Paralyzed Squirrel

Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:55 am

I received this male yesterday from another rehabber. I'm giving it physical therapy every few hours. It has some feeling it its hind legs and tail, but unfortunately its bladder has to be expressed (see video). It has been a week since its injury, so it's too late for dex. It also has a fluke-like parasite (pic attached). I had one other squirrel that had this parasite, and it seizured and died. I'm wondering if this parasite might excrete a neurotoxin. I'm treating with Panacur but also dosed it with praziquantel, since I'm not sure yet exactly what kind of bug this is.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sgXwi3oWXw
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby carabnsol » Mon Jun 13, 2011 12:19 pm

I don't think a neurotoxin is responsible for his symptoms. I would expect all limbs to be involved. This is most likely spinal cord trauma. Can he move his tail at all? Does the anus constrict if the skin around it is lightly pinched with forceps? Good video showing how to express the bladder!
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:22 pm

carabnsol wrote: Can he move his tail at all? Does the anus constrict if the skin around it is lightly pinched with forceps? Good video showing how to express the bladder!


Yes, his tail moves (not often or much, but sometimes he'll curl it toward his body when I'm scratching his toes and pinching his foot pads to get his legs to respond), and yes, when I stimulate his penis to help him urinate, his anus will flex/tense (and that's when he usually passes stool). Stomach muscles also contract when I stimulate his penis and when he draws his legs up when I work his feet. Still, I haven't seen any voluntary leg movement when he drags himself around the cage.

About a possible neurotoxin: Maybe it's a false hope, thinking once I get rid of the bugs he'll get better, but I picked up a fox kit a couple of years ago paralyzed in the hind legs only (It seemed to me, but maybe his front legs just weren't as badly affected), and it was tick paralysis.
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:05 pm

Below is a link to a video that shows this little guy's progress. He's responding more and better to therapy, but I don't know that his brain registers. Unfortunately, as a prey species, they're wired not to show pain.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSr7JmPdtWw
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby carabnsol » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:51 am

To me, he definitely appears to feel "deep" pain when you pinch his foot. With spinal cord and nerve injury we look at superficial pain (pin prick) and deep pain (toe pinch). Presence of deep pain indicates that some neuro information is getting through and is a better prognostic sign in general. With some spinal injuries, they may exhibit a withdrawal reflex action with their legs but will not react painfully (vocalization and squirming to get away). These injuries are more severe in general and have a much less favorable prognosis. The withdrawal reflex only indicates the peripheral nerve pathway is intact.

ps: Thanks for the Rocky Mountain Spring Water!
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:56 pm

Okay--here's what I think I know and know I hope and need to know:

What I think I know:
1. I took a fecal sample and the pics to my vets' office, and they seem certain the "bug" is a type of coccidia (why the Panacur and praziquantel didn't work). It's not the typical kind of coccidia I've seen in squirrels because it has an operculated (or "plugged") end like a trematode. However, some research revealed that some forms of coccidia do have an operculated end.

2. Some forms of coccidia and other protozoans produce neurotoxins. One form is bovine enteric coccidiosis or "nervous coccidiosis," and when infected serum was given to mice, it "resulted in loss of righting reflex, seizures, and death" (as I said in an earlier post, the only other squirrel I had with this parasite seizured and died, but I'm not suggesting this is the bovine sort). Possibly the most notorious protozoan that can result in neurological disorders, including paralysis of the hindquarters, is Toxoplasma gondii (not what this boy has). Poultry also can suffer neurological symptoms from a form of coccidia.

What I know I hope:
1. That, if curable or reversible, this IS a form of coccidia that can have neurological effects and that treatment can reverse the symptoms. Paralysis of the hind limbs is probably one of the, if not THE, most common reasons that rehabilitators get adult squirrels. It has been for me, anyway, and it has been particularly perplexing/frustrating when there have been no external signs of injury and radiographs haven't shown any breaks or disc ruptures. If it's discovered that the cause may be parasitic and curable, even if in only a small percentage of cases, it would be quite a find!

