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WintersSong

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PostSubject: Hard foods leading to damage...   Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:19 am

This is something I see said all the time -- is there any proof that this is true?

On GliderGossip, for instance, it was stated by someone: "we've seen gliders whose necropsies show the damage of hard food."

An issue with pelleted foods, as I understand it, is the lack of nutritional value. The wording of the statement above (along with the rest of the post), however, implies that it is the hard foods themselves that are causing damage. The poster of the above statement states, for instance, that hard foods caused abrasions in some gliders that she rescued.

Out of curiosity,
has the Sugar Group viewed any necropsy's that have shown "damages" from hard foods?
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Something_To_Believe_In
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PostSubject: Re: Hard foods leading to damage...   Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:30 am

The SUGAR Group has NO (ZERO) necropsy reports that show any damage from hard foods. But we do have necropsy reports on gliders who have had recurrent periodontal disease or abscesses - and most of them are gliders who have never had a hard food in their lives.
The SUGAR Group's facial abscess study includes questions about the use of hard foods. Of course, I can't comment on them as we don't have enough complete cases to draw any conclusions. I hope that we get more, as I would really love some objective evidence one way or the other.

Please PM me the name of the person who stated this. I think I know who it is and I can offer an alternative theory for what they believe they are seeing. And, if they DO have necropsy reports specifically stating this, the SUGAR group would LOVE to have copies of them for our research.

I have some things to state on this, but it is late and I have to go to bed. I do not believe (personally) that hard foods damage teeth, though. If the SUGAR Group's studies prove differently, then I will change my thinking. Until then, I really do NOT think this is the case.

Nor do I think that the problem with pellet foods is the lack of nutritional value alone. I believe that the aflatoxin risk is not given near enough attention in our discussions of pellet foods.

Again, these are things that I will have to come back to. I just can't make a coherent post when I am this tired.

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kyro298
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PostSubject: Re: Hard foods leading to damage...   Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:56 am

I also posted this on GG:

In 2007, I had a glider die unexpectedly and had a necropsy performed for answers. The result relayed to me was liver disease that resulted from years of bad diet. This particular little guy was fed eucalyptus pellets as his main source of food for 3+ years before I got him. I was also told the damage was irreversible. (I did report this to the SUGAR Group a long time ago) Is this the kind of damage we're talking about?

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thefotokat

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PostSubject: Re: Hard foods leading to damage...   Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:07 am

I just woke up, so forgive me if I don't explain this well.

I'll have to go look for the post on GG but I'm assuming the implication is that physical internal damage or obstruction is caused by the texture of the "hard food".

Like anything we feed our animals, some items are more nutritious than others. That doesn't mean you can't occasionally feed a less nutritional item. The key is overall nutrition of the diet. I don't believe an entirely pelleted diet provides that, but I do feed "hard foods" as a supplement to my diet to aid in maintaining oral health. I use a high quality cat kibble a few times a week for this reason. My biggest concern with the pellets is the risk of aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are most prevalent in corn, peanuts and cottonseed (side note: this is why mealworm bedding should not contain these). They are a metabolite of the fungi found on the food. Aflatoxins can cause aflatoxicosis...a hepatic disease as well as liver damage and cancer. Factors such as the animal's age, weight, health and diet can play a role in the severity. The amount of exposure to the aflatoxins also affects the severity of symptoms which is why there is such concern over an all pellet diet as many of the pellets contain corn. If the dry pellets are stored in a humid environment, mold may occur which interacts with the aflatoxins and increases the effects.

As Val mentioned, we're seeing an increase in the amount of periodontal disease and associated tooth loss. As rescue homes, most of the gliders we take in have an unknown history, including diet. We ask those surrendering animals questions about diet, and in the cases I've dealt with, I've had no problems of periodontal disease in gliders who were fed some hard foods. I, personally, have never had "hard food damage" noted on a necropsy. Whenever possible, I observe the necropsy and I have never seen any structural/physical damage that could be blamed on hard food.

I'll go look on GG to see if I can find the post. Sara, if you have the link to it, will you please send it to me?

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Something_To_Believe_In
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PostSubject: Re: Hard foods leading to damage...   Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:17 am

I'm sorry, everyone - I thought we were talking exclusively about damage to the oral cavity (gums, teeth) etc. THAT is what we have no evidence of.
Kylah, you DID report about your glider. I was not thinking in terms of malnutrition here, as I was thinking "damage" as in wounds. My apologies.

