In September 2011, our joeys became infected with a bacterial infection. Due to conflicting veterinary opinions, it took us 2 months of quarantine to diagnose the bacteria. We were in agreement with our veterinarian that the bacteria problem was resolved. We had healthy joeys all winter long. However, when spring came, we had an additional sick joey. After treating him, we determined that the problem was isolated, and that cohort of joeys was able to go home. But, the problems did not stop there. We had a problem with humidity when our central air went out in May, and 4 joeys became sick. We immediately went back into quarantine and consulted professionals around the country to determine the cause. After testing, it was determined that we had a problem with a type of clostridium. Now, the joeys that I had sent home had been treated with antibiotics, and they were clean. However, clostridium bacteria is notorious for staying in the environment and hiding in healthy animals. So, we spent 30 days with every single animal in my home being treated with 3 different medications to completely eradicate the infection from the animals. I have also been working hard to scrub and bleach the housing area to kill any that may be on surfaces. Clostridium infections are triggered by humidity, so our dehumidifier is running constantly to maintain the ideal humidity for the animals and prevent infection.
As of October 20th, 2012, we have gotten clean fecal results from the repeated clostridium testing as well as a regular fecal. All of my animals are healthy and the clostridium is gone for good. My veterinarian came by to inspect while the tests were pending, and he was impressed with the current health of the gliders. We have opened back up to allow joeys to go home, and we are confident
We take great pride in the health of our joeys, and we will NEVER send out a sick joey. We have a very close relationship with our veterinarian, and we are quick to call or visit when there is a problem.
It is important to note that when looking for joeys, they should appear healthy with smooth fur and bright eyes. The photos below are of our joeys when they were at the peak of their illness. Do NOT buy a sugar glider that looks like that. These photos were taken in the middle of quarantine, and the joeys had recovered completely and their fur had improved significantly before they were allowed to leave.
If you have joeys that look like the photos below, please consult your vet. Have them run a comprehensive fecal test and check the fur for infections. Please stay on top of your gliders, this bacteria affects the joeys ONLY, and it can be devastating to the animals.
Other signs include lack of appetite, lethargy, irritability, and weight loss. Romeo died while being tube fed, as he would not eat. It was a tragic accident, however, without the tube feedings, he would have starved to death as he had lost his appetite completely and was unwilling to eat.
The joeys do begin to look better while on antibiotics, however, since their fur is irreversibly damaged, the fur looks bad until they shed it all and grow in a new coat.
Tommy (recovering)Cadence (recovered)