What I need to know:
1. I debated between Albon and SMZ-TMP. My vets in the past have given me Albon for coccidia, but from my understanding SMZ-TMP is broader spectrum, particularly for protozoans (including Toxoplasma gondii), so I went with that. I'm happy to switch if advice/evidence suggests otherwise.

2. I was told of another drug--"Ponazuril"--to treat for coccidia. Apparently, it doesn't just control it by preventing replication, as the others do, but actually kills it. The drug was made for horses but is being used by vets now for dogs and cats, but I don't know if it's safe for rodents. The advantage is that it requires only two doses, seven to ten days apart, rather than the 14 days BID that SMZ-TMP requires and the 14 days SID that Albon requires. That would save a lot of stress for all involved!

PS to carabnsol: You're welcome for the water. It's supposed to be good for your heatlh, and I "take the waters" often!
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:04 pm

Just an update: I gave the boy his first dose of SMZ-TMP about five hours ago. I just finished giving him a feeding and stimulating him/expressing him. His stool was runny after a couple of pellets (hasn't been before), but when I picked him up he actually curled his tail back over his back in the "S" shape for a second. Maybe I'm just hoping/projecting, but his kicks seemed stronger also--as he not only withdraws but also pushes. Still, when put back in his cage, he drags his hind legs.
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:23 pm

Okay--another update: This is very frustrating for me, but I had a long talk with my regular vet (the ones who gave their opinion yesterday were not (it's a clinic with several vets), and she isn't so sure it's coccidia but is not certain. Three very good vets have looked at the pics and/or fecals but are uncertain (albeit none are or claim to be wildlife vets). I also talked with the rehabber today who had the squirrel for six days before I received it, and she said that it had been given SMZ-TMP for the six days (since it was a cat attack). On the basis of fecals, apparently SMZ-TMP wasn't doing any good, and since Albon is another sulfa drug, I wonder if that will do any good either (although I gave it its first "loading dose" today). Tomorrow I'm going to pick up a dose of the new drug I mentioned (Ponazuril), and as my vet today said, "If that doesn't work, we've given it every chance to be coccidia." If it doesn't work, she and another vet suggest trying Ivermectin. Suggestions/advice are welcomed. On a better note, the boy does seem to be responding to PT better--bit by bit.
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby carabnsol » Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:07 pm

Can your Vet submit some of the stool to the local College of Veterinary Medicine or State Veterinary Diagnostic lab or a referral lab like Idexx to identify the parasite?
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:02 pm

carabnsol wrote:Can your Vet submit some of the stool to the local College of Veterinary Medicine or State Veterinary Diagnostic lab or a referral lab like Idexx to identify the parasite?


I will certainly ask tomorrow! Thanks, Carabnsol!
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:39 pm

6/17/2011 Update: The boy received a dose of Ponazuril about five hours ago, and so far it hasn't killed him. He is improving in repsonse to stimuli (not necessarily related to the drug). The link is to a couple of short clips showing that he'll now move his feet and legs seemingly voluntarily (without pinching), and he also can curl his tail. He kicks his feet weakly as shown while I feed him formula, and he has curled his tail without my scratching his back, but like all kids, he didn't want to perform for the camera. Also, when I massage the back of his thighs, each leg will go into a rapid scratching motion for half a second. Finally, I had feces sent to a lab, but it wil take about a week to get the results. I did a fecal an hour ago, and he still is full of the "bugs," but I don't know how long it takes for this med to do its thing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysotXkaw9pA

(For some reason, the screen comes up green, but if you hit "Replay" once the green thing is done, the clips show.)
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby SquirrellyMomma » Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:13 am

Thanks for the updates on the little boy, Daddy Squirrel. It's great to hear and see that he's improving and making progress every day! I think once the bugs are gone you're going to continue to see a steady improvement with him. I'm hoping for the best...a full recovery!
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Sat Jun 18, 2011 7:26 pm

This is just another update to try to show his progress. I don't know why YouTube goes to a green screen, but if you'll slide the advance bar all the way to the right and then hit "Replay," you can see the vid. It's disjointed because I cut out the less interesting/informative parts as best I could, but the first part shows how, after I get him started, he pees on his own, so I 'm thinking his bladder must be contracting, and the rest shows that he moves his tail now, with and without stimulation, how he reacts to other stimulation and sometimes independent of stimulation, and how he'll go into these rapid scratching motions. Maybe this is all reflexive--just nerves reacting--but it's a great improvement over when I first got him. He had his dose of Ponazuril about 20 hours ago, and while he still has the "bugs," I've done two fecals and they are greatly diminished in numbers.

