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Old 12-09-2013, 12:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hedgie less active

Hi everyone!

So my Quilbur has phases of lots of activity, and then hardly any. For the past three days, she might have been active for a total of 10 hours. Even if she gets out to eat and run, she will do that for 20 minute increments and then go back to sleep. I'm not sure why this is happening. I'll try to be as specific as I can be with her health:

1. She is a rescue baby, and the woman that owned her before and didn't know anything about hedgehogs. When we adopted her, she claimed she was six months. She looked too small to be that old, so we guessed about two to three months. We've designated January to be her birth month, so she's probably going on a year old.

2. I feed her Simply Nourish Chicken and Rice cat food. I put about 70 pieces in her bowl every night and she will normally eat most of it. She ONLY eats her dry cat food. She's EXTREMELY picky and won't eat any treats I try to give her. It's a task to get her to even take a mealworm! She's eaten (maybe) five in the almost year I've had her.

3. I have her in a C&C cage, and I only use fleece liners that I clean every other day with Arm and Hammer unscented sensitive skin laundry detergent.

4. The temperature is controlled in the room she is in. Since it's winter, I have a space heater that keeps the room at a pretty steady 75 degrees.

5. She had a URI last month, but I caught it in the VERY early stages, so she was medicated quickly and recovered with no complications.

6. Since we're assuming she isn't a year old yet, it should be the reason for her spurts of quilling. Recently, she's been losing about 10 a day.

7. The quilling is the culprit for her dry skin, and I apply Vitamin E drops on her skin once every other week.

8. She has dark, solid poops, but her urine is pretty yellow. I know she drinks water (I hear her drinking at night), but maybe she needs more?

9. Her eyes are bright and clear, and her nose isn't dry, but it isn't wet. It's a healthy medium.


Anyone see any red flags other than the urine? I'm just completely stumped.
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Old 12-09-2013, 01:31 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Maybe mild dehydration. You can try giving her water-rich treats (watermelon, lettuce...), but it can be a losing battle.

You can try cranking her heat a little bit? Some hedgehogs are more sensitive than others, and some need warmer temperatures as they get older. Then again, being too warm can also cause inactivity, but it'd be a bit weird to be too hot at 75F.

Can you use a handheld thermometer to check temperatures at her cage, make sure she's not in a draft or coldspot?

If she's currently quilling or going through a growth spurt, that's a reason to be sleeping all the time.

If she's too old for quilling, it could be quill-loss from mites or skin infection? Can you see any new quills poking through her skin? Are the ones lost small-ish? You could pre-emptively treat for mites -- Revolution is very low risk (possible irritation from allergic reaction, but usually no reaction)...
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Old 12-09-2013, 02:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'll get a thermometer soon to keep a closer watch on the temperature, and maybe try a different temperature if she continues like this.

I saw a few new quills poking through a couple weeks ago, but I'll keep checking on her skin to make sure they still are. The quills that are lost are normally pretty large, full-grown quills, not small. Unfortunately, she does not do well with vet visits at all. We haven't been able to get a good skin check yet for her prior visits. But if there's a possibility of mites, then I'll still take her in and hope that something can be done. If it can be pre-emptively be treated, then I might not need to torture her by bringing her in. (:
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Old 12-09-2013, 02:49 AM   #4 (permalink)
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When my little guy had mites while quilling, the vet didn't find any mites on him, but spotted eggs on the base of the quills I brought in. The quills I brought were mostly bare, normal bulbs, but two had obvious skin-tags; I think those are the ones he saw the eggs on.
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Old 12-09-2013, 03:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Most of your notes look good and don't show any obvious problems.

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My notes represent a specific case. Wheel times vary and sometimes there's no figuring why. You just have to take a long view and try to connect activity level changes to behavior changes. If you can't make connections, then just keep observing and making notes. If you can make connections, then good luck figuring out how to make changes. Ha! Sometimes all you can do is watch.

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Quote:
So my Quilbur has phases of lots of activity, and then hardly any.
Sophie's wheel time is much less predictable than it used to be. When she was a baby, and through many months, she ran and ran and ran, racking up whopping averages for total time and average time. (February 2012 - December 2012)

Then her activity leveled dropped quite a lot. (December 2012 - February 2013)

Then her activity level dropped through the floor. (March 2013)

She developed severe cystitis. No telling how long that she was not visibly ill. Right around the time her running dropped through the floor, she began presenting blood-in-urine. I saw it in the water in her mini-baths. It got worse. A lot worse. I added a white fleece layer over her litter pads to get daily observations of pee quantity and coloration. (Something that I have continued.)

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Quote:

2. . . . She ONLY eats her dry cat food. . . .

8. She has dark, solid poops, but her urine is pretty yellow. I know she drinks water (I hear her drinking at night), but maybe she needs more?
.................................................. .......................

I am NOT saying that your situation ought be equated with Sophie's. I am presenting a single case that has some similarities to what you describe; similarities which may not be at all relevant to your situation.

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After thorough testing, the vet was on the right track with her diagnosis of cystitis and moderate dehydration, but never made a clear and direct connection to diet. On my own, I have since learned that many vets and owners (especially in the cat community) are very negative on dry food diets, considering them to be outright dangerous.

The feeling is that dry food is physiologically inappropriate to start with and can directly contribute to dehydration, which worsens an illness even more.

.................................................. .......................

Sophie is now on a 100% wet-food diet (which includes some ground kibble). Very modest improvement was seen fairly quickly. It took many weeks for blood-in-urine to reduce to a minimal level and many more weeks for it stop completely. She is, however, now completely cured of cystitis and hydration level has been restored.

Wheel time is much improved, though well below her old averages. I have to allow that wheel time may have dropped anyway as she gets older. Also, she has more variance in her average time, which also might happen anyway.

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I used to think that her urine was fine; what I thought to be a light yellow. I see now that I was wrong. With her new diet and increased hydration, I recognize that her urine was a much stronger yellow than I thought. NOW it is a light yellow.

Her water consumption had long bothered me, dropping from 60 ml a night as a baby, to 11 - 14 ml at her sickest. It is now, despite a highly hydrated diet (from a nearly completely dry diet), up to 20 - 32 ml.

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(Average speed on the wheel peaked at about 1.9 mph and dropped to barely 1.3 mph. That has increased slightly, to 1.35 - 1.55 mph.)

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Not everybody can open Excel files, so I've dropped Sophie's lifetime wheel times into a Word .docx

http://www.serenebreezes.com/Sophies...me-posted.docx

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Quote:
6. Since we're assuming she isn't a year old yet, it should be the reason for her spurts of quilling. Recently, she's been losing about 10 a day.
Some hedgehogs quill at about one year. At about one year Sophie dropped two to five quills a day for a week or two. Pretty minor, really. No noticed behavior change at that time.
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Old 12-09-2013, 03:06 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Unfortunately, she does not do well with vet visits at all. We haven't been able to get a good skin check yet for her prior visits.
That could be a plus for this. If she balls up, you should get an excellent look at her skin and the base of many quills over most of her back. The skin because it is stretched taut, is highly visible when hedgehogs are in a ball.
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Old 12-09-2013, 02:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I checked her skin this morning, and sure enough, there are still a few quills poking through! I gave her an oatmeal bath (which she LOVES), and added a couple more Vitamin E drops to the bath. Hopefully it soothes her a bit. She even drank a bit of water when I put her back in her cage (a