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This Month in the GliderVet Newsletter
Happy Valentine's Day! What do sugar gliders and cupid have in
common? Well, they are both small, both "fly", and both are capable of
spreading the feeling of love!
This is one of Arnold's favorite holidays and he wishes to send nose
kisses to everyone!
Welcome to the February edition of the GliderVet Newsletter.
This month we will begin a new series on Glider Rescue.
Special thanks to Peg of Critterville Rescue, Cindy of Sugar Glider
Express, and Meredith of Glidin' For Love.
These three special individuals have been great resources for us in
finding out just how good rescuers go about their business.
We've done some limited rescue work here at SunCoast as well and over
the next several months we'll discuss
what is involved in rescue work and the challenges that you can expect
Next, you will hear from our favorite fuzzbutt, Arnold T.
Schwarzen-glider, in another exciting episode of Dear Arnold!
Then, Dr. C will complete her two part series discussing some of the
reasons why gliders may lose hair.
As with most health or stress related issues, there is no one clear-cut
So stay tuned and find out what types of conditions can cause glider
hair loss and what your vet may suggest to identify the cause of the
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.
Sugar Glider Rescue
By Lisa and Debbie
I am thrilled that you are gearing up for debating this topic!
As far as issues with rescues, some people think they are free gliders
wanting to get them to use them as breeders to make a fast buck.
of rescue I think needs to be clearly defined is this idea a rescued
glider will bond and make an awesome pet.
I don't agree with that and this is why: Rescues often have a history
of neglect or abuse.
It takes a long time to learn to trust a human, and a mutual respect
between a human and glider may be all you ever achieve….
I thought it would be appropriate to begin this series of articles with
an excerpt from an email that I've received as part of ongoing
correspondence between myself and Peg (of Critterville Rescue).
I think this succinctly sets the tone for the message we wish to relay
as we proceed through this topic.
We have the opportunity to speak with a great many people who wish to
obtain rescue gliders as their first gliders, as well as a lot of
people who wish to give their gliders up for adoption after only a
short period of time.
In this series, we hope to address many issues beginning with the
definition of adoption.
What exactly constitutes a rescue? It seems the more people we've
posed this question to, the more distinctly different responses we
receive. It appears that many definitions are accepted as to what
a rescue really is.
Let's begin by discussing what a rescue is not. I do believe
that all of those involved in true rescue operations would agree with
excluding the following scenarios from an appropriate definition of
"I went into a pet store and I saw this poor pathetic little
creature stuck in a ten gallon aquarium with no shelter to hide in,
only peanuts in the food dish, and sitting right next to the cash
I felt so bad for it that I had to rescue it from this obviously bad
My first question to such an individual is how much did you have to
pay for this creature or did the pet store give it to you?
The response is typically "well, I paid full price, but I simply had to
Folks, this is not a rescue. Granted such individuals have
caring and tender hearts for wanting to "save" such a critter from a
situation of obvious abuse and neglect.
But the fact remains that this is not a rescue in the true sense of the
The pet store is now likely to go back to their local breeder, buy
another glider at wholesale and subject a brand new critter to the same
abuse and neglect as its predecessor.
Each time some tender soul comes in to "save" a critter, some new
critter is next in line to fall victim to the same treatment.
And its only a matter of time before another sensitive and caring
person strolls by and decides to "rescue" this new critter making way
for yet another critter to suffer the same story.
I do hope that my point is well made here. We strongly advise
that you don't let your emotions hinder you from making the best
possible decision in choosing the right sugar gliders to make part of
You might just end up with health issues, bonding issues, and
behavioral problems that are difficult to deal with.
And ultimately the underlying problem still exists in the very store
from which you purchased this pet.
I really want to drive this point home and share with you another
scenario that we've encountered concerning a particular breeder that
sells most of their gliders via home shows throughout the
Within one week, I had personally spoken to five separate and unrelated
individuals that had attended the same weekend home show and "rescued"
three legged gliders from this particular vendor.
