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Old 07-07-2013, 05:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Please help my poor hedgehog (new owner and scared).

This is a long story but I think it needs to be told in order to find a solution.

Okay so on tuesday 6/28 I bought Roscoe, a 1yr old hedgehog from some girl on craigslist. I always wanted one and I knew it would be a big challenge but I figured, as with all things on craigslist, he'd be better off in my care than some random person looking for a cheap exotic.
Anyway, It came with his wheel, a 104L plastic tub, a cup of his food (which i later found out was meow mix) and a handful of aspen bedding. He didn't like me, fair enough he was sketched out.
So I tried to keep up what his old owner did by using Aspen bedding (first mistake) for about a week and a half. However the food she gave me only lasted through one night so I bought more food of a different type (Friskies Natural Sensations....second mistake). Anyway about a week after doing this I noticed his attitude was changing. Normally he hates me and everyone but then he started being more lethargic and not caring if strangers poked him. And sometimes his nose rattled when he breathed, like it was a little more wet than usual. I thought it was weird but I couldn't find a vet in time (it was nearing the 4th and the hedgehog vet isn't in until july 8th). I bought him a heating pad to keep on my lap when we spent "bonding time" together. I think that was a good idea anyway.
Finally it all came to a head when he started having severe diarrhea by 7/3, and on 4th of july night I came home to find him SITTING a poop covered wheel, feet bleeding. I was so scared out of my mind....he even let me bathe him for the first time which was just totally a sign of him not being too responsive. Not to mention, he wasn't even freaked out when I was crying and apologizing with him in my arms until 5am. The only food I fed him that night was 6 mealworms that he happily ate. At least he still had a good appetite.
It was then that (7/5) that I ran to the fabric store and changed his Aspen litter to Fleece, which was the best thing i could have done at the moment. And against my wishes to feed him something better than meow mix, i bought him that too. But he did a complete turn around by 7/6, he had normal, solid poops and he went back to acting sketchy around me. I usually clean his poop covered wheel every day with a scrub brush but now i'm using fragrance free, sensitive skin pampers baby wipes too. But still, I made a vet appointment and I could tell he lost a few quills off his forehead.
And so brings me to today. His wheel looks untouched, and he's been hiding under the fleece all day so far. He sleeps all the time anyway but usually he wakes up to drink. I also could tell for the first time that he's losing more quills, I can even see them in the tank. I'm so confused, i dont know what else to do. Please help?!!


p.s. what type of soap should I use when washing his fleece blankets in the washing machine?
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds like he might have a URI? the tub you have him in, does it have ventilation holes? If not, you need to do that. I would also highly recommend you find a better food. There are a ton of suggestions on the Diet and Nutrition board. Sometimes hedgehogs loose quills when they are ill or stressed. Right now your best bet is to wait for the vet appointment. I would also look into a vet that is available more often.
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by JulieAnne View Post
Sounds like he might have a URI? the tub you have him in, does it have ventilation holes? If not, you need to do that. I would also highly recommend you find a better food. There are a ton of suggestions on the Diet and Nutrition board. Sometimes hedgehogs loose quills when they are ill or stressed. Right now your best bet is to wait for the vet appointment. I would also look into a vet that is available more often.
It doesn't have holes but it's a completely open top. Also, with URI, I've heard that means he tried to slip into hibernation...i keep my (shared) apartment between 75 and 76 degrees. still too cold?
Also, the food i tried feeding him was 23% crude protein, 9% crude fat, and the top 3 ingredients are Chicken meal, brewers rice, and salmon. And he reacted so badly with that, I can't believe a food with 31% crude protein, 11% fat, and ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, and chicken by-product got him on track again. i'm totally confused. I tried feeding him chicken breast, bananas, and greenbeans and he wont go near any of it.

Also another big concern of mine, that vet being the only one within 2 hours away, is that they will probably want to sedate him for the exam. I am absolutely against this. What should i tell them?
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Old 07-07-2013, 07:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Best recommendations are:
1. Check out different types of food. Do your own research.minuse Taste of the Wild, but that may not work for your guy. Search, educate yourself, and make as well-informed a decision as possible.
2. Look into making a cage or buying a bigger one. Tubs work temporarily, but don't make the best permanent home because they are limited in terms of space. There are instructions all over here to make a custom cage and they aren't extremely expensive either. Mine ended up being about $50 including the coroplast and a new wheel.
3. My female has to have it almost 80 at all times or she will try to hibernate. I'm not sure why, but that's just her. Get a cage thermometer and keep very close tabs on it. He will have the best chances if you monitor it closely.
4.give him lots of time and be patient. He's sick, though getting better, but we all get cranky when we're sick! I would also spend time getting him used to being held before the vet. It may not be possible for them to check everything without sedating him as cranky as he is, but give them as much of a reason not to if you can; just voice your concerns and they should be open to helping you out.

Best of luck!
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Old 07-07-2013, 10:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It sounds like your hedgie could have a URI, if he does he won't get better without antibiotics and it can quickly turn to pneumonia which can be fatal. Try switching food slowly, fast switches can upset their stomach and cause poop issues.
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Old 07-08-2013, 12:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Sounds like you'll be getting your little guy into the vet soon, let us know how that goes and what he says!

As far as the food and upset tummy issue, you need to make the transition to a new food slowly... start with mostly the old food but add a little of the new food, then a mix of half and half of each, then mostly the new food... there is a list of recommended foods on this forum to choose from. Most people will make a blend of 2-3 of the recommended foods. I use Purina One Beyond (Beyond is good, the rest of Purina is crap).

For cleaning Thistle's cage and wheel, I started using white vinegar to avoid chemicals and added scents, then I do an extra rinse with plain water to get out the vinegar smell (which goes away on its own eventually).

And for washing the fleece liners be sure to use detergent "free of dyes and perfumes".

Good luck with your new little guy! This a great place to come to seek advice or just read about all things hedgie! Also, here is the best care book available, its by Lizardgirl who is also on this forum: http://www.westcoasthedgehogs.com/fi...ook/index.html
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Old 07-08-2013, 12:30 AM   #7 (permalink)
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As far as the vet goes... if you are completely against it.. tell the vet. They cannot do something you say no to. Be polite and offer to help them get comfortable with him. The vet I used to work for doesn't normally see exotics, or hedgehogs, but I had him look at Ivy once just for my peace of mind. I had to show him how to do some things and he had to do some research but it ended up fine.

My point is... your vet cannot and should not do anything you say they can't do. They should be willing to research things or ask you questions if they don't know something.

When you take your baby to the vet take a blanket or something to put on the examination table so it's not so cold and scary!
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Ivy became a part of my family on May 1st, 2013.


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Old 07-08-2013, 01:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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What type of wheel does he have? It MUST have a solid running surface. Do not use silent spinners or wheels with a wire mesh surface.

I would defiantly recommend changing the food to a higher quality product. I will list some high quality cat food brands i know are ok for hedgehogs.

~Blue Buffalo
~Innova
~Wellness
~Natural Balance
~Evolve
~Nature's Variety Instinct

Do not change your hedgehogs for to commercial hedgehog food.

NOTE: If any of you could add to my list of high quality cat foods that would be great.


I think that just the lid off of the bin does not give enough air flow. I'd sudjest to make lots of holes on the side of the bin.

Do you have a vet near you that takes hedgehogs? It sounds like to me that your hedgehog needs vet attention asap.
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