Medical Conditions

To provide the most information possible on this website, please share any case reports, success or failure with particular drugs, skunk friendly labs, or skunk friendly vets with Dr.Schneider.
Send information to dr.schneider@theexoticpetvet.com or fax to 1-866-924-5818. Please do not call unless it is to book an appointment or your veterinarian calls directly.

Case Report

Click the link above to download the case report form

Permit

Obtain a permit to keep a pet skunk from your local fish and wildlife commission.

Blood work:

It is recommended to do a Complete Blood Count, Blood Chemistry, Lipase and T4 on skunks annually. The blood tests help to recognize signs of early disease in skunks, and are instrumental in correcting problems before it is too late. They can also help to determine if the diet you are giving is appropriate for your skunk.
Spay and Neuter:

Pet skunks should be spayed (females) and neutered (males). The males are usually ready between 3 ½ and 5 months. The procedure is similar to that of a dog (a pre-scrotal neuter technique). The females are spayed between 4 and 6 months (ideally before her first heat). A standard ovariohysterectomy is done. Discuss the pain medications that your veterinarian wants to use before the surgery. If your veterinarian uses meloxicam (metacam @) in skunks, ask them to read the warnings put out by Merial for the use of meloxicam (metacam@) in cats. I never use meloxicam in skunks as the safety is unknown and there are alternatives available. (See medication section.) The effects of NSAIDS, (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories), in general are not well documented, and the use of them should be limited or avoided. Will the veterinarian or veterinary staff be available if the skunk opens its incision after-hours? Will someone be available the skunk opens its incision after-hours? Have a plan before hand to prevent the skunk from gaining access to the surgery site (stitches hidden in the skin, “pseudo-stitches” away from the surgery site for distraction, fully body t-shirts, appropriate pain management.)

Your veterinarian may call me for specific protocols and ideas to make sure that your skunk’s spay/neuter goes smoothly.

Common Health Problems in Young Skunks

Seizures:

Seizures are a common medical condition in young skunks. The etiology (cause) is often unknown and until the cause is discovered, treatments are often based on controlling the seizures. A full work-up including radiographs and blood work is often needed to rule out certain conditions. Make sure that a fecal exam has been done, and even if negative that the skunk has been dewormed as this is commonly overlooked as a cause of seizures in skunks. Review the diet of the skunk, and make corrections if needed.

Rectal Prolapse

Rectal prolapse in the young skunk is often due to straining because of the presence of parasites. A fecal exam and appropriate deworming should be done. If your skunk prolapses you may be able to treat it at home. If it persists then you must make an appointment with your veterinarian. Be sure to keep the prolapsed tissue moist. Using cool water saturated with sugar, soak a paper towel and hold it to the prolapsed rectal tissue to shrink it back down as it often swells once prolapsed. If possible hold the tissue there for 10 minutes. If the prolapse does not reduce on its own, use lubricating jelly to keep the tissue moist and try to push it back in. If there is still rectal tissue exposed, cover it with lubricating jelly as often as possible until you can get in to see a veterinarian.

Other Medical Conditions

Note: If your skunk has been diagnosed with something that is not in the list below, please send us information about the case to share on the website.

  • Aleutian Disease Virus
  • Flu
  • Heart Disease
  • Hypocalcemia
  • Metabolic Bone Disease
  • Respiratory Infection
  • Urinary Tract Infection

Medications

All medications are used “off-label” and are extrapolated from dog and cat doses. There are no studies that have been done specifically for skunks, and the use and doses are based on experience from veterinary use and are anectodal.

Hormones

Calcitrol

Pain Medications (Narcotics)

Buprinorphine
Butorphanol
Tramadol

Pain Medications (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories)

Be extremely careful using this category of drugs in pet skunks. Please send any case reports of skunks that have died secondary to the use of an NSAID, or skunks that have benefited from their use.

Metacam (Read company warning for cats before using in skunks.) Many skunk owners have reported that their animal died within two weeks of using metacam. The use of this drug in skunks has not been proven to cause such deaths, but skunk owners should be aware of the risks of metacam use in cats, and that the risks have not been studied in skunks.
Rimadyl

Antibiotics

Baytril (Many skunk owners have reported that Baytril lead to the death of their pet. This has not been scientifically demonstrated, but you can ask your veterinarian about potential side effects and alternate drug choices.)
Ciprofloxacin –(I have never used this in skunks, it is in the same family as Baytril (fluroquinolone, and caution should be used.)
Clavamox – Appears to be safe in skunks, I have noticed that a two week course is required for resolution of most infections.
Clindamycin
Convenia – (Information is very limited, please share any experience with this drug.)

Supplements

Calcium glubionate syrup
Support Factor (formulated for skunks)

Other

Adequan (I have never used this in skunks.)
Midazolam (sedative)
Acepromazine (sedative)
Serraflazyme (anti-inflammatory)
Propofol (anasthetic)
Furosemide (diuretic)
Enalapril (heart medication)

Skunk Laboratory

Heart Ultrasounds

Complete Medication List

To provide the most information possible on this website, please share any case reports, success or failure with particular drugs, skunk friendly labs, or skunk friendly vets with Dr.Schneider. Send information to dr.schneider@theexoticpetvet.com or fax to 1-866-924-5818. Please do not call unless it is to book an appointment or your veterinarian calls directly.