I agree with Kate above.

Again, this is why organized research efforts are so important. We will NEVER get the answers we seek if we don't ALL participate in the organized studies when we can. The SUGAR Group is working very hard to make it quite easy to participate in our studies, but we must all be diligent about sending others to the website to provide their information - ESP. when they have lab reports and vet reports to back it up. Will enough information, we WILL get some answers.

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~*~ 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

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Something_To_Believe_In
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PostSubject: Re: Hard foods leading to damage...   Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:25 am

Here is the post I made on GC about this a while back:

Quote :
I always discourage people from feeding pellets or cat food as their PRIMARY protein source or staple food because 1) They are lacking in balanced nutrients and 2) They pose such a high risk for aflatoxin poisoning.

However, I do NOT tell people that they will cause broken teeth, scratched gums which lead to abscess or choking. A Glider's teeth are made to tear through tree bark to get to insects and sap. Therefore, they are more than capable of eating a hard piece of food from time to time with NO problems.

Has anyone ever had a healthy glider have a tooth issue solely from eating a piece of hard food?

I feed my gliders a few pieces of cat food or of happy glider pellets 2X per week and have been doing so for years. They LOVE it. I do this IN ADDITION TO their balanced diet, not in place of. I have a lot of gliders here in my home - and the number of gliders that have passed through my rescue home in the time that I have been feeding hard foods brings that number to well over 150 gliders. I have not had one single issue from feeding hard foods. Not ONE. And, I have gliders here who routinely experience periodontal disease/issues and even they never have any issues with the hard foods.

Personally, I think that we should discourage people from feeding them as a staple or as a primary protein source for the reasons listed above, but NOT because "they cause tooth injury." Do they really? I would think that if that were true, odds are I would have seen it here.

My gliders love these things. I use them as part of my enrichment program - hiding them all over the cage and tent and play room to encourage foraging. I also use them to add variety of texture to their diet. I think that these things are important for their overall emotional health - this is one of the choices I make for my gliders as part of their enrichment program.

Again, I ask, does anyone have any solid proof of hard foods causing any injury? I know we have proof of them causing aflatoxin poisoning. Shouldn't we use that argument instead?

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~*~ 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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WintersSong

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PostSubject: Re: Hard foods leading to damage...   Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:44 am

Something_To_Believe_In wrote:
I'm sorry, everyone - I thought we were talking exclusively about damage to the oral cavity (gums, teeth) etc. THAT is what we have no evidence of.
Kylah, you DID report about your glider. I was not thinking in terms of malnutrition here, as I was thinking "damage" as in wounds. My apologies.


I do not think that the original poster of the statement in question was referring primarily to malnutrition.. She did, after all, mention abrasions -- which would be unrelated to nutrition (correct?). I have asked on that thread for clarification.
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WintersSong

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PostSubject: Re: Hard foods leading to damage...   Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:54 am

If anyone else is interested in viewing the thread, it can be found here:
http://www.sugarglider.com/glidergossip/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=29406
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PostSubject: Re: Hard foods leading to damage...   Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:14 pm

Meg is a passionate person about gliders. She can come across a little TOO adamant, and I've talked with her about it more than once.

To say ALL pellets are bad ALL the time is way too extreme, in my opinion. I have those dreaded "eucalyptus pellets" in my gliders cages at all times. If there is an emergency, they at least have *seen* a pellet, and can recognize it as food. They do munch on them - but it is FAR from their primary food source. Or even secondary.

I do believe it is very wrong to feed a glider pellets as the main diet. But - the myth that pellets are inherently wrong seems to be gaining ground, not loosing it! That's so frustrating to me!
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PostSubject: Re: Hard foods leading to damage...   Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:38 pm

I have been feeding my gliders the Suncoast diet for 2 yrs. now, and part of their complete diet is pellets. I buy both the soft and hard pellets from Suncoast. I have not had any issues yet.
Knock on wood.
I think they need a variety of soft and hard foods.

regards,
nancy in fl/detroit
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BelladonnasMom

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PostSubject: Re: Hard foods leading to damage...   Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:46 am

I may be being narrow minded here, but I flat out REFUSE to believe that a glider given just a few pellets as treats showed damage to the mouth FROM THE PELLETS. More likely what happened with Meg's rescues is that being fed a crappy diet and/or were being neglected, they resorted to chewing on their toys and/or cage bars.

I also refute this...