PS: I realize this is all uninteresting/boring as hell to some, but I find it fascinating, and I'll keep submitting for a matter of record and in hopes it may benefit others. As I've said before, since so many adult squirrels come in with paralysis, if this is a possible, curable reason, it could save many.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bylh-2ceOLg
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby carabnsol » Sun Jun 19, 2011 4:46 pm

Wow, he really has come a long way in a short time. Remember, nerve tissue is the slowest growing tissue in the body, therefore it take the longest to regenerate and heal. The scratch response is interesting. I can't tell if he is consciously perceiving the stimulation or if that is a reflex response. He sure looks better!
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Sun Jun 19, 2011 6:18 pm

carabnsol wrote: Remember, nerve tissue is the slowest growing tissue in the body, therefore it take the longest to regenerate and heal. The scratch response is interesting. I can't tell if he is consciously perceiving the stimulation or if that is a reflex response. He sure looks better!


Thanks, Carabnsol. I guess what I need to know now is if after the bugs are cleared out, whether his problem is a result of a possible neurotioxin or injury or whatever, at what point do I throw in the towel and let him go. I'm hoping my hypothesis of a neurotoxin is correct and may be reversible, but I realize it's a long shot. And even if it is a neurotoxin, I fear he will plateau on his improvement at some point and will need to be put down--which I will do but, of course, don't want to have to do. Some guidance as to when to say "enough is enough" will be greatly appreciated. When I perceive he's not improving, do I give him another week, two weeks, what? I don't know how long nerve tissue might take to heal/repair. As of last "session" of feeding, stimulating, and PT, he moved his tail quite a bit more--both with and without stimulation--but a sign I keep looking for is grasping with his hind feet, which he has yet to do. I'm pretty certain he spread his toes a couple of times, but still no grip when I massage his feet.
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby carabnsol » Sun Jun 19, 2011 8:58 pm

Unfortunately, there is no magic number as to how long to keep trying when dealing with this type of case. With pet animals it really depends on how much and how long the owner is willing to go. It also depends on whether or not they are showing progress. In this case there has been a good amount of change in a relatively short period of time. Of course, just like spinal injuries in people, some animals progress to a point but never make 100% recovery. In your situation, anything less than that is probably not going to be good enough since this little fella is to be released. I have seen pets go for years with rear limb paralysis and the owner expressing the bladder. There again, owner's choice. I would think realistically if the parasites clear and there is no improvement within a week or two, then the odds go down significantly.
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:04 pm

I understand completely, Carabnsol. I'm hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. He does improve slightly every day, however, so I'm not giving up yet. This drug, Ponazuril, is really impressing me. Three days ago, his fecal was still filled with oocysts, and today a float revealed only two on an entire slide (of course, I know they shed intermittently). One lab result came back today--definitely a coccidia in the genus eimeria, but no other information. It's certainly not the usual ovoid form of coccidia I've been used to finding. Anyway, the link is to a video from about an hour ago. His "kicks" are getting much stronger even with less intense stimulation (pinching), and he really reacts when I pinch the end of his tail. Earlier today, he fought and growled when I did it, definitely feeling pain. His ability to "swish" his tail around and hold it in the typical S position over his back for a while is also more than what he did even just yesterday, and toward the end, if you'll watch closely, he is now spreading his toes on occasion.

Again, if the screen goes to green, slide the advance bar at the bottom all the way to the right and then hit "Replay."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CzT0YIjQdE
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby carabnsol » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:48 pm

He is certainly looking much stronger. Very impressive!
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:57 pm

It's late, but I can't contain my excitement! He actually climbed the side of his cage! You can tell when he climbs the side of the cage that he's using his hind legs. He doesn't use them so well when he's on the branch, but look at that tail action!

