PROGNOSTIC INDICATORS for SURVIVAL of ORPHANED EASTERN GRAY SQUIRRELS (SCIURUS CAROLINENSIS)

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Abstract

The eastern grey squirrel (EGS), Sciurus carolinensis, is a tree squirrel native to the eastern United States. This species commonly presents to wildlife medical clinics for a variety of human-related injuries including confrontations with road traffic and pet predation. The purpose of this study was to assess initial examination findings as prognostic indicators for survival in EGS. The medical record database of the University of Illinois Wildlife Medical Clinic was searched from January 2012 through December 2018 for records of EGS weighing <300 g. The squirrels were identified as survivors (individuals surviving, released, or transferred to a rehabilitator within 72 hr of intake) or nonsurvivors (individuals euthanized or dying within 72 hr of intake after receiving medical care). Presenting weight, health status, method of feeding, and singleton versus group presentation were categorically recorded for each case. The data were modeled using a series of candidate logistic regression models fitted using the generalized linear model. An information theoretical approach determined the best fit model. A total of 955 EGS were included in this study. Factors that predicted a nonsurvivor status included EGSs that presented with any health system abnormality (odds ratio [OR], 4.81; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.34-6.72), EGSs that presented between December and May (OR, 1.60; 95% CI, 1.12-2.27) rather than between June and November, and individuals with neurologic signs (OR, 2.61; 95% CI, 1.51-4.51) compared with EGSs without neurologic signs. Despite not being included in the final model, the presence of respiratory signs (OR, 3.43; 95% CI, 2.41-4.89) and diarrhea (OR, 4.01; 95% CI, 1.59-10.09) were significantly associated with a higher likelihood of nonsurvival status. Wildlife medical clinics and rehabilitation centers may use this information by initiating more aggressive therapies or instituting distinct euthanasia protocols for EGS that present with body system abnormalities, particularly neurologic clinical signs, and those that present in the winter months.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-279
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Volume51
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Eastern grey squirrel
  • Prognostic indicators
  • Rehabilitation
  • Sciurus carolinensis
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)

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