Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mira's Story

This is the story of a little squirrel named Mira that I found on a discussion board one  day.  Unfortunately I found the thread too late -- Mira had already passed. I wish I had been there sooner because  I had a few ideas. It's too late to help little Mira, but I still feel the need to voice my opinion, as it might help another baby squirrel some day.

Reading the entire thread from end to end the other day provided a certain perspective that may not have otherwise been obvious. It was the "do or die" approach to using the Fox Valley formula that caught my attention as I was reading along, not yet knowing the outcome, because I chose not to skip to the last page.

Why was Mira so resistant to the Fox Valley Formula that she let it dribble down out of her mouth? It occurred to me that she may have had an allergy to FV. I'm wondering if we should trust a squirrel's instinctive likes and dislikes more, and not try to force whatever we think is best on them when they are clearly resisting? Her rescuers had found her on the ground after she had fallen about 40 feet. They were doing their best to help her recover, not really knowing the extent of any internal injuries she might have.  I can't blame them for anything, as they were doing a heroic job on the front lines, and were relying on directions being given by various squirrel experts on the thread.

The problem was that all the experts, in their hearfelt desire to help Mira,  were being very  nearsighted in their approach. They were hung up on an "orthodox" approach that dictated that Fox Valley formula should be fed to all baby squirrels in every instance, thus were unable to seek a better solution for this particular instance. That's my opinion at any rate.

Actually we don't even know if Mira was truly a baby, as her fur and tail were quite well developed. She may have been a dwarf squirrel, which is not an uncommon occurrence. When she was first found, she had apparently fallen 40 feet to the ground from her nest, and may have sustained some neurological damage, although she seemed to be healthy.

However, in time it became apparent that Mira clearly was not getting enough nutrition from the sugar water, fruit and forced FV feedings that she was continually regurgitating. Her body seemed to be reacting violently to the FV. Yet over and over, almost to the end, people kept  trying to push more FV into her in any way possible. No matter if she was fighting it, they came up with all sorts of circumventions to try and "sneak" it into her. That was Mira's battle.

Eventually, but only near the end did they finally give up on the FV and suggested trying Ensure, which she took willingly. Unfortunately it was too late to save Mira, who by then was close to death. Whether she would have survived under different conditions is impossible to determine, but it's something to think about at least.

What would I have suggested had I been around earlier? Mira obviously needed more protein, but I'm suggesting that the needed protein could have been obtained from natural whole foods, rather than from a formula that she was resisting. For example, Bernie Goetz has come up with an interesting formula for baby squirrels. which is described in another blog.  He had a problem a few years back when two of his baby squirrels almost died from taking the Esbilac formula. Popular opinion at the time was vigorously endorsing Esbilac for baby squirrels. After that experience he shied away from all infant formulas including FV, and has been using a natural food formula that he created himself. Baby squirrels lap it up. He has encountered no resistance to it, and his squirrels have been thriving on it. You can read all about it here.

The following quotes taken from the thread show how everyone was stuck on FV as the primary, if not only solution for what ailed Mira, and her ongoing resistance.

Maybe a little heavier on the FV and lighter on the almond butter and nuts.

Mira hates FV

MIRA really is a WEE THING..... but Soooo STRONG when she doesn't want her FV

Her five or six feedings take at least an HOUR each... ( Every combo of FV has been rejected... bubbles it out and down on her chin... )

Here is a photo of
MIRAduring feeding---She has two positions....
1- fighting and squirming like crazy
2- zoned out--refusing to swallow--FV dripping from her lips

Clamps mouth SHUT ! Spits out all she can.

Have you tried covering her eyes with her fleece during formula feedings?

I will try that... Lately, she doesn't try to wiggle free much, she just holds the FV in her mouth and lets a good part of it dribble out. I've tried tickling under her chin,and lightly pushing on her jaw, etc...Is there a MAGIC BUTTON ?? ( squirrel PRESSURE POINT ) that will make them SWALLOW ?? When I switch to BABY FOOD, I clearly can observe the gulping/swallowing

I have been covering her eyes more, in recent feedings........... but she just doesn't want to swallow. She clenches her jaw and I can feel her tense up all over as soon as I put the tip of the syringe near her mouth.

