Unexplained hair loss on 5.5 month old male

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Unexplained hair loss on 5.5 month old male

Postby johnny » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:46 pm

I know there are other posts about hair loss but I can't seem to locate them and the problem is worsening. Over the past month (at least 2 weeks before is accident, for anyone who read my other post when he was hurt) he has been losing hair on the lower top of his body.

The loss started on the top of the base of his tail. Then I noticed the hair on the lower 1/2 of his back was lessening in a triangle pattern, the base of the triangle by is tail, coming to a point towards the center of his back. It's worsened to the point that today there is a bald patch in the middle of his back, the size of a dime or smaller, about 1/3 up from is tail base.

I have no idea how the hair loss is occurring. I don't see him picking at that area of his body. He eats Henry's Squirrel blocks, so I think he is getting is vitamins. Am I going to have to take him to a vet again? He has more than enough energy, his eyes and ears and demeanor seem 100% healthy. If he were a cat or dog, I would wonder if it was an allergy.

He does use the his cage as if it were an exercise wheel, running for long periods at night from cage side to roof to other side to floor and back to the original side and doing this fast and continuously for long periods but I don't think his back is rubbing against things as he runs.

He's running around the house like a madman while I'm typing this, occasionally running on to me and then back around the house.

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Re: Unexplained hair loss on 5.5 month old male

Postby johnny » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:19 pm

I thought about it. I think he is rubbing his air off, somehow. I just don't know how. It seemed worse today again. It's a disheartening large area that is losing hair. I'm debating on emptying his cage except for an open cardboard box with socks or a towel, a water and a food dish, and his exercise wheel, which he uses as a nook to eat on, not to run on. Maybe some sticks on the floor of the cage. I just want to take away anything that migt be a rub area. I don't know what else to do.

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Re: Unexplained hair loss on 5.5 month old male

Postby Joan » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:41 pm

Here are a bunch of posts on hair loss. See if any of these help: search.php?keywords=Hair+loss
"A lot of people spend time talking to the Animals, but not that many people listen. That's the real problem! ... Winnie the Pooh

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Re: Unexplained hair loss on 5.5 month old male

Postby johnny » Tue Mar 27, 2018 7:34 am

He's almost 7 months old now and the bald patch is bigger. I'm guessing the problem came from his diet but I am unsure. He came with no mites or fleas as a baby, it's not from rubbing against a tight entry, it's not from overgrooming.

I've gotten stricter with him about his diet for 3-4 weeks and forcing/encouraging him to eat more of Henry's squirrel blocks, given him far less in the way of nuts (and almost cornchips, just occasional miniscule pieces - he loves cornchips but I know they are junk food for him.) I offer him meal worms, and he gets the occasional Chinese stinkbug that wanders into our house in the winter. I also use a couple of different types of prepared rat food, and cat greenies, a cat treat that is crunchy and has the same vitamins listed as the rat food, just a different flavor. For comparison - the cat will eat the rat food as if it is a treat, so he seems to know they are chemically similar. He is offered fruit and some veggies, he usually rejects the veggies but sometimes nibbles them. He has an apple and sweet potato he nibbles on some evenings in his wanderings.

A woman at Henry's Pets was insistent that Siggy was balding from not getting enough protein, but he can run for an hour, nap, and run again for another hour, so I think he gets enough protein. When I say run for n hour, I mean for literally an hour, in circles inside his cage, up and down, up and down, up and down, with little back flips and moves thrown in at the top. He used to literally run up and down around the house, again for lengthy periods. but does that only occasionally now and prefers the cage, does it even with the door open.

I'm thinking of investing in a trip to the vet, yet I'm wondering what the vet can do for this that I can't do at home. If it IS just a matter of nutrition. I'm just worried I will end up with a completely bald squirrel, as the baldness seems to be gradually expanding and is much bigger than when I first wrote.

Someone last night suggested a vitamin C problem. Anyone thinks that's the case?

Siggy seems happy and health but he's the only flyer I've known. If he didn't have the bald spot, I'd say he's as happy as the average captive loved squirrel.

