A healthy Sugar Glider is easy to spot. Most veterinarians look for: bright eyes, moist pink nose, pink gums and membranes, the ability to grip with all four feet, clear ear canals, smooth fur coat free of parasites, good elasticity of the gliding membrane, feces free of parasites, a regular feeding schedule and documented diet history, and an active mobility.
Some visible concerns to you and your vet would be: obvious deformity in limbs, parasites, Blindness & Cataracts, White Mucus Disease, Hind End Paralysis, and lack or limited activity.
Deformity in limbs
…can be caused by improper healing of broken limbs or recent breaks. Accidents do happen in healthy gliders as well as aged gliders. Keeping a safe environment and regular calcium supplements are your best defense. If you do notice any deformity, contact your trusted vet immediately.
… whether internal or external can invade your happy Sugar Glider. To prevent this occurrence always provide a fresh water supply, a fresh diet, and a clean cage environment. If you notice parasites or returning redness developing in the coat, eyes, ears, or in the feces contact your trusted vet for treatment. Do not let this go unattended.
Blindness & Cataracts
…can occur in Sugar Gliders just as they can in humans. White spots or floating spots may be a sign of cataracts and lead to blindness. Although it is rare, some gliders are born blind.
White Mucus Disease
…presents with a coated white mucus discharging from orifices such as eyes, ears, or in feces. This may be caused by improper vitamin or mineral balances in the daily diet. In some cases, aged systems stop breaking down nutrients and prohibit the absorption of needed minerals. If you suspect this condition contact your trusted vet for treatment. Do not let this go unattended.
Hind End Paralysis
… also known as Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a slow, progressive, wasting disease of the hindquarters. DM is similar to multiple sclerosis in people. It affects the central nervous system (CNS), which consists of the brain and spinal cord. The CNS is responsible for carrying nerve impulses or messages to and from the muscles. Axons carry these messages and are similar to electrical wires. As with electrical wires, axons require insulation. Without insulation, the message leaks out. In the progression of DM, the myelin sheath (insulation) on the axon is damaged or slowly destroyed, rendering the muscle incapable of carrying out a movement. The usual cause is Calcium deficiency. Calcium, B12, and D deficiencies are relatively simple to take care of as these nutrients are available as OTC dietary supplements. However, it is important that your trusted vet advise you of doses and a treatment plan.
Lack or limited activity
…not normal to your animal could be the early warning signs of a dire medical condition or could simply be a bad day. If your glider is not its frisky self, watch it closely. If the condition worsens or does not improve within a short period of time (not more than 1 day) contact your trusted vet immediately.