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Animal Care

SOME BASIC HINTS/FIRST AID FOR
HANDLING/CARING OF SICK/
INJURED/ORPHANED WILDLIFE:

** Please Make sure you have your tetanus shot before handling any wildlife. If it is your first tetanus vaccine, you will need a booster shot. Before handling bats, and To avoid Lyssavirus, make sure you have the rabies vaccine. If scratched or bitten by a bat, go to Emergency, let the hospital know, and they will give you a free rabies vaccine. If it is your first rabies vaccine, (pre exposure vaccination) you will need a series of 3 injections, if you have been bitten or scratched by a bat,(post exposure vaccination), you will need a series of 5 injections. For further assistance and treatment, Speak to your GP about your health history before being vaccinated for Rabies, and further, which wildlife you are handling/caring for.

** When rescuing injured joeys that may no longer be in the pouch, or grazing with their parents around, ensure you have someone else with you to deter the charging parents at you, they will defend their young, just as you would defend your young from a predator. Watch the parents and wave the pouch for the joey at them, they will charge again if you turn your back on them while the joey is calling out its distress to them, wave the pouch at them again, unless you have a spare pouch on you, and quickly place it over the joey to quieten it.

** Please check for any sign of the parents being around before taking an un-injured/healthy baby animal/bird from the wild and declaring it an orphan. If the parents are around, please leave the young with their parents. For birds, if the nest/bird has been blown out of the tree, please attempt to put the nest/bird back where it was, for nestlings, if the bird is not perching properly, provide a box/woven basket in the fork of a tree as a substitute if there is no nest, in the shade, (don't allow the nestlings to cook in the sun), or as close to it's proximity as possible, out of harms way from predators, to enable the parents to continue to take care of their own young. When securing the box/woven basket to the tree, for possums/bats/birds, if using wire, etc. please ensure you protect the tree first, by placing some type of sponge, or some form of protection around the tree first, and place the wire around that, and not directly onto the tree, to prevent ringbark, which will kill the tree. Please wait/watch to see if the parents accept their young, if the parents reject their young, then it must be taken into care.

** Never attempt to give a baby bird water, or any other liquid on its own. They do not drink naturally until they are independent, with fully grown tail feathers, and the chances of them drowning are quite high if liquid is spooned/syringed into their mouth. Baby birds obtain all their liquid from their food. Never hold a bird upside down, or lay it on it's back, this will cause the bird to pass out, go into a coma, and can kill it.

** Many native animals can be dehydrated when coming into care. Giving an electrolyte mixture from dropper will re-hydrate the animal and give it more energy. Electrolyte fluids such as Lectate or Vitrate can be purchased at most veterinary hospitals. Alternatively you can offer a mixture of water and glucose (sugar or Glucodine). The ratio of water/glucose is 1 teaspoon of glucose to 1 cup of tepid (warm) water. Drip the solution on to the side of the mouth, or on top of the beak for adult birds, only - never force the water into the animals/birds mouth as water may enter the lungs, and kill it.

** Use only natural native tree branches (stringy bark is best, as it provides them with grubs, and they love ripping them apart), avoid smooth and artificial branches and smooth and artificial perches from shops, for wildlife, and use different widths for perches for birds, so that they can exercise their feet from one branch to another, to avoid bumble foot. Constantly Replace perches with new ones, and do not place water and food bowls under the perches, to avoid their faeces and food from dropping into them and contaminating the water, and for parrots, to avoid their seeds from dropping into them, that will turn the water into alcohol and become toxic for the parrots, that will kill them.

** Please ensure you thoroughly wash/scrub your hands between the handling of each animal. Sterilise your cat carriers, cages, etc between each patient, by scrubbing out with Dettol and leave out in the sun for a few hours, this will kill any harmful bacterias, germs, etc.

** When animals arrive, keep them in a warm, quiet, dark place, and covered with a thick towel or blanket, with food and water in a non-spillable container. Instant warmth can be provided by a hot water bottle, well covered with a natural fibre cloth, and placed in a protected cage or box. Joeys/young marsupials need to be in pouches. A Pillow slip can be used as a pouch lining and then into an old woollen jumper. Sheep skin rugs can be converted into pouches. For very small joeys/gliders/possums, etc, a soft cotton handkerchief can be wrapped around a very small joey and placed into a sock/small beanie. Long term heat can be provided by a 25W globe, preferably a blue globe, placed directly over the cage, with the whole cage/box covered with natural fibre cloths/thick towels or blanket - make sure the covers do not come into contact with the globe. Newspaper is an excellent form of insulation to use as lining on the bottom of box or cage, or to wrap around a hot water bottle, wheat heat pads warmed up in microwave, or heat pads. NEVER place birds/animals into microwave, ovens or dryers to warm them up or dry them when wet. NEVER place birds/animals into washing machines or dishwashers to wash them. Be careful not to overheat the animals, by placing electric blackets over them and under them, etc, as this will kill them. Don't give animals human medication, human medication is for people only.

