Weight loss... Should I be concerned? - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Weight loss... Should I be concerned?

I adopted my hedgehog, Bean, in January 2018 when he was ~1 year old. He was definitely on the heavier side when I got him (~500-600g range!).

I've only started to weigh him regularly over the past few months (starting around March), but I'm worried because he has been gradually losing weight. I was a bit worried about his weight in March because it already seemed to be well below what he originally weighed when I first took him to the vet (August 2018). Since then he has only continued to lose weight, and a recent email to the vet has confirmed my suspicions that he's well below his weights from last year. For reference, here's a list of the weights recorded by the vet last year (first 3) and the recent weights recorded by me (last 3).

8/10/18 559g
9/12/18 537g
12/13/18 431g
3/12/19 398g
5/10/19 368g
6/14/19 336g

I can't tell if he's just been gradually slimming down to a healthier size over the past 1.5 years that I've had him or if this pattern of weight decline is something to worry about...

Some other details:

-Bean has struggled with dry skin issues ever since I got him (there is another thread detailing more of this). They've improved a lot on their own, but he still loses a few quills every day and has flaky skin/mild itchiness. We've been to the vet 3 times and have tried treatments for mites and a bacterial infection with no results, and I'm considering going to another vet for a second opinion. I'm wondering if these could possibly be linked?

-He is on a diet of 3 different cat foods:
-60% Chicken Soup for the Soul Weight & Mature Care cat food (added a few months ago because of the reduced fat %)
-20% Solid Gold Winged Tiger cat food
-20% Blue Buffalo Turkey & Potato indoor adult cat food

He has never been a big food lover and generally only eats ~3-6 grams of his regular food each night. This has concerned me in the past, but he has consistently only eaten this much and always seems to pee/poop normally.

Any thoughts about his weight? He doesn't seem to be extremely thin (pics attached below), but I don't know if it's normal for him to have lost ~40% of his body weight in less than a year...
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Old 06-18-2019, 09:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would slowly reduce the weight management food and increase the higher fat ones. He just may need a higher fat diet to maintain his weight. He does look a bit underweight in the pictures.
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Old 06-19-2019, 04:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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From the weights even the vets recordings were steadily going down in weight.
Like Nikki said though he does look a bit underweight so taking out the lower fat and increasing the higher fat ones would be best.
I would also add flaxseed oil to his food twice a week for the dry skin it really helps.
I wouldn't worry about how much he lost since he does seem to have lost it very steadily. But brining it up and stabilising it is the best thing you can do.

I wouldnt worry about only eating 3-6g especially if he is getting a good amount of insects, that may be all he really wants. Holly only really eats about 6g biscuit.

Last edited by Ria; 06-19-2019 at 04:05 AM.
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Old 07-10-2019, 12:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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It looks like Bean's weight is now down to ~300 grams...

We took him to a new vet for a second opinion last week when his weight was ~320-330, and she recommended not letting him lose any more. Needless to say, i'm concerned that he still seems to be slimming down.

In regards to his dry skin, we decided to do another skin scrape and try a fungal culture. The scrape was negative and it looks like the fungal culture is as well, although the vet is waiting a few more days before calling it a true negative. We were also sent home with a lime sulfur dip, which I applied on Sunday. Since then, Bean's skin has only looked worse... Initially after the dip, he lost ~30-40 quills (he has since gone back to his normal daily quill loss of ~5-10), and while there isn't any redness/irritation, his skin is much more flaky than it was before.

We're hoping that his skin will clear up (or at least go back to its usually flakiness) in a few days, but I'm honestly at a loss here... Over the course of the past few months we've essentially ruled out mites, bacterial infections, and fungal infections in regards to his skin issues, and now he's still losing weight! I'm worried that he could possibly have some type of internal issue...

I did take out the lower fat Chicken Soup cat food a week or two ago, and he's still eating his normal 3-6 grams each night. I'm planning to add a higher fat food (probably a kitten food) soon to help him gain back some weight, but any other advice in regards to the situation would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 12-06-2019, 12:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Hi all! I know this thread is a few months old, but Bean is still gradually losing weight and it's kind of driving me crazy!

