Wondering how to rehabilitate a baby squirrel with broken back or a paralyzed one, there are a few basic rules that you must follow. If you do not, your squirrel will die.
First, you must take your squirrel to a veterinarian. They can prescribe medications to help your squirrel. In many cases, they will recommend a particular antibiotic.
You will also need to provide the squirrel with a nest box and bedding material. Bedding is important because it helps the squirrel stay warm. You should also be sure to remove dead fleas from the bed.
Next, you will need to provide the squirrel with a diet. A diet specially designed for squirrels will help your animal recover. For example, you can use Henry’s Healthy (supplemental) Diet for Squirrels.
You will also need to give your squirrel a rehydrating solution. You can use Pedialyte. The solution should be given every 30 minutes for the first two hours. After that, you can give it every two hours.
You should also keep the injured squirrel in an indoor cage until it is stronger. Once it is strong, it should be moved to an outdoor cage. If you do not have a place to set up an outdoor cage, you can set up a cardboard box and put it under a branch. You should also monitor the squirrel’s temperature.
Injured squirrels should not be released near highways or busy intersections. They should not be exposed to other wild animals and predators.
Taking care of a baby squirrel with broken back
A young western gray squirrel fell from its nest and was caught by a dog. It was taken to a Wildlife Hospital where an x-ray revealed fractures to both the tibia and fibula. Wild Care veterinarians repair broken bones, but this case presented a unique challenge.
The fracture was near the growth plate, and pinging would have prevented it from growing. Instead, the veterinarians splinted the injured baby squirrel’s leg and allowed it to grow.
The first thing to do is keep the baby squirrel warm. Try placing the baby in a box with a washcloth or blanket and cover it with a warm towel or a heating pad. Keep an eye on the baby every 15 minutes to monitor its condition. The next step is to place the baby squirrel next to a littermate, so it will feel safe and secure. You can also hold the baby squirrel close to you for warmth.
Henry’s Healthy (supplemental) Diet for squirrels
Gayle’s story with squirrels began when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and decided to take on a new hobby. After retiring from her job with the phone company, she had ample time to research rehab techniques.
After buying a protein supplement and Henry’s Healthy Supplemental Diet for squirrels with a broken back, she began to line the cages with colorful fleece and provide a daily syringe feeding. Her efforts paid off.
Her first squirrel incurred multiple injuries when it fell from her mother’s nest. It was a common sight when she scurried after her younger sister while eating in the corner of the living room. This type of activity led to all sorts of injuries to the baby squirrel.
Broken bones of the feet and basil skull fractures were common. After several weeks, she lost her appetite, lost her thirst, and slowly passed away.
Feeding a squirrel with a nest box
In case of a baby squirrel, a small box with a lid and holes in the floor is just the right place for the baby to stay warm and dry. Put the box in a dark room next to a heater or heating pad. Make sure the box is secure and the lid is sealed. After each feeding, the baby should be recovered and placed in a dark place.
Place a tarp underneath the cage and place woodchips and cloths as bedding inside. Add some climbing material to the cage as well. You can insert dowel rods through the holes and secure them with nuts and washers.
These will act as a ladder and will mimic the living conditions of a squirrel outdoors. This will help to prevent the squirrel from nesting in your home.
Keeping a squirrel under radar
If you have a squirrel with a broken back, you may be wondering whether or not it is okay to keep it under your radar. First, you should contact a veterinarian to confirm the animal’s condition. If the animal is paralyzed, it should be euthanized. However, if it is quadriplegic, you may be able to keep it under your radar.
Fortunately, squirrels are fairly hardy and generally healthy animals. However, you should be aware of certain signs of illness and keep an eye out for them.
Signs of illness include lethargy, dull eyes, labored breathing, hunching over, nasal or mouth discharge, and difficulty eating. A squirrel that shows any of these symptoms is most likely afflicted by a broken back.
If you see the animal in a cage, do not approach it without supervision. Squirrels often exhibit behaviors that are aggressive, even to the point of biting.
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.