No extra vitamins (unless prescribed by veterinarian for specific deficiencies)
Be sparing with sources of Vitamin A (liver, mackerel, leafy green and orange vegetables)
Believe it or Not...
Cannibalism is not a natural behavior of opossums - these animals are sick. Investigate.
Orphans have immature immune systems!
Wash hands between litters
Keep environment sanitized
Use different feeding tubes/nipples for different litters
Prophylactic antibiotics (amoxicillin)
If opossum will not eat all foods offered, something is WRONG. Investigate.
Don't be fooled by a negative fecal. Opossums appear to handle their parasites differently; evidence of parasites rarely shows up in fecals of orphans. Assume they have parasites.
Panacure®, ivermectin, Nemex®
are not fully effective as dewormers in opossums. Levamisole (injectable only) is the parasiticide of choice for the Virginia opossum (for treating ascarids, whipworms, hookworms, strongyloids, lungworms).
Frostbite? Not necessarily. Opossum is more likely to be suffering from Dermal Septic Necrosis ("Crispy Ear Syndrome"). This is an outward manifestation of sepsis, a serious, life-threatening condition. Seek veterinary assistance ASAP.
Are you a new rehabber? Always work closely with a rehabilitator experienced with opossums (preferably National Opossum Society methods). They will be able to help you recognize early warning signs of trouble.
Work extensively with this species? Consider obtaining a membership in the National Opossum Society ($25.00 per year) for yourself or your organization's library - receive results of Dr. Henness' 17+ years' clinical research and current updates.
Questions? Confusion? Better to get answers swiftly than waste valuable time and $$ "groping in the dark" ... or possibly needing to await results of necropsy to discover the problem.
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