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Old 03-04-2013, 05:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Needing some help, sorry about the length.

Well I have to say, I have been around this forum without a name or voice for a while now. I dunno where to start. Alright, so about a year ago I was looking into buying a hedgie. Not knowing much at all about the subject, I looked to the internet. I ended up reading a bit on here about things. Just general stuff. Didn't look crazy amounts into it, figured that someone in person would tell me more. We had got into the subject because my girlfriend's sister had been to a pet shop, bought a guinea pig, and saw a 'porcupine'. I knew it had been a hedgehog, and had wanted a pet of my own for quite some time. So we drove there and talked to the owner, we had seen everything there and it had seemed a little meh. Not the best care and such. He had stated he was in contact with the breeder and only had one, but was getting more. I asked to see the one, so he took me over to his area. Was a glass cage, like the hamsters and such, had a water bottle hung from the top, and a bowl of food. The hedgie was in an igloo resting I assumed. He explained that he had him for a while now, no one would buy him because of a growth on his brow. He had said the breeder had it checked out and it was not cancerous or anything, just there. It made sense, if people buying for kids or something, that no one would want him. I told him that it was okay, he didn't need to take him out, but he was pretty insistent that it was alright. He picked him up and out, the hedgie balled up, kinda came out sniffing the air. This part I don't exactly remember, but I asked about the balling up and the guy said it was normal, ended up thinking it was funny to poke him with a pen and make him do it again and again. Upset me a bit. He had said he was about a year old. If anything all of the bad conditions, that I knew ment I should, made me want to more. I knew he wasn't getting good attention, and being handled like that, every time someone wanted to see him. Upset me. I decided I would take him, instead of trying harder to find a younger one. I knew going in there would be plenty of problems. Adjusting, adapting, not being raised well. So we got him, got home. Set everything up, with an area, a space heater. All the food and everything. The guy suggested a nutrient rich hedgehog food the breeder had used. I bought a box and started buying it online. He also suggested Kaycob bedding. Explained its chopped corn cobs so its not dusty and all. Sounded right. Figured for the most part I should stay with what the hedgie was used to. Anyways, got it all set up. Ended up thinking about names. I decided I wanted to call him Odd, short for Oddball. ^-^ Then I fell in love. It took a while, slowly getting him used to me. At first it took a while. I was almost to the point where he would let me pick him up comfortably when I had to move. Just me. I left him with my girlfriend, I was moving to the rest of my family, to live with a long time friend in an apartment and they couldn't tell me. I trusted her, knew she would love him and take good care of him. Well one of the problems she came to find was nail clipping. No groomer around would, its a small town, vets wont even deal with them here. Ended up moving back 2 weeks ago, had been gone 5 months. He remembered me, I finally got to clip his nails. I rushed it because I noticed he seemed to have issues getting up to his food. Well, then paying more attention to him I started noticing things wrong. Lots of things. He would come out of his house, go to his food and just kind of lay down, then it seemed he would have issues getting up. Then I noticed he wasn't walking well. He was kind of stumbling. Then I realized something was missing, my girlfriend had moved (very recently) and there was no space heater like there used to be. Right away after looking on here I figured that was the issue. He fit so many of the hibernation signs. So I instantly got out the heater, had snuggled him some as well. Payed attention to his behavior. Noticed he started eating better, drinking more, wasn't dragging himself. Sighs of relief, then noticed that the stumbling hadn't fully quit, he still falls over sometimes, I remember reading something about wobbly hedgehogs, and am curious about all of that. He shakes at times, not shakes, but yeah he wobbles in place. He has not dragged his legs also is not fatigued anymore. I think those were temperature issues. Now I am just baffled. No vets around will take him, nor do I have money right now. Am working on finding a job after moving but money is very tight right now. Any advice about any of this? Anything else I should pay attention to? Thank you all for your time, and help you may have provided me before. (: Lovely community.
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Old 03-04-2013, 08:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Needing some help, sorry about the length.

Are you absolutely sure he's warm and not hibernating? Make sure his light schedule is right as well - he needs 12-14 hours of light every day, around the same times. You'll want to use a lamp or something for this - natural daylight doesn't always get bright enough, and right now it's still in the process of becoming long enough days again for the northern states. Not enough light can also cause hibernation attempts and signs.

If you're sure he's warm, the temperature & light are fine, then how has he been eating? If his eating was off or he was cold for a long time, it could be the after-effects of this. Make sure he's getting enough food so he's staying strong. How does his body look? Do his sides cave in at all like ) ( or are they straight | | or round ( )? Is he still on the hedgehog food, or have you switched it at all? Most hedgehog foods aren't that nutritious, so I'd be concerned about that too.

Can you tell how his breathing is? Have you noticed him sneezing or wheezing at all, and does his breathing sound clear or congested? Hibernation attempts can also lead to URIs, which do require a vet visit for medication - untreated, it can turn into pneumonia and death. If he'd been cold for awhile before you saw him again, he could definitely have a URI also causing the movement issues.

To be honest, I think he needs a vet visit to check him out - for URI and to see if the vet has any ideas on the wobbliness, since you haven't been around to see how long it's been going on or what other things have been going on that may have led to it. If you're worried about him, I think the best thing for you to do is get some money together, if at all possible, and find a vet for him - you may have to go a bit of a distance to find one, but he sounds like he needs one. Wobbliness and shaking can have a multitude of causes, some curable and some not. It's easy to jump straight to Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome and many people do it, but it's not always that. You could lose him much sooner if you assume it's WHS and it turns out to be something that's faster-acting and could have been fixed with meds. If you don't think you have the ability to get him to a vet, because of money or location, I'd encourage you to contact the Hedgehog Welfare Society and see if they can help you out - http://www.hedgehogwelfare.org/

It's great that you got this guy away from the old owner...that person sounded like a terrible owner for a hedgehog, thinking it's funny to poke him and make him ball up. He needs some more help now though, and I really think he needs a vet visit soon to really check out what's going on with him.
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