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Old 09-19-2018, 03:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Rapid weight loss, lethargic behaviour, hind legs are dragging

Hi, I just found this site today and I’m in need of help ASAP. I already called the vet and his appointment is tomorrow morning.

My hedgehog is around 4 and I got him from a really bad pet store 3 years now, but because of this I have no idea about any genetics or past issues. When I say bad I mean the temperature was pretty low in there and they didn’t even know his gender, etc.

His food is hedgehog formula and mealworms and he’s been really healthy expect this year. 4 months ago he had a skin issue, but we took care of it and it is clear now.

Anyway my bf took care of my hedgehog the past 3 days and he told me he wasn’t eating as much recently. He usually doesn’t handle him unless I’m around because my hedgehog hates men. (he puffs and charges at men specifically it’s kind of hilarious)

I was able to take care of him today again. I noticed he didn’t eat any food last night, I’m not sure if he’s had water. If he didn’t he didn’t drink a lot. So I lifted up the little dome that he sleeps in the check on him. When I picked him up he didn’t puff at all which he normally does when I wake him up.
He's lost a lot of weight, he used to be a fairly large hedgehog and now his hips and stomach are much thinner. He had poop all over his genitalia and hind legs. He isn’t walking on them and is dragging them. It doesn’t seem like he has much feeing in them either. He has no intrest in food like he used to and he just flopps on his side and sleeps.

I don’t think it’s hibernation since he doesn’t feel cold either and the temperature is good.

I ground up some of his formula mixed it with water to syringe feed him. I got him to eat about 1 tablespoon this morning at most and then this afternoon I got probably the same amount maybe a little more. I also gave him some water from a syringe.

I just checked on him and he had loose poop/diarrhea it may be greenish but I could just be seeing it.
He normally poops in a specific area but he didn’t even have the energy and got it on his bedding and lower body.

Does anyone know what I should do or what is happening? I have a feeling he doesn’t have much time left and I’m scared. Any feedback would be appreciated.
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Old 09-19-2018, 04:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You did the right thing by immediately scheduling a vet appointment. There are several things that could be the culprit if they’re not eating, but the lack of feeling and use of his legs is also a big problem and makes me wonder if it could indicate WHS.

I’d continue syringe feeding him and making sure he is getting enough water in the meantime. It’s likely the vet will want to run several tests to try to determine what exactly is going on, though I believe that WHS is only diagnosable by monitoring symptoms (cancer, on the other hand, can be detected on an Xray or physical exam). Hopefully someone with more experience with dealing with WHS can chime in.

Poor little guy!
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Old 09-19-2018, 04:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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This is not WHS, not only is it an incredibly rare disease this hedgehog doesn't show any of the right symptoms. It can also only be diagnosed post mortem through necropsy.

Do you have any idea for how long your hedgehog hasn't been eating well?

Lethargy, muscle deterioration and paralysis of the hind legs are all signs of malnutrition and can happen pretty fast - sometimes within the span of a few days. There might have been an underlying issue which has caused your hedgehog to eat less and eventually stop eating.

With your hedgehog being a little older and teeth issues being very common, I would have the vet check out his teeth. It could be a reason for his lack of appetite.
In the meantime, you can syringe feed him with Hills a/d which you can get at the vet's. Depending on the underlying cause it is still possible for him to bounce back from this, but it sounds like there has been something going on for quite a while now. It can take some time before we notice things since they don't show signs until the last moment, unfortunately. Good luck at the vet and please keep us posted.
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Old 09-19-2018, 05:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you so much I didn’t think it was whs. He’s definitely not eating enough. When I was feeding him with the syringe he kind of made a clicking sound like he was chewing. I’m not sure why he stopped eating but I think mouth issues could be an cause. He’s moving more since this morning, I think his hind legs may be moving a bit more.
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Old 09-20-2018, 06:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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That's good to hear he will eat via the syringe and has more movement. Defintely try to get the hills a/d or another one is carnivore care, which both will help increase his appetite and give him the extra nutrients he needs to get better. They are for syringe feeding.

Let us know how it goes at the vet. Hoping he can recover ♡
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Old 09-20-2018, 09:15 AM   #6 (permalink)
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He was doing okay this morning and drank some water from a syringe, he didn’t eat as much- but he was moving and seemed very inquisitive. I felt like he has much better odds, I’m so relieved. My heart and chest literally hurt so bad yesterday I felt like I was dying.

I dropped him off at the vet they’re keeping him and gonna do some tests. His hind legs we’re moving today. His body doesn’t fully curl though, but still he made a lot of improvement.
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Old 09-20-2018, 04:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Update: I just got him back from the vet and he didn’t see or feel any physical issues other that his back legs are not moving much. He’s getting more energy and I think he has really good odds at recovering. I got Hills A/D for him as well. So I’m gonna continue syringe feeding him.

