Many skunks stop walking due to either bone loss from low calcium levels and/or arthritis. Diet and weight of the skunks are a big factor with these problems. Skunks that eat just veggies and dairy products may show signs of bone loss as early as 2 years of age. Our rescue had one skunk, Ty, that came into the shelter with severe calcium deficiency at only eight months (see X-rays).
Have your vet do a blood panel to check the calcium levels, note that sometimes the calcium can be at a normal range. It is also suggested to get an X-ray of the legs and backbone to check your skunk's bone density. If the bone density is not normal and the calcium level is normal then blood is already drawing calcium from the bones, this is often more severe. If the bone density is not normal then you need to be careful of breaking the bones. All of this can be corrected, we have several testimonials showing our remedy works.
Because much of what we use are natural products it may take up to a year for your skunk to recover; noticable changes should occur within a few months. Also, the amounts of calcium, taurine, etc., we suggest are based on our experience with skunks at our shelter, with veterinary recommendations.
Skunks need calcium for bone growth. We suggest Rep-Cal with Vit. D3 Ultrafine Powder (the pink label). Skunks need the added Vitamin D3 to make up for the normal low dose of natural light they receive each day. We use 1/16 tsp. every day for skunks under 1 year old and ones with calcium deficiency, and 1/16 tsp. every other day for our other skunks. Our contact at REP-CAL RESEARCH LABS reports that 1/16 tsp. of Rep-Cal w/ D3 contains a minimum of approximately 75mg calcium and and 85 I.U. Vitamin D3; this amount should provide a sufficient supplement to a well balanced diet. For skunks that have poor bone density or are severely overweight we use up to 1/8 tsp. of Rep-Cal w/ D3 for a maximum of 175mg calcium and and 175 I.U. Vitamin D3.
For skunks that have arthritis we suggest adding Synovi-MSM, powdered colostrum, a Vitamin C supplement, and a proper balance of foods.
We also give liquid taurine supplement.
Exercise will be an important part of bone/arthritis treatment. You may have to decrease the amount of food and increase the daily activity level for an overweight skunk. Water therapy treatments may be necessary in some cases. Note that when the bones are thin they are brittle and can break very easily, be careful when handling skunks with calcium deficiency. X-rays are important in determining the bone density.
Sometimes for arthritis we also may add shark cartilage and/or devils claw (warning on devils claw - make sure your animal does not have a heart condition).
If your skunk is having problems walking or shows noticable signs of pain when handled please call us for help.
SkunkHaven™ has helped skunks return to an active lifestyle, visit our Testimonials page.
Before beginning any treatment consult your veterinarian.
We provide bone maintenance for our skunks by giving Rep-Cal and Dyna-taurine. If you are not having problems then these, along with the right diet, just might work for you.
You should have your vet do a few x-rays to determine what is wrong with your skunk. The cause of lameness will determine the plan of action to help your skunk on the road to recovery.
You need to find out:
You really should have x-rays done before treatment. If you need a second opinion, have your vet send the x-rays with an explanation, along with a return address, to Dr. Frank Krupka, Avon Lake Animal Clinic, 124 Miller Road, Avon Lake , Ohio 44012.
Are you feeding the right diet? If you are feeding mainly veggies and fruits then you need morefoods to help the bones. We feed a lot of protein. Try using a reptile light over your skunk when feeding, but not constant,you do not want to burn the eyes.
Below is our suggestion to help with the bones. I can not stress enough - the plan of action all depends on what is wrong with your skunk. Do not continue a treatment if it is not helping. Review our suggestions below for building bones. If the bones are fine then you need another remedy. This regimen will also help with IVDD.
Other supplements can be added depending what is wrong - Essiac tea, Home made Tonic. Bromelain, Omega 3, Mush, and the list can go on. For some reason the VS-C will sometimes help along with the spirulina.
Please call if you have any questions. We have more remedys if the above does not work. Again, we treat different ways for different problems.
Nopal helps with arthritis and diabetics. We have used the powder on our skunks.
Before beginning any treatment please consult your veterinarian.
If you are interested in the benefits of Nopal read about it from any of these sites:
If you are interested in purchasing Nopal>
Nopal Certified Organic Juice
Many pet skunks suffer from arthritis and bone loss due mostly to poor diet and/or overfeeding.
Always consult with a veterinarian prior to starting any arthritis or bone treatments.
- Give your calcium supplement the vinegar test - To make sure the calcium in your supplement is being absorbed, place one tablet in a cup of vinegar. Leave it there for 30 minutes. If the tablet hasn't dissolved in that amount of time, you should consider using a different brand of calcium supplement. (Source: National Osteoporosis Foundation) -
Avoid Vitamin A, including Cod liver oil, it reduces bone density, especially in the hips. Avoid yeast products, these are high in phosphorus, which competes with calcium for absorption by the body. Avoid tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, cayenne, chili ,sweet peppers. These veggies are high in Alkaloids. They effect the metabolism of calcium and deposited calcium in other areas of the body where it does not belong. Phosphorus and alkaloids are needed by the body, but should be limited for cases of severe bone loss.
Note: Most of this information was found in Prescription for Nutritional Healing and other health books.
A cart can be made for your skunk if it cannot walk or is dragging its back end. Dogs To Go makes custom walking aids and has made several for skunks.
|Skunk with custom walking cart.
Photo by Rhonda Collum
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Revised 01/25/13 SRS
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