Glossary of Terms

A

Animal ProteinSpecies appropriate animal protein sources are all types of live or dried, feeder insects, eggs from ground laying birds such as Quail eggs, Chicken or Turkey necks, Chicken hearts or gizzards, Rabbit, Fish and Stomp skunk food.


B

Brewer’s Yeast Brewer’s yeast is made from a one-celled fungus called Saccharomyces cerevisiae and is used to make beer.  Sometimes paired with garlic as a natural flea treatment.  NOT recommended for use with pet skunks.  Do not confuse with Nutritional Yeast which is recommended for use with pet skunks.


C

CBD– CBD stands for Cannabidiol,  one of over 85 active cannabinoids identified in cannabis/hemp. CBD is a non-psychoactive, potentially therapeutic, compound that is extracted from commercial hemp. Never give pot or any psychoactive substances to skunks! CBD is used to calm anxious skunks, support healthy bones and joints, and for general health benefits.  Suggested dose is 1 to 2 mg, given two to three times daily. Results maybe seen as soon as two to three weeks after starting the treatment.  Your Veterinarian should be aware if you are giving this as it may affect dosages of other prescription medications if used.

Chitinase– an enzyme insectivores use to break down chitin. Chitin is found in the exoskeleton of insects, crustaceans and in mushrooms.

Chlorella Chlorella is a fresh water, single-celled algae of which there are several species. Chlorella vulgaris and chlorella pyrenoidosa are the most studied. Research comparing the two  indicates that chlorella pyrenoidosa has a higher concentration of nutrients. Chlorella pyrenoidosa also has a higher concentration of the unique chlorella growth factor (CGF).  It provides powerful support for tissue renewal, detoxification and immune health. See PetSpan for more information.

Colostrum A substance produced by the mammary glands before milk that is the first meal of all mammals. Colostrum contains many healthful components that work together in perfect balance, including immune factors that both strengthen and balance the immune system, and natural growth factors that repair damaged body cells. Useful for kits that were removed from their mom too soon, any sick skunk and the senior skunk. Synertek and Symbiotics are good brands.

Concentrace Trace mineral drops used to maintain healthy bones, joints and teeth in pet skunks. Can be used to re-mineralize water according to the label or add two drops to the food daily per each 5 lbs of weight.

Crepuscular – Active mainly at twilight, dawn and dimly lit nights (full moon). Skunks are classified as  crepuscular rather than nocturnal.


D

DE – Diatomaceous Earth. Food grade Diatomaceous Earth can be added to the skunk’s food as a trace mineral supplement or as a natural de-wormer. Dose is ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon.  It can be used externally for control of fleas or mites. Apply from the neck down and do not get in their eyes or allow them to inhale the powder.  Make sure DE is food grade, no other kind is safe.  If given for treatment of MBD, Vitamin D must be provided from either food or supplements and a diet containing magnesium rich foods.

DHEA – DHEA is short for Dehydroepiandrosterone, a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands that declines drastically with age.  Occasionally recommend by holistic Veterinarians to balance hormones in elder skunks who have been spayed or neutered.  

Diet The food plan used to feed the pet skunk. Recommend feeding the skunk a species appropriate diet for optimal health.


E

Echocardiogram An ultrasound of the heart  that is helpful in diagnosing a heart condition in pet skunks. Recommend getting a baseline by age 5. In brown skunks where there is a higher rate of congestive heart failure, recommend getting one by age 3.

Enzymes – Food or supplements providing protein molecules that assists other organic molecules enter into chemical reactions, such as digestion,  but is itself, unaffected by these reactions. Acts as catalysts for organic biochemical reactions.

Evict or Evict Double Strength See Strongid.  Also known as  Nemex and Pyrantel Pomoate.


F

FenbendazoleSame as Panacur.

Flouroquinolone –  A broad spectrum family of antibiotics that are derivatives of quinolone used as antibacterial drugs. Baytril (Enrofloxacin), Noroxin (Norfloxacin), Cipro (ciprofloxacin), Orbax (orbifloxacin), Advocin (danofloxacin), Difloxy or Dicural (difloxacin), Zeniquin (marbofloxacin), Rosoxacin (acrosoxacin) and any other flouroquinilone antibiotic. NOT recommended for use with pet skunks. Skunks have died from liver failure after receiving flouroquinolone antibiotics.


G

GMO Genetically Modified Organisms are organisms that have been created through genetic engineering.  This means that DNA from one species are injected into another species in a laboratory, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods. According to the USDA, 93% of soy, 93% of cotton, and 86% of corn grown in the U.S. are GMO. It is estimated that over 90% of canola grown is GMO, and there are also commercially produced GMO varieties of sugar beets, squash and Hawaiian Papaya. As a result, it is estimated that GMOs are now present in more than 80% of packaged products in the average U.S. grocery store. Do NOT recommend feeding GMOs of any kind to your skunk. If you are unfamiliar with what foods have been genetically modified, buy products that are certified organic or certified by the Non-GMO Project. Buycott has an app for smart phones that you download to scan for GMOs.