From countless personal conversations over the years with actual
purchasers of these maimed animals, as well as conversations with
others in direct contact with this vendor, we are conservatively
estimating that approximately 10-15% of all animals raised and bred by
are maimed. Most of the maimed gliders are missing a foot
or missing a tail and the reason is because the breeder raises the
animals in extremely small cages with walls that adjoin the cages of
other breeding pairs.
It is likely that the "next door neighbor" gliders are injuring the
Because this breeder sells at home shows, most of the potential
buyers have never heard of or have never actually seen a sugar glider
When these buyers see just how cute the young sugar gliders are, the
first question is "how much?".
This vendor sells their gliders for an average of $200 each. And
often the potential buyer will react with "Wow! That's a lot of
This is when the vendor pulls out a three legged glider or a tail-less
glider and offers the buyer a discount to buy the glider for $100.00
because of the problem.
Most of the people I've spoken to think this is the only "needy"
glider in the lot and feel like they saved the day by giving this
little critter a new home.
Unbeknownst to most, there are other "needy" gliders in a box
underneath the table just waiting for the right person to come along,
to ask the right question, to be offered a "special" glider at a
Folks, this is not a rescue. Just as with the pet shop scenario, this is
a perpetuation of an ongoing problem with slick business people who are out for one thing only - YOUR MONEY!
Please join us again next month as we get more into the nitty-gritty of what rescue is truly about, the challenges
rescuers face, and the unexpected and unpleasant surprises that newbies to these efforts will likely find themselves faced with.
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 himself!
Yuk Yuk Yuk!
I bring my bird out to my sun room to bask each day… would my gliders like that too?
Me not sure me understands your question???? Are you asking if your gliders would like the sun or like your bird?
As creatures of the night, sun tanning is not very high up on our list of things to do!
Now bask me in the glow of the big full moon, and me is happy as a didgeridoo.
And would me and me pals like to bask in the presence of a bird? Hmmmm …. Only before dinner!
We think birds are DA-licious! My idea of a romantic evening is a bit of finch a- la-mode under the soft glow of the moon.
Liiiiiiissssssaaaaaaaa! Could I have fresh bird for dinner tonite?
Lisa: NO Arnold! You've never had live bird and you never will!
You know birds have feelings too! How about some canned chicken from Sam's Club?
OK! Thanks Lisa! And thanks Anonymous for your yummy question.
Please thank Dr. C for explaining electrolytes
and why they are important, particularly for sick little gliders.
I always wondered why vets suggested using fluids like Pedialyte as
part of the treatment.
Hehehehe. I guess learning more bout electric lights would make you feel
"brighter" .. I don't know a lot about this stuff 'cause I sleep most of the day and don't much like lights at all.
Not electric lights, not sun lights, not flash lights or nuttin' like that.
But I'll pass your message on to Dr. C. I'm sure she'll know what you is talkin' about.
Arnold the Moonlight Man
Now that my baby sugar gliders are full grown, do I have to replace
their baby food, etc. with cooked meat for protein or can I just
continue to give them protein as I did when they were babies?
Methinks real protein like chicken and mealies and
crickets are much better than mushy
protein in a jar overall.
Ya gotta look at the 'gredients IN it .. that's why they call it
Ya might find that the protein 'gredient in baby food stuff not as much
as the protein
'gredient in real food. It's OK for a now and then, but give some
of the other stuffs too.
My mommy tree actually gives us very little of the baby food and yogurt
anymore, much to me displeasure. These are, after all, the funnest
foods to throw on the
Arnold Da "Finger Flinger"
P.S. Don't ferget to pick up yer new copy of me cuzzin's top selling CD by Tony Arnoldo and Dusk called
"Tie a Yellow Ribbon" ('round the old gum tree)
Well, That’s all Blokes! 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...Glider Hair Loss - Part II ==========================
By Dr. C., of course!
Last month we began a discussion on glider hair loss. If you missed this newsletter, you may find this article by
clicking here. And now we will continue on with this topic.
