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 Overgrooming but not sick.

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viciousencounters

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PostSubject: Overgrooming but not sick.    Fri May 20, 2011 1:08 pm

I have reviewed the overgrooming topic and talked to Val over the phone a few months ago about Luna. I was told to come back for more information if it did not stop.

So, a little info about my gliders and their lives. I have four females all of which had complete exams in late November early December. They were all cleared and declared the "healthiest gliders I have ever seen" by my vet.
Their cage is rather large measuring 53"x18"x30" but maybe it is not big enough because of the depth?
They have a variety of numerous pouches. Especially since they get to play with prototypes from my store that are much work to end up selling. There is at least one area for each girl in the cage at all times.
They have a small amount of toys but they do have them. How many is enough? How many should be kept in the cage?
They have two stealth type wheels and two feeding stations.
They get out of cage time about 5 days out of the week ranging from 2-6 hours.

Now a little about Luna specifically.
I got Luna a few years ago. The first time I saw her she scared me because I thought she looked like an alien. My boyfriend brought me up to speed on what a sugar glider is and now he probably regrets his impulse buy because of how much Luna became one of my obsessions.
She was purchased from a pet store who fed them a concoction of a frozen sort of mixture and oatmeal.
She was fed this for 1.5-2years if her OOP date is correct.
She is often fed either LGRS or Candy's Blended Diet and eats them very well.
Her fur has never looked very nice, unlike my other three. Although the shine has improved recently.
In November she got two new sisters whom she bosses around.
Luna gets along very well with all of my other gliders and often breaks up fights between the others. She is a bit of a peacemaker.
It is very rare that the others are rude to her in the slightest. Even if she still has some mealworm leftover in her hands no one will bother her and try to take it. She is in my opinion a sort of passive dominant over the others. I want to make it very clear that she is not being bullied, if anything she might be the bully.
She does not run. She waddles on the wheel. I have no idea if this is important.
During out of cage time she will look for a suitable sleeping area and almost 90% of the time she will only sleep and welcomes others only if they are going to sleep too.
Her eyebrows are lopsided. With one being completely bald and the other slightly thinned.
She weighs about 87-90 grams. My others range anywhere from 76-112 grams.

If I left out any information that might be helpful please do ask. If I included too much I do apologize. I am completely dumb-founded and she means the world to me.
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PostSubject: Re: Overgrooming but not sick.    Fri May 20, 2011 5:52 pm

As far as I am concerned, the cage is a good size for a quad - especially with the amount of out of cage time you give them. Toys are kind of a tricky subject...lol. Some people believe they need more open space in the cage than others. I generally put 1 or 2 toys more than the number of gliders in a cage - just so they can each be playing with their own toy if they want and they can move to a different one if they get bored. At least one of these toys in each cage is what some people consider a "reset toy" - more interactive and they can carry pieces or toys away and do what they want with them. I also have 2 wheels in each of my quads' cage and they seem to be just fine with that. I also have at least 2 pouches in each cage so if they don't feel like sleeping together some nights, they have a comfy place to be apart from each other.

Some gliders do stress out more than others and that can cause overgrooming. You could try different types of toys or a different diet (check out the diet section here) see if anything helps? I haven't had any problems with overgrooming except this winter which was particularly harsh and dry and my Tika started in on her eyebrows - purchasing a humidifier to keep the humidity in their room at "comfort level" seemed to do the trick. I don't know if she is like her mama with itchy dry skin or what, but it did seem to help.

I hope others with more ideas will chime in soon. Good luck!
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PostSubject: Re: Overgrooming but not sick.    Fri May 20, 2011 7:54 pm

Hi! This is long, I'm sorry! There is so much that can cause overgrooming. It happens to many gliders at some point or another. I have some questions that might help you figure out the cause, that's why this is so long. I'm happy to help you out.

First, I'd have her vet checked again. The last visit was more than 6 months ago, and you want to eliminate parasites or illness as a cause.

Second, how is she eating? Other than treats, her regular foods?

Does she play with the other toys in the cage, other than the wheel? What is her favorite?

Does she play with the other gliders, or is she kind of standoffish? I know you said she interacts as the peacemaker, but you also said they won't take food from her, so this may mean that she is kind of isolated within the cage (kind of like the odd kid out at school).

How does she react to things? Like, cage cleaning, vacuuming, bags or other noisy items rustling nearby? Are there other animals in the house? Where in the house is her cage? What other people live in the house, and ages (Adults, teens. kids, toddlers?)

