trimming nails requires only a nail
(and the nails that need to be trimmed). Sound easy? As you
will see in this well-done illustration by Gil, the nail clipper used
is just a regular human type tool.
Gil took these pictures while a glider owner showed a group how to
safely take care of this pesky task.
This glider owner works at an exotic vet clinic, so the technique
was learned from the “pros”.
By the way, the nail clipping “victim” is Gil’s 8 month
female glider named Scrabble. And as Gil puts it, revenge is
sweet! He claims his back and arms were a sight to see before
Scrabble had her nails trimmed.
Click here to view the photos.
And that brings us right to the point of why you want to trim your
In a captive environment, gliders don’t run up and down the heavy bark
of trees all night
so those little points can get awfully sharp. Sharp nails and
human skin are not exactly an ideal combination.
Many people have found that when they first get sugar gliders, little
red bumps will appear on the skin.
In most cases,
it's not really a rash or allergic reaction, it's just what happens
when pointy little glider claws race up and down human arms like a
Another benefit of keeping your gliders well manicured is to prevent
their claws from getting stuck in pouches and other fabric items you
may have in the habitat.
If a glider gets stuck on something due to
its nails being too long, it is quite possible that an injury could
occur should the glider have to fight to get itself free.
This article focuses on trimming the nails with a clipper, which is
the traditional method most people use to maintain this grooming
We will discuss other methods of nail maintenance next month in Part II of this
When trimming the nails you just want to remove the very tip of the
nail while being cautious of not going below the bloodline.
Just like other species of animals, if you clip the nails too short,
the nail will actually begin to bleed.
So before you get the nail clippers out and get to work, make sure you
have a product like Quick Stop on
hand (or some other product that will help quickly clot the bleeding if
a nail is inadvertently trimmed too
short); you can find them at pet stores.
The point of clipping isn’t to get them as short as you can, but rather to take off that very sharp little tip.
Another hazard of going too short is the inability of the glider to climb and hold on to objects well.
When trimming the nails on the back paws, note that two of the toes are fused together.
These two fused digits are used primarily in grooming and
it's recommended that you don’t trim those two claws. It is OK to trim the remaining three claws on each back paw.
Glider nail trimming is the least favorite chore we have to tend to here at
SunCoast. It’s as unpleasant for us as it is for the gliders, so be sure
to check in next month, when we will discuss alternatives to using a clipper for trimming nails.
Another Exciting Episode of DEAR ARNOLD
Note: Some of Arnold’s fan mail may be edited cause Arnold wants
some of them to be shorter so he can have more space all to
Yuk Yuk Yuk!
Do you like using a hamster ball? We're getting two sugar
gliders of our own soon and have started buying stuff for the new toy
box. Thanks for helping
Patsy and Paul (FL)
Dear Patso and Paulo!
Hamster? What do I look like?! Why the cockadoody would
I want to use a hamster ball when I am a much more sofisticated sugar
As if! Hmmmpph! Well?? What do you have to say to that?!
Ahem .. Arnold .. pssst .. pssst .. Lisa here: I hate to tell you this, but
you do have a hamster ball and you have used it before. You know what that is … we just call it the Roll Aid, remember?
Ooops! I sowwy ... I guess I didn't understand this hamster bizness.
And Lisa, for your information, I don't call it a Roll Aid
I have a new
name for it! It's my fabulous Sphere of Invincibility!
P&P, I think that this is a good toy for your new toy box.
'Specially if you
have kitty cats or puppy dogs in the house and you want to let your
out for some playtime, but you can't watch them non-stop! The sphere of
invincibility could be just the ticket to keep your new fuzzy kids out
I really love playing with my Pikachu and Eevee, but we have a problem.
I am home all evening, ready to play, but the gliders are sleeping. They don't wake up until about 11:00 p.m.
then I am too tired to play for long. When I get up in the morning, they are already back asleep.
Sometimes I wake them up to play, but that isn't very nice. I know my babies want to play AND sleep.
Is there some way to adjust their cycle so they wake up earlier?
Thanks for your help, Arnold!,
Have you considered adjusting your schedule? Maybe get a new job?
Maybe quit your job? yuk yuk yuk
ARNOLD! Lisa here ... that wasn't a very nice thing you said to Miss Betty
... I think you better give some thought to this excellent question and consider giving her a better answer
Ooops, sowwy again …. OK, well, see Miss Betty … all I can tell ya
is that I wake up at 9PM … on the dot!
Every night! That’s cause the sun is all down and my mommy turns
electric lights off in the house right before she feeds me at
9pm. Us suggies like to have a rootine ….
and we is very sensitive to the lights. So I think if you go on a
schedule that is the same all the time, then maybe your suggies will
change their rootine and wake up a bit earlier to spend some nice time
Now Lisa has splained to me that not everybody’s house is like our house.
We don’t have any young two leggers here and our life is always the same every night.
Lisa says this is not so for lots of humans in the rest of the world. And
methinks cause we have this rootine going that I get up the same time just about every night.
And you are soooooooo right, Miss Betty! (Lisa , was that a nice
thing to say?)
