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This Month in the GliderVet Newsletter
Gíday Glider Gang! Welcome to the March GliderVet Newsletter! Letís
"march" right into this monthís lineup
and see whatís ahead.
Last month we started a new series on Glider Rescue
and plan to continue that topic of discussion herein.
A lot of people would like to be added to the ranks of animal rescuer,
but before you do so, we hope you will read on to learn about the
realities of rescue work and what you really need to be prepared to
Our world needs more good qualified rescuers, but many people commit to
such projects only to find out that they really arenít equipped to
handle the demands of such work. So stay tuned to learn more.
Next, you will hear from our Gliding Goliath - larger than life
- in another exciting episode of ďDear ArnoldĒ! Arnold also wants
to thank all of you girl gliders that sent him marriage proposals for
He said he accepts them all as long as he can keep living in Florida!
And speaking of marriage proposals, we wish to send a hearty congrats
to Robert R who presented his girlfriend with an engagement
ring and two "engagement gliders" this last Valentineís! We
heard she said YES! Talk about instant family! Good luck,
Cassandra! All the best from the folks at SunCoast.
Last but not least, Dr. C will begin discussing a new diet plan
gaining much notoriety in the
glider community these days. If you are using Ensure, Sustagen,
or Boost as part of your gliderís dietary plan, you will certainly want
to read Dr Cís article this month
to learn why she currently DOES NOT support feeding sugar gliders this
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 - Part II
By Lisa and Debbie
We get a ton of calls and e-mail from people who are trying to decide
whether to rescue or buy a joey. Quite often the people who choose rescue
end up with problems they never anticipated - problems we are asked to help them
resolve. Here are a few of the more frequent problems: the glider won't
bond, won't eat, is sick and therefore expensive to keep, or the glider just
won't get along with other gliders. Many people feel good about
"saving the animal" and are severely disappointed with the end
results, and these critters end up bouncing from home to home. We do what
we can to help these people, even offering a free forum to help find homes for
unwanted gliders - The Sugar Glider Exchange.
But the Exchange doesn't fix the problem, it just hopefully makes it
painful. The only thing that will fix the problem is education,
this series of articles on rescue, we hope to make sure you fully
all the issues surrounding a rescue. In last monthís article, we
began this series by discussing what a rescue is not.
To review that article,
click here. This month, we review an
actual rescue situation we experienced here at SunCoast.
Oftentimes, rescue situations come about as a result of some
life-changing event in the human caretakerís life.
Case in point, we took in a group of over twenty sugar gliders several
The original keeper of these gliders was a small breeder in FL and he
and his wife split up rather suddenly.
He used to keep all of his gliders in separate ďpaired offĒ cages, but
due to having to move to a new home, dealing with his personal
emotions, and trying to get his life back on track, he put all of the
gliders in one large outdoor aviary.
Unfortunately, when we agreed to take these gliders in, we found
that the cage was
outdoors (in Florida, during the hottest month of the year) with no
shade in the yard at all.
It was a sad and sorry sight to behold. I do think he felt badly
for doing this to his gliders, but he was not in the best emotional
state to make good decisions for himself, much less his animals.
He was trying hard to focus on finding good homes for not only sugar
gliders, but a plethora of other exotics he kept as well.
We paid him
$600 for the cage and all the sugar gliders, an amount significantly
below the price one would expect to pay for sugar gliders.
But the money we put into these animals after the initial purchase
added up quickly and this is
the part all potential rescuers should be prepared for. Sick or
animals are going to require rehabilitation, and it costs money.
We felt that the first order of business was to physically examine all of the sugar gliders.
This was no fun task trying to deal with a rather large group of animals
who had not been handled for quite awhile and kept in a highly unsuitable situation.
We got through the physicals and separated out animals
who were sick-looking or carrying joeys.
Our next step was to acquire, build, and locate new cages for this
group. We had to assume that all of the gliders in this giant
colony were related to each other in some way, so how do you go about
setting them up in smaller size groupings and
ensure that no future inbreeding would take place? There was only
one way to completely
ensure this and that was to find a new opposite sex mate for every
single animal in the colony.