After last month's article we got a surprisingly high number of emails
from individuals asking why their male glider was losing hair on top of
I was not originally planning to cover this topic, as we have covered
it in past issues of the GliderVet Newsletter.
However, the question came up so many times I think it important to
mention again that intact male gliders will develop what appears to be
a "bald spot" on top of its head once it is matured.
This is the result of gland development prominently displayed in the
male of the species.
It is perfectly normal and nothing to be alarmed about.
Some common medical causes of abnormal hair loss besides poor nutrition
can be bacterial or fungal infections and possibly ecto-parasites
(those that live on the outside of the body).
Your veterinarian, through skin scrapings that are examined
microscopically, can diagnose these conditions.
In some instances skin biopsies (i.e. removing a piece of tissue) may
These will then be sent to a diagnostic laboratory for a procedure
known as histopathology.
A very common cause of hair loss is over-grooming. The reasons
gliders may tend to over groom themselves can be rather lengthy. Stress
factors from a variety of sources can cause over-grooming. Dry skin
could be a contributing factor to this event.
Slight trauma to an area, while not visible to a physical examination,
may cause slight irritation to the animal encouraging over-attention to
that particular area.
Other sugar gliders kept in a joint habitat could also be the source of
In other words, a companion glider may over-groom the animal
experiencing the hair loss.
Colony dwellers, as gliders are in the free range, will typically groom
I suspect that low humidity may be a factor to consider in some
cases. Here in Florida, we tend to stay quite humid year
In other parts of the country, as weather gets cooler, humidity levels
Just as human skin will be drier during these weather conditions,
animals will suffer the same effect.
As stated above in my comments on over-grooming, dry skin is an issue
All glider keepers in colder climates may be well advised to keep a
humidifier in your glider room.
This would best emulate the type of conditions that gliders prefer.
We have seen a few cases of hair loss here at SunCoast. In the
absence of any other signs that may indicate illness, I've advised
Debbie and Lisa to keep a watchful eye on the affected critters to make
sure that no other behaviors seemed out of the norm and no presence of
other signs develop.
In the few cases that have been experienced, the hair grew back in to a
healthy and normal appearance.
Hair loss is not necessarily a life threatening condition, but may
indicate other problems exist.
Before we close on this topic, I do want to mention that hand reared
(those that at taken from the parents prior to weaning and fed formula
weaning is completed) may often lose hair at some point during the hand
I do not recommend that you hand rear joeys unless the mother is ill or
There is no substitute for parental rearing of young. Hand rearing is a
last resort effort that should only be employed if the life of the
young or the female parent is in jeopardy.
The types of formulas often employed in hand rearing efforts are
soupy and sticky.
Some formula will undoubtedly get "on the joey" instead of "in the
joey". Parent sugar gliders spend a great deal of their time
cleaning and grooming their offspring.
One part of hand rearing young gliders is to thoroughly clean the
babies after each feeding.
Failure to do so will leave sticky food on the skin and fur and the fur
will start thinning.
I generally suggest just a warm, wet cloth for cleaning. However,
if you need more than that, a single drop of Dawn dish soap is one of
your better choices.
Be sure to rinse well, dry baby gliders thoroughly after washing, and
keep them warm.
As the gliders get older, they will learn to keep themselves
groomed, so routine bathing of gliders is not generally
Like cats, sugar gliders typically do a good job keeping themselves
clean and will not enjoy being wet down.
Doing so will not exactly enhance your bonding experience either.
If you feel that your glider truly needs to be bathed, you might
consider one of the
"dry formula" cleansing agents for older gliders.
To summarize, I would not suggest that you panic if some hair loss is
If you are confidant that your diet plan is health supportive and
typical behavior patterns are consistent, then continue your
Plan a veterinary visit to rule out skin conditions or external
parasites as possible causes.
Hair does grow back.
Sometimes stress conditions can occur that we are not aware of, even
when no obvious changes have taken place in your sugar glider's
But if questions exist or it has been awhile since your glider's last
physical, consider a visit to see your vet.
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 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
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SunCoast Sugar Gliders
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