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Re: Unexplained hair loss on 5.5 month old male

Postby Joan » Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:32 pm

Are there any scabs on the skin? Does he scratch at this spot? Do you know the amt of supplements he is getting? Over-supplementation of certain vitamins been linked to hair loss. In the necropsies that Dr. Cooley has done for us, he is found that we are more likely to over supplement our fur-balls rather than under. Another factor to consider is stress. I have known flyers who have gone completely bald from this ... or just patchy areas.

When I say run for n hour, I mean for literally an hour, in circles inside his cage, up and down, up and down, up and down, with little back flips and moves thrown in at the top. He used to literally run up and down around the house, again for lengthy periods. but does that only occasionally now and prefers the cage, does it even with the door open.

This seems to be a behavior change. Constant back flipping in adult flyers can be a form of stress management. There is lots of info here on back flipping .. just do a search. If you go to a vet try to find one that works a lot with rodents.
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Re: Unexplained hair loss on 5.5 month old male

Postby johnny » Tue Mar 27, 2018 3:45 pm

"Are there any scabs on the skin?"
no

"Does he scratch at this spot?"
no

"Do you know the amt of supplements he is getting?"

I doubt he is being over supplemented but I will keep it in mind because it is possible. It is an effort to get him to eat nutritious foods. He doesn't eat them excessively. By keeping his favorite foods to a minimum, I've managed to start to develop a habit where he eats some of the food with vitamins. He probably eats 1/3 of a squirrel block a day, 1/2 at the most, and an equivalent of the rat food. I would think he is getting the equivalent of the vitamins f 1 squirrel block or less at this point, and that level has been only for a few weeks. The hair problem started before he was eating much supplement style food.

Stress is possible, the most likely cause - he has always had an intensity that I know is part flyer, but also part him. As a baby, he did an odd thing. He cried out very loudly in his sleep when undisturbed. This happened a number of times. Not just a cry - loud, and prolonged, as if he were being attacked and hurt. I had many rodents as a kid, including some baby wild ones, and never witnessed this.

"This seems to be a behavior change. Constant back flipping in adult flyers can be a form of stress management. There is lots of info here on back flipping .. "

I'll read on the board. I'll bet he is stressed. It may be as simple as he should be given to a rehabber in prep to be let go. This would break my heart, because I would always wonder if he survived very long in the wild. But it might be that his stress symptoms are a sign he would be better off given a chance to live wild, even at the risk of a possible quick death.

He had the hair loss starting before "the accident." But his behavior did shift after I stepped on him. As he rehabbed, he never flew as much as he was doing before the accident. Nor did he tear around the house as much. He doesn't do repetitive back flips. Just 1 or do as part of an improvisational dance. There's a rhythm to it. Ran up a side of the cage - a back flip and some twisting and dancing upside, and using a perch as a fulcrum for some of this, and the jump down onto a towel covered box which as a hint of trampoline action - and then run up the side of the cage -

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Re: Unexplained hair loss on 5.5 month old male

Postby Joan » Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:03 pm

I doubt he is being over supplemented but I will keep it in mind because it is possible. It is an effort to get him to eat nutritious foods.

Always remember he can only eat what you give him. He has no choice. A good varied diet of dark green veggies (Contains vit D2 which flyers can concert into D3 ..the sunshine vit.), protein which can be live or any meat you eat (rinsed of spices) and a minimum of fruit (they have a sweet tooth which over rides their innate common sense). :twisted: They tend to love some foods one day and refuse it the next so variety is best.

Stress is possible, the most likely cause - he has always had an intensity that I know is part flyer, but also part him.

You might try this as I've know it to work in cases of stress ...massage. You might have to wear gloves if he bites at being held and massaged but over time he will grow to like it.

As a baby, he did an odd thing. He cried out very loudly in his sleep when undisturbed. This happened a number of times. Not just a cry - loud, and prolonged, as if he were being attacked and hurt.


I do know they talk in their sleep and dream ... maybe he's having bad dreams.
"
"A lot of people spend time talking to the Animals, but not that many people listen. That's the real problem! ... Winnie the Pooh

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Re: Unexplained hair loss on 5.5 month old male

Postby johnny » Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:03 pm

He's definitely having bad dreams, but occasionally at an intensity level I've never seen in a human or animal.


