Squirrelly (aka Rocky) suddenly MUCH worse again

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sundown127
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Squirrelly (aka Rocky) suddenly MUCH worse again

Postby sundown127 » Tue May 08, 2007 7:44 pm

Well, my little guy, that I found of Feb 18th, with an apparent head injury and severe balance issues, had been doing fantastic for a couple of months now. Still some very minor balance issues, so I didn't think he'd stand any real chance back in the wild. But he had been climbing all over his 6 foot high cage like a nut every night. And could climb, jump, glide, like crazy. He did still have a slight head tilt, and his jumps were a bit off the mark. But otherwise, a very active, healthy acting flyer with a great appetite.

Yesterday, I went to take him out of his nestbox, and noticed he was far less active than usual. And swaying a bit on my hand. I put him in the bottom of his cage, and he couldn't even hop to get onto the large limb that goes all the way up to the top. He hopped, and just sort of fell over backwards. I took him into my bathroom, and set him on the floor, to try to assess his condition when running around. He hopped right into the wall, and then landed totally upside down with his legs sticking out to the sides, not moving. I was sure he was dead. I picked him up, and he did revive, but he is one very messed up flyer right now.

He can barely climb at all, and falls off the limbs in his cage he used to race right up. He often just sits there, frozen, and trembles. He sways from side to side. He seems like he is profoundly off balance, and doesn't want to move much because of it. Like he is extremely dizzy. A lot like when I first found him, but he dramatically recovered from that for the last couple of months. He does still eat, but his appetite is not what it was. He ate some yogurt off my finger last night. And nibbled a pecan I held for him (usually he will not even eat nuts from my hand), while he was in my hand. I also found that he had eaten off a piece of apple I put in his nest for him last night. I am putting food and water close to him, as it is so hard for him to go anywhere now.

I don't understand why he suddenly got so bad again. I almost wonder if there was something wrong with him when I found him, that was not an injury. And maybe that is how he ended up at the base of my maple tree, with the neighbor's cat trying to get ahold of him. But no signs at all that he had been injured, or that the cat got him yet. Except for the extreme loss of balance. Maybe that loss of balance was caused by something else, like a defect, illness, or tumor or something, and not a head injury. It certainly does not seem like any sort of seizure issue. He is just this way now all the time, and barely functional. I was so afraid to even open his nest box this morning, to see if he was still alive.

I don't know what to do for him, except try to make sure he continues to eat, and see if he improves, or just goes downhill even further. Any thoughts??

Sue

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Postby Kay » Tue May 08, 2007 8:20 pm

Well, you might be right about the underlying causes. I'd give him some nutri drops (not nutrical with sugar) and some liquid calcium and vitamins and make him very comfortable. You're doing what you can.
Best wishes.
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Squirrelly suddenly much

Postby Lora » Wed May 09, 2007 5:53 am

I would definitely get some liquid calcium in him quick in case it's MBD. A little sunlight probably wouldn't hurt either. If you have a little travel cage put him in it & set him in direct sunlight for 45 mins or so. Someone with more exp will be along shortly but it's sounds to me like calcium deficiency. Good luck, my prayers are with you & the lil guy.

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Postby Mary » Wed May 09, 2007 6:55 am

I feel so sorry that he is having so much trouble. Poor baby. You are doing your best and he knows you love him.

Good Luck to both you and your little guy.

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Postby Helen » Wed May 09, 2007 8:34 pm

oh that's terrible...I think Lora beat me to the chase it sounds kinda like a calcium deficiency to me. I had the same problem a week ago where isobella was jumping but falling hugely short, like maybe a feet or so short. But after a healthy dose of vitamins and calcium it seemed ok again.
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Postby Nativeprincess » Wed May 09, 2007 8:39 pm

Now totaly take this w/ a grain of salt but Ya know, This remind me of a House episode.
Now squirrels...not humans, and House...so not reality, But for somereason I suspect prasites.
hes healthy and cool while his immune system keeps them in check, but, much like people w/ herpes, once the immune system hicups for any reason they start being a problem again. only insted of being in the gut there somehow in the nervous system.
so yeah, like i said though...grain of salt. I've already diagosed 2 of my friends w/ bubonic plague due to thier flu like symptoms ^_^

