I am a worrywart. Give me anything to take care of and I’m going to worry that I’m not doing it right. My sugar gliders are no exception. It seems like I’m always finding something to worry about and then going and doing tons of research on it. XD Most recently, I’ve been looking into HLP (Hind Leg Paralysis). Not because my gliders have any symptoms, but because it can be fatal to gliders and I want to know as much about it so that I can deal with it if it does happens. *nods*
Welcome to my world.
Hind Leg Paralysis is caused by a lack of calcium in the glider’s diet. When there is a lack of calcium, the blood and organs will take calcium from the sugar glider’s bones. The bones, in turn, will become very brittle and thin, and eventually unable to support the weight of the glider. HLP affects not only the bones, but also the muscles and major organs. If not properly treated, the glider will die.
Severe shaking (not just when scared/just woken up)
Glider dragging their hind legs/gliders pulling themselves around by their front legs
Weakness in their hind legs
Unexplainable broken bones
Unexplainable weight loss
If you notice your glider has symptoms of HLP, TAKE HER TO A VET IMMEDIATELY. HLP is very serious, but can be reversed IF it is caught soon enough. Sugar gliders are prey animals and will hide their illnesses as much as possible. Be vigilant, know your animal and trust your gut if you’re worried about something. Better safe than sorry. 😉
Feeding your gliders the right diet is vital to their health and well being. Do not feed them a pellet diet. (I will write up a whole post on that topic later.)
Choose vegetables high in calcium and low in phosphorus. I found a great list that shows the calcium to phosphorus ratio in food. Generally, you want to feed your gliders a 2:1 ratio. I use the TPG diet, that comes with a supplement to put on top.
Another great source of calcium is eggshells. When we owned chickens, we would grind up the extra eggshells and feed it to our hens to help strengthen their eggs/bones/whole bodies. If you choose to do this, wash the eggshells VERY well, place them on a pan and bake them until they’re “disinfected” and then grind them into a fine powder and sprinkle over their food. (Look up how to do this before you try. I’ve never done it for my gliders.) I’m leery about doing this with store-bought eggs just because I don’t know where they’ve been. If we still raised chickens, though, I would definitely use the shells.
[Edit: it is possible to overdose calcium. That is just as dangerous as not giving enough. Be aware of this.]