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Helping with Growing Skin?

Wallabies, kangaroos, Sugar Gliders, Possums, Quolls, etc.

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Helping with Growing Skin?

Postby Luxe » Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:17 am

Hello!

I have an internet friend that is a licensed rehabilitator, though she does not rehibilitate much due to funds. She'll do little things at a time.

This time she has baby Virginia Opossums, probably on the cusp of 8 weeks since their eyes opened just the other day. She found 3 and they have been in her care for nearly two weeks, growing very steadily. One problem she's concerned about is their skin.

The skin is peeling off where it's outgrowing the body, which is all fine, but she's particularly worried about their tails. They look like they aren't shedding off properly. She thinks thataybe no scent lotion would help? She's afraid to soak them due to their size and that they can chill quick.

She's already considered passing them on to someone more capable but she called the few centers in her area in an hour distance and they said they don't take in possums. Something about being too common and abundant? :( From what I can gather she lives in the deep deep country, far away from towns and cities.

As for additional info, she told me she feeds a quarter Esbilac puppy milk replacer, a quarter Wombaroo possum milk replacer(which she is questioning), and the other half water which will be gradually decreased depending on fecal color and consistency. She feeds roughly 1.3cc's every 3 hours and keeps them in a thermostat controlled environment set between 95F - 97F. They're lively, gleaming eyed, and growing steadily, gaining roughly a gram a day at the current pace.

Any help will be relayed back to her and is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Re: Helping with Growing Skin?

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:50 am

That's not fine. That should never happen. They aren't reptiles. They do not shed their skin as they grow. A water soak will just dry the skin more.

I don't see anything about humidity on there and that is a possible problem especially if she got them prefurred. Maybe some mineral oil would help at this point. Skin sores can sometimes be caused by keeping them in the wrong type of pouch too. Though diet could also be part of the issue.
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Re: Helping with Growing Skin?

Postby Luxe » Mon Jun 30, 2014 2:35 am

Ok then, I'll tell her. In my efforts to help I tried looking for animal friendly moisturizers and on another site someone said they use petroleum jelly, but I thought that clogged pores? I also found someone else saying they used Bag Balm for their animal's dry skin problem. Upon looking into it, it was developed specifically with animals in mind. Are these two also potential options?
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Re: Helping with Growing Skin?

Postby Luxe » Mon Jun 30, 2014 2:47 am

Ok, she said she's using a fleece pouch because she thought you were supposed to use fabric that doesn't unravel. She said her house stays at 60% humidity on its own. She asks if they need a higher percentage like 80% for healthy skin development? Is the fleece a problem?
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Re: Helping with Growing Skin?

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:03 am

They are all three petroleum products actually. Bag balm is the thickest of them all but I think would be over doing it. Mineral oil is the thinnest. The idea is to keep the moisture in but yeah avoid clogging things up and still allow the skin to "breath". Get baby oil(it's just mineral oil but I think maybe purified a bit more).

Do you mean literal fleece like cut off a lamb or fabric fleece like pj material? No matter what it would be dry for them because the fabric is drying inside that pouch will be drier than the air. They are normally inside a pouch made of real living flesh with pores so it's very moist when with their real mom. I'm not really an expert though I've had some marsupial experience. Around 80% is probably closer to what is wanted for unfurred but furred possums would not be in the pouch as much in the wild do the high moisture not as critical. At this point the main thing would be to keep the skin moist with the mineral/baby oil. Be sure there is plenty of room in the pouch for him and no rough spots. I know with wallabies and other macropods shape is important too but I'm not sure if the same shape would hold true for possums.
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Re: Helping with Growing Skin?

Postby Luxe » Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:12 am

As far as I know momma possum was dead and those three are the only survivors :( I'll ask her about the fur, but I can imagine they're still pouch babies since their eyes only opened the other day. She told me the eyes were shut when she found them but mouths could openu and close independently, poor motor skills, like they can't get up and walk around like we can, more like wobbly and tumbly.

Editm: Oh, and it's fabric fleece. She said fur is currently very short. They had peach fuzz kinda when she found them. She says the white tipped guard hairs can now be seen on the little ones, but she wouldn't venture to say the it's a centimeter long, yet, though.
Last edited by Luxe on Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Helping with Growing Skin?

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:26 am

Well with wallabies when they have some peach fuzz they start peaking their head out then when the fur comes in a bit more they start going in and out a bit then more as they grow and eventually just sticking their head in the pouch to drink milk. But Possums often have big litters so they wind up with not enough room in the pouch fairly quickly I think though I think the eye opening and peach fuzz stage are pretty close together so they would still be in. The oil should still help, though raising the moisture could too.
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Re: Helping with Growing Skin?

Postby Luxe » Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:28 am

Ok, thanks! I actually just added to my post just as you posted, lol. I'll tell her some extra humidity may help.
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Re: Helping with Growing Skin?

Postby Luxe » Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:33 am

Oh, and before I forget she isn't sure about solid food. She personally thinks any pet food isn't actually healthy for them and has found that, when not in the city, they'll hunt small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and insects along with consuming fruits and local plant life. She was considering mixing a varied diet of all these things to try and simulate snails diet? Does that sound like a good idea? I mean, I guess it does to me but I'm no expert, but I know bones provide a good source of natural calcium. If she mixed whole prey items it may prevent MBD.
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Re: Helping with Growing Skin?

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Jun 30, 2014 4:01 am

Diet is important. Some dog food can be used but it should be limited if it is and is only a small part of the diet but the diet can be just fine without it.

Here's some info I got before on that:
viewtopic.php?p=85447#p85447
viewtopic.php?p=85592#p85592
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Re: Helping with Growing Skin?

Postby Luxe » Tue Jul 01, 2014 2:46 am

Ok, she sent me these two pictures so ya'll can try to gauge age. She thinks 8 weeks. She says they're about 4-5inches. Short fur, long whiskers. Eyes opened a few days ago. Their motor skills seem to be still developing. Currently gaining between 1 - 1.5 grams a day.

This one is a very sleepy boy that's one of her best eaters she says. She's wondering, though, at what age do you need to get them to lap up liquids and/or soft/mushy food from a shallow dish? Based on the picture below they seem to just have gums, no teeth yet.

Image
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Re: Helping with Growing Skin?

Postby TamanduaGirl » Tue Jul 01, 2014 2:57 am

He's probably about 8 weeks

This says to start introducing soft food at 10-11 weeks
http://www.arcforwildlife.com/opossums.htm
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Re: Helping with Growing Skin?

Postby Luxe » Tue Jul 01, 2014 3:39 am

Ok then her gut feeling was right then, lol. She felt like they were too little to be introduced quite yet and still rely heavily on milk replacers right now.
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