Again, if Youtube goes to a green screen, slide the advance bar at the bottom all the way to the right and hit "Replay."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9r-CwmR0me4
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:39 pm

Quick update, and no video, but one of the signs I've been looking for is slowly materializing. He pulls his legs up under himself now when I have him on his stomach and scratch/stimulate him and when he tries to escape from me, but most importantly, he's gripping with his toes (albeit weakly) when I massage his feet and when he tries to crawl away.
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:19 pm

Update: A short video to show what I had been hoping for--he's using his toes to grasp now--not a lot, but some. Also, his fecals have been clear for the last three days.

Again: If the screen is green, slide the advance bar all the way to the right and hit "Replay."


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUaojmNHwZw
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:48 pm

The boy is using his hind legs more and more now, actually pulling them up under himself and using them for traction. Pretty excited here!

Once again: If you get a green screen, slide the advance bar all the way to the right and hit "Replay."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29zwP_OLPLk
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby SquirrellyMomma » Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:36 pm

I'm excited, too, that the boy is using all four legs! The progress he's made in 12 days is amazing to me. Jack, you've done a great job with him. He looks really good! Looking forward to seeing a full recovery!
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Sat Jun 25, 2011 12:05 pm

Yet another short video showing his ability to use his legs and feet to climb. Considering just two weeks ago all he could do was drag his hind legs and tail behind him, not able to move either legs or tail independently, was unable to urinate, and had been this way for a week before I received him, I am amazed by his progress and thinking this boy will make a full recovery. I wish I could offer scientific evidence of my belief that his paralysis was the result of a neurotoxin emitted by the odd strain of coccidia he had, but I can't. Still, I've done quite a bit of research and have found that several forms of coccidia and other protozoa can have neurological effects--including hindquarter paresis/paralysis. I understand his condition could be the result of spinal trauma and that I may be commiting a logical fallacy in assuming a cause and effect relationship, but his rate of recovery seems remarkable. Here's what I know:
1. Another rehabber had him for a week before I received him and had him on SMZ-TMP because he was an apparent "cat attack" but no visible injuries were present. The rehabber claimed that his paralysis was worsening as he was responding less and less to stimuli and had to have his bladder expressed, so that's why I took him.
2. An initial fecal revealed he was full of a strange "bug" that I had seen only once before in a squirrel who seizured and died three days after I received him.
3. After FINALLY identifying the bug as a type of coccidia (two different labs confirmed), he was dosed with Ponazuril.
5. After a single dose, he was clear of coccidia after about five days (His fecals have been clear for the last five days).
6. Almost immediately after the drug took effect and the number of coccidia were diminishing, he has shown marked improvement daily.

Maybe my hypothesis is wrong, but from now on ANY time I get a squirrel in with hindquarter paralysis and there isn't an obvious cause for it, the first thing I will do is a fecal. I've had several over the years that were found dragging themselves across people's yards and have assumed spinal injury from a car, cat, dog, fall but radiographs were inconclusive. I do fecals on all my charges, but again, I have seen this genus of coccidia (Eimeria) only twice in squirrels and both animals presented neurological symptoms.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtElgjmPX90
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby carabnsol » Sat Jun 25, 2011 12:30 pm

He looks like a different squirrel! So much improved from a week ago. To me he still appears to have mild proprioceptive deficits to the rear legs, but at the rate he is improving, I would not be surprised to see that resolve as well. GOOD JOB!
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:25 pm

Sort of by request, below is a link to the latest video. He's improving slowly but steadily. He can now spread, curl, and grip with his toes, and he's getting a little better at climbing. Please forgive the "baby talk."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prRBd-oqexY
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:34 am

A quick update on the boy. He's climbing better, gripping better but still not 100%. I'm still syringe feeding four times a day and stimulating, so I haven't put him in a larger cage yet because he's mobile enough I don't think I'd be able to grab him (without a lot of blood--mine--involved).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPj9Rd_dkyY
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby SquirrellyMomma » Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:44 pm

He looks great, Jack! It's hard to believe he's the same paralyzed squirrel that you first filmed just 18 days ago. The progress he has made is amazing!