His hair loss has progressed noticeably further in just the last few days and has gotten huger and was already far too large, he's missing hair on much of the lower half f his back, and the patch is spreading up wards in the center of the back and further "north.". I have an unusually good vet who is versatile, so I'm going to try there. I don't know what else to do. If it's stress caused, I'm not sure there will be a solution.

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Re: Unexplained hair loss on 5.5 month old male

Postby Joan » Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:03 pm

What did your vet say Johnny?
"A lot of people spend time talking to the Animals, but not that many people listen. That's the real problem! ... Winnie the Pooh

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Re: Unexplained hair loss on 5.5 month old male

Postby johnny » Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:43 pm

The vet wanted to test him for the most common reasons listed for squirrel hair loss, which are mange, ringworm and fungus. I explained that the NFSA site reports diet and stress as strong possibilities, but he wanted to eliminate what the literature mentions 1st. The vet is wonderful but has no experience with flyers. He is an unusually dedicated and inquisitive vet, though. Was horrible for Siggy. He was upset to be at the vet's, as I thought, and the only way the vet felt comfortable handling him was by giving him a gas anesthetic. There wasn't any other way. Siggy won't let me grab and examine him. He would have bitten the vet repeatedly. Siggy remained awake and had a little cone like enclosure that fit over his head into which the gas and oxygen was fed, because the anesthetic was weak enough that once it was turned off he rapidly came to. The vet took some skin scrapings to check for mange. Negative. All was a negative, as I thought it would be. I haven't talked with the vet again as he was due to leave on a trip and has probably only just returned.

So - the only positive was Siggy was immediately himself once we were back home. I thought he would remain upset, but no, once he saw we were home he went right to his basket cave outside his cage and went to sleep for the day and was cheerful a night.

Best news - he's begun regrowing two big patches of hair back, about half the hair he is missing. This is the 1st regrowth since the hair began disappearing in December. I don't know if it is due to shifts in his diet, seasonal, or some unknown reason. I don't know if all the hair will regrow. The growth has taken place since the vet visit, so with the last 15 days. Hey - maybe it was the gas! Or maybe just took a certain amount of time on a better diet to stimulate growth.

Also - ever since Joan mentioned the stress possibility, I've been leaving Siggy's cage open most or all the night. I sleep downstairs by the cage, and Siggy tends to either stay near me or to return to me after exploring his favorite spots around the house. He runs on me from time to time while I sleep, trying to get me to wake up and play, but he's shown since he first was weaned that he wants to sleep in his own nest, so I'm confident he won't attempt to crawl next to me and sleep and get hurt that way. By staying near his cage, he doesn't bother my wife too much while she sleeps, as our house is open and he can't be prevented from entering our sleeping area. I think he likes having me next to his cage, and I think he stays a little more under control even he strays away from me. He definitely likes to have free run of the house for a nice chunk of the night,so perhaps that's why some hair has regrown. Typically, even though his cage is open, he spends the first hour or two of each evening running cage loop while I sleep nearby. Towards predawn, he goes to the kitchen, where there is an open cupboard he likes to play in, as well as his own private apple that he chews on each night. Point is, he's not cooped up, and perhaps that has reduced stress. If all his hair regrows, I might lock him up a bit more as I would be a happier sleeping in my own bed a bit more. I'll also consider sleeping in my bed with his cage open, but for a number of reasons, I'm concerned for his safety if I did that.

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Re: Unexplained hair loss on 5.5 month old male

Postby johnny » Sat May 05, 2018 7:22 am

Hair patches that showed up continue to grow both by spreading and by the hair growing out (getting longer.) He looks normal now, though some of his hair isn't quite as long as the rest yet, and a small baldish patch remains on his back near his tail, but even that area has fuzz and is no longer 100% bald.

The tradeoff is he rules the house at night and that is a challenge - he is always looking for trouble - but his hair gain intersects with the time he was allowed to rove at night instead of being cooped up in his cage. This may be a sign he needs to be introduced into the wild, that he needs more than captivity can give.