Dr. C insisted that these animals undergo a full forty five day
quarantine period and told us, in no uncertain terms, that we were
crazy if we were planning to integrate them into our breeding colony
prior to completion of quarantine.
So the new group of gliders lived at my home during quarantine.
Iíll share with you a rather pertinent fact about my
home - I donít have a suitable place available to handle such a large
So then we had the expense of creating a makeshift quarantine setup
until relocation could begin.
We also incurred numerous costs on medical exams and treatments for
sick gliders from this group. In fact, the whole rescue operation
became a bottomless pit of bills and
expenses, plus we ended up losing two of the gliders in the
colony. We now had about twenty little beings that needed a place
of their own, an unrelated mate, an upgraded diet, and lots of love and
The next phase took us nearly a year to accomplish. We were
able to adopt out a few of these gliders to individuals who needed
companion animals for glider pairs that
had lost mates. Through re-arranging some of our pairs and trios,
along with bringing in a few more gliders from outside sources, we were
finally able to accomplish suitable
opposite-sex companions for
all the sugar gliders. Each pair / trio was finally in a
new cage in a peaceful, controlled environment.
I bet at this point, many of you are feeling that over time, by
breeding these gliders, that we were able to re-coup much of the money
we spent to bring in this rescue colony.
Well, think again, mes amis! Many of these gliders turned out to be
very poor parents.
They either did not breed, did not bring joeys to full term, abandoned
their joeys, or
cannibalized them. Once any of our gliders have been deemed to
fit into any of these categories, we stop breeding them
And nearly all of them ultimately stay here at
SunCoast, as we feel a strong obligation to ensure these animals have a
good life for the rest of their time on this planet.
Please take from this story one simple message: if you are getting into a
true rescue of sugar gliders - where neglect, abuse, or abandonment has taken place -
make sure you are prepared for it emotionally and financially.
It's not going to be easy.
If you think that rescued sugar gliders will integrate well into a
small breeding program, you may just find that is not the
case. What you
may end up with is limited space for a bunch of animals in need of
different diets, veterinary visits, and
who are unlikely to contribute to their own upkeep. It is a
tremendous responsibility and one that you should approach with eyes
wide open before jumping in.
We weighed these risks before taking in this colony as we had done
several smaller rescues prior to this event, but to be quite honest
with you, the stack of bills at the end of the event were significantly
higher than we had planned for.
Rescued animals can be significantly more expensive to maintain than animals raised in loving and supportive environments.
Many of their health issues are more stress induced, and these types of situations can be hard to treat and resolve.
Another Exciting Episode of Ö. DEAR ARNOLD
Note: Some of Arnoldís 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 take my gliders out during the day a lot just to hold them and love
them. Sometimes their hair looks funny. Itís kind of flat and sticking
up kinda weird like. But at night, they look like their typical fuzzy
and well-groomed selves. I know that Iíve read that the fur can be a
sign of health problems. Any ideas what is going on here?
Bad Hair in Baltimore
Hehehehehe Ö.. I think me may know whatís up. Meself is a victim of
pouch hair. This is the sugar glider version of what methinks you
hoomans call bed head. See, I sleeps amongst three other fuzzbutts
whose butts are significantly larger than meself. And I prefers to
sleep on the bottom cause itís the warmest and coziest there. So if me
beauty sleep is disturbed in the middle of the day, I havenít had time
to grooms meself and tend to not look quite as hansome as I do in the
evening, when I always looks terrific!
Anywho, you right about the look of the fur being a good sign to
tell how your suggie is feeling, but if they look good at night, they
probly all right Ö now this is what I want you to do! Forget to close
the cage door tonite, and let yer fuzzies come dive bomb you at about
3AM! Thatís high party time for us and we are looking good. I want you
to run to one of those shiny things that makes you able to see yersef
(a mirror?) and take a good long look at your head fur Ö. Pretty?
Methinks not! Bad hair days can affect the best of us!
Your groovin and groomin glider pal,
My name is Pikachu and my Mum Tree is Juli. I wanted to send you me picture and let you in on a little secret.