Good job to both of you! :D
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:52 am

Update: I've been catching him climbing on the branches when he thinks I'm not looking. Of course, he won't perform for the camera, so I chased him around a bit so you can see that he's getting stronger and more agile. He's still not 100%, be he looks like he'll get there eventually.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P53cSD90ZrQ
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby SquirrellyMomma » Sat Jul 09, 2011 12:26 pm

What a good looking boy!! It's so good to see him climbing! :) The improvement he's made in a month is awesome.

Thanks for posting the video, Jack. I look forward to seeing the progress Boy's making from one video to the next. I still believe he's gonna make a full recovery!
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:12 pm

22 July 2011 update:

The boy is peeing and pooping on his own now. He's been put in a larger cage and climbs around quite a bit. Of course, he won't perform well for the camera, but the video below shows a little of what he can do. I figure his climbing around himself is the best PT he can have, so I don't stimulate him any longer. The next thing I'm looking for is his ability to sit on his haunches to eat (haven't caught him doing that yet), and then standing on his back legs. Keep your fingers crossed!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K004d_Vd-qU

A couple of stills also:
Attachments
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:55 pm

It's been a while, and progress is slow, but there's still progress. The boy is now jumping from branch to branch--small, awkward jumps-- but he has difficulty turning his back feet around and hanging or climbing upside down. Bit by bit, I suppose. By request, another short video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DqZKeitVnA
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby SquirrellyMomma » Sat Aug 13, 2011 10:00 am

Wow! :D Boy has made a lot of progress since the last update and video. He looks great! You've done a great job with him, Jack. I'm amazed by his recovery...and still got my fingers crossed!
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby squirrelwatcher » Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:49 pm

Hey Squirrel Daddy - it has been a couple of years since you posted your remarkable care and cure of this little guy and I am sure there have been many more success stories for you since this one. Not only are you saving the lives of these funny little animals, you are warming the hearts of many of us even thousands of miles away. Thanks for taking the time to post your progress and brightening my day. You truly are a Squirrel Daddy!!
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:31 pm

Thank you so much, Squirrelwatcher! This forum has kind of gone dead, so I haven't posted much on it or updated the Website recently. But, yes, there have been quite a few squirrels and "success stories" since I posted about "Boy." He is still with me and doing well, but he still doesn't have full use of his hind legs. He can climb up just fine but not down so well, so he's a non-releasable. Somewhat ironically, I received another squirrel a few months after Boy who had the same type of coccidia (parasite) and was also completely paralyzed in his hindquarters. He too has not made a full recovery, and unlike Boy he doesn't have bladder control, but he can climb around just fine (though limited) but is NR also. Here are some videos of "Markie" (derived from "Miracle" if you care to watch.

Thank you again for your kind message. You don't know how much it means or how much knowing others are still looking at the site and forum means. You've made my day! :-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3d-evKiCI7g
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxPqMvyH4ro
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2drPjjoQa4
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby slanderson6 » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:49 pm

Is anyone here? I just picked up a squirrel I saw hit by the car in front of me 3 hours ago. He's got front movement but no back that I can see. Is there someone close to coeur d alene Idaho that I can take him to see? A regular vet? My regular vet? I didn't expect him to make it. But he's pretty active in the box and warm Towles. If there is something I can do for him I'd like to.Don't think he can ever be released but I'm willing to take care of him . Wondering if there is a North Idaho guy out there that you know of?
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby SquirrellyMomma » Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:48 pm

Hi Slanderson,

I'm sorry that I'm just now seeing this post. Is the squirrel still with you? I'll see if I can find a rehabber in your area. I'll also get in touch with a rehabber that can offer you advice. Keep checking back for posts.

Edit--Here's a link to Idaho wildlife rehabbers. Looks like they are all in the southwest part of the state so I'll keep trying to locate one closer to Coeur d alene.

http://wildliferehabinfo.org/Contact_A-M.htm#IDAHO
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:38 pm

I will also look for a rehabber in your area, but if this is a known car hit and is paralyzed, probably the kindest, most compassionate thing to do would be to call a vet in your area and have this baby humanely euthanized. Thank you so much for caring about this little animal!

