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Joan, Vet Technician
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 17304
Experience:  Vet Tech for 35+yrs. Small Animals and Fish
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We live in a state that is not legal to have squirrels as pets,

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We live in a state that is not legal to have squirrels as pets, but we have had this squirrel for 2 yrs. now and he is not releasable. When we got him as a baby, he had a head wound. He must have found fell out of a tree and he ended up on the highway and my sons friend found him and brought him to me. He has trouble holding his food and seems to be blind in one eye. As a baby he would always go around in circles and in the direction of the eye we pretty much knew he could see out of. He has had seizers in the past, but hasn't had one in 3 or 4 months. And they never lasted long, but this morning he had one and the effects are still there. He seems to be disoriented and can't sit up without falling over and his breathing is rapid. Also he is gurgling in his breathing. But the gurgling is not as bad now as this afternoon. We did get him a shot of antibiotics this afternoon at 3:30 pm and now it is 8:15 pm and with no results. We can't take him to a vet in our area(Brunswick County, North Carolina), but would if we could find a vetenarian in a state that could help us. We don't mind driving to get our family member help. Please get back with us and let us know if you know of any type of meds that we could get to help him. I could possibly get a med to help if I knew what to give him. Thanks for your help.....Ken


I have a list of states that is is legal to keep squirrels:


  • Arkansas (legal to keep 6 or less)
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Illinois (with permit)
  • Indiana, and you can own a red (piney) squirrel without a permit, but you must have a permit for fox, and grey squirrels.
  • Massachusetts Southern Flying Squirrels Only
  • South Carolina
  • Wisconsin Section 4 of Wisconsin Statute 169.04 (dealing with restrictions on captive wildlife) states,

    exempt from holding a license or other approval as required under
    this chapter to possess live native wild animals if the wild animals
    are not endangered or threatened species and are any of the following:
    1. Arthropods.
    2. Chipmunks.
    3. Pocket gophers.
    4. Mice.
    5. Moles.
    6. Mollusks.
    7. Opossums.
    8. Pigeons.
    9. Porcupines.
    10. Rats.
    11. Shrews.
    12. English sparrows.
    13. Starlings.
    14. Ground squirrels.
    15. Red squirrels.
    16. Voles.
    17. Weasels.


Squirrels need a calcium supplement and UVB to help with metabolic bone disease and calcium deficiecies. Giving a calcium supplement may help and get him under a UVB light. If you can get to South Carolina, you should be able to get some help from an Exotics Vet. From the sound of what you have going on, this may be a respiratory infection. The other possibility to to get the squirrel to a rehabilitator for help. This is one link that may help : I hope this helps. Joan

Edited by Joan on 1/15/2011 at 2:11 AM EST
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Dear Joan....we already knew that we have to give him calcium suppliments ,because we researched that when he was a baby and we have been doing that. We knew to do that because lack of calcium will cause seizers. We also knew that they needed the uv light, because we told you that we were already doing that. We need to know what could be the cause of the upper respiratory infection. Also what medications would we use for that such as what antibiotics is best. And would an upper respiratory problem cause him to not be able to sit up or be able to walk?(He can not sit up...he falls over on his side and he has a jerking twitch. Is there a way to help him urinate because he hasn't urinated or had a bowel movement since 5:30 this morning. He also hasn't eaten anything except some peach juice with calcium. Thanks...Ken


As far as medications I am prohibited to suggest anything since I am not a Vet, but only a Vet Tech. A Vet cannot even do that on the site because there is not a Patient/Cleint Relationship. The symptoms that are showing are that of a possible calcium deficiency as the twitching comes along with the weakness. I would try increasing the calcium if you can get it in. The squirrel may also be a diabetic which can also account for some of what you are seeing with weakness and twitching. I suggest giving some Plain Pedialyte via eye dropper to prevent dehydration. Another possibility that can be going on is a viral disease that can cause some of the symptoms you are seeing: Viral Encephalomyocarditis. This link expalins that this Virus presents itself like MBD: Your best solution will be to get this squirrel to a Vet who can do some blood work and an X ray to get a diagnosis, as since I cannot see Buddy, I am just giving you possibilities. Joan

Edited by Joan on 1/15/2011 at 3:01 AM EST
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