What happens if you mix the baby food and the FV 50/50?

Tried baby food, capuline berry juice ( she loves to eat these local berries), and even sugar water--she is not a fan of FV...I don't care-- I will continue to "help" her consume it at each feeding.

I will try a piece of avocado plain, and than add it to the FV if she enjoys it. She does enjoy holding and eating her food. I think she had been on solid food before we found her and started forcing liquid FV on her. Stubborn Little Princess....

Although she still spit out a good portion of the FV it wasn't as bad as other
times. Can only hope she continues to accept it more and more.

The FV may just be so completely different that HER mama that she just HATES it. Like somebody force feeding me liver!

Maybe Mira is filling up on the apple slice, so not hungry for formula. Have you tried formula first and then apple?

If she likes the goats milk, it could be the vehicle to very slowly start sneaking the FV back in.

Now for me and IMO, I would like to see Mira stay on some combo of GMF and FV formula. Even if just 3 parts GMF to 1 part FV formula.

Hope MIRA leans to accept the FV feedings

Is it possible for a baby squirrel to take in nourishment, but their body
be unable to assimilate the food?

We 'force' her to take the Formula as she absolutely REFUSES
to take it at all. Hates it. Even with the Goats Milk Formula added
in. No change in her acceptance, or lack there of.

Our experience, she won't willingly accept the FV.Should we Try to MAKE her take at least a little FV so she will have something on her stomach prior to the Sulfatrim ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
OR..... just offer the sugar water ? ? ? ? ? ?

Grabbing the syringe and drinking! Fantastic! (after switching from FV to Ensure)

But at one of these upcoming feedings, offer her the FV or FV/GM

yes, forget the dreaded FV. We're not worried about MBD right now.

Too Late Ha....I already offered that YUCKY Fox Valley --and as predicted--none taken !!!

At the next "feeding" give her 2 or 3 syringes full of the sugar water that she likes, then give her a syringe loaded with the 32/40 Fox Valley

At 9 am, Mira was offered and ate happily a couple pcs of apple, took 2 1/2 cc of the 32/40 FV, was given her meds, and 1cc of fluid. Only the apple was accepted in a willing manner. All other items were gently but fimly applied against her desire.

We are hoping in a short time Mira will begin to like and willingly accept the 32/40 FV.

QUESTION: can I start "making sure" That MIRA takes her Fox valley ??I will look feed-back on the feedings....before I proceed. At 1 pm I will offer more FV . tomorrow I will once again begin to add FV to some of Mira's juice, just a tiny smidg at a time, as she hates it so. don't want her to turn away from hydration because of the FV, but she will need nourishment too.

Here is something else to try: we know she likes apple. Take a small piece of apple and mince it very fine. Add just a small amount of FV powder and stick it back together into a little ball or cube and see if she will accept it. If not, try heating it for a few seconds in the microwave. If she will eat that, you can start INCHING up the amount of FV powder you use. can offer FV now. Do you have maple syrup? You can water some down, dip the nipple/syringe tip in it after loaded with FV. Mira may taste that and just keep slurping.

I would rather see her drink FV than eat apples or get too full on Pedi.

If she drank alot of Pedi, she won't be hungry for FV.

I offered after she took 2cc of pedi, she acted as though the FV was devils
poison, just as she always has.

The few kids that I have had that refused FV did take right to the Pedisure or Ensure, like ...and I slowy snuck in FV.

I think you should start giving Mira FV mixed with whatever it takes to get her to take it willingly and without stressing her by force feeding. I would try the sugar water mix first.

I need to be convinced I am not starving MIRA...

1 comment:

  1. Another sad story. Unfortunately the weakest, gentlest, and most lovable creatures are most likely to die. Where there was love there now is grief. Mankind's relationship and living with other species is still in its infancy and there is a lot to learn. The road will be hard and bumpy for the pioneers. I believe and hope someday that mankind and the animals will live in a world of love. It has to start somewhere. American indians believe if you treat another species with respect its spirit will come back to you.