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Wildlife/Opossum care


QUESTION: I have a opossum that has MBD and needs a calcium phosphate supplement and I need to know how to mix it what to mix it with and how often to administer it

ANSWER: Hi June,

Sorry to hear about the opossum. Are you a rehabilitator? How old is the animal and how significant is the condition? Correcting the opossum's diet is the best way to reverse the condition as well as providing adequate levels of sunlight for vitamin D. Opossums absorb and utilize all of the calcium they need rather quickly, and if too much supplementation is added, they are at risk for hypercalcemia. Correct ratio of calcium to phosphorous is 1.5:1; if the animal is exhibiting neurological signs (in advanced cases, but be cautious of rabies too if you do not have a history on the animal), I'd advise you to take it to the closest wildlife/exotics veterinarian or rehabilitation center to you for immediate treatment.

Correcting the diet is the best way to get this guy on track. Providing meat with bone, dark, leafy green vegetables, and yogurt can help address the problem. However, if the opossum has significant disease, advanced care may be required. Make sure the opossum cannot injure itself by falling; bones are very fragile and easily fractured in MBD.

Here's a link for more information about MBD in opossums:

Please let me know if you would like additional information.

Thank you,


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: This is the second opossum I was given the other one also had mbd when I got him I spoke to a rehabilitator in another state and she told me to mix calcium phosphate and yogurt but its been a long time and I can't remember how much of each and how often she helped me on several occasions and he got better but sad to say she passed away so I don't have her help. The opossum I have now is about eight inches long he has been eating and using the bathroom on his own for over a month and the symptoms are weak back legs and his right back leg goes under him when he first gets up but it gets straight and he can walk well and eats good. If I shouldn't use a supplement do you have an exact recipe I should feed him

Hi June,

What do you currently feed/supplement this opossum? Do you know of any previous trauma to this guy?

If you know how much he weighs and he is between 100-200 grams, you may use the formula below.

Correcting his diet is key to reversing MBD. Diet recommendation for juvenile opossums is as follows:

- 4 Tbs soaked puppy chow
- 1 Tbs meat-based baby food
- 2 Tbs canned puppy food
- 1 Tbs cat chow
- Small vegetable chunks including broccoli, carrots, dark leafy greens
- Small portion of finely chopped fruit (1-2 pieces)
- Portion of chopped mouse with bones included (1/5 of a whole mouse)

(Note: above recommendations obtained from the Exotic Animal Formulary)

Let me know if this diet seems reasonable or if you need further help. Don't be afraid to ask!

Thanks again,


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