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Sugar Glider With Membrane Trouble

Why would a sugar glider’s gliding membrane turn hard?

By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, DABVP
Posted: December 27, 2010, 5 a.m. EST

Q: I currently own five sugar gliders. When I took one out a few weeks ago, I noticed that her wing span seemed to be contracted. I got her out and felt the edges of her wings, and they were tight and hard, unlike the others where it’s really loose. She can't stretch her arms out and can't glide, but it doesn't seem to hurt her when I stretch her out. I contacted the breeder we got her parents from, and he never heard of something like this. He advised me to make sure she gets enough calcium, but since it’s been a few weeks and nothing’s changed, I don't know if it’s just calcium she needs or to be taken to the vet, or something else.

A: What you are describing is a condition where the soft tissues, for some reason, have become scarred or fibrosed and cannot normally stretch as they should. This can be the result of trauma, infection or even a genetic condition. This may not be painful until the skin is stretched beyond its limits. If the skin is stretched that far and scar tissue is broken down, this is a painful condition, so it is not recommended that you attempt this with your sugar glider.

The best advice I can give you is to visit your veterinarian. During the physical examination, your vet should be able to determine what has caused the skin to contract and how best to repair the condition with the least amount of stress to your sugar glider.

See all of Dr. Rosenthal's Critter Q&A articles>>

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