What Causes a Squirrel to Have Seizures?
If you’ve never seen a squirrel have a seizure or having the “can squirrels have seizures” question at the back of your mind, you may wonder what causes it. If this is your first-time seeing seizures in a squirrel, you may want to seek help from a vet. Many pet owners fail to provide the proper food blend, choose the wrong nuts, or provide enough sunlight.
All of these factors can lead to Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), which causes back legs to become immobile and eventually cause death. Because this disease is so common, you’re probably wondering what causes a squirrel to have seizures.
Getting calcium into the body early
Squirrels that suffer from metabolic bone disease (MBD) usually begin to exhibit seizures between two and three months of age. At first, the seizures may be brief and occur when the baby squirrel is out of sight. However, paralysis can occur at any time. In addition to the seizures, the squirrel will appear stiff, exhibit limited range of motion, and lose its appetite.
Unfortunately, if left untreated, MBD can lead to death. To prevent seizures in your pet squirrel, get it the right amount of calcium into its diet from a young age.
The most important factor in helping your pet squirrel get the proper amount of calcium is getting it into his or her diet. Calcium is an important mineral in the body and plays a vital role in all body functions. In addition, every cell contains dissolved minerals that enable it to send small electrical signals.
This communication between cells is essential for organ functions. If you want your pet to live a long, healthy life, he or she needs to get calcium into their systems early on.
Pre-mixed squirrel foods
In the wild, squirrels will eat almost anything you put in front of them, but certain foods should be avoided. Avocadoes, pine nuts, cycad palms, and sago palms are highly toxic to squirrels. They should also avoid nuts with seeds such as pumpkin or sesame.
If you don’t think squirrels would eat these, consider offering them sliced fruit. You can also hang them on strings. Squirrels also like wild berries and Osage oranges.
For best results, provide your squirrel with a nutritious diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and calcium. You can add pre-mixed squirrel foods to their diet for extra calcium and a variety of nutrients.
These foods also include probiotics that can boost your pet’s health. They can also benefit from a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables. If you’re feeding your squirrels canned food or dried treats, make sure they don’t contain added sugar.
If you’ve ever noticed your pet squirrel having seizures, you probably wonder what’s causing it. If your pet squirrel is a two-year-old bully mix, you know that eating and drinking can be difficult. Thick mucus would collect in its mouth, preventing it from chewing, breathing, or gaining weight.
If you’ve never seen one yourself, you should seek professional help as soon as possible.
Seizures may be a sign that a baby squirrel is experiencing a metabolic bone disease, or MBD. These seizures, while mild, may come and go when the baby squirrel is out of reach. Eventually, seizures can cause paralysis and death.
If your squirrel is having seizures, make sure to take it to a vet as soon as you notice anything out of the ordinary. Seizures may be accompanied by clumsiness, a rigid back, or even eyes rolling up.
Borna virus infection
A new virus discovered in squirrels, Borna virus, may be responsible for the symptoms of encephalitis. The new virus was transmitted to three humans who all died from the disease. This study provides an excellent example of how newly discovered viruses cause encephalitis.
However, the researchers have to wait until they can demonstrate that the disease was caused by the virus. In the meantime, they are working to understand the virus and its transmission patterns to humans.
This study identified a novel zoonotic Borna virus by performing metagenomic analysis on RNA extracted from brain samples. Sequencing of the sequences identified two nearly identical full-length coding sequences. The L gene exhibited two synonymous exchanges. The novel Borna virus is a distinct lineage within the Borna virus family and has a sister relationship to Mammalian 1 Borna virus.
What is the most common cause of seizures in squirrels?
The most common cause of seizures in squirrels is hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
Seizures can also be caused by head injuries liver disease kidney disease and certain types of tumors.
What are the signs that a squirrel is having a seizure?
The signs that a squirrel is having a seizure include convulsions drooling chattering teeth and foaming at the mouth.
The squirrel may also lose consciousness and have muscle spasms.
What should you do if you see a squirrel having a seizure?
If you see a squirrel having a seizure you should call a wildlife rehabilitator or animal hospital.
Do not try to restrain the squirrel as this can worsen the seizure.
Can seizures be fatal to squirrels?
Seizures can be fatal to squirrels if they are not treated promptly.
If a squirrel has a seizure that lasts for more than five minutes it is at risk for brain damage and possibly death.
What is the prognosis for squirrels with seizures?
The prognosis for squirrels with seizures is good if the seizures are treated promptly and the underlying cause is identified and treated.
Most squirrels that receive treatment make a full recovery.
What are the long-term effects of seizures in squirrels?
The long-term effects of seizures in squirrels depend on the underlying cause of the seizures.
If the cause is treated most squirrels make a full recovery and do not experience any long-term effects.
Can seizures be prevented in squirrels?
Seizures can be prevented in squirrels by treating the underlying cause.
For example if seizures are caused by hypoglycemia squirrels can be given a diet that is high in sugar to prevent low blood sugar levels.
What is the treatment for seizures in squirrels?
The treatment for seizures in squirrels depends on the underlying cause.
If the cause is unknown the focus is on managing the seizures and preventing further seizures.
If the cause is known treatment will focus on correcting the underlying problem.
What are the side effects of seizure medication in squirrels?
The side effects of seizure medication in squirrels include drowsiness lethargy and incoordination.
Squirrels may also experience seizures if they are suddenly discontinued.
How long do seizures last in squirrels?
Seizures usually last for a few seconds to a few minutes.
If a seizure lasts for more than five minutes it is considered a medical emergency.
How often do seizures occur in squirrels?
Seizures can occur sporadically or they can occur in clusters.
Some squirrels only have one or two seizures in their lifetime while others may have them on a daily basis.
What is the difference between a seizure and epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a chronic condition characterized by recurrent seizures.
Seizures can also be caused by other factors such as head injuries low blood sugar and certain types of tumors.
Can seizures be cured?
Seizures cannot be cured but they can be controlled with medication.
If the underlying cause is treated seizures may stop occurring.
Do all squirrels with seizures need medication?
No not all squirrels with seizures need medication.
If the underlying cause is treated some squirrels may not need medication to control their seizures.
Are there any home remedies for seizures in squirrels?
There are no home remedies for seizures in squirrels.
Seizures must be treated by a veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitator.
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.