I tend to view overgrooming as a stress issue, more than an illness. However, you have to rule the illness out first. As far as the fur goes, I have some gliders that look like show gliders, and others that look like rag-pickers. All on the same diet. Sometimes it's a sign of illness, but if that hasn't changed since you got her, it's lower on the likelyhood scale.

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PostSubject: Re: Overgrooming but not sick.    Sat May 21, 2011 3:49 am

Thank you both for your suggestions. I have heard Tea Tree Oil can prevent dried skin or Vitamin E Oil, What are your thoughts on these remedies?

USMom, I do not mind the length at all.

I should have included that she has been overgrooming ever since November and although she had these bald patches during her exams at the vets she was parasite free. I have no objections to taking her again in the near future though.

Although I can't be for sure about who eats what she maintains a healthy weight and I see her eating with the others often. They all seem to dislike fruits and I would assume collectively they leave about a tablespoon behind every night of the fruits. She really enjoys the main diet and typically goes for it right after she wakes up.

If I am lucky I might catch her play with a toy. She loves to be teased with a feather but I don't usually see her play with any of the toys meant to be kept inside the cage. She doesn't like to jiggles things or chew on stuff. She will however make nests occasionally. She sort of runs on the wheel sometimes. It is more of a fast walk though. Her favorite toy would be any foraging toy that has a treat worth working for other than that she most often likes to make a nest with this pouch I made.

She will play with the other gliders. She like to put her hand on the wheel and make it slow down while they others are running. Then she will yip at them if they don't notice the wheel is slowing down and let her on and then jump over her like a hurtle. I see this often with Luna and the others seem delighted to have her. [I think they are playing because I see them do this even when the other wheel is free] They are very friendly with her. If she goes off to sleep before the others and she picks a random pouch they don't usually sleep in they still all pile in with her. She seems to never be alone. I think she actually wishes for some alone time.

She reacts to the cage being moved frantically during the day. She will jump right out of the pouch. Whether it is vaccums, water, plastic, or paper towels she will often not react if she is on me but will run to me if she is not already on me when she is spoked by these items. I have two dogs but she only has been [key word here] NEAR one and she again was in her cage and just stares or carries on. She does not react to my dogs movement as long as she is not right next to the cage. The cage is in the middle of the living room. My dogs sleep on the other end of the room but are locked up. Five adults live here, ages ranging between 18-46. She enjoys the cage being cleaned and investigating her new set up.

This is one of the earliest photos I have of Luna.

Here is a photo about in between the time of the other two.

Here is one from a few days ago. She looks better than she use to but she is not like the others.


It is hard to see it in the above photo but the hair above her left eye is completely missing. Since November the left eyebrow has been very large and bald to smaller. In this photo it is smaller. The more the left brow is picked at the more thinning occurs on her other brow.

The photos don't do the damage justice. It is very evident when people in my family who are not familiar with gliders ask about her forehead in specific out of the others.
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PostSubject: Re: Overgrooming but not sick.    Sat May 21, 2011 9:09 am

Good day..
Is the cage covered at all? If not try covering it leaving the front open. Also I have a few cages who area bit jumpy with loud sounds at times so for instance when I clean cages and rattle the cage paper they come flying out,I turn on the radio or tv and gradually turn it up. They seem to adjust to this and don't get as upset.
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PostSubject: Re: Overgrooming but not sick.    Sat May 21, 2011 2:02 pm

It does have a cage cover. She doesn't wake up unless her cage is moved. So I am doubtful it has to do with her sleeping hours.

Could it possible be that she wants some alone time? She has never shown this behavior until I got two more gliders but unusually she got along with them very well and enjoys playing with her friends but she will break off once out of the cage.
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PostSubject: Re: Overgrooming but not sick.    Sat May 21, 2011 9:17 pm

Her fur is fantastic looking, I wouldn't worry about that. I can see where she's overgrooming, but it's minor. To you, it's huge, I understand that. You are right to get on top of it before its bigger.

Try bonding time with just her a couple of days a week. Also, try the cage cover, if you don't have one (a twin size sheet with some folding will work perfectly). See if you can change your routine so that the noises that scare her, are away from the cage. I know it's not always possible, but anything will help.