My ancestors in Australia started that whole Croc Hunter thing and the secrets have been passed down through generations.
I think Steve Irwin is a big copy cat! I live in Florida like you, Arnie!
And here we only have alligators.
Click here to see!
Pikachu, Original Croc Hunter
You are such a brave boy! Do you eat the alligators you slay? I heard they taste like mealworms!
Meal Worm Slayer
Well, Thatís all Blokes! Tune in again next month for another exciting episode of Dear Arnold!
Donít forget, you can share your short
comments or fun questions with
me by clicking here.
Exotic Pet Vet
What Dr. C Says On... Unproven Diet Plans - Part I
By Dr. C., of course!
Without a doubt, the most frequently asked questions that are
submitted to me about good glider care involve diet.
Diet is a critical aspect of good husbandry skills with any pet,
particularly exotic pets as high quality pre-formulated diets typically
do not exist.
So learning how to manage your
pet's diet properly will have a direct impact on your sugar gliderís
long term health and well being.
Apparently there is a lot of ongoing discussion on several of the
internet communities concerning the use of human dietary supplements
such as Ensure, Sustagen and
Boost in a sugar glider diet. We suspect a prescribed diet using
ingredients to feed sugar gliders began with a very specific situation
has snowballed into a "diet plan". It is not very likely the use
of these ingredients was ever intended as part of an ongoing "diet
plan", and they can possibly impact your glider's health
So letís begin this discussion by looking at the purpose of these sort
of products in the human setting.
On the Ensure official website, this nutritional supplement is described as follows:
ENSURE is complete, balanced nutrition for supplemental use with or
When consumed in appropriate amounts, ENSURE can be used as a sole
nutrition: For people on modified diets ∑ For people at nutrition risk
∑ For those with involuntary weight loss ∑ For people who need a
low-cholesterol or low-residue diet ∑ For patients recovering from
illness or surgery
I also encourage you to look at the list of known side effects of using such products in humans.
If you are using a diet based on Ensure, Sustagen, Boost or any other similar type of formula,
here to see the list of documented side effects, as well as a list of all nutritional
supplements that fall into this
My first question to anyone who wishes to feed a sugar glider a
human nutritional supplement
like these is this: Why would you feed your pet a human product
designed for sick, chronic, underweight, or recovering humans?
Next, what empirical data exists to equate human needs to sugar glider
In other words, do you assume that human nutritional requirements and
sugar glider nutritional requirements are the same?
In my opinion and experience, this is not likely the case.
I really want to encourage you to stick with a sugar glider plan for
diet and nutrition that has been time tested and proven.
This is one of those areas where I personally feel that information
derived from the internet can be potentially dangerous to keepers of
exotic animals. But before I go further into my personal thoughts on
such a diet, letís briefly examine where the diet came
Lisa has given me background information on the first individual to
experience a success story by using the product Ensure as the basis for
a nutritional approach to aid in the recovery of a sugar glider
diagnosed with cancer.
I wish to commend this individual for her success and for her
dedication and commitment to find answers in the best interest of her
I understand that she has gone to great lengths and sought the advice
of several professionals in her quest to find answers to resolve a
I do believe that when a glider is at risk, losing weight, losing
energy and on an obvious downhill slide, that immediate measures must
be taken if that life is to be saved.
The ultimate goal is to then support that animal in such a way that the
highest quality of life can be obtained and it sounds to me like the
approach that was taken was highly successful.
Itís hard to argue with success, but the fact remains that this diet
was used to save the life of a sick sugar glider.
Here is where I wish to caution the rest of the community: if you use a diet
plan that includes an ingredient designed to support a critically ill
human as a mainstay diet for healthy animals, my concern is that the long-term effects will be unfavorable to
animals with normal metabolisms and good health status.
This month, I wanted to lay some groundwork for this discussion by sharing the
facts on this type of nutritional. Next month we will complete this topic
and I will share with you why I think following
such a plan is not in your pets' best interest.
These topics are driven by your requests, so send your questions about glider health care issues
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
GliderVet newsletter, please send them here.
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SunCoast Sugar Gliders
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