Orphan Care Problems & Solutions

Dehydration Hypothermia Bloat
Diarrhea Metabolic Bone Disease   Cannibalism
Problem Symptoms Causes Solutions
  • Sunken eyes
  • Skin tents
  • Dry, scaly skin
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Lethargic
  • Dirt in and around mouth
  • Separation from mother
  • Too much heat
  • Insufficient humidity
  • Formula too concentrated
  • Feeding before rehydrated
  • Monitor heat, humidity
  • Accurately measure formula
  • Stop formula and offer rehydrating solution overnext 12-24 hours, thengradually add formula

  • Cold infant
  • Lethargic
  • Exposed to elements
  • Unable to thermoregulate
  • Insufficient heat source
  • Warm infant by placing near but not directly against heat source
  • Monitor temperature
  • Provide layers of ravel-free bedding

  • Distended abdomen
  • Uncomfortable
  • Lethargic
  • Not urinating or defecating
  • Over feeding
  • Too frequent feedings
  • Feeding cow’s milk
  • Spoiled formula
  • Failure to stimulate orphan to urinate and defecate
  • Unable to urinate or defecate
  • Punctured bladder
  • Feed smaller amounts
  • Warm infant before feedings
  • Warm infant, gently stroke abdomen
  • Do not let formula sit out at room temperature, refrigerate
  • Do not reheat unused formula, discard
  • Stop formula feeding and administer rehydrating solution for 12-24 hours, then gradually add formula
  • ALWAYS stimulate infant to urinate/defecate before or after feeding! Rub genital area with cotton ball moistened with warm water

  • Soft, runny stools
  • Feeding cow’s milk
  • Spoiled formula
  • Formula too concentrated
  •  Dirty feeding utensils
  • Parasites
  • Same as above
  • Sterilize feeding utensils after each use
  • Deworm (Contact O.S.U.S. if unsure about deworming recommendations)

Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)
  • Difficulty walking (frog-like)
  • Inability to grip
  • Fragile, broken bones
  • Deformities
  • Poor diet
  • Insufficient dietary calcium
  • Improper Ca:P ratio
  • Feed high quality, balanced diet with sufficient Ca and proper Ca:P ratio
  • Supportive care
  • See veterinarian if moderate to severe

  • Eating other opossums
  • May also self-mutilate
  • Pay particular attention to chewed ears, tail, toes
  • Poor husbandry
  • Overcrowding
  •  Stress
  • Inadequate diet
  • Improper diet
  • Placing injured opossum with healthy
  • Mixing different sizes
  • Sick opossum
  • Provide sufficient food
  • Do not overcrowd
  • Minimize stress
  • After eyes open, use caution when mixing litters
  • Watch for problems and signs of aggression, listen for “cacking” sounds, separate immediately
  • NEVER place injured animal in cage with others!

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