Fitting & Sugar Gliders
Diabetic animals are usually taken to vets with one of two types of problems: Excessive drinking and eating and weight loss that has become worse slowly over a long period. Occasionally with loss of appetite in the last day or two and occasionally with vomiting; or A sudden onset of fitting.
However diabetes is NOT a likely cause for fitting.
Diabetes is rare – it has only been seen in mammalian species that have been studied in large numbers (including humans, dogs, cats, donkeys, cows, horses, ferrets, apes etc) and some bird species as well. So altho’ it is possible that a diabetic sugar glider could occur, it is not a likely cause.
Causes for fitting may include:
- Low Blood calcium. Animals with incorrect calcium levels in their diets may have thin bones and poor reserves of calcium. When the calcium levels fall low enough in the blood fitting occurs. To avoid this your gliders should receive a balanced diet and have access to direct sunlight. Having them in the sunlight behind a window is not good enough. The glass filters out UV light. UV needs to be absorbed by the skin and helps the body to absorb calcium.
- Low Thiamine (Vitamin B) Levels. Cells in the brain use some types of vitamin B to transmit messages between themselves. If they can not do this fits can occur. Sources of vitamin B are green leafy vegetables
- Toxins eaten like lead or organophosphates (sometimes found in flea powders).
- Diseases which stop the liver or kidneys working properly.
- Brain abnormalities. Incorrectly brain or skull formed in young animals.
- Serious infections by viruses or bacteria.
- Trauma – blows to the head, accidents etc.
- Strokes (These are rare in animals compared with stressed out humans).
How should your glider be treated for fitting?
The best way to treat your animal is if you know the particular cause. Your vet may be able to help rule out some of these causes above and others not mentioned by asking you some more questions. A blood sample may also confirm the diagnosis.
‘Shotgun’ therapy may be given. This is when you treat everything you can at once. A general rule for this would be fluids under the skin (at a rate of 1ml per 100 grams), a calcium injection under the skin or into the muscle, a thiamine injection under the skin or into the muscle and antibiotics.