Us suggies do need our sleep, but if you pick a time when its darkness
out and start waking your suggies at that time every night, then maybe
you can keep your job, have more time with your suggies and get you a
nice little rootine just like we have!
Face Hugs to ya Miss Betty and nose kisses to Pikachu and Eevee.
P.S. The TV on in my room doesn’t bother me or Janine or Buddy or
That light is not too bright, so Lisa has enough light to see me
handsome face and its not too bright to make me want to go back to my
Tune in again next month for another exciting episode of Dear Arnold!
Don’t forget, you can share your short comments or fun questions with
me by clicking here.
Exotic Pet Vet
What Dr. C says .... on Spaying and Neutering
By Dr. C., of course!
One of the most common procedures that I regularly perform on sugar gliders is elective neutering of male pets.
It’s a safe and simple procedure that many glider
owners will choose for two primary reasons. First, it’s the most effective method of birth control that I can recommend
for prohibiting paired gliders from breeding.
However, neutering of the male will also greatly reduce the musky
odor associated with male gliders, as well as decrease marking
Male gliders will mark territory not only by the use of their dominant
scent glands, but will also urine mark anything that the glider
identifies as its own, including cage and accessories, other gliders
and human companions.
This topic was discussed in a previous issue of the GliderVet
- click here to review.
A frequent question that I personally get asked, as well as a
question that has been asked by a good many number of you who receive
this publication, concerns the process of spaying female gliders.
I don’t recommend spaying female gliders unless it is medically
Spaying is the same as having a hysterectomy. This is a major
surgery where the abdominal cavity is opened and reproductive organs
It is more challenging with marsupials than it is with other mammals
because of the presence of the pouch.
This procedure is an invasive procedure and the recovery time is
significantly longer than the minimal recovery required for males
As with many small animals, it can be challenging to prevent
excessive attention to the incision area and stitches.
Animal instincts are to clean and groom the area
to try and remove foreign objects like stitches. This increases
the likelihood of infection, and obviously stitches should not be
removed until proper healing has taken place.
The male neutering procedure is simple enough and the incision is so
much smaller than a spaying incision size that I have not personally
encountered complications with the male surgery as the healing time and
recovery time is quite fast.
If a female glider’s ovaries become infected or a mass is located, then spaying may be a necessary procedure.
But I feel it is too invasive and risky for elective contraceptive surgery.
To prevent babies, neuter your male
While we are on this topic, I’ve also been asked why a veterinarian
should be employed to perform neutering services when cheaper methods
While there are less expensive ways to neuter males, I believe these
both cruel and medically unsound. Descriptions of these methods
you may find them a bit shocking; I'm not trying to shock you, but
For instance, a common method some breeders utilize to neuter males
is to constrict the blood flow to the testicles.
Placing a tight tourniquet-like device on the part of the scrotal sac
hanging from the body does this.
It is left in place for several days
or weeks until the testicles and scrotum literally die from lack of
When the tissue is dead it is removed. Keep in mind this is done
without the benefit of anesthesia and/or pain medications.
Besides being painful, this can make the glider predisposed to
Another method employed is to clamp the base of the scrotum, and
then castrate the glider with a razor using only a powdered coagulant
to stop the bleeding.
The argument of the breeders who employ such practices is that is does
not hurt the animal or cause undue pain.
As a medical professional and avid wildlife rescuer committed to
rehabilitation, all I can ask is
“How do you know this?” Many species found in the wild do not
make “pain” sounds when hurt, sick or injured.
If they did cry out in pain, then predators would be alerted to the
exact location of the injured,
leaving little chance for recovery.
A reputable exotic animal veterinarian will always take your gliders
welfare – both physically and psychologically – into consideration.
Anesthesia is used to prevent pain, sterile surgical equipment is used
to prevent infection and follow-up care is available.
If you are considering the purchase of sugar gliders, you must be
willing to be responsible for its care and well being.
Good medical care is not “cheap”, but
it is invaluable for your animal’s health and your relationship with
your little friends.
SunCoast Sugar Gliders has never offered the availability of neutered males in the
some people are attracted to this offer and buy neutered gliders
from cruel breeders. I have previously advocated that sugar
gliders should be approximately four to five months out of pouch age
before the neutering procedure takes place.
And like you, I continue to learn about sugar gliders.
I spend many hours researching material available to me on safe
practices for exotic animals. Recent information I’ve encountered
has given me a comfort level in safely performing this procedure at a
I also would like to protect as many male gliders as I can from the
procedures above. To this end, in the near future I will be
offering my services for neutering young male gliders on behalf of
SunCoast prior to delivery to their new homes. If you would like
information on this issue and service, please contact (Sorry, no longer
Tune back in next month for a brand new topic. These topics
are driven by your requests, so send your questions about glider health
by clicking here and we will do our best to include
them in a future edition of the GliderVet Newsletter.
I send my wishes for good health to both you and your sugar gliders. I'll see you again next month!
(Janine M Cianciolo, DVM)
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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
we had to offer! If you have any stories, questions, pictures, suggestions
for topics - anything glider - you would like to share or see covered in the
GliderVet newsletter, please send them here.
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SunCoast Sugar Gliders
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