H

Historical DietSame as species appropriate diet.


I

Ivermectin – A broad spectrum, anti-parasite medication NOT recommend for use with pet skunks. There is limited information available about the usage of Ivermectin for pet skunks and what if any is a safe dose. Some owners have reported reaction that range from mild to severe.


J

Junior Skunk Pet skunk that is 6 months to 1 year.


K

Kit –  A young pet skunk that is under 6 months.


L


M

MBDMetabolic Bone Disease. MBD is a broad term that covers disorders related to the weakening of the bones caused by an imbalance of Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2, and/or an imbalance of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. This condition is unfortunately common in pet skunks who are NOT fed a species appropriate diet and not found in wild skunks in their natural habitat. The most common causes of MBD in the pet skunk is a low protein diet that alkalizes their system to point that minerals are not absorbed and also by feeding an unbalanced or low nutrient diet.

MetacamAn NSAID pain releiver NOT recomended for use with skunks. Generic is Meloxicam also NOT recommended. There have been a large number of deaths in pet skunks given this medicine.  Older skunks are particularly at risk.


N

Nemex See Strongid.  Also known as Evict, Evict Double Strength and Pyrantel Pomoate.

NSAIDNon-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is a class of analgesic medication that reduces pain, fever and inflammation.  Side effects of NSAIDs include stomach ulcers and kidney and platelet dysfunction. Metacam and it’s generic Meloxicam are often prescribed for dogs. It has been associated with renal failure and sudden death in cats.  Metacam, Meloxicam and other NSAID pain relievers are NOT recommended for pet skunks. There have been a large number of deaths in pet skunks given this medicine.  Older skunks are particularly at risk.

Nutrient Dense – A term to describe foods that carry the greatest amount and/or greatest variety of nutrients.  An adult skunk should eat very small portions of nutrient dense food as found in a species appropriate diet.


O

Off Label A vaccine or drug used a manner that is not in accordance with the approved label directions. Veterinarians routinely use drugs off label as there are less drugs available for their use. All vaccines and drugs are off label for pet skunks. This does not mean they are not safe.

Organic Foods produced by organic farming. While the standards differ depending on the country of origin. Synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers are not allowed, although certain organically approved pesticides may be used under limited conditions. In general, organic foods are also not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or synthetic food additives. They do not include GMOs. Selling food with the organic label is regulated by governmental food safety authorities, such as the US Department of Agriculture.

Osteo Immune Factors A supplement specifically for pet skunk bone, joint or immune issues. Commonly used for adult skunks with MBD,  arthritis or herniated discs.


P

PanacurFenbendazole, a de-wormer used for skunks 4 pounds and larger. Panacur comes in liquid and granules called Panacur C. The liquid is dosed at 25 mg/lbs  or (50 mg/kg) and given for 3 consecutive days. After 2 weeks, repeat for 3 consecutive days. The granules are dosed by 1 gram packets for skunks 5 to 10 pounds, or 2 grams packet for skunks over 10 pounds, given for 3 consecutive days. After 2 weeks, repeat for 3 consecutive days. In extreme cases, the Veterinarian may want to give for 5 consecutive days.

PetSpan A chlorella supplement from 100% pure premium grade chlorella pyrenoidosa. PetSpan is used most often to support the liver and kidneys or skunks with cancer. It is also used in cases the skunk’s fur is discolored from parasites or poor diet.

Probiotics – Food or supplements providing live microorganisms that are believed to provide health benefits for humans and animals when consumed.

Prolapse Rectal prolapse, a condition in pet skunks where the rectal walls have protruded out of the anus and are visible outside the body. Most commonly seen in cases where skunk has not been de-wormed properly or completely. A blockage may also cause this condition.

Pyrantel Pomoate See Strongid.  Also known as Evict, Evict Double Strength and Nemex.


Q

Quinolone – A class of synthetic antimicrobial agents.  See Flouroquinolone.


R

Rabies Vector Species Rabies vector species are defined as those animals that are at a higher risk of contracting the rabies virus. Foxes, skunks, raccoons, groundhogs, and bats are all rabies vector species.  This is thought to be the  main reason skunks are not allowed as pets in some states.  

Raw Food Raw, uncooked, unprocessed natural foods. Minimally processed foods where heat does not exceed 118 F.  Good choices for skunks are live or dried feeder insects, freeze dried foods like Stomp, sprouts, soaks, nuts and seeds (hulled and shelled). Small amounts of berries for skunks over 4 months.


S

Soaks –  Raw beans, nuts or seeds that are soaked for a period time to remove phytic acid, tannins or enzyme inhibitors.   When feeding nuts that haven’t been soaked, the phytic acid binds to minerals in the gastrointestinal tract which makes them less likely to be absorbed in the intestine and can lead to mineral deficiencies that results in MBD.  By soaking beans, nuts and seeds, you are breaking down the phytic acid so it can be absorbed properly. Nuts also contain high amounts of enzymes inhibitors.  Neutralizing the enzymes by soaking allows for more complete digestion. Soaks are a low cost way to add organic plant food to a pet skunk’s diet.

