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 Black Liver disease?

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Posts : 2
Join date : 2014-01-01

PostSubject: Black Liver disease?   Wed Jan 01, 2014 8:25 am

Two years go I imported some gliders from the US including a pair of white faced blondes. When they arrived I allowed them to settle for a couple of weeks and then had them vet checked with urine and fecal samples taken, all came back fine.

A year later, sadly the male died, I did not have a necropsy as he was smelling when I found him. He was fine the night before when I fed them but by morning he was gone. He seemed to gain a lot of weight in the weeks before his death which I didn't really think anything of.

Six months later, I lost the female. She had been introduced to another male and had a weaned joey, I noticed she had gained a lot of weight and it looked like she had two joeys in pouch. Everything seemed fine, she was eating and doing everything as normal. Then one morning I went down to remove the bowls and she was lying flat on her back, dead.

She had only just passed when I found her, I inspected the body and noticed her stomach area was black/green which was the same as the male glider I had lost 6 months earlier. I put his discolouration down to the breaking down of cells etc. I immediately phoned my vet and asked for a necropsy.

The vet opened her up and the most noticeable thing was her black liver, it wasn't enlarged and there was no lesions. He said she died of 'black liver disease' which is very common in cattle and sheep and is caused by liver fluke. Everything else was healthy and they received the same diet that all my other gliders have (including other US imports).

The vet said that BLD is asymptomatic, and that the first you will know is that the animal is dead! He also said it's not something that would be transferred to other animals, apparently you could have a whole herd and only one animal will die from it!

Obviously I'm still worried! Having spoken to a friend of mine with a biovet degree, she informed me that liver fluke are larger than a glider liver so unless there is different types of fluke she's not convinced of the vets conclusion!

Has anyone ever come across anything like this in gliders? Or can you shed any light as to why the liver would be black?
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Posts : 4565
Join date : 2009-12-10
Age : 44
Location : Texas

PostSubject: Re: Black Liver disease?   Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:28 am

The SUGAR Group's necropsy studies have found zero cases of this in sugar gliders.
Was histological testing done on the liver? As with all disease - living or dead - actual testing is necessary for an accurate diagnosis.

Liver disease (of various origins) remains the largest cause of death for sugar gliders. Honestly, I have never asked the pathologists what color the liver is when they find liver disease/issues upon necropsy. But, I do know that histological testing - and possibly bacteriology as well - would give some answers. I applaud you for having a necropsy done. In the future, also consider histological testing. Without it, we are just speculating.

~*~ Val ~*~
Passionate = one step down from crazy

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures - Thornton Wilder

We are what we are, no matter what we might wish to be, or pretend to be. - Dean Koontz in The Face

My favorite color is orange - I'm the normal one.
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Posts : 2
Join date : 2014-01-01

PostSubject: Re: Black Liver disease?   Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:21 am

Hi, thanks for your reply. Unfortunately I was not there when he opened her up, my partner was and no, he didn't send away for testing! Had I have been there I would have requested further tests, in the future I will make sure my partner is aware this needs to be done. Thanks again.
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