How to Help a Hurt Squirrel
A squirrel’s condition can range greatly. It may be hurt from a head trauma to poisoning or a parasite. Here’s what to look for. If you spot any of these signs, act immediately to help the squirrel. It may also be in need of emergency medical attention. However, if it is simply a small injury, contact a veterinarian. If you suspect that a squirrel is in need of immediate medical attention, contact the nearest animal hospital immediately.
Symptoms of head trauma
If you notice the following signs of head trauma in a squirrel, you may need to seek veterinary care immediately. Abscesses on the head may prevent normal breathing. In this case, your hurt squirrel should be treated with antibiotics. Bacterial infections may also affect the upper respiratory tract. These infections can spread to humans through a bite wound. Once you identify the cause, treatment can begin.
The signs of head trauma are similar to those of poisoning. The injured squirrel will be lying on its back, listing to one side or walking around in circles. It may also have blood coming from its mouth or nose. Be aware that squirrels have strong jaws and teeth, so if you attempt to capture the animal, it will likely struggle to get away. While leather gloves offer some protection, a good bite can tear through them.
Symptoms of poisoning
If you are having trouble identifying whether your squirrel is suffering from a rodenticide poisoning, you may want to consult an expert on the subject. A professor at the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Maureen Murray, has been studying the effects of rodenticides on wildlife for years. Her research has shown that the most common type of rodenticide poisoning in squirrels is difethialone, which is stored in the livers of squirrels.
Squirrels are often found near garbage cans and are capable of carrying diseases and parasites. People can become infected with salmonellosis, rabies, and Lyme disease by being close to a sick squirrel. If they are infected, they can infect other animals by biting or touching them. Some of these diseases can cause petechial rashes, fever, and liver failure in humans.
Symptoms of parasites
Squirrels can develop various types of infection, including bacterial infections. These infections require treatment by veterinarians, who will diagnose the infection using blood, urine, and tissue samples. Many of these infections are caused by an internal bacterial infection. These infections can spread to humans via wounds and bites, so veterinarians should be consulted as soon as possible. Below are the main symptoms of parasite infections in squirrels.
Symptoms of fleas, ticks, and other external parasites can include bloody lumps or ulcers on the animal’s skin. These lumps may be bloody, and a closer look can reveal that the animal is infected. Sometimes, chipmunks also display similar symptoms. In severe cases, a squirrel’s health can be severely affected. The condition can lead to death if untreated.
You can help a hurt squirrel by first making it comfortable, then transporting it to a wildlife rehabilitation center or a veterinarian. Its injury should be contained in a dark box lined with newspaper or a smooth pillowcase. Avoid using towels, as they can catch on its claws. A pet store or a wildlife rehabilitation center will be able to help the injured animal get better. But if you’re not sure how to do this, here are some tips.
Always put gloves on when handling the injured squirrel. Using bare hands is not an option, since squirrels are prone to injuries. Use thick gloves and a heating pad to warm up the container. Never release an injured squirrel near highways or busy streets. Also, do not put hot water inside the container, as the squirrel may get scalded. A baby squirrel will approach you if it’s in danger of dying.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.