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Postby Helen » Wed May 09, 2007 9:42 pm

Nativeprincess wrote:Now totaly take this w/ a grain of salt but Ya know, This remind me of a House episode.
Now squirrels...not humans, and House...so not reality, But for somereason I suspect prasites.
hes healthy and cool while his immune system keeps them in check, but, much like people w/ herpes, once the immune system hicups for any reason they start being a problem again. only insted of being in the gut there somehow in the nervous system.
so yeah, like i said though...grain of salt. I've already diagosed 2 of my friends w/ bubonic plague due to thier flu like symptoms ^_^


hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm really now?
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Postby sundown127 » Wed May 09, 2007 9:53 pm

Squirrelly is still hanging in there. I've been giving him a few drops of vitamins into his mouth, plus extra calcium. If I add that to his favorite yogurt, he eats it. I also put him outside in the sun for a while today, as I did that the last time he got like this, back in late March. Along with the vits and calcium. So not sure if any of that helped last time, or he just recovered with time. Hard to believe he has MBD, as he gets Rep Cal regularly, plus he LOVES his La Creme yogurt, and eats quite a bit of that, which obviously has calcium in it. Also, he is the one who has his old beefbone full of his chew marks all over it. But when he is this bad, might as well try the calcium and vits. Don't have too much to lose.

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Postby gloryaf88 » Wed May 09, 2007 10:28 pm

Lord, I hope he will be okay but it sounds like you are doing everything you can possibly do. Just let him know how much you love him
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Postby Vickie » Thu May 10, 2007 12:45 pm

Give Squirrelly-Rocky kisses and chin scratches from all of us.
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Re: Squirrelly (aka Rocky) suddenly MUCH worse again

Postby Joan » Thu May 10, 2007 1:21 pm

sundown127 wrote:Well, my little guy, that I found of Feb 18th, with an apparent head injury and severe balance issues, had been doing fantastic for a couple of months now. ... Yesterday, I went to take him out of his nestbox, and noticed he was far less active than usual. And swaying a bit on my hand. I put him in the bottom of his cage, and he couldn't even hop to get onto the large limb that goes all the way up to the top. He hopped, and just sort of fell over backwards. I took him into my bathroom, and set him on the floor, to try to assess his condition when running around. He hopped right into the wall, and then landed totally upside down with his legs sticking out to the sides, not moving. I was sure he was dead. I picked him up, and he did revive, but he is one very messed up flyer right now.

He can barely climb at all, and falls off the limbs in his cage he used to race right up. He often just sits there, frozen, and trembles. He sways from side to side. He seems like he is profoundly off balance, and doesn't want to move much because of it. Like he is extremely dizzy. A lot like when I first found him, but he dramatically recovered from that for the last couple of months.

... I don't understand why he suddenly got so bad again... Maybe that loss of balance was caused by something else, like a defect, illness, or tumor or something, and not a head injury. It certainly does not seem like any sort of seizure issue.


It certainly is not uncommon for post head injuries to develop seizures. Seizures manifest in many different ways. Search Sissy and seizures for Anita's discription. Sissy is well maintained with anticonvulsant medications. I'd take him to a vet and see what they say. Low calcium levels can be detected from a blood test. Parasites can be detected in stool samples. Giving liquid calcium or vitamins directly can worsen the problem if it's not related to MBD.
"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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Postby sundown127 » Thu May 10, 2007 8:00 pm

Joan,

First, I am in an illegal state, so can't just take him in to a vet. Not sure how much they can really do for him anyway. His problems are not intermittent. For the past three days, his balance issues are constant and progressive, which doesn't really seem like seizure type issues to me. There is never a time when he is more normal at all now.

