1887

Squirrels

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Abstract

The Eurasian red squirrel is Britain’s native squirrel. Its range and population have both suffered dramatically as a result of the introduction of the larger Eastern grey squirrel. The decline of the red squirrel population has been attributed to a variety of factors including habitat loss and fragmentation, competition and infection by the squirrelpox virus. This chapter covers: ecology and biology; anatomy and physiology; capture, handling and transportation; clinical assessment; first aid and hospitalization; anaesthesia and analgesia; specific conditions; therapeutics; husbandry; rearing of squirrel kittens; rehabilitation and release; and legal considerations.

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Figures

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13.1 A red squirrel eating seeds from a pine cone. The ear tufts typical of the red squirrel’s winter coat are very prominent. (© T Blackett)
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13.2 A vigilant grey squirrel. Note the position of the forelimb, which should not be confused with lameness. (© T Blackett )
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13.4 Sick female Jersey red squirrel, in a small gauge mesh wire carrier, presenting with left forefoot lameness associated with exudative dermatitis lesions. There is a hunched posture and typical fatal exudative dermatitis (FED) lesions are visible on eyes, muzzle and forefeet. Normal vigilance behaviour (see Figure 13.2 ) should not be confused with lameness. (© T Blackett)
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13.7 Subadult male red squirrel with fatal puncture wounds from a predator attack. (© T Blackett)
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13.8 Typical squirrelpox virus skin lesions (a) on the face and fore foot and (b) on the hind foot of a red squirrel. (© A Meredith)
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13.9 Sick adult male Jersey red squirrel with skin lesions typical of fatal exudative dermatitis (FED). Lesions can be seen on the eyelids and muzzle. An informed decision was made to euthanase this squirrel on welfare grounds. (© T Blackett)
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13.10 (a) Typical mycobacterial dermatitis (squirrel leprosy) lesions on the muzzle, ears, eyelids and feet of an affected free-living red squirrel and (b) notable cutaneous swelling of the ears and eyelids recorded at post-mortem examination. (© A Meredith)
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13.11 The post-mortem examination of a thin adult male red squirrel revealed large numbers of with associated hair loss on (a) the muzzle and (b) the fore feet. This squirrel had concurrent pathology as a consequence of several disease processes. (© T Blackett)
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13.12 Incisor malocclusion and overgrowth, associated with an incisor root abscess in an adult male red squirrel found dead. (© T Blackett)
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13.15 A hand-reared juvenile male red squirrel being fed using a 1 ml syringe. Note the horizontal position in which the squirrel is held on the towel. (© T Blackett)

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