Monday, May 18, 2015

It's Been a Long Time, but We're Back

It's been seven months since I last posted something about the gliders. The hiatus was due to a number of things - personal matters to attend to, lots of other things taking up my time, and even a little lack of desire to write. Life around our household is settling back to normal (as normal as it ever is), and M has been poking me to write about the gliders. So, here I am with an update in which I'll try to catch up on the last seven months without going into a lot of detail.

When I last wrote Pascal was recovering from his tail amputation.  He made a complete recovery and has turned into a little sweetheart. We successfully introduced him to Foehn and Rossby just before Thanksgiving and the three have them have been living happily together ever since.That brought us from three cages down to two. For several months the three of them lived in the smaller "vacation" cage we had. Once we came to terms with the fact that we were going to have two trios instead of one colony of six (though we haven't given up hope on that), we purchased a larger cage for them. So, we have Rossby, Foehn, and Pascal in one cage, and CB, Sprite, and Flurry in the other.

The introduction of Pascal to Rossby and Foehn took all of three minutes - the shortest and easiest intro we have ever had. We did this intro like we did the others, introducing them one at a time in our bathroom bathtub (neutral space). M could not believe it when I walked out with the three of them in the pouch not long after I went in there with them. There was no crabbing, no chasing - just a few seconds of sniffing each other out and then into the pouch!

Rossby, Pascal, and Foehn (l-r) coming out of their pouch during a recent play time.
Pascal has calmed down a lot. He hardly crabs at all. He still does not like to be held or picked up, but when we do (as we have to sometimes) he squirms but never bites. He is slowly becoming more trusting and is getting better about being handled. He was a little timid with the other two for a while. For example, when they were getting mealworms or yogurt he would tend to hang back and let the other two get the goodies. He has become more confident and assertive and pushes to the front of the line to get his his share. He now weighs close to 100 grams. Interestingly, he still has a small bald spot on his head even though he was neutered nine months ago.

Foehn has calmed down - a lot. When she's in heat she still bugs the heck out of the boys, but that's what gliders do. She still likes to nip, something that drives me crazy. I'm sure it's just grooming or testing, but she always manages to find the one finger dangling down or the one small patch of bare skin somewhere.

Rossby is my buddy. He is probably the most social of all of our gliders. During playtime he likes to climb up to my shoulder and sit for a while, then use it as a launching point to somewhere else. When it's time to go back to the cage, I'll say "C'mon, it's time to go" hold the pouch, and they all head in. Once I'm on my feet and walking back to the cage Rossby likes to climb to my shoulder for the ride back. When back at the cage he'll go in because he knows dinner is not far behind. He is also the first one to poke his head out of the pouch when we talk to them or there is some other disturbance, and usually runs to the side of the cage when we come into the room

I'll have an update on the other trio in my next post.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bouncing Back

Pascal has recovered nicely from his surgery, faster than we thought he would, and we are all very happy about that. The e-collar he was wearing made it difficult for him to eat and drink, So, we moved the hospital cage into our bedroom and for four nights we got up every 2 hours or so to feed him and give him something to drink. The vet said to leave the collar on for two weeks until his next checkup, but neither Pascal or us would have made it that long. The poor little guy couldn't do a whole lot in the restriction of the small cage except climb around a little and sleep. By the third night we were taking the e-collar off for him to eat and he took advantage of that time to do so. He also spent a lot of time to groom himself from, top to bottom. When he got to his tail he would turn around so we couldn't see what he was doing. We would stop him, and he looked at us like "What??  I'm not doing anything.".  He also crawled under his blankets for the same reason - it was his little game. On Thursday night he pulled off his collar sometime after I fed him at 2:00 a.m. and M found him sleeping comfortably on the next feeding shift. He wasn't bothering his tail at that point and it appeared as if it had healed, so we left the e-collar off. On Friday we moved him back to his regular cage and he was a happy camper. Now that things are back to normal M plans to start taking him out to the bathroom for some play time.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Our Poor Little Pascal