I was just looking at his eyes with a small penlight. After 20 plus years of breeding dogs, and owning all sorts of creatures, I do know quite a bit about medical issues in animals, although flyers are obviously entirely new territory for me. When I have him in the dark, and shine the light into his eyes, in the right eye, he has a VERY obvious cloudy spot in the pupil of his eye. About the size of a pin head. It takes up about 1/3 of the size of his pupil, with how it is contracted in the light. It definitely looks like it is inside the eye, and not a defect or ulcer on the cornea of some sort. Also, that pupil does not shrink quite as far as the other one, in reaction to the light. This would go along with him having some sort of head issue, affecting his balance.

I have wondered if he actually is possibly blind in one eye, long before finding that spot. Have tried to test and see if he reacts to an object brought toward each eye, but it is pretty tough when all those whiskers sense anything getting near.
When I found him, there were no signs of any injury, except for a small cut in the lower eyelid rim of that same eye.

He is still interested in eating, and licks his yogurt off my finger with much enthusiasm. He does still eat his favorite nuts-pecan and pine nuts. Lost interest in a more varied diet, and things like veggies, or fruit except for apple slices. Today, I took some baby food sweet potatoes, and some pears, and used a dropper. When I hold him and let one drop at a time fall on his lips, he does lick them right down like he is enjoying them. He used to lick that stuff off my fingers, but it is a bit goopy to do that now that he is so uncoordinated. His yogurt is LaCreme, which is really thick, so no problem there.

So for now, he is still eating, and trying to climb and do normal flyer stuff at night, but just having no success at all with balancing. I just put a towel across the center of his tall cage, between the shelves on either side. It goes between the shelves, about halfway up. Last night, he fell all the way to the bottom of the cage with a major thud several times, and then would just lie there upside down like he was dead. Now, when he falls, he hits the towel, and grabs on. If I have to, I will resort to a small cage. But for now, the only thing I have is really tiny, and I hate to do that to him.

Sue

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Postby Joan » Thu May 10, 2007 8:43 pm

[quote="sundown127"] ... First, I am in an illegal state, so can't just take him in to a vet.

Is your state pretty strict with this? Some vets (mostly southern) turn a blind eye when it comes to this. Do you know any rehabbers who could look at him?

I was just looking at his eyes with a small penlight... When I have him in the dark, and shine the light into his eyes, in the right eye, he has a VERY obvious cloudy spot in the pupil of his eye. About the size of a pin head. It takes up about 1/3 of the size of his pupil, with how it is contracted in the light. It definitely looks like it is inside the eye, and not a defect or ulcer on the cornea of some sort. Also, that pupil does not shrink quite as far as the other one, in reaction to the light. This would go along with him having some sort of head issue, affecting his balance.

Most cloudiness goes along with cataracts, but that shouldn't affect his balance. Pupil not contracting normally could be subdural bleeding. Corticoid steroids are often used to treat this.

He is still interested in eating.

Thanks good.

So for now, he is still eating, and trying to climb and do normal flyer stuff at night, but just having no success at all with balancing... If I have to, I will resort to a small cage. But for now, the only thing I have is really tiny, and I hate to do that to him.

Seems you're doing all you can, as limited as you are to medical care.
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Postby Wanda » Thu May 10, 2007 8:54 pm

Sue, have you checked with vets? There are always some who will treat exotics whether legal or not. I have a few here who will and I'm in an illegal state.
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Postby sundown127 » Thu May 10, 2007 10:05 pm

I'm in New England, far away from pet flying squirrel country. Not easy to even get one in this part of the world, unless it happens to drop out of a tree in your yard. My vet of 20 plus years is part of a 15 vet practice, so it is hard for him to do much any more on the side, that the entire group does not approve of. Used to be different years ago with him, but he has gotten more and more strict about not making waves any more.

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Postby sundown127 » Fri May 11, 2007 8:30 am

Squirrelly is even worse this morning, and cannot stand upright at all. He just falls over on his left side. If he tries to run on a flat surface, he gets about one foot, and rolls over onto his left side, and then his back. Sometimes, he just stays that way. But if I touch him, he will right himself briefly, and move about another foot before he rolls over again. Kinda like any forward motion is combined with a continuous rolling. Mostly, he just lies there. He still eats, and even ate most of a good sized chunk of apple I put in his nest box with him last night.

