GliderVet Newsletter  |  Sugar Glider Vet Newsletters 2006

GliderVet #55: Little Red Bumps; Feeding Sugar Gliders Onions and Garlic / Baby Food; Are all Mealworms Alike?

This Month in the GliderVet Newsletter
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Greetings Glider Groupies, Glider Newbies and Glider Wanna-bes! Welcome to the September edition of the GliderVet News.

We have a spicy issue lined up for you this month. It is important that sugar gliders have somewhere between 35-50% protein in their diet. One food item that many people have chosen to fill this requirement is baby foods and baby meat sticks. Have you read the fine print on your labels? Do you know if these foods contain onion and garlic powder? Read on to find out what we’ve learned about onion and garlic and the risks associated with feeding these items to animals. It can go beyond just bad breath!

We will also briefly discuss those little red bumps that many humans seem to experience when first getting sugar gliders. The good news is it’s probably not an allergy. Read on to learn more.

And our ole pal Arnold T Schwarzenglider will be sharing his infinite wisdom about stuff you may wonder about worms. Are all mealworms created equally? Mealworms, giant worms, super worms …. What’s the difference?

Before we glide in, we do have one brief announcement. For many years we have been offering the Wodent Wheel brand running wheel in Arnold’s store. We’ve recently added a new size to our Wodent Wheel and Nail-O-Matic accessory line. The Wobust Wodent Wheel is a great choice for colony cages of three or more gliders. Gliders will often pile into the wheel together and the track sometimes pops out from the weight. The Wobust wheel will hold more cwitters without the track bweaking loose. More about the Wobust here.

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 questions. 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.
Little Red Bumps? Allergic Reaction … Or Not?
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by Lisa

Many first time glider owners are in for a bit of surprise, and often unnecessary worry, when first bringing home new sugar gliders. It’s not uncommon for a lot of people to get little red bumps on their skin from playing with gliders. Many often fear this is an allergic reaction to the gliders, even though these people have never experienced animal allergies before. The good news is that it’s not likely to be an indication of allergies. In most cases, the little red bumps can be prevented in several different ways.

I remember when I first started working with gliders, I was a victim of the little red bump syndrome. Well, I handle a lot of gliders, every single day and I don’t get them anymore. Many people seem to adapt to whatever it is on glider nails that cause these irritating little splotches. I have had them in a very minor way on my arms, but moreso on my chest. You see, I consider a sports bra nothing more than a human marsupium and that’s where I often carry my babies. So I’m one of the lucky ones that have adapted to the situation.

You can of course wear long sleeves to prevent direct contact with your skin. But this is not always convenient, particularly if your glider tends to run up your sleeve or down your shirt, as many of them will. Or you can allow the gliders to crawl around on your bare skin, and simply wipe those areas with a bit of rubbing alcohol when play time is over. This is a quick and easy remedy for most people.

The best solution is to keep their nails trimmed. When the nails are sharp, you will experience many tiny pierces to your skin and this will lead to an elevated level of skin irritation. If the nails are clipped or “filed” so the ends are less pointy, you will experience less skin irritation and for most people, this will be the end of tiny red bumps.

You can trim sugar glider nails with a nail clipper and we provide detailed instructions with pictures here. However, it's not an easy procedure to master and some people are not comfortable doing it.

Over the years, we’ve experimented with a plethora of techniques and ways to trim and file glider nails. The best solution we have to offer is to use our exclusive, patented Nail-O-Matic trimmer track. We patented this device several years ago and it’s worked so well that others have tried to copy it. Successful products always attract imitation. But please be careful of imitations. What makes our product unique is that it is the ONLY device that offers paw pad protection. After all, if a running surface actually files sugar glider nails, it has to also scrape the paw pads, right? It only makes sense.

In the process of doing something that will make your skin feel better and alleviate the little red bumps, please don’t use a product that will “turn the tables” and irritate your sugar gliders feet. In a perfect world, none of us (human or critter) should have to suffer skin irritation because we love to hang out together.

So do yourself a favor and keep your gliders nails trimmed. And do your glider a favor and use the only device that is available in the world that offers a fun interactive way to keep nails trimmed without causing foot burn for your gliders. The Nail-O-Matic trimmer track is available for the Senior, Junior, and Wobust Wodent Wheels.

