Monday, January 23, 2006

WARNING: This site contains graphic images of sugar gliders after a neutering procedure. Close your window if you do not wish to see such images!

Sugi is fine! He's moved back in with his family (and has actually been back with them now for some time - I'm bad - I forgot to update). My little man is happy again, and it's as if nothing had ever changed.

SugarBear, SugarBear, SugarBear! - "Can't get enough of muh SugaBear"!
(this is the slogan for an old commercial for a kid's cereal - way back when I was growing up, and I just loved this cereal - thus, Sugi's name)

I just love Sugi's vet, and she is taking such great care of my boy! I am also very thankful to my employer who allowed me time off to tend to my little guy, since my vet's office is two hours away from my work - one way. I have to say that the staff at this vet clinic is just incredible. I mean, they REALLY take a very personal interest in your pet. Once we arrived, we were quickly taken into the examining room, and we had to "persuade" Sugi to come out of his pouch (he teased, he'd peek out, then withdraw, peek out, then sneak back in and then "crab" (if you have never heard a sugar glider's vocalizations, you are really missing something because they have quite a repertoire); so, finally, I had to take him out (and I had a handy little fleece blankie - just in case). Once Sugi was out of his pouch, he strutted his stuff and wouldn't let the vet "see his private parts" - or as I should say, where they used to be. He was coy, and then decided that we would have to do things his way. He bounced from me, to John, and then back again. I'm so thankful that my vet had a fleece-like covering placed over the examining table or Sugi would have sliiiidd and went "ker-splat". See? I told you, this office makes sure to cater to your pet's specific needs. Two thumbs waaaaay way up!

The "Tease"
OK, finally, Sugi just isn't going to show the "full monty" so we had to take him back to "the room" where the anesthesiologist was waiting. Sugi was once again coaxed out of his pouch (we had to re-pouch him since we walked through another room), and he crawled into a "little container" that had a hose attached to one end. The anesthesiologist did what she did best, and suddenly, little Sugi was ever so much more cooperative. I was very impressed with this set-up because not only was he "out" she had a little mask-like cover which kept him out. One thing I have noticed on other vet visits is that these little guys "come out of it" pretty quickly, so I was very pleased to see this procedure handled this way, which seemed exactly what we would expect if a human were being "put under." Sugi "stayed under" so that a full examination could be performed.

The findings:
Just as I had feared - he did have an infection. The one thing that I do not understand, though, is that I had been keeping a VERY close eye on my little man, and still, I did not see that there was a problem until last night. Anyway, the vet thoroughly cleaned out the wound with some kind of blue stuff (and here's the great part, she explained what she was doing every step of the way, and she even mentioned the name of the stuff she used - I just can't remember what it was). Afterwards, she gave him two injections (one on each hip) and then some medicine, which would keep him calm all the way home. She advised me to keep him separate from his family for about three days, and during that time, she said that his wound should close up on his own. Sugi HAD been healing, but the infection had slowed the process. She explained that though she could re-stitch him that, in doing so, he would very likely go through the whole process all over again, so this solution, she thought, was for the best, and I agreed.

The before and after images
Since I have just had two of my males neutered, I will post two photos: one of Oliver, who is healing normally (but that little squirt, or his mate, removed his stainless steel sutures and did a very effective job) and then one of Sugi, who had several complications. Neutering sugar gliders can be a tricky thing to do, so I hope these photos will help another owner better understand the process.

This is a photo of Oliver before his neutering. The "pom" is completely visible. The procedure that I had performed involved the removal of the "pom." Oliver's before photo.

This is Oliver after his surgery and, although he is still tender, he is healing well on his own. This photo was taken last night (my date is wrong on my digital camera). However, right after his surgery, Oliver was just his "regular self" and had no complications. Oliver's after photo.

Within the blue circle, you can see that Sugi's "pom" has been removed and that the site has opened. This site was infected and treatment has been obtained. The vet believes this site should close on its own in about three days. Sugi's after photo.

The lurid details...
Now, as a side note, I happened to notice that last night while I was sitting up with my little man, that he was feeling "amorous". I believe that I only slept about two or three hours. Anyway, there I was, sitting in my chair while maintaining a watchful eye, and he is doing what? "Getting lucky"? I felt like such an intruder because the little bugger was actually "romancing" his lady! While injured! Good heavens!

