Who can forget Little Sister? She was one of the first patients at WTS, and arived with her brother. They were about 6-7 weeks old.
They were successfully released in mid-May, but still come by for snacks, as mentioned in the previous blog post, this is natural as young squirrels depend on their mums at this time of year.
But Little Sister always chewed a little bit strangely, and she was very aggressive (discussed a few posts ago). I brought her to the vets when she was about 3 1/2 months old for suspected teeth issues- about 6 weeks ago- and she got the all clear.
This is how she turned up yesterday:
As you can see her incisors, or front teeth, are horribly deformed. It is called a "malocclusion;" normally in rodents, whose teeth never stop growing, the bottom & top incisors rub against each other and naturally wear each other down. But if they are misaligned, they aren't worn down but continue growing, and this is what you have here. The animal can die a painful death of starvation and the teeth will even grow into the brain case.
In Little Sister's case, one bottom tooth had pierced the roof of her mouth, and the other, the one on the outside that you can see here, had caused a sore on her cheek. Her upper teeth had grown in a circle and were about the pierce her skull.
She was a flea-ridden skeleton and incredibly weak and massively dehydrated (you can see her folds of skin that are all folded up as they aren't plumped up by the body's water content). I suspected that her teeth were becoming maloccluded from a breif look a few weeks ago and I tried to catch her with no luck. Then I didn't see her for the last 10 days and assumed that she had gone into the forest to die. But she turned up last night and was so weak that I was able to catch her....though not without her protesting the best she could.
The vet was able to trim her teeth today, and the Xray looked like her jaw joint was OK, but the jaw clearly want to go to one side...whether this is because the muscles are strained by the teeth, or there is a soft tissue injury that caused the malocclusion the first place is unknown.There is no way of knowing if her teeth will grow straight again. If they don't she will not be able to be released. But for now she will stay at WTS for several months so that I can keep an eye on her.
However, as mentioned, she is so agressive (probably because she has always been on some degree of pain), that if I can't handle her to treat her, it is uncertain whether she will be able to be looked after. As such, I have decided to try my best to "train' her to some degree so I will be able to handle her as needed over the coming months. This way I will be able to check her teeth, give her medication, nurse her, etc...
She is on a special diet of warm peanut flavoured formula, applesauce, small banana slices among other things. It was a real joy to see her able to eat a piece of banana today after the vets.
Menawhile, speaking of squirrel food, here's a cute picture of Lil'Mo at her breakfast platter!
And one last picture- this is a scene of a squirrel break-in at WTS! Amazing how they went straight for the walnuts (seen here spilled on floor)- they found them and pushed the jar over the counter and it opened to reveal is luxury cache!