Pascal peeking out of his pumpkin pouch
for the yogurt on M's finger on Saturday
Pascal has has a rough time the last few days. On Sunday we had our normal weigh-in for all of the gliders, and it was also a "spa" day when we trim their nails. Pascal is always last, and we brought him in the office for his yogurt, weigh-in, and trim. He decided to go exploring a bit and scrambled from the desk to the side table. He jumped over, knocking a picture frame over in the process, and jumped to the floor. I finally gathered him up and we finished up and returned him to his cage. M stayed behind to watch him for a few moments and noticed him chewing on his tail, and it also looked crooked. What was even stranger was that he was running on his wheel and then taking care of his tail while the wheel continued spinning. She called me over and I removed him from the cage so we could look at his tail. It was raw at the point he was chewing and looked like it was broken.  We immediately placed him in a pouch and headed to the U of I Veterinary Emergency Room.

At the hospital they anesthetized him, then cleaned the wound and wrapped his tail. They told us that he would need to come back on Monday so the small animal surgeon could evaluate him, as it was likely his tail would have to be amputated.We still can't figure out when this happened.

That night we tried to keep him calm and prevent him from bothering his tail. of course it hurt him and he was intent on going after it. We had to put an e-collar on him, which he did not like one bit. Back in the cage M noticed the wrap on his tail was gone. In the process of putting on the e-collar the wrap around his tail slipped off in the piece of fleece I was holding him in. With some advice from one of our fellow glider owners we used a section of a large diameter drinking straw and gauze to fashion a splint over the affected area, and then wrapped that with vet wrap. Poor little Pascal looked miserable.

On Monday M brought him in for his surgery, and he came home around 1:00 p.m. His tail is now two-thirds shorter. There are two sutures closing the wound over the end of his tail. On Monday night we had to remove the wrap on his tail, and it soon fluffed out after looking wet and sad looking. Unfortunately for Pascal, we had to change his e-collar to what is called a shot glass style because the standard e-collar allowed him to get to his tail. We have to keep him away from the end of his tail for 10 to 14 days.  That is presenting some additional challenges which I'll write about in my next post.

Pascal in his "hospital" cage just after we removed the bandage and got him in his new e-collar.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pascal is Coming Along

A lot has transpired since we picked up Pascal just about a month ago. He had his first checkup with the vet shortly after my last post. He was only 76 grams then and at that point as the smallest of our gliders. They did find a higher number of protozoa and spirochete bacteria in his fecal sample, so we came home with two medications for him, one for each of the intestinal critters. One was an antibiotic which he was on for two weeks. The other was something for the protozoa which he took first for three days, then a two week break, and then another three days of the medication.  Yesterday we got his "all clear".  Pascal also had his neuter two weeks ago and had no problems with that. So, in another few weeks we'll be able to start the introduction process with Foehn and Rossby.

We are not quite sure what to make of Pascal. He is immediately suspicious and vocal if he is disturbed in his pouch. Typically, if given the chance, he will fly out of the pouch to the side of the cage. So we usually have to be careful when removing his pouch from the cage with him in it. We've already had two instances where we've had to chase him around the house. On the other hand, he is not afraid to come and get his yogurt treat or his mealworms and has even climbed on to M's hand.  We are looking for the small steps and he does seem to be relaxing a little more.We hope he will make some big strides once he's with Foehn and Rossby.

Pascal getting some exercise in his wheel tonight.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Meet Pascal

Pascal enjoying a morning yogurt treat.
Here is our latest addition, Pascal. He is an intact (for the time being) male who will be 6 years old in October. It's hard to tell from the photo, be he is a little more grayer all around than our other gliders. He carries the leucistic gene (recessive). Leucistic gliders are white with black eyes. You can see in the photo he has his "bald spot", the scent gland on the top of his head. That will disappear after he is neutered.

Pascal weighs about 85 grams, smaller than any of our other male gliders. (Flurry is now tipping the scales at 115 grams).  He has been eating well for the last week to ten days. We were concerned because the first few days he hadn't been eating much at all. We started weighing his food dishes before and after he ate and began to see a steady increase in his appetite after the first few days here.