I had a glider, Dexter, that would stress almost to the point of being ill, if I moved a single thing in his cage, or moved where his cage was, by even an inch. Literally one inch. He did not stress about cage cleaning, as long as I put everything back.

So, there are some gliders that stress quite a bit over very tiny things. It takes a lot of trial and error, and really paying attention to everything you do, and how they react to it. I know Val has some gliders that react very strongly to bags and vacuums.

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Shawna--momma to lots of fur-kids, 2 skin-kids and a beautiful grandbaby! Plant your hope with good seeds, don't cover yourself with thistle and wees--Mumford and Sons--Thistle and Weeds

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PostSubject: Re: Overgrooming but not sick.    Sun May 22, 2011 8:42 am

Your little one really does look fantastic! I would not worry about her fur one bit. Sure, if compared to your others it might be different, but it is not at all bad.

I have many gliders that overgroom very badly. One of them has been overgroomed for years. Here is a picture of his overgrooming:

I only show you this to let you know that your little precious girl's overgrooming is not at all severe. That is not to minimize your concern, but to offer you some comfort that she is not in a serious situation at this time.

As you know, I have a house full of gliders. I have had over 100 gliders pass through my home in the past 2 years alone, and probably double or triple that over the course of the 4 years I have been rescueing. So, I have the pleasure to observe a wide variety of behaviors and personalities. I have some gliders with pretty significant anxiety and several who are just terrified by the sounds of plastic or paper bags or the vacuum. One thing that I have noticed is that those gliders who react more strongly to having their cage moved or to sounds in the environment often will also have greater anxiety with out of cage time. The new area might be fun for them, but it also stresses them out as well.
And, possibly she IS wanting more alone time. One thing that you might try to help you determine whether either of these are the issue is to remove the other two gliders for out of cage time every other day, but leave Luna in her cage. If she reacts by looking for them or by calling out for her buddies, then she likely is not wanting more alone time. IF not, then this might be the answer for her. Let her out every other day and see if that reduces her stress.

Also, you could try changing out the items in the cage more or less frequently. Maybe she needs more variety or maybe she needs less change. These are usually the first things I try.

Overgrooming can sometimes take many, many months to narrow down the cause. It is a trial and error process. If this does not work, then we will continue to problem solve with you.


Here is some info on vitamin E - I use it in my staple mix occasionally throughout the year:http://thesweetspot.forumotion.net/t1265-vitamin-e

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PostSubject: Re: Overgrooming but not sick.    Fri May 27, 2011 2:44 pm

Thank you Val. You really answered all of my questions. Would it be bad to separate them for a whole night? Should it be half a night or a few nights?

I actually have four females, her being one of them. I have seen her call out for her first friend she ever had [Kira] when I had taken Kira out for some alone time. As soon as Luna discovered that Kira was missing she huffed and puffed. So this leads me to another question, should I remove all three or just the other two I haven't ever noticed her calling for?

I really appreciate all the compliments on her fur, she has improved tremendously since I got her. I know here overgrooming is not large but I would like it to not progress further. Some days it is worse than others, and I guess I have to start figuring out why.
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PostSubject: Re: Overgrooming but not sick.    Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:29 pm

I wanted to let everyone know that I haven't been washing the cage for the past two weeks but I still clean the pan out and the fabric items and her hair has almost completely grown back.

This may or may not play apart but I feel it is important to note any possible reasons of success to eventually rule all else out.
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PostSubject: Re: Overgrooming but not sick.    Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:44 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Overgrooming but not sick.    Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:45 pm

Good news! Thanks for keeping us in the loop.

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PostSubject: Re: Overgrooming but not sick.    Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:59 am

In July I discovered that the issue with my whole cage was the oldest female I incorporated in December. I separated her and had one on one time for a week. She is now back in the cage and Luna's eyebrows are fully grown in. I think the older female was taking out her frustrations on the other three girls by picking on them so all three of them coped differently, Luna plucked her eyebrows. After the week I had alone with her, her demeanor is completely different, she no longer runs from noises or movement, she lets my hand near her finally, and she does not pick on the other girls. Some how I think that the trust she developed with me transcended into a better and more social cage environment for all my girls.
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PostSubject: Re: Overgrooming but not sick.    Fri Aug 05, 2011 8:28 am

Great news!

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PostSubject: Re: Overgrooming but not sick.    Fri Aug 05, 2011 8:51 pm

That's wonderful! Even just a little one on one bonding can do wonders!
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