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Old 05-06-2012, 11:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default is my new hedgie sick?

Hi guys! I brought home my first baby ever (His name is Harrison) about two weeks ago, so now he's 10 weeks old. I did a LOT of research before getting him from a nearby breeder, and this forum has helped me so much! thanks guys! i have a few concerns about my new baby, though...

backstory: (questions below)

I took Harrison to the vet last week for a check-up. he was fine the first few days home, but somewhere along the line his poop became a bit strange (mucus, colour) and it turned out he had a bit of a bacteria problem and he was prescribed antibiotics. he's been taking them like a champ- and his last day of antibiotics is tomorrow, but his poop hasn't really changed all too much- it got better for a while there but it continues to be a light brown with some mucous as opposed to the hard dark brown poops he had before. i've kept him on a steady diet of the food the breeder gave me (that she makes herself) and give him clean water and plenty of love every day.

he really hasn't decreased in activity, but i am worried as to whether or not he's sick or just really really calm! haha D: i have a wheel for him but he just really doesn't like (or want to figure out how) to run- he tries to get off of it and crawl into my lap (where he sleeps). i'm concerned he's not getting enough exercise.

also, he's not quilling so much anymore (the first week was crazy!) but he is scratching quite a bit lately (his back and his sides). i'm not sure if it's from quilling or something else. my first instinct would be to give him a bath- but my breeder told me very explicitly to NEVER EVER EVER BATHE MY HEDGEHOG. i'm wondering if a bath would benefit little Harrison- and possibly help him be more comfortable

i'm sorry- that was like a novel! D: haha..so my questions are:


my baby hedgehog is on antibiotics because his poop is strange, but i'm not sure if it's getting better. should i take him to the vet again?

my baby hedgehog doesn't know have any interest in running on a wheel- and prefers exploring or just cuddling in my lap. is he sick- or just a cuddlebug?

my baby hedgehog seems to be scratching quite a bit. is it okay to give him a bath- and should I?



thanks so much guys! sorry if any of these questions were answered recently. i'm just a paranoid first time new owner!
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Old 05-07-2012, 01:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: is my new hedgie sick?

Baths are fine for hedgehogs, they just don't need them very often. (Unless they anoint and spit gunk on their quills, or they manage to get poop on themselves in imaginative ways, lol.) Typically once a month is good for a not-very-messy hedgehog. Something like Aveeno baby oatmeal bath (or similar) is suggested because it's especially gentle and the oatmeal is great for their skin (hedgehogs are often susceptible to dry skin, particularly in the winter). A lot of hedgehogs aren't very fond of baths, which is another reason to not do them often. Also, frequent baths can contribute to dry skin.

The itching could be caused by a few things. The first thing you'll want to consider is mites, symptoms of which are excessive scratching and quill loss (to the point that there are bald patches). Mites are easy for a vet to treat, and the medication for it is inexpensive, so often if people notice scratching, they'll choose to rule out mites and just get the medication as a precaution. Just make sure it's Revolution, NOT Ivermectin, which might mean asking for that specifically. Ivermectin has caused deaths in hedgehogs, and since Revolution is a completely risk-free treatment that's just as effective, that's the only one that should ever be used.

If there isn't quill loss along with the scratching, it could be dry skin. Depending on how much scratching there is, or if it only happens at certain times, it could be more of a habit. For instance, some hedgehogs will give themselves a good thorough scratch shortly after waking up, as part of their "morning" (read: evening) ritual. Like I said before, dry skin is pretty common. Have you noticed any dandruff-looking flakes of dry skin coming off from the scratching, or just in general? The first thing to dry for dry skin is to put a few drops of flaxseed oil on the back every day, and also a little bit in the food. This sometimes is all that's really necessary. If the dry skin is stubborn, there are also a few topical sprays (designed for cats and dogs) that can moisturize the skin.

What's the diet from the breeder? That might or might not be related to the poop issue. I would suggest calling your vet to ask - I would assume if the meds you're using were going to work, there would be improvement by now.

As for the wheel thing, not all hedgehogs are wheel crazy. Sometimes they take a little while to figure out how to use it, or sometimes they prefer to use it when no one's watching. Babies especially tend to not wheel as much in general, they'd prefer to sleep. My boy Archimedes won't touch the wheel almost at all, and he's perfectly healthy.
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: is my new hedgie sick?

thanks so much for the helpful reply! i gave Harrison a bath today with baby aveeno soap and a bit of oil in the wash and hugged him until he was completely dry! he's still scratching, but not nearly as much as before.

i haven't noticed any especially dry patches or dandruff at all, and he isn't losing nearly as many quills as the first week he came home. there are also no bald patches. i looked at the skin under his quills and there are some white patches (kind of like pores?) as well as spots- but most of his quills are white so i'm just not sure if his skin is just brown and white or not? ;A;

the diet from the breeder is a food that she makes herself- "Pokey Crunch" and it has quite a bit of stuff in it (including dry mealworms- which i've been picking out of the food before giving it to him. this seemed to help the poop problem a bit) and i'm trying to find a good cat food mix to slowly switch him over to- but i need to do a bit more investigating on brands and such x_x the antibiotics seemed to help a bit, but his poop is still solid but relatively runny. today was his last day on the antibiotics, though- so maybe it'll get a bit better

and okay! it's reassuring to know that not all hedgies love wheels! i'll keep offering it to him, but i won't go crazy about it! c:

if the scratching continues for another few days as well as the poop, i'll definitely take him to the vet again for a mite checkup. i'm hoping the bath will help- considering it was his first. he seems to enjoy being nice and clean

thanks again so much!
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: is my new hedgie sick?

From the sound of it, that food might be related to the poop problem, since it doesn't sound like there are any other indications of illness (lethargy, etc). If that food is made with dried mealworms (which can cause constipation) I have a hunch the other ingredients might not be up to par either. Definitely take a look at some of the good ones under the dry cat food sticky (in the diet/nutrition section). I'd suggest choosing one of the good ones on there and starting to transition him over. A slow transition is a good idea, starting with 1/4 of the new food for a few days, then increasing it a little every few days until you switch him over completely. But, sometimes when hedgehogs are on low quality food and offered something better, they'll just snub the old stuff in favor of the new. A food switch can cause soft poops for a little while as their system adjusts to it, but that typically won't last more than a day or two. Hopefully all he needs is a diet change to get back to pooping normally. If that doesn't do it, you should talk to your vet - and it doesn't sound like mites, but you might as well get him treated with Revolution to be sure.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:31 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: is my new hedgie sick?

alright! i'll definitely go out and get some cat food tomorrow and start changing him over!

i'll make an update once i find out the source of the poop problem as well as the itching C:
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