Gliders are such interesting and endearing little pets, I must say. One glider is fun, and two are absolutely adorable (because it is just so interesting to watch them communicate and to interact with one another), but when you have three... almost anything goes! Not only was I disturbed by this unexpected nocturnal activity (I was so worried that he'd somehow hurt himself), but Sugi's other "lady" was upset, and she barked during the entire ordeal... while "the romancee" barked in complaint, which indicated that Sugi just needed to go away and leave her alone. Men.

Sugi, who is ever the loving mate and "gentle-glider" (and also a truly wonderful father) finally did... and he went sulking back to his pouch to tend to his joeys. Twin girls.

Poor Sugi! So misunderstood.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Well, here we are, we're scheduled for a 5:30 appt. tomorrow evening to have Sugi and Oliver's stainless steel sutures removed, and just as I was feeding everyone, I happened to notice that Sugi's site had re-opened a little and it looked like there was some greenish pus. Not good. That is usually the sign of infection.

We called the vet, but we got an answering machine, so, for better or worse, we cleaned the area with a drop or two of 3% hydrogen peroxide (that's what we do if we get a cut or something), and then we placed a little bit of Neosporin right on the site. We happened to have just a little Torbutrol left over, so we gave him .2 cc of that. Sugi hated this whole process, but it had to be done until we heard from our vet.

We placed Sugi in a pouch, just to calm him and keep him still, and then - like five minutes later - the vet called. Great! At first, I had called my local vet since he was only about 10 minutes away, just in case we needed to take Sugi in for immediate attention, or if we needed a phone consult with the vet who performed the neutering. My local vet recommended a Betadine flush (said the hydrogen peroxide would certainly burn the infection out, but it would make the site slower to heal than the Betadine), and he said the .2 cc of the Torbutrol should help keep him calm. There was no bleeding, nothing like that, just a site that didn't look so nice (I thought, at first, that it was scabbing over), and, to be honest, I have seen worse when our Reese suffered a nasty mating wound, and thankfully, Sugi's site was not that deep.

Then, within just minutues, the vet who performed the procedure called, too! Yeah! I explained what we had done, and she said we shouldn't use anymore hydrogen peroxide, and she explained that had there been no sign of infection perhaps he could have been glued (as opposed to additional stitches). But, the infection had to be cleared so having him glued back together was not an option. She would have seen him that night, but there were no vet tech's available to help with the anesthesia, and I can tell you, from firsthand experience, that these little guys really take the anesthesia (and an extra pair of hands). Gliders "come to" pretty quickly and are ready to spring into action.

So, I am staying up with Sugi tonight, and I am keeping a very close watch on him. Actually, he has been pretty cool about everything. I would have never even known there were a problem, but that I had just had him out. Right now, he seems to be ok. He's back in his cage so that he can eat his dinner, and at midnight, he gets another shot of Torbutrol, and he then goes back into his pouch so that I will know if there is a problem. He sees our vet tomorrow morning, and I'll post an update once I have more information.

Tink & Loki are out taking the girls for a morning stroll.
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Well, this new "blog thing" is actually pretty new to me. Kinda - sorta. I mean, way back - a long, lonnng time ago (about 1993, I think) - I “blogged” before it became so popular. There were a small group of us who had a huge interest in virtual reality chat programs, and we'd meet up in our daily chats and create "online diaries" via our own websites. Nothing was sacred. Politics. Religion. UFOs and alien abductions. Cooking. Music... my God, the music! How to mix the "Perfect Bloody Mary", etc, and we ranted over various everyday occurrences; we debated; we questioned, and we formed theories on any topic – I loved it! I miss those old days and that circle of friends, but, realistically, over such a long time period, we do tend to lose contact with our online buds, which is a real shame. I mean, you know, those special people are never truly forgotten, but "everyday life" shifts our focus - and although those dear friends are "not ever forgotten" - that's life.

Then, one fine summer day, I'm sitting here and watching CNN, and there was an update: there had been explosions in London! I had been chatting with my pal Leyna at the time, but I suddenly had to excuse myself. I had to find out if my friend in London was safe, and I felt horrible because I hadn't chatted with him in ages. IMs weren't working due to lack of use, or whatever, but I did manage to find my "old" pal in Canada (who is not so old!) - Wrex, girl, see what you've started? - and between the two of us, we were able to find his phone number (hey, I never said organization was my "best" trait), and he was ok. All was well. Whew. Relief!

Wrex and I had "re-united" - totally cool! She sent me her blog, which is as totally awesome as she is; then, suddenly, a little wave of inspiration hit me, and I thought, "Hmm... chrysalis."

And so it goes . . . welcome!