Arthritis and Bone Loss

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.


Bone Loss and Intervertebral Disc Disease - 2009

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:

  1. Is the bone density deprecating?
  2. Are there signs of Arthritis?
  3. Is there a Tumor?
  4. Is there Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)?
  5. Is your skunk Over Weight?
  6. Is there a tumor on the parathyroid gland.
    Calcium regulation in the body is controlled by the parathyroid gland. If the thyroid is off, the body cannot regulate calcium properly.

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.


For skunks that have stopped walking:

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.

  1. NOW Foods - Colostrum, 1/8-1/4 tsp per day. (We give to all of our skunks every other day, for bones every day)
    Also from Lucky Vitamin.
  2. Jarrow - Ultra Bone-Up, dosage depends on what is wrong (If the bones are fine then you do not need this.)
    Check NexTag for prices.
  3. Nature's Bounty - D-400iu (D3) (If the bones are fine then you do not need this), 200IU to 400IU per day
  4. Holistic Animal Care - Yucca Intensive, one drop per day.
  5. Goat milk (we freeze the canned goat milk in ice cube trays), one to two 1/4 oz. cubes per day. (I now give fresh goat milk to all my skunks about 1/4 - 1/2 oz. three times a week. We buy fresh goat milk at Trader Joe's.)
  6. Nature's Sunshine - Spirulina, 1/8 tsp per day
    Find out more at Doggie's Paradise or Spirulina-Benefit.Com, buy bulk at RBC Life Sciences
  7. Spring Valley - Optimum Joint Health, Glucosamine/Chondroitin PLUS Joint Lubricant, 1/2 tablet twice daily
    Purchase at Wal-Mart Store, not sold on-line.
  8. Ester-C, 1/2 tablet once or twice daily
    Use for Intervertebral disc disease, can add for the bones as well but in moderation.
  9. Cardiovascular Research, LTD - Serraflazyme, dosage is 1 tablet, every 8 hours for pain; 1 tablet, twice daily for degenerative disc/joint disease and after the results are obtained; maintainance is 1 tablet per day for some, others may need to stay on the twice daily dosage for pain relief.
    Read about Serrapeptase enzymes.
  10. Nature's Sunshine - VS-C, 1/8 of one capsule twice per day
  11. Limu Juice, 1 capfull twice daily
    Alternate pruduct is Fucoidan.
  12. Colloidal Silver, one or two drops twice daily

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.


Arthritis and Diabetics

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
(800) 824-4491
www.swansonvitamins.com

Nopal Powder
(520) 360-5252
www.goodcausewellness.com


Arthritis and Bone Loss / Osteoporosis

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.


Walking Aids

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 using a custom walking cart. Skunk with custom walking cart.
Photo by Rhonda Collum

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