This sit might be of help:

http://wildlife.rescueshelter.com/Idaho
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby SquirrellyMomma » Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:09 pm

Here's a link to two veterinary hospitals in the Spokane, Washington area that are listed as wildlife rehabbers.

http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/health/ ... ch=Spokane
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:20 pm

Kathleen St. Clair-McGee is listed as a rehabber in Clark Fork, Idaho, in Bonner County (County above you). The number is 208-266-1488. Email is ahwf@sandpoint.net.
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Hamilton » Sun Dec 06, 2015 5:41 pm

I also have a squirrel who seems to be paralyzed in his back legs. He is a black squirrel. He is 5 months old. It just happened one day out of nowhere. He does not seem to have pain in his legs or tail. Yet he is extremely active, eating, urinating and deficating on his own.
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby SquirrellyMomma » Tue Dec 08, 2015 8:56 am

Hi Hamilton. What are you feeding your baby? Since the paralysis happened out of nowhere, it could possibly be Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). MBD is a disease that is caused by calcium deficiency. Here's a link to more information on the disease. http://www.squirrelrehabilitation.com/hupocalcemia.htm Here's also a link to a grocery list that shows the calcium to phosphorus rations in some foods. http://www.squirrelrehabilitation.com/g ... 20list.htm Kale, collards greens, romaine lettuce, butternut squash, papaya, and broccoli are a few good choices that are rich in calcium for captive squirrels. Be sure to also include a good quality rodent block in the diet.

There are a couple more reasons that could have caused your baby to lose the use in its back legs. Coccidia, which is a parasite, can be one cause. Do you have vet that can do a fecal on your baby to rule it out? Be sure you are in a squirrel safe state before consulting a vet though. If you are not, you can take a stool sample to your vet as a pet rat sample. One other cause of the sudden paralysis could simply be an injury. Does your baby have free roam, or is it caged? If caged, what type of cage?

My apologies for not seeing your post sooner. It had gotten mixed in with a lot of spam on the board.
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Bdgoodloe25 » Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:55 pm

I found squirrel in woods today , paralyzed back legs and tail won't move. It hadn't tried to bite once so I loaded him up and she with me now, I feel like she hurting pretty bad what can I do. I been trying to get her to drink using baby seringe and tap water , any help would be awesome . I know this one wild I just wanna try to get her better see what happened .. Thanks
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby SquirrellyMomma » Wed Mar 30, 2016 4:27 pm

Hi Bdgoodloe25,
Thank you for rescuing the injured squirrel, I'm so sorry for not responding to your post sooner. Do you still have the squirrel? If so, how is it doing--any movement in the back legs?
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby WildThings » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:49 pm

Hi there! Eight weeks ago I came across an adult gray squirrel that clearly was paralyzed in the back end, and had two deep puncture wounds to the neck. As a former wildlife rehabilitator I had absolutely no expectation that she would live, and only brought her home so that she could die peacefully instead of slowly baking to death in the heat, or worse, being tormented by neighborhood dogs and cats before dying. I was shocked that she lived through the day and then the night, and the following day I figured I need to at least hydrate her to be humane. Yes, I should have called animal control and they would have put her down. Again, I never expected her to live. Fast forward eight weeks and her puncture wounds healed with a lot of care, she was hand-fed and watered 10-12 times per day by syringe and sponge-bathed regularly to prevent urine burns since she was unable to move out of her own mess when she urinated. She finally started eating solid food on her own as well a couple of weeks ago, but we continue hand-feeding because her weight is still very low and she won't consume the Healthy Blocks otherwise and I need to know that she's getting the right nutrition. (I'm grinding the blocks and mixing with baby food veggies and fruits plus some powdered calcium and a few drops of liquid vitamins to make a slurry that will go through a wide-gauge syringe). We transferred her to a much larger cage with various levels, ramps, digging boxes, nest box, water, and branches and after an adjustment period she's now climbing, chewing, burying and otherwise starting to act like a squirrel again. Her fecals were good (thanks for the tip on saying they were pet rat fecals!), but otherwise she clearly has no sensation whatsoever in her hindquarters. She's obviously not going to be releasable and we have no problem whatsoever taking care of her for whatever the rest of her life may be, but I'm open to any advice as to her care. It would be much easier if she had been a baby, but as she was an adult it's taken longer to gain her trust for handling. She loves to have her head and neck scratched (since her hind legs can't do this for her anymore, I'm sure it feels great), and I'm wondering if we should continue to try to acclimate her to handling or just let her wild instincts take over. Thanks in advance for your time and advice!
WildThings
 

Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby SquirrellyMomma » Wed Sep 14, 2016 1:09 pm

Hi WildThings, thank you for rescuing the injured girl and giving her a chance at life. Sounds like you are doing a great job with her. I don't have any experience with paralyzed squirrels so I'll leave the advice to Jack since he's rehabbed two paralyzed squirrels.
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:52 pm

Hi, WildThings.

Since it has been eight weeks, it's a certainty that, as you said, she is non-releasable and probably won't get any better. I know of others who have kept paralyzed squirrels for good long periods of time (I have a partially paralyzed squirrel of my own. He was completely paralyzed, but on discovery of a particular type of coccidia, once he was treated he regained some use of his back legs. The links below are to another paralyzed squirrel (a juvenile) I had but, even though he also regained partial use of his legs, I eventually had to have him put down because of other issues.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3d-evKiCI7g
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxPqMvyH4ro
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2drPjjoQa4

It's a good thing that she can urinate on her own without the need to have her bladder expressed, and since she's moving around now I assume she can move away from her "mess"; however, urine scald can still be a factor to watch out for.

If you are going to keep her, I would continue to get her acclimated to you. My "Boy" was an adult when I received him, and although I still have to be cautious when I try to pet him, he lets me sometimes and follows me around the house like a puppy dog (wanting, of course, nuts).

As far as diet, see the site below for a list of vegetables, fruits, and nuts and their calcium to phosphorus ratios. You will want to feed high calcium veggies (achieving, along with the nuts and some fruits) as close to a 2:1 calcium to phosphorus ratio as possible (leaning heavy on the calcium side). Variety is key. I'm not sure what healthy blocks you are using, but I would avoid rodent/squirrel blocks made by any other than a reputable company--Mazuri, Zupreem, Oxbow, etc. There are lots of recipes out there and sites claiming to have developed great blocks for squirrels, but they shouldn't be trusted. I use Harlan Teklad 2018. While some squirrel "owners" claim they won't eat the blocks, they will, although you can expect a lot of waste. Mine (I have seven NRs) all nibble on them at least occasionally, and rodent block should always be available to them. The blocks are essential especially because other than mushrooms NR squirrels have a difficult time getting vitamin D unless they are exposed to sunlight (But if you have a cage you can roll/take outside for her to have some time in the sun, be certain that she has shade she can escape to if she gets overheated).

http://www.squirrelrehabilitation.com/g ... 20list.htm

I hope this helps, and please keep us updated.
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby WildThings » Wed Sep 14, 2016 7:49 pm

Jack, you're amazing! I really appreciate all of the advice. She was negative for coccidia, so I think it was the fight/injury only that caused the paralysis. The blocks I'm using are Henry's Healthy Blocks for squirrels (Adult Formula) that from the nutritional analysis appeared to be really comprehensive. She actually is in a very big cage positioned at a window in our very large shed and she lays in sunbeams daily so I know she's getting her Vitamin D, but I still appreciate the reminder. It's been several years since I was actively rehabbing so I need all the reminders I can get! :-) I think the powdered calcium supplements are doing a good job, though frankly when I started using them I was concerned because since she wasn't climbing OR chewing (on anything) so I was concerned about her teeth growing to the point that she couldn't eat if she wanted to. (Just thinking about having to trim her teeth was giving me sweats!) Not to mention her nail growth. (You all know about squirrel razor nails!) It amazes me what she WON'T eat though. A wild squirrel would go crazy for the smorgasbord we offer her daily, but she's really finicky at this point. I'm hoping that she'll work her way through that like she has so many other issues. I've got to say, I incredibly admire her fighting spirit. When we finally realized she really was going to live we named her Delilah. It seemed like a "strong" name, just like her. :-) Again, THANK YOU ALL and please keep sending me suggestions! My ability to "think like a squirrel" has about run its course so I need the help!
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Thu Sep 15, 2016 7:18 pm

Thank you, WildThings. :-) I do not recommend Henry's Healthy Blocks. Analyses have done on them that show that they are very OVER-supplemented (at least if they use the same formula that the owner last posted) and have partaken in many battles with the owner of the company and others. But you do what you think best.

