Hello friends. Today I’m going to be sharing my experience with getting a sugar glider neutered. I will be doing a whole different post about myths, methods and other such things related to neutering. This post, however, is just about Ink’s neuter.
After a lot of thought and consideration of Dreamer’s health, I decided that I would get Ink neutered. I loved breeding and watching the joeys grow up. But I also saw that it was putting a strain on Dreamer’s health. Today I will be sharing the ins and outs of Ink’s neuter and his recovery.
I asked our vet a bunch of questions about the neutering process. There are two methods: pom-on and pom-off. Pom-on has a quicker healing time and is less invasive. Pom-off is best for gliders who have SM (self mutilation) issues as it reduces the hormones much more than the pom-on method. Some vets offer laser surgery, but it’s generally much more expensive. Don’t feel bad for asking your vet questions and voicing your concerns!
Our vet doesn’t do pom-on or laser methods, which was fine with me. We got a general estimate of at least $250 – $300. We called some other vets and they had lower prices, but I didn’t feel comfortable with their knowledge of gliders. It was worth it to me to pay extra to get care that I was confident in.
We set the date and time and I got myself prepared for his surgery.
The most important thing to have on hand before neutering is an e-collar or an e-jacket. (I bought my e-jacket from Denise Rainwater. She was so kind and the e-jacket is so much nicer than an e-collar.)
The Night Before
Our vet recommend that Ink had no food past midnight. (There are varying opinions on whether this is necessary or not, but I decided just to do it). This was kind of tricky because Dreamer is in the same cage (obviously) and I didn’t want to deprive her of her food – especially since she’s already so tiny. I ended up mixing up some fatty treats (avocado, banana and a bit of corn) into their other food (they are both underweight, so I didn’t feel bad about doing that). It worked. They ate really well and got some good stuff in their bellies before midnight. I took it out as late as possible. They were both fine that night. After I left Ink at the vet, I offered Dreamer more food, but she didn’t want it. LOL.
The Morning Of Neuter
Ink had to be at the vet around 7:45. He was not happy with being separated from Dreamer. It’s a 15 minute drive to the vet, and he didn’t settle down at all.
I brought some apples, mealworms and a couple yoggies for him after the surgery.
We checked him in and then headed home to wait for the call….
Around 12, we got a call that the neuter was done and that Inky was awake. (Neutering is always done under anesthesia) I was so relieved to hear that! They said that he did really well. They wanted to keep him for a few hours to make sure that everything was good, that he would eat and drink and to just observe him.
Around three, we went to pick him up. The total price was $325. That covered the neuter, an e-collar, pain meds (meloxicam) and an antibiotic to prevent infection. They said that he was really sweet and didn’t even try to bite them. 😍 (He is always getting complemented on his extreme gentleness.)
I took him home and spent a frustrating ten minutes attempting to get the e-jacket on. He was so agitated by being so close to Dreamer but not being WITH her. Finally, I just gave up, put the e-collar back on and decided to try again later. He fought the e-collar for a while, but finally settled down to sleep in the pouch with Dreamer.
Warning: Close up picture of incision sight below
And that’s the incision sight. You can see how small and well done it is. They did shave the area, which is why that’s bald there. The shaving isn’t necessary and not all vets do it.
I did a brief clean of the cage. Not super detailed, but I wiped down the bars and changed the fleece lining on the bottom just to be sure that there wouldn’t be extra debris or germs that could get in the wound.
The First Night
I did some preparations in the cage to accommodate the e-jacket that Ink was wearing. I put in an extra open-environment pouch and moved the other one to the bottom of the cage so that he could get into it without climbing far. I put the food and water on the bottom, too. I don’t do water bottles with them, so they’re both used to drinking out of water bowls. But I was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to drink out of the normal one easily because it is narrow and long. So I put in another shallow dish of water and put the food in a couple small containers (cleaned out playdough containers actually) that he could easily reach.
That night was…very long. LOL. Since I decided against separating Ink and Dreamer while he was healing (more about that later in a different post), I had to stay up and make sure that Dreamer didn’t mess with his wound or help him get out of the e-jacket. I also needed to make sure that Ink was eating and drinking and that he didn’t accidently hurt himself.
I stayed up until twelve and just let them crawl on me and play with me. Ink had so much energy, I couldn’t believe it. He quickly adjusted to the e-jacket. They’re such smart animals. Within a short time, he was walking, eating, climbing and even attempting to run on the wheel with the e-jacket.
I have the cages in my bedroom, but I wanted to be closer just in case Ink happened to get the e-jacket off and started SMing or if something else happened. So I slept right next to the cage.
I set an alarm for every hour so that I could sit up and check on them. I didn’t really need the alarm, ’cause I got up multiple times an hour.
I’m just a paranoid person, this wasn’t really necessary.
Around 2 or 3, my room got so cold and my space heater wouldn’t work (of course. It’s the second that’s met its doom in my bedroom…) I noticed that Ink was just sitting, not doing anything. I figured he was cold, so I picked him up, put him in a bonding bag with an extra fleece blanket and just held him for the next couple hours. He went right to sleep and slept hard. When I finally put him back, he was up and ready to explore the cage again.
At six that morning, I gave him his pain meds. He went back to sleep shortly after that. All and all, the first night was a success. He didn’t seem overly bothered by the e-jacket after the first annoyance of it wore off. He ate and drank well and on his own. He was much more active than I expected. He didn’t seem to be in pain. He did try to get at the incision sight often, but the e-jacket did an amazing job of keeping him from doing so.
The Following Days
The next few nights were somewhat exhausting for me. I, being an exceedingly paranoid person, got up multiple times a night for several nights to just check on Ink and to be sure that everything was as it should be. I also had to get up at 6 AM to give him pain meds. (I’m not a morning person.)
Since Ink couldn’t groom himself like normal, I had to gently help him keep clean. I want to stress that I DID NOT give him a bath or soak him in water. That should never be done. I used the corner of a cloth and warm water to gently clean any dirty areas. I DID NOT touch his incision sight. After I was done cleaning him, I held him in a bonding pouch until he was completely dry again.
He had pain meds every day for seven days and the antibiotic twice a day for ten days. I was to send follow up photos of the neuter sight to the vet after fourteen days, when he should have been completely healed.
Three days after the neuter, I decided to see if I could take the e-jacket off without Ink bothering the wound. I took it off for an hour that night while I watched him. He was so happy to be out of it and spent the entire time grooming himself. He barely looked at the wound. I put the e-jacket on after I was done – I just wanted to let it heal a bit more before I let him out of it unsupervised.
Two nights later, I took his e-jacket off for good. I’d been supervising him and he hadn’t shown any signs of bothering the wound at all. I was up for a lot of that first night that he had it off. I was so happy to get it off of him. He had started to get two little sores on his neck from the straps. These healed very well, but I didn’t want to agitate them by keeping the e-jacket on when it wasn’t needed.
After that, Ink returned to his normal self. He was bouncing all over the cage, running on the wheel (I’ll talk more about why I choose to keep the wheel in the cage, in a different post) and eating/drinking well.
After two weeks, he was healed well!
The hair hadn’t grown back yet, so he still looked pretty sad, but he was doing well. The bald spots on his head and the staining on his chest (scent glands) hadn’t gone away yet, but that can take up to [time].
That’s my journey with getting a glider neutered! I hope that it’ll help you if you’re in a similar situation. Be on the look out for another post which will talk about neutering methods and myths!