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Old 03-23-2013, 12:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default First Vet Trip - Wellness checkup - What to expect/ask?

We have an appointment to take Ama to the vet for her first wellness check up tomorrow to get established.

I like this vet because she has had experience with hedgehogs and the clinic also has emergency services. The only bad thing is it is an hour drive to get there. If for some reason I don't like this vet we have another option that has experience with hedgehogs but they don't have emergency services and are also an hour away.

I am just wondering what I should expect the vet to do when we take her or if there is anything alarming I should watch out for. Also, are there any specific questions that would be good to ask the vet?

Thanks!
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Vet Trip - Wellness checkup - What to expect/ask?

I have no experience with this yet, but I do know you need to make sure they they know they are never ever allowed to give your sweetie Ivermectin. Ever.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Vet Trip - Wellness checkup - What to expect/ask?

I've had one wellness checked since I brought Alice home and two vet trips overall(the first for what I thought was constipation, and the second for URI). What I would expect is they will listen to their heart, and abdomen for bowel sounds. They will check the colour of the fur, and condition its in. The condition of the quills, and check the ears for any drainage, tatters,etc. They will weigh your hedgie and some may ask for a blood sample or stool sample.

If your hedgehog has an issue , they will let you know and the type of meds, etc.

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I have no experience with this yet, but I do know you need to make sure they they know they are never ever allowed to give your sweetie Ivermectin. Ever.
Ivermectin is not recommended by many sites, however, recently it was brought to my attention that an injection of it helped an inner skin mite infection. Just have to be aware that sometimes, the care for hedgehogs changes as we become more and more educated on these tiny creatures
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Old 03-23-2013, 03:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Vet Trip - Wellness checkup - What to expect/ask?

They will likely observe the outside (skin, quills, feel for lumps, abnormalities in limbs, etc.), as well as looking more closely in ears and eyes, if possible. Listen to heart, etc. They may try to get a look at the mouth if hedgie cooperates - they can do this with a wooden tongue depressor or a long q-tip sometimes and get a decent look at teeth & mouth just in general.

Things I would watch out for - keep an eye on how the vet handles your hedgehog. How is their manner, are they gentle or very abrupt and impatient? Obviously vets tend towards the business-like side of handling, to get things done and checked, but they should still be somewhat gentle and patient with them, especially if the hedgehog is nervous and huffing. They shouldn't be trying to wear thick leather gloves - I would expect maybe the usual latex gloves, though. I would also be hesitant if they want to go straight for anesthetizing the hedgehog for a check-up rather than trying it with hedgie awake first, and maybe using a bowl of warm water if they're being a bit uncooperative. Drugs should be avoided if at all possible for wellness exams unless the hedgehog is downright uncooperative, even with water.

Personally, I wouldn't allow Ivermectin to be used either - at least not injected. Topical and oral methods are slightly safer, but regardless, I would still choose Revolution as the first choice for mite treatment if necessary. If Revolution can't help, then other medications could be discussed, but there's no reason not to go with the safer method first.

I would also see how open the vet is to answering questions, explaining their views on surgery, pain relief, etc., ask if they allow for payment plans from regular customers in the event of a huge surgery bill, stuff like that. Keep in mind that many vets like to recommend hedgehog food instead of cat food, simply because there's tests done for hedgehog food with hedgehogs, but not cat food. Not a deal-breaker, really, but they should be willing to leave it alone if you explain that you feel good quality cat food has healthier ingredients and prefer to use it.
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Old 03-23-2013, 09:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Vet Trip - Wellness checkup - What to expect/ask?

Thanks for the advice everyone! I have a better sense about what to expect and feel like I'll be better prepared too.

I would hope that the vet wouldn't even consider anesthetizing her, but I will definitely keep that in my mind in case it is mentioned so that I can say no. Ama is pretty calm with new people (she has been quite the popular little girl since we brought her home!) so I don't really see her being huffy with the vet. Actually, she will probably just try climb all over the vets hands and arms. Haha
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Vet Trip - Wellness checkup - What to expect/ask?

Heh, here's hoping! Lily always did really well for her main vet, I think she liked him. For other vets we saw there, she'd get pretty huffy and uncooperative, though. One vet did end up having to go with a bowl of water for her one visit because she just would not calm down. The only times she was anesthetized was for specific things like a thorough mouth check because of not eating, etc. I ended up taking mealworms with me to all vet visits for bribes/rewards, depending on her behavior. I always liked taking an extra blanket from home too, to lay on the exam table for her to sit on - didn't want her sitting on the cold metal, and I figured having something smell like home might help a little.
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