Here are a couple of pics I just took of him:

Image
Image

And here are a couple I took of him right after finding him back in Feb, when he was pretty much in the same conditon, but the weird thing is, then he rolled over and over to the opposite site, the right. And had a major head tilt to the right. Now his head tilt is bad again, but to the left.
Image
Image

Since he is clearly so bad off right now, and getting worse, I decided to take the chance and call my vet of 20 plus years. Told him I already knew it is not legal for me to be keeping a flyer in my state. He said it does not sound like a good outlook for my flyer at all. But if I want to bring him in this afternoon, one of their vets, who is really good with small exotic mammals can see him. And my vet should be there too, to take a look. They actually do have a couple of licensed wildlife rehabbers who are techs at their hospital. My vet did mention that he wondered if it could be an inner ear problem or infection, with how horribly off balance my flyer is. Thought perhaps it might be worth trying him on an antibiotic. If I am told there is not much hope for him this afternoon, I will go ahead and have him euthanized at that time, as he is obviously suffering at this point. I trust that my vet of 20 plus years is not just telling me to bring him in, so they can confiscate him. Not after the thousands of times I have used him for my sick dogs, and the tens of thousands of dollars I have spent there.

Sue

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Postby Wanda » Fri May 11, 2007 8:46 am

Sue he looks so pitiful, can't help but cry for him. I'm glad you talked to your vet. If it is inner ear, he can be treated. If not, you know it is only for his best to have him euthanized. GOOD LUCK! Let us know when you get back from the vet!!!!!!
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Postby sundown127 » Fri May 11, 2007 9:07 am

I guess one good thing is that if I lose him, and then decide down the road to get a captive bred flyer, I will know I can get care for it at my local vet hosptal, without getting in trouble. Not sure I can stand living without a flyer, now that I have found out what amazing little creatures they are. And mine was a wild adult when I found him, not even a baby who bonded with me!
Trouble is, in my part of the country (northeast), flyers are very difficult to come by, unless they happen to drop out of a tree! They are legal in the neighboring state, where my fiance lives, but they are not availabe anywhere around the area. Which leaves expensive, risky shipping.

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Postby Joan » Fri May 11, 2007 9:43 am

Wishing both of you the best of luck. :smt056
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Postby Pam » Fri May 11, 2007 11:15 am

Such a sweetie, wishing the best to the two of you. Sending prayers your way. Hugs also for Squirrelly....Pam
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Postby Mary » Fri May 11, 2007 11:36 am

This is so sad. I wihed I could just hold him forever.

My Best to you both. Give him an extra hug for me.

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Postby Deb » Fri May 11, 2007 12:21 pm

No matter what the outcome is this afternoon, you have done all the right things for your little rescue. You have been a wonderful HOF. I am hoping for good news and a quick fix for him. But if not, your decision to let him go before he suffers any more discomfort is the right thing in my opinion. There are many wonderful people here that would love to see you with another baby to love at the soonest opportunity.
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squirrelly aka Rocky

Postby Lora » Fri May 11, 2007 12:53 pm

Well I'm gonna think positive here. These lil guys have amazing healing abilities. I'm praying for an ear infection & a happy outcome. Please, please let us know what happens at the vet. All our fingers are crossed!

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Postby Helen » Fri May 11, 2007 6:34 pm

Oh I'm sorry all of this has happened to Squirrelly. He seems to have an amazing will to live. I hope he's ok, I send wishes and prayers hope things turn out ok.
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Postby Cathy C. » Tue May 15, 2007 4:06 pm

How is Rocky? I thought for sure there would be news already. I usually just gab on voyforum and lurk here but I can't stand the waiting.
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Postby gloryaf88 » Tue May 15, 2007 10:37 pm

Someone please let us know about Rocky and how he is doing :(
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Postby sundown127 » Wed May 16, 2007 9:09 am

I did post an update about Squirrelly over at the Squirrel Board, so will just mostly cut and paste that, with a bit more added on.