It's a little hard to describe his personality at this point. He is very wary and obviously still unsure about his situation. We have an open pouch (more like a hammock) rather than a deep sleeping pouch our other gliders use. He tends to be pouch protective in a deep pouch and it makes it difficult to approach him. Pascal does bury himself beneath the fleece blankets but we are usually able to still see him and he can see us. He has two "pouch buddies" he sleeps with to keep him company. They are no substitute for a warm-blooded buddy, but they do provide him some security. Even though he is still unsure and uncertain and crabs to let you know, he seems to be a gentle glider. He will carefully take a mealworm from us, and will slowly approach M's yogurt covered finger for his licks. We think that once he trusts us he will be a very friendly glider.

His first appointment with the vet is on Friday for a baseline wellness check, and we will schedule his neuter to hopefully follow soon after.  It looks likes its going to take some time for him to get over his wariness and trust us, but we are working on it every day. Once he is more comfortable with us we can start thinking about a strategy to introduce him to Foehn and Rossby.

Oh, and by the way, "Pascal" is a weather-related name, which is why we chose to keep it. A pascal is a unit of pressure in the International System of Units.  Probably more than you wanted to know.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

+1 = 6

Yeah, we went and did it again.

A week ago we saw a post on GliderCentral about a breeding glider that lost its mate in May and was having a tough time on his own. He wasn't eating well and obviously missed his companion.The breeder/owner was willing to give him to a good home. She had been trying for some time, and after not a whole lot of discussion we decided we could take him. I had read the post and mentioned it to M. She told me she had thought the same thing but wasn't going to say anything until I did. And I did.

One of the reasons we decided he would be a good fit is that he is about the same age as CB and Foehn, We also knew he wouldn't do well on his own for much longer, We figured that after he was neutered and used to being here we would get him together with Foehn and Rossby.  Foehn would love another man to dote on!

So we went and picked up Pascal (that was his name and we aren't changing it). The first two nights we had his cage in the laundry room and he barked all night, no doubt looking for the other gliders he was housed in the same room with (but not the same cage) at the breeder's. We decided he would feel better near other gliders, so we moved his cage in proximity to Foehn and Rossby's so they could see and smell each other.

Pascal is wary and of course unsure of what is going on in his life. He wasn't handled a great deal in his previous home so we will have to earn his trust. He's slowly coming around, and will now come out from under his blankets to take mealworms from us.  He was very unsure of the yogurt M was trying to give him in the morning, but the other day he came out for the first time and took some licks. Small, but important steps.

More on our new addition soon.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

An Update on the Gang

It's been a busy five weeks since my last post. Last week we traveled to Lexington, KY to the 2014 Sugar Glider Get Away (SGGA), a gathering of sugar gliders owners from around the country. We brought all five gliders with us (a first) and had a great time meeting many of the glider owners we only knew through the Glider Central forum.

In terms of who's with who, that hasn't changed. Foehn and Rossby are together in one cage, and CB, Sprite, and Flurry are in the other.  We'll probably be getting another, slightly larger cage for Foehn and Rossby as it is unlikely they will be a colony of five. Foehn continues to exhibit marking behavior almost constantly as if her hormones were stuck in the "ON" position. She and CB had their annual checkup this week and the vet did not find anything physically abnormal with her. Her weight is good and she has been eating well.

Our second Sansbug tent we use for playtime has bitten the dust. One of the fiberglass hoop supports snapped and it won't hold it's shape very well, besides being a pain to set up. So, we have moved playtime into the guest bathroom adjoining my office. We removed the sheer shower curtain and M has been making fleece vines for them to climb on. Sprite and Flurry like to climb up to the shower rod. The problem is, Flurry can't quite figure how to get down, and he hasn't worked up enough courage to jump. Even if I stand up under him he won't make the relatively short jump to my shoulder.  Only when I stand up on the toilet so my shoulder is higher will he jump over, obviously quite relieved. We have only been in the bathroom a few days, so they are till getting used to it. There's more for them to climb on and more room to run.

This evening it was the trio's turn for playtime They weren't very active, although Flurry took time to investigate the large piece of fleece hanging from the shower rod. He climbed to the top and after a few minutes finally figured he could climb down the way he came up.

CB, Sprite, and Flurry (l-r) contemplating coming out of the pouch after their mealworms.

Flurry working his way back down a hanging piece of fleece.