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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Location: Manning, Alberta, Canada
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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.
Retired breeder and active HWS rescue station

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Old 06-19-2019, 04:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: London-Surrey, UK
Posts: 1,524

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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