Species Appropriate DietA food plan that provides the domestic skunk with a nutrient profile that is as close as possible to a wild skunk’s diet. Approximately 80% of a wild skunk’s diet is from insects and larva that contain small portions with high amounts of protein and fat. Skunks do not have any requirement for carbohydrates and only eat plant food in the fall when it is necessary to bulk up for winter.

Spirulina Spirulina is a simple, one-celled organism belonging to the cyanobacteria family that can be consumed by humans and other animals. Spirulina is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and antioxidants that can help protect cells from damage. It is nutrient dense, including B complex vitamins, beta-carotene, Vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid). It is important to buy a trusted brand because blue-green algae  can be contaminated with toxic substances called microcystins and absorb  heavy metals from the water where it is grown. Spirulina is used for pet skunks to replace the algae a wild skunk would get from water. Phycocyanin, a phytonutrient in spirulina, has been shown to stimulate the production of blood cells making it useful for anemic skunks.  Dosage for adult skunks  is 500 mg once a day. Dosage for kits is 200 mg per day.

Sprouts –  Raw beans, grains or seeds that are soaked for a period time to remove phytic acid, and enzyme inhibitors, then sprouted into plants.   Sprouts are a nutrient dense, enzyme rich food for skunks that is similar to what they eat in the wild. While skunks should never be given processed grains like wheat, organic, sprouted wheat grass is ok to give in small amounts.  Skunks usually have a preference between sprouted beans, flowering sprouts and soaks. Sprouts are a low cost way to add organic plant food to a pet skunk’s diet and can easily be done with a few mason jars or inexpensive sprouter.

Stomp – A minimally processed, freeze dried, species appropriate diet for pet skunks available in chicken, duck and turkey.

Strongid Pyrantel pamoate, a dewormer used to kill roundworms and hookworms in pet skunks. It is not effective against hookworms or tapeworms.  When the skunk reaches 5 pounds or more, Panacur is a better choice. Dosage for pet skunks is 2.5 to 5 mg per pound or (5 to 10 mg/kg). Repeat after 3 weeks. Also known as Evict, Evict Double Strength and Nemex.

Support Factors – Pet Skunk Support Factors is a multi vitamin/mineral, enzyme, and fatty acid supplement that is specifically used with a species appropriate diet,  to meet the nutritional needs of the pet skunk.


T


U

Ultrasound –  An  ultrasound  is  a non-invasive  procedure used to evaluate the internal organs of skunks and other animals. Ultrasound examinations can be used to examine the heart, abdominal organs, and reproductive organs in pet skunks.


V

Vaccinations – All vaccines are off label for skunks. Skunks should get a puppy canine distemper when they are between 16 and 20 weeks. Titers can be done using Dr Dodd’s protocol or Hemopet Laboratory.  If this is not possible, re-vaccinate at age 3. Never vaccinate a sick, injured or senior skunk! Do NOT give combo vaccinations, or any feline vaccinations. Rabies vaccination should not be necessary as skunks are indoor pets only and it will not protect the skunk if a bite is reported.

Vinegar – Skunks are chemically sensitive. White vinegar can be used in the place of chemical cleaners or expensive natural cleaners. It can also used to clean up potty mistakes kits and sometimes adult skunks make.

Apple Cider Vinegar can be added in small amounts to the skunk’s drinking water.  It is reported to help with digestive issues by acidifying the gastrointestinal tract and promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria. Make sure you only choose an Apple Cider Vinegar that is raw and unpasteurized. Bragg’s is a good brand.


W

Wellness Check Also known as the annual, the wellness check is done once a year on the adult skunk. It should include a physical exam from the Veterinarian, blood work including a CBC and chemistry panel to provide information on kidney and liver values, protein levels, and blood sugar, electrolytes, calcium, and phosphorus and T4. Some Veterinarians call this a senior canine panel. The senior skunk, 5 and older, may require x-rays. Senior skunks and skunks diagnosed with health conditions, will need to see their Veterinarian more often once a year.


X

X-Rays A popular diagnostic tool of your Veterinarian.  You may want to request a baseline set of X-Rays by the time the skunk reaches age 3 to keep on file. It will come in handy later when the skunk gets older.


Y

Yeast Nutritional yeast can be used like a condiment on the skunk’s food.  Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast or Red Star Yeast are popular brands. It a good source of B Vitamins and selenium. Very helpful for the skunk in congestive heart failure. It has a cheese like taste and is often used to get a skunk interested in a food it may not want to eat. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon per day. Do not confuse with Brewer’s yeast which is NOT recommend to give to  pet skunks and may be a kidney irritant.


 

Z

Zorillo – Spanish for skunk though the literal translation means “little fox”. Zorilla can also mean the Zorillo Patagon or Patagonian hog-nosed skunk found in South America.  The striped polecat, a carnivorous  member of the weasel family,  is sometimes referred to as an African Skunk or Zorilla.  Striped polecats live in the savannahs of Central, Southern, and sub-Saharan Africa.