By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
I have a question regarding my sugar glider’s health. Before I start, I have seen my local veterinarian, and she seems to think the problem is not serious. I noticed my sugar glider making a weird bark and sometimes huff sound when he urinated. I looked at his backside and a gel-type substance was there. He was able to urinate properly without any trouble for a few nights. The other night I noticed a string of clear mucus substance coming out after he urinated. My veterinarian thinks he has mucus packs in his bladder, and he just needs to pass them. I have never come across this problem before nor can anyone give me any advice as to what could be causing it. What is this? Is it contagious? Can it be cured? Is it a serious medical problem?
It is not typical for sugar gliders to produce mucus as you are describing nor is it normal to produce a weird “bark” or huff sound while urinating. While it is possible this is not a serious disease as your veterinarian has suggested, if the mucus and sounds do not dissipate, then a return visit to your veterinarian is a good idea. It is not uncommon for owners to see early signs of disease before a veterinarian can determine that there is a disease condition present in a pet.
In my practice, when an owner believes something is abnormal but my physical examination only leads me to conclude that the pet appears healthy, I have the owners watch the pet carefully over the next few days. If the condition does not get better, I ask the owners to see me again to re-evaluate the condition. So, because your sugar glider still has mucus and is making the sounds, make a re-appointment with your veterinarian. If your veterinarian again advises you that the condition is normal but this advice makes you feel uncomfortable, then get a second opinion about your sugar glider’s health.
This condition may not require medical intervention, but when a sugar glider starts uttering sounds while trying to urinate, I start thinking of obstructions to urination, such as infection, stones or masses in the bladder or urethra. In those cases, diagnostic testing and treatment is imperative to help your sugar glider back to good health.