As for malnutrition and how much weight he lost his weight was around 310ish grams and now it’s 239grams. He said some hedgies with WHS get on and off symptoms so he’s worried it could be that but he’s not sure. He gave me antibiotics and a type of steroids that also doubles as a painkiller. Hopefully he continues to regain leg movement.

I noticed he’s making clicking sounds as well, he never has before so I tried to look at his mouth. It looks like a tooth may be missing or chipped. I swear there’s one missing where it used to be. It looks like there’s a small red dot on his gum where the tooth would have been as well. I’m thinking maybe he lost a tooth and stopped eating from pain which caused the malnutrition? So if that’s the case the antibiotics and steroids/painkillers should help.

I went out and bought new softer bedding for him since I think he has a raw/scrapped spot on his belly where it’s been dragging. I got some new toys and a water dish. He normally drinks form a bottle but hasn’t been. So I filled the water dish and put it in. Immediately he went over to it and drank 3 times. It wasn’t a lot but him taking the initiative is a good sign. He’s currently playing in the bedding lol.

I took this pic from the car ride home. He’s burrowing and playing under the blankets E030490B-4508-4CCE-918B-4E326861F14B_1537474000034.jpg
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Old 09-21-2018, 04:56 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Glad to hear he's doing a bit better. Did the vet check his teeth? It sounds as if they didn't? I'm a bit concerned with their WHS comment, they don't sound very experienced.

It's a lot of weightloss for his body size, malnutrition could very well be the cause of his current weakened state.

Keep in mind that antibiotics do not always help enough if there is an underlying root infection going on. If he keeps having issues x-rays of his teeth need to be taken. Often their mouths look okay from the outside while infections are going on in the roots of the teeth and molars.

The raw spot on his belly is likely urine burn since he probably can't lift himself off the ground when peeing. You can ask for honey oinment at the vet, it has natural ingredients and works great on wounds and scrapes like this.
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Old 09-21-2018, 01:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I’m not sure if they checked his teeth, I feel like they didn’t. When I called and made the appointment they told me the soonest was about and week and I told them it was severe to I came to them before opening time and he checked on him but didn’t have a lot of time. Which I expected cause I’d rather have that than no evaluation for a week. Where I live there’s basically no exotic vets and so far he’s the best one I’ve found unfortunately.

When this all started I noticed he was making a clicking sound when I fed him and when he would drink. Kratos (my hedgehog of war) let me look at his mouth today. Since I’ve been looking at his mouth more, I think it’s his teeth. I’m almost positive from the appearance of his gums and behaviour that he lost 2 teeth. It wouldn’t surprise me because he bites on things he’s curious about. I’m worried it may have been his water bottle that is metal.

I think what happened he probably lost 2 teeth from biting the metal. Then it got infected or raw and it hurt him, so he stopped eating.

As for the little scrape he had I was worried since he’s lower to the ground that his old bedding (pellets) may have hurt him. So I bought a new bedding that I’ve been wanted to change to anyway.

So an update on progress so far: I’m feeding him 3cc of the Hills food and 4-6cc of water every 3 hours. I’m giving him the medicine and he’s been clicking less and barley did at all at 9 and 12 today. I think the medicine is definitely helping him he’s more active and is puffing at me if I frustrate him again.

When I got home yesterday I changed the bedding to the new one, put in new toys, and a little dish for water.
I did some renovations so everything is easier to access and I put the new water dish (just in case it was the water bottle causing issues.)

When I put him in he got very excited and started exploring, he wobbles a bit, but he can still move around. I was so happy to see that he went up to the water dish and drank 3 times! It’s not a lot but he’s been using it a little and it even looked like he was considering eating.

He played in the new bedding and made a lil nest. I even heard him playing with the toys last night. At one point he put his paw in the water dish and I was worried he was stuck, but I waited and he got it out with no problem. He still is weak in his rear legs, but they both can move. His rear left leg seems weaker to me, however he feels so much stronger in both legs compared to 2 days ago.

He’s moving to poop and pee again as well. It wasn’t in his usual spot which is the far end from his home but it was still away from it and it didn’t stick to him or anything. So he’s definitely trying and moving away when he has to go. His poop is still green but it’s more solid. I think it’s probably from stress, lack of eating, and having his normal diet change. Overall I think he’s doing so much better.
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Old 09-25-2018, 02:32 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm happy to hear he's doing better. Hope he has a speedy recovery!
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