In conclusion, don’t give up on gliders as great new friends if you are one of the unlucky ones who get these red bumps. Chances are you don’t have an allergy and easy solutions to your problem do exist!

Dear Arnold...Are Giant Mealworms Better?
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by 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! And now … for more "thinking outside of the pouch" advice … here's Arnold!

Hiya Arnold,

I’m a big fan and my name is June Bug. And I love mealworms, just like you! One day my mum comes home with these humongous, giant live things… they looked like mealworms, and tasted like mealworms, but they were so big! What can you tell me about these worms, great guru of gliders?

Love,
June Bug

Hiya J.B.!

I do love me mealworms and I love June Bugs too! And well, toots, ya come to the right place. I do have a Masters Degree in Mealies after all. If you ever need to know something about mealies and it “bugs” ya cuz you don’t know, then just ask me!

Not all mealworms are created equal … and stuff they call giant mealworms or super mealworms are like regular mealworms on steroids. And that, my dear, is not necessarily a good thang. See, a lot o times, these mealworms aren’t just “old” worms that got a chance to get bigger and stronger, these mealworms are fed sumptin called a growth hormone. Why, you ask?

Well, for a cupple of reasons. First, it makes 'em get bigger, faster … and hewmans that sell mealworms sometimes think bigger is better. Also, when mealworms reach a certain age, they turn into a beetle bug. Now, pet stores and other places that sell mealworms don’t have much use for beetle bugs. This growth hormone thingy makes the worms get big AND not turn into a beetle bug. Some hewmans think this is a good thing … and maybe it is if you’re a fisherman. But in me most humble highly regarded expert opinion, not good. I like me worms straight up with no growth hormones or other unnatural junk. So when offered a course of giant mealworms, or superworms, I say no thank you!

And anudder thing! I don’t want to eat nuttin' that can wrap itself around me body a full lap. That’s just creepy! Gimme regular size mealworms … one in each hand to start, puhleeze!

Thanks for the great question, June Bug!
Ta Ta fer now! Your pal, Arnie.
Onions and Garlic In the Glider Diet
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By Kristofer Schoeffler
College of Veterinary Medicine,
Texas A&M

French onion soup. Garlic and herb chicken. Sautéed mushrooms and onions on a big juicy hamburger. Let’s face it, onions and garlic are delicious! However, just because we love them and eat them with so many things, that does not mean that we should share them with our furry little friends. These closely related plants (both are members of the genus Allium) can be toxic to many of our domestic pets, such as dogs, cats, and horses. Other animals, like sheep and people, can eat them all day long and never have any problems (other than bad breath).

So, what about sugar gliders? Are they the kinds of animal that can tolerate onions and garlic in their food, or should we leave these two ingredients out all together?

To tell the truth, we really don't know for sure. To prove it one way or another, we would need to specifically test these foods for toxicity in sugar gliders. There have not yet been any of these scientific studies looking at the effects of these plants on sugar gliders. Some people feed gliders foods containing onion powder, like certain baby foods, and never notice any problems. That does not mean that onion powder is okay for all gliders. Nor does it mean that those same gliders could tolerate higher amounts of onion or garlic in their food. It may just mean those people who have seen problems with their gliders did not associate those problems with the diet they feed.

Here is what is known about onions and garlic: they are toxic to many species of animals, and the problems that they cause can vary in severity from animal to animal. Even a few drops of French onion soup can be life-threatening to a cat! So, knowing that fact, why would you want to take a chance on feeding these foods to your beloved pet? Sure, there is a possibility that nothing bad would ever happen that was due to onions and garlic in the diet. But with all of the other safer foods out there that sugar gliders love, why risk it?

Maybe someday we will know just how well sugar gliders can tolerate onions and garlic. Until that day, I recommend finding other foods for your little buddy. That way you and your friend can both sleep peacefully at night. Or, he/she can run and play all night long while you try to sleep peacefully. What I’m trying to say is . . . well, you get the picture.

Editor’s Note: Many of the baby food meat sticks contain onion and garlic powder. Read the labels carefully. There are some organic brands that do not contain these ingredients and gliders love them!

'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 with us!

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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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Viva La Glider! Arnold

Lisa
SunCoast Sugar Gliders

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