Many argue that window glass (even screen) filters out UV rays from sunlight, so you might consider at least opening the window for her to get direct (or reflected) sunlight.

I have a NR ("Powder") whom I have to take every five weeks to get her teeth trimmed because she has a malocclusion. She's a booger to catch sometimes, but I've been taking her for ten years now. But I'm not sure if you really need to be concerned about her teeth as the primary way they keep them trimmed is the top incisors and lowers grinding together. But keep a lookout.

If you want Delilah to get used to you and become at least a little "tame," the more time she spends in your presence--even just watching you and getting used to the household routine and environment, including people--the better. I would bring her cage into the house. Also, just watching the "goings on" will give her some distraction/enrichment. I don't know your shed set-up, of course.

Thank you for your reply and your care for this baby!
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby WildThings » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:37 pm

Jack,

Thank you! Good to know about Henry's blocks! Would you recommend Zupreem as your first choice then? Her cage in the shed in in the corner between two screened windows, but we've since moved her to the larger cage with four levels (with connecting ramps) that is on casters so we can wheel the whole thing outside on the shed porch, which is covered but also has a canopy of tree shade over it as well. She is definitely using all four levels, which amazes us given her handicap. Unfortunately we have dogs so indoor time in the house would have to be completely quarantined from them, but it certainly can be done - or better yet, when they're at daycare. I handle her daily to clean her nest box, and although I generally put a towel over her gently to remove her and transfer her to the holding cage (just trying to keep her calm), I can usually just pick her up directly from the holding cage to transfer her back. You're right, she's getting more trusting daily. And still loves her head, neck, ears and even belly rubbed.

She absolutely shreds wood like no one's business, so those teeth are getting their workout. I can't believe you've taken one for trimming for 10 years! Now that's absolute dedication!!

She's still shy about hiding in her nest box, but I promise one of these days I'll catch her in the action of tooling around her cage so I can post pix or video for you. I can't thank you enough for sharing your wisdom!

Judy
WildThings
 

Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby Daddy Squirrel » Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:31 pm

Hi, Judy--I apologize for the delay, but anyway, I use Harlan Teklad 2018 and also Zupreem Fruit Blend for large birds. If you search, finding a place to buy the Harlan is fairly easy; however, I buy it in 40 pound bags under the name Native Earth 4018--same stuff, made by the same company--and freeze it in one-gallon bags. The Zupreem can be purchased at many pet stores.

It sounds like your baby has a very loving and attentive mommy. :-)

If I can help you any other way, please let me know.

Jack
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby WildThings » Mon May 08, 2017 6:57 am

Jack,

Have your NR's with this issue had problems with brush burns from dragging their hind end? Delilah is getting super active and is getting some impressive abrasions where her back "knees" are being dragged, as that's where it's taking the impact. We've changed out or covered every surface and the three ramps in the cage to soft surfaces except her nest box itself and her chewing branches. I'm treating them to hopefully prevent any infection, but it's going to be hard to heal since she's constantly on the move. I presume that eventually she'll develop some sort of calluses there?

In other news, she has transitioned really well to the new foods you recommended!

Thanks for your help. I didn't see this one coming!

Best,

Judy
WildThings
 

Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby dpsannes » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:23 pm

I found a squirrel maybe 5 weeks ol that fell out of a tree - he seems to have trouble with is front legs but is getting better - any suggestions on what could be and how long should i try to rehab him
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Re: Paralyzed Squirrel

Postby SquirrellyMomma » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:57 am

Hi, dpsannes! I'm so sorry that I am just now seeing your post. The post had gotten mixed in with all the spam on the board. Do you still have the baby? If so, how is he doing? Five weeks is young so he will need to be rehabbed for at least three more months. At his age he still needs formula! The best thing you can do for this baby is get him to a wildlife rehabilitator. I'll be happy to help you find one.
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