It is possible that it took weeks for his healthier diet to have an affect on his body - but I'd shifted his food and in 3-4 weeks no sign of improvement and the bald patch growing noticeably - I started letting him out untl 3 AM or all night and in 2 weeks his hair was growing back, had started several days or a week before that but I hadn't noticed.

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Re: Unexplained hair loss on 5.5 month old male

Postby Joan » Sat May 05, 2018 10:23 am

Might be a combination of the diet and stress. Sometimes hair loss comes back white or gray temporarily. Anyway, they are nocturnal and I'm sure he enjoys being up all night and giving YOU gray hair! :twisted:
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Re: Unexplained hair loss on 5.5 month old male

Postby johnny » Sun Jun 03, 2018 11:00 am

His hair grew back in fully and then a bald batch began on the nape of his neck. I did get a little more relaxed about diet once I saw his hair covered his body, so I've tightened up again in hopes of preventing the patch from growing. A part of the problem is he has little interest in the high protein Henry's block, supposedly better for flyers; and little interest in the peanut block - so I've wasted a bit of money and it seems I'll have to reorder the block for picky eaters, but even then does not always interest him. Maybe I will stick with rat chow for a while supplemented with other things, such as sweetened yogurt, nuts and seeds (no sunflower) and the few fruits and veggies he is willing to eat. He loved elm buds but the season on those is short. He likes rat chow when hie is in the mood and it has the same stuff as Henry's block, just not as much protein, as far as I can make out.

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Re: Unexplained hair loss on 5.5 month old male

Postby Joan » Sun Jun 03, 2018 11:29 am

johnny wrote:.... A part of the problem is he has little interest in the high protein Henry's block, supposedly better for flyers;

This is a commercial product like any other marketed to flyers. A varied diet of foods that grow in your area (in the wild & farmed for your section of the country) is the best as that is their natural diet. Catch crickets, moths, cicadas and whatever else flies around your lights at night for his protein. You can also give him eggs and meal worms if he'll take them now. No need to spend money ... just vary the diet. I use to drag all kinds of things in from the woods ... they have an innate sense of what to eat so don't worry. Try all kinds of flower buds. Just go less on any sweets as they do have a sweet tooth and will by pass their dark green veggies for it. Remember he can only eat what you give him and I've never known of one to starve himself.
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Re: Unexplained hair loss on 5.5 month old male

Postby johnny » Sun Jun 03, 2018 11:36 am

I've thought of that - I bring him things to try - only things he likes so far are elm buds, moths, stink bugs. Limited stink bugs and moths to catch, that will improve in a few weeks. The buds are gone. Most other things he tears up t investigate but doesn't eat. Took mealworms at first and then stopped eating them and refuses them almost always now, so I gave up on them. Won't ever eat darkling beetles (adult mealworms.) Won't eat beetle grubs I've found in the garden. It's been a cool spring, not as many insects yet. I think they are the best bet. I've had many rodents a s a kid, I'm not adverse to prepared diets as long as they actually get eaten by the rodent in question. He'll eat all the walnuts I offer him but I limit them.

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Re: Unexplained hair loss on 5.5 month old male

Postby johnny » Sun Jun 03, 2018 11:38 am

He's never ever been willing to eat dark green veggies. It's not a question of bypassing them for sweets. He just has had no interest in them form the start. Tree buds, he loves, and I might be able to get him to eat leaves, but leaves are less digestible, less protein rich, less nutrition.

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Re: Unexplained hair loss on 5.5 month old male

Postby johnny » Sun Jun 03, 2018 11:39 am

I haven't tried raw eggs. Cooked eggs don't interest him.

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Re: Unexplained hair loss on 5.5 month old male

Postby Joan » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:08 pm

Your experience with rodents is good. I left woodpecker seeds blocks in my cage as a go to whenever. If he likes rodent food .. great. Lots of flyers won't eat prepared foods unless started on them as pups .. ie Monkey Biscuits. Just remember to try things once refused as they can love it one day and hate it the next. Mushrooms are good for some protein. And they do eat meat ... baby birds in the wild.
"A lot of people spend time talking to the Animals, but not that many people listen. That's the real problem! ... Winnie the Pooh


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