Over the past few months, Bean's weight had stabilized right around 300-315 grams (with slight fluctuations here and there), but when I weighed him tonight he was 277 g (~30 grams less than the weight that he was a week an a half earlier when I already thought he was a little too thin). I think he might have dropped some weight because he had to stay in a travel cage at my friend's house last week while I was out of town (which I think probably stressed him out a lot), but I'm still concerned that he's gotten so slim. Right now, he's less than half of the weight that he was when I first got him ~2 years ago... Even though Bean was pretty overweight when I adopted him, I'm still worried that he's gotten a little too skinny.

Since my last post on this thread, I added the kitten version of Chicken Soup for the Soul (22% fat) as the main part of his diet. He still has two other foods with fat content in the high teens, so the overall fat in his diet is probably ~20%. Also, I noticed a few months ago that Bean was struggling to chew regular-sized piece of cat food, so I now grind/chop up the food before giving it to him. Bean has never been a big eater, but with his food chopped up he consistently eats ~6 grams a night. He isn't a big fan of treats either, although he does like chicken, turkey, and the wellness morsels packets. I'm normally not the best about remembering to give him treats like this, but I've been trying to add more baby food/wellness packets/etc. to his food lately. I've also tried chopping up mealworms/waxworms to add to his food, and while I haven't done that in a month or two, I'm planning to buy more soon and add them more consistently.

Aside from increasing the amount of bugs/wet cat food that I add to his diet, how can I help Bean put on a few more grams? Ideally I'd like to get him back up to at least 320-330... He's not skin-and-bones thin yet and otherwise seems healthy (aside from his chronic mild dry skin, which was discussed earlier in the thread), but I'm at a loss for why he's having a hard time maintaining his weight when nothing else in his schedule/environment is really changing.

I just want to make sure that my little guy is happy and comfortable, so I would be really thankful for any advice!
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:44 AM   #6 (permalink)
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How active is he? Is her super active, average or on the lazier side? How many hours roughly do you think?
Before going through the issues with weight that I had with Holly, I never even thought of that.
6g biscuit is fine, I think adding in more of other things to be part of the main diet is a good plan, wet food and meat, and see if he eats more food too.
The activity needs to be balanced with the amount of food eaten.

If it was something to do with an illness it would be a lot more apparent now, and would show up he would prob be showing some signs of illness by now as well.
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Old 12-06-2019, 05:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
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You could switch him to a fully wet diet and see if that helps. Wet cat food is fine to feed them as their main diet; if he's having trouble eating dry food, that may be the issue.

I know you mentioned that you feed wet cat food already - but if im reading correctly, it seems to only be as an occasional treat?
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Old 12-06-2019, 08:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ria View Post
How active is he? Is her super active, average or on the lazier side? How many hours roughly do you think?
Before going through the issues with weight that I had with Holly, I never even thought of that.
6g biscuit is fine, I think adding in more of other things to be part of the main diet is a good plan, wet food and meat, and see if he eats more food too.
The activity needs to be balanced with the amount of food eaten.

If it was something to do with an illness it would be a lot more apparent now, and would show up he would prob be showing some signs of illness by now as well.
He isn't super active - actually, I think he's probably even less active now than he used to be. Part of that is my fault because I'm a bit of a night owl, and he doesn't like to come out unless it's completely dark. I recently got a blackout curtain to hang over his cage at night, and while I've only tried it a few times I'm hoping that it could help him to get up a bit earlier. I do hear him running on his wheel at night, but since he only does it when I'm asleep I'm not quite sure how much time he spends on it. I'd say that he's probably gotten to be more on the average/lazy side, but I couldn't say for sure since I'm not awake for most of the time that he is.

Last edited by bean.the.hedgie; 12-06-2019 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 12-06-2019, 08:20 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emc View Post
You could switch him to a fully wet diet and see if that helps. Wet cat food is fine to feed them as their main diet; if he's having trouble eating dry food, that may be the issue.

I know you mentioned that you feed wet cat food already - but if im reading correctly, it seems to only be as an occasional treat?
Yes, that's right. I haven't given him regular canned cat food before, but he likes the wellness packets as an occasional treat I'll definitely look into putting him on a wet diet though! I did try soaking his regular food in water each night for a few months, but I stopped doing that a few days ago because I noticed that it was sometimes getting stuck in his mouth while he chewed. He probably would have an easier time eating actual wet cat food though.
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Old 12-06-2019, 08:32 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thats really weird 6g of high fat food not very active and still losing weight?
If that was my girl she would gain so much in a day! (She was lazier but shes more average now)

I would try complete wet food as Emc said and see if that helps at all.
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