Squirrelly does seem to be adapting to his condition, and learning how to get by in spite of it. He is now able to run on the floor in a straight line for probably 10 feet or more, without falling on his side or rolling over. Actually, he could probably run a lot further, but I stop him before I am gonna lose him underneath something. I do notice that he seems to get more off balance, and more likely to tip onto his side when he stops, than when he is running. He tends to get worse when he starts getting overly excited and dashes all over the place. Also, he does far better at running when he can grip into something like a carpet, to prevent himself from tipping, than when he is on a slippery floor.

He is learning how to eat out of his food dish, by sort of laying his head in it and munching away, holding pieces with one paw. He is active all night, despite his balance problems. I did have to move him out of his 5 foot tall wire cage, and into a long plastic storage container, with a screen over the top, so he can't climb up on anything high and end up falling. He does tend to fall into his water dish a lot, even when he is just running around. Am thinking of getting one of those bird waterers with sort of a plastic upper bottle, and a little narrow trough down below to drink out of. I don't think he could do a regular water bottle. But he absolutely HATES it when he gets wet, even if just the tip of his tail, and rubs himself all over his cage like a crazed nut, trying to dry himself off.

The only thing my vet can suggest that might be treatable is a middle ear infection. So he is on an antibiotic, just in case. I do have to say that I came across info online about "head tilt" in bunnies, apparently a common condition, and the symptoms sound exactly like my little flyer's.

So for now, since my little guy has certainly not given up and lost his will to keep on fighting, I am just trying to make things as easy as possible for him, under the circumstances, and see what happens with time. I really think that any improvement in him over time will be more a result of him adapting as best he can, than to any actual improvement in his condition. He may never be able to go back in his tall cage again, but if that is the case, then so be it. Since I have already seen evidence of his ability to adapt in only a few days, I am sure not ready to give up on him yet!

I think I have been feeding him too well :cookiemonster: , for him not being nearly as active as he used to be, and now living in his much smaller quarters. I took these pictures of him on Monday night, while I was trying to use the computer, but only had one hand to do so for quite some time. Squirrelly had the other hand occupied! Actually, he is not as chubby as he looks in those pics in my hand. Just the way he is all scrunched up that makes his middle look so big! :wink:
This first pic reminds me of something. Maybe that Furby toy that was the big thing a number of years back? Or was it Gizmo from that movie way back? Not sure. :dontknow:
Image
Image
Image

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Postby Wanda » Wed May 16, 2007 9:39 am

Awwww! He is precious, beautiful and looks healthy other than his condition. I wouldn't give up on him either.
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Postby tosha_m_1981 » Wed May 16, 2007 9:54 am

Awwwwwww... I love when they sit there all bunched up looking like lil puff balls...... They just look at you with their bit ol eyes and your heart just melts. Atleast i know mine does!!!!
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Postby Joan » Wed May 16, 2007 10:07 am

sundown127 wrote:... The only thing my vet can suggest that might be treatable is a middle ear infection. So he is on an antibiotic, just in case. I do have to say that I came across info online about "head tilt" in bunnies, apparently a common condition, and the symptoms sound exactly like my little flyer's.


I sure hope it's the ear infection and it clears with the antibiotics. I've seen that in dogs.
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Postby Mary » Wed May 16, 2007 3:31 pm

So glad to hear the update on him. I keep thinking about that sweet one. Glad to hear he is a fighter.
Great pictures. I just want to cuddle and hold him

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Postby RaVeRiNaBuBbLe » Wed May 16, 2007 6:40 pm

wishing you all the best of luck, and hoping it really is an ear infection. you have such a sweet little pudge ball!
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In Loving Memory of Mr. Pecan Oglethorpe (P.O.) and Molly MoMo. Momma will miss you, Babies.

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gloryaf88
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Postby gloryaf88 » Wed May 16, 2007 10:22 pm

He is so precious. Thank you for the update.
Glorya, Owned by Pistol Pete, owned partly by Martie Monster, whose heart will always belong to Amy, now owned by Count Dracula Monsterpete--Drago, and Little Foot MonsterPete.
In Loving Memory of Scoot, whom I will always miss!!