As far as glider obesity, that's more an issue with gliders who are fed the 'whatever the {humdigity} is in the fridge' diet. A glider with goobies is normal? A fattie glider? Never heard of one that was also on a good diet.

Really? Because there are multiple threads on GC, containing posts from some of THE most caring and knowledgeable slaves that have "fluffy" gliders, all of which are on wonderful diets. I myself have a "fatty" who is fed a very healthy diet. I even tried to put her on a diet to no avail.
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Usha77
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PostSubject: Re: Hard foods leading to damage...   Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:13 pm

I have 3 obese gliders and 3 overweight ones and 5 petite/perfectly normal size. They are all fed the exact same thing (well, the little ones get a little more corn and peas and other fattening foods then the fluffy ones.) I feed HPW with 1/2 c. green juice mixed in instead of 1/4c water & 1/4c honey and am thinking of switching to Val's green variation. 2 of the obese ones are brother and sister and their parents are 2 of the overweight ones. I really believe it is genetic in their case.
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valkyriemome

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PostSubject: Re: Hard foods leading to damage...   Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:23 pm

My chubbies get fewer mealworms each night. Other than that - exact same.

So - it can't be "poor diet" because my gliders are all sizes!
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PostSubject: Re: Hard foods leading to damage...   Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:59 pm

On Megs behalf, I believe she was trying to say that a glider with "goobies" is normal, but a straight up OBESE glider is from a bad diet. "Goobies" are the ones that are spoiled with treats and mealies.
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PostSubject: Re: Hard foods leading to damage...   Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:01 pm

I have 3 straight up obese gliders, diagnosed by a vet. Therefore, I disagree.
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KuroNeko

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PostSubject: Re: Hard foods leading to damage...   Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:06 pm

Lol ok. I'm not here to argue. I was just making sure that it was clear. =]
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PostSubject: Re: Hard foods leading to damage...   Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:32 pm

No problem. Very Happy I understand.
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PostSubject: Re: Hard foods leading to damage...   Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:41 pm

And, I don't mean to say that obesity can't be related to poor diet - I know that it can be, it's just not always the case.

Lan & Nynaeve (2 of my overweight gliders) were on mainly pellets, apples, some yogurt and blueberries and peanuts as treats when I got them and they were very underweight but otherwise in fairly good health. I guess a good diet turned that around. My vet was very pleased to see them put on weight with me - they just surpassed where they should be about 10-20 grams ago. Their kids are roughly 45-60 grams overweight and labeled obese.
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PostSubject: Re: Hard foods leading to damage...   Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:54 pm

Sorry to jump in so late...
Its kinda funny, but my sugar gliders were playing the other night when I was on the computer and I thought I lost them but I found them in the hamster food bag instead. They had figured out the ziplock and had climbed into the bag for a snack. o.o I was kind of worried and surprised they were so interested. They did it a few more times 'til I had to find a new hiding place for it.
Anyway, I've heard that fresh fruits and vegs are best for small animals but most people still feed their hamsters/mice/gerbils the cheap pellets. Most stores recommend pellets for birds and we have them on a fresh food diet. They've lost all interest in pellets and personally I don't blame them, in the wild you wouldn't find any of these animals eating small pellet like food over fresh fruit or worms.
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PostSubject: Re: Hard foods leading to damage...   Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:45 am

ok i'm jumping in behind the curve so sorry if i jump around.


first, i don't see where hard food could be bad for our gliders(beyond a poorly made food) in the wild they would have hard substances to chew and/ or eat to help clean the teeth. every other mammal pet i have owned it was recomended that i feed a dry food to help keep mouths healthy, are our gliders really that different?

upon looking at the ingrediants list on the dry foods i use, the one that my gliders actually eat contains corn and i'm not sure how i missed it because i read the label before i bought it (glider food from pretty pets) the one that they do not like but seems to actually be fairly good for them contains no corn or corn by-products(made by quiko), but they dont like it :-/. personally i used the dry food as day time snacks, mine dont often get up in the day to eat, so i don't worry about them ingesting to much dry.


i have have 1 obese, 1 overweight and 1 normal, if you add in lilo before she passed i had 2 normal. my obese does not stop eating (like me) he eats until all the food he likes is gone, i don't think he was feed daily when his past owner had him and his mother, but i could be wrong he just might be a fat {acorn}.

thanks to val giving me a proper schooling on glider diet, mine eat properly, and i have cut out most of the low nutrition foods.

i had a few questions to ask but i've forgotten them as it takes me awhile to get these things typed up.
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