** Lubricate un-furred joeys (pinkies) using Baby Sorbilene after each feed, and after toileting, by smoothing a small amount on your hand, and gently smooth it over a portion of the joeys body while in the pouch, treating top side after one feed, and then the underside after the next feed. If Baby Sorbilene appears to dry out their skin, then please apply Eucerin (wool fat)thinly, available from your Pharmacist/Chemist, which can be used at each 2nd feed on both sides. Don't allow the Eucerin to become cloggy between the cracks on the skin. If the skin is too dry, thin fill your sink with water keeping it at 30 degrees Celcius, add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, keeping the pinkies in their pouch, immerse gently in water, keeping head out of water. Take joeys out of wet pouch, gently pat dry, in a warm room, then place into a clean dry pouch. Coat skin thinly and gently 2 hours later with Eucerin.

** Mange can be treated by applying sheep dip along the back of the wombat/animals.

** Avoid feeding all types of broccoli and parsley to possums. Pick Foliage from native trees with grubs/insects in/on them, for extra protein for possums. Avoid picking this foliage from poison sprayed trees or shrubs.

** Avoid feeding bread, alcohol, chocolate, ice-cream, coffee, tea, cows milk - (wildlife have no lactose tolerance), ferret food, dog food, cat food to Wildlife. Soaked dry Dog food should only be given in emergencies to insectivore birds including magpies, currawongs, for 1 feed only, until the natural appropriate diet can be obtained/purchased.

** Lettuce is like Opium to Wildlife, please avoid it.

** Let the water Run from your hose for a couple of minutes, before filling up your wildlife, or pets, water bowls, to ensure that all harbouring nasty bacteria is flushed out of the hose first.

** Ensure you move your aviaries every 3 months to different sites around your back yard to allow each site/soil to rest, to rid the soil of worms/parasites. Ensure your aviaries are facing north and are atleast half but preferably 3/4 covered. Avoid wire enclosures for raptors, use mesh/shade cloth or hesian. Hesian needs to be replaced annually. Avoid using shade cloth for parrots, they rip them apart and become badly entangled in them.

** Worm your birds/animals every 3 months in long term rehabilitation.

** Keep your seeds dry, under cover, and don't allow them to get wet, as they turn into alcohol, become toxic for the animals/birds, and will slowly kill them.

** Using warm water only, Ensure you gently clean your animals/birds mouths, beaks/nostrils immediately after each feed with warm damp cottonwool or soft cloth. Food can turn into concrete if left unwiped, block nostrils, prevent breathing, and slowly suffocate the animal/bird to death. Using warm water only, ensure you keep the whole of the bird/animal body clean from food/animal formulae milk and faeces, by gently wiping them clean using a warm, damp cottonwool or soft cloth immediately after each feed.

** Never bathe Wildlife in shampoo, detergent, soap, etc. or use antiseptics such as Dettol, etc, on wounds, they strip them of their natural oils and remove their water/weather proofing/insulation, necessary for their survival in the wild. Once their natural oils are stripped, they will not return. To clean wounds, dilute 1 teaspoon of cooking salt, in 1 cup of warm, boiled water. Only use the wet gauze for one wipe and then throw away, constantly using a fresh gauze only once, to wipe wounds till they are clean.

** Keep Wildlife away from your domestic pets.

** Regardless on whether the wildlife was found on the road or not, Never release wildlife back by the side of the road, on the road, or near the road, they will be killed by traffic. If a tortoise is picked up on or by the side of the road, chances are that they have been hit by a car. Injuries may not be obvious to an inexperienced person. Please ensure you have it checked over first before releasing it back into the same area, especially if it has already been discussed with a carer, that it needs to be checked over before releasing it. The same applies to all other wildlife as well. Echidnas may have young/puggles in dens waiting for them to return to give them a feed, if un injured, they should be left alone to continue to forage, however, if by the road, and it looks like it wants to cross the road, observe which direction it is heading, take it across the road, observe which way it wants to go and point it in the same direction, and make sure it doesn't go back onto the road. If it heads back to the road, and looks like it wants to cross back, then it didn't want to cross over in the first place, so take it back. Again, just watch it for a while to prevent a road accident. Use either a thick blanket to pick the echidna up, or thick workers gloves.

** Identify your species correctly to feed the correct diet, and to provide suitable housing. Not all birds regurgitate food into their baby bird mouths to feed them, some, such as Raptors, magpies, kookaburras, etc. feed their young with whole insects, etc, by whacking them on the ground/stone or against the tree to kill them first, and then place them into their mouths, or drop them beside their babies, allowing them to pick the food up and feed themselves.

 


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