Helen
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Postby Helen » Thu May 17, 2007 10:08 pm

Awws he's so cute. I love the first pic. If I didn't know about his condition I would have thought he was just posing for the camera. Like how sometimes puppies cock their heads to a side to look at you...
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Madamoiselle Artemis Isobella D'Antionette

Monsoiur Pierre Niagra von Faust (given to my loving boyfriend, Mommy loves you!)



Meeting you was fate; Becoming your friend was a choice; Loving you I had no control over XP

Naya
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Postby Naya » Fri May 18, 2007 3:40 pm

Wow I'm late on this. First, sorry to hear about Rocky and I do hope his condition can be treated. He looks so content in your most updated pictures though. Keep up the good work and dont give up! He's such a strong little boy isnt he?

sundown127
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Postby sundown127 » Mon May 21, 2007 9:05 am

Unfortunately, my little guy is getting noticeably worse. His condition is deteriorating signficantly, no matter how hard he tries to function. He can barely get anywhere at all any more. Even when he is not trying to move forward, his body is trembling all over, and his head is very unsteady.
He tries to drink water out of his dish, and ends up with his whole face in the water, due to how unsteady he is, and the fact that he can't keep his head still. He would never be able to drink from a bottle either, because he wouldn't be able to stay steady enough to do so. I do have a bird type waterer in there too, with the bottle and a little trough at the bottom, but have not seen him attempt to use that. After watching his pathetic attempts to drink a short time ago, I finally took him out and gave him some water with a dropper.

It is becoming very obvious that my boy's quality of life is very poor right now, and just getting progressively worse. It tears my heart out to watch him struggling so much, and unable to do most anything, while less than 2 weeks ago, he was tearing all over his new, 6 foot cage in my kitchen all night. He is losing all his muscle tone, due to inactivity. He just sits in his nest box day and night. Actually, I am surprised he has not died yet. Probably would have, if not for all the hand feeding I have been doing recently, in hopes he would turn around.

I guess if I am going to lose him, after the 3 plus months I have had him, better to lose him to what was wrong with him before I got him. If it were something else seemingly unrelated, I would not be able to stop thinking I did something wrong, to cause this. But this is so obviously a return of the severe balance issues he had when I found him. Even though he recovered dramatically from the symptoms back then, he still was never right, and had a slight head tilt all along. For whatever reason, his problems when I found him seem to have returned with a vengeance.

I know I gave him 3 good months he never would have had if I had not found him that snowy day in February. And he has certainly had a profound effect on me. In fact, the hardest part is the thought of living without a flyer in my home. I had no idea there was such an amazing creature out there, till he came into my life. And living up here in the northeast, finding a captive bred flyer to share my life with is extremely difficult. Looking at that huge new empty cage in my kitchen will be heartbreaking. :smt089

Sue

Joan
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Postby Joan » Mon May 21, 2007 7:00 pm

sundown127 wrote: ... For whatever reason, his problems when I found him seem to have returned with a vengeance.


What antibiotic is he on?
"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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gloryaf88
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Postby gloryaf88 » Mon May 21, 2007 7:59 pm

I am so sorry to hear that Rocky is worse. Maybe this little trooper will suprise you by making another turn around.
Glorya, Owned by Pistol Pete, owned partly by Martie Monster, whose heart will always belong to Amy, now owned by Count Dracula Monsterpete--Drago, and Little Foot MonsterPete.
In Loving Memory of Scoot, whom I will always miss!!

sundown127
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Postby sundown127 » Mon May 21, 2007 8:35 pm

Joan,

It's trimeth/sulfa.

Helen
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Postby Helen » Mon May 21, 2007 9:05 pm

Oh I'm so sorry to hear that! Where are you in the Northeast? If your close I'll gladly come out and meet you for a visit or something. I know how hard it is to get decent vet care up here and it breaks my heart to hear that he's gotten so much worst! I wish both of you the best of luck!
Owned by

Madamoiselle Artemis Isobella D'Antionette

Monsoiur Pierre Niagra von Faust (given to my loving boyfriend, Mommy loves you!)



Meeting you was fate; Becoming your friend was a choice; Loving you I had no control over XP


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