Hypothyroidism in Sugar Gliders

On September 21, 2007 my glider Mareki was officially diagnosed

 with hypothyroidism. Mareki is the second glider to ever be

 diagnosed with this health issue. The first glider, GC's Xfilefan's

 Riker, was diagnosed in the summer of 2007. Mareki has

 had problems with obesity since becoming an adult and

 her weight soared to 202 grams in spite of regulated diet,

 exercise and environmental stimulation.

Symptoms:

Symptoms presented by both Riker and Mareki included:

  • Obesity in spite of regulated diet, exercise and environmental stimulation 
  •  
  • Dry, flaky skin on ears and lower back
  • Thickened, discolored nails 
  • Overgrooming
  •  
  • Self Mutilation 

Diagnosis:

Hypothyroidism can only be diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian.

A thorough examination of the glider including information about

the glider's past history is the first step. Once symptoms have

been evaluated, if hypothyroidism is still suspected then blood

will need to be drawn for testing. The sugar glider will need to be

anesthesized briefly and enough blood should be drawn for both

a CBC Blood Panel and for T3 Thyroid Levels. Unforunately, the

"normal" T3 level for sugar gliders is unknown. However, in both

Riker and Mareki's cases, the T3 level was so very low that

hypothyroidism was diagnosed and treatment was started.

Treatment:

Treatment includes thyroid hormone replacement therapy and

needs to be administered daily for the rest of the affected

glider's life. More specific information can be obtained by having

your veterinarian consult with either:

Dr. Kristen West (Mareki's veterinarian) at 440-516-0000 or 216-321-6040

                                    -or-

Dr. Laurel Harris (Riker's veterinarian) at 801-943-3367

Site most recently updated in October, 2016