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Old 09-23-2013, 06:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy New owner, wheezing hedgie, HELP! :(

I just got a 7 week old female hedgehog from a reputable breeder (peepsnpaws.com). I have her cage set up with the aspen they gave me, and I have a heat emitter but I'm afraid to rest it on the cage since the cage is a white wire cage, not sure if the coating on the wire can catch fire. But I just woke up because my baby is wheezing in her sleep, it's not like a typical sneeze, more like a loud wheeze/cough every minute or so, sometimes more often. I'm really worried, I just got her 2 days ago my room is chilly, it's only in the 40s outside right now and my room is on two outdoor walls. I wrapped a blanket around the cage and put the heat emitter as close to the wire top as I can get it without touching.

Any suggestions? Should I change out her bedding for fleece liners and see if it's just the dust making her wheeze? I'm new to all of this thank you!
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Do you have a thermometer for the cage? If not, you need to get one so you can know exactly what the temp is. A digital one with a probe would be the best thing, you can get them pretty cheap at a store like Walmart. I would go ahead and rest the emitter on the bars - they shouldn't catch on fire, it just might scorch the coating...but I think you should be good to go.

Yeah, I'd try taking the aspen out and see if maybe she's having a reaction to that. Change it out today, if you can and see if she improves by tomorrow. If she doesn't, I'd book a vet appointment for as soon as you can get one, in case it's an URI. The sooner you can an URI and start treating, the better.

Good luck and sorry you and your baby are already having issues! Hopefully it's just a reaction to the aspen.
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Old 09-23-2013, 10:21 AM   #3 (permalink)
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As Kelsey mentioned above, try taking the Aspen out and use a fleece liner or if you do not have the liner then try carefresh until you can get fleece liners. I have a pet rat that wheezed and coughed and once I took out the aspen the wheezing went right away. I also have 2 guinea pigs that use carefresh also due to their wheezing with the aspen. My new rescue hedgie (tribbles) came with wood shavings and now I have him in carefresh until his new cage arrived and I can measure everything and make the correct size liners.
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I have 2 10" CHE lamps with 100 watt bulbs both resting directly on the cage (coated wire). It's safe because the bulbs are far back in the lamp enough that they don't touch the wire. You should be totally fine. Keep us updated on your little guy!
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Old 09-23-2013, 12:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If you don't have fleece, I'd actually try using a sheet or pillow case instead of Carefresh - Carefresh can cause respiratory issues too, with the dust.
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Old 09-23-2013, 01:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone, I got her an appointment with the vet tomorrow. I have used care fresh with my pet rats in the past as well, maybe that will work, I'm thinking fleece will be less expensive though since it's washable. I think I will try fleece first to cut down on dust even more and maybe try care fresh once she seems better. I wrapped a blanket around the outside of the cage and rested the CHE on top, so hopefully she's warm enough. I'll keep you all updated. Thank you!
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I took her to the vet yesterday, they said her lungs sound alright and to monitor her and call back if she gets worse so I can get her antibiotics. She's still eating and drinking, but seems not very active (hard for me to tell since I've only had her since Saturday) and she's still sneezing and has a little bit of a goopy nose. Should I call them back?

Also I got a thermometer for the cage and it says it's 82 degrees.. Is that too hot?
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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It's on the warm side, but go by her behavior. If she seems too warm (splatting on her belly, sleeping more out in the open, etc.), then I'd lower it. You could also try lowering it a couple degrees to see if she is more active, or if she even shows any change. 78-80 might be a better temperature range.

Babies do tend to sleep a LOT, so the inactivity might be normal. Can you tell if she runs on her wheel at all or not? If she doesn't, that might point to too-high temps and/or illness.

Have you been able to change the bedding at all yet? That's good that the lungs sounded good, but the continued sneezing and nose now being runny is concerning to me. Don't forget to make sure detergent to wash liners/sheets/whatever you want to use for temporary liners is either scent-free or at least a very light scent. It may not smell strongly to us, but they have their nose up close to it constantly, so it can bother some hedgehogs more.
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yes, she needs to go back for antibiotics if she's still sneezing and gooping. It won't go away on it's own.

82 is pretty high. Aim for somewhere between 74-78. Set it around 77-78 for at least a couple weeks since she's sick, but 74-78 is a normal range.
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Okay, I'll move the heat emitter up a few inches and see if that helps. I don't have a way to control the amount of heat that comes out of it, it's just a Fluker's dome lamp with a ceramic heat emitter :/. She runs on her wheel for a little bit, but not much. Maybe a couple hours each night. Still eating though. I did use regular detergent on the fleece when I got it, but I put it on an extra rinse cycle and I'm going to buy some unscented kind soon. She has still been sleeping in her igloo or under fleece, so it doesn't seem like she's too hot, but I don't want to take any chances with her overheating and having a cold she has been sleeping in my sweatshirt pocket for a few hours now. The vet said she would call me tomorrow about the results of her fecal testing, so I'll ask about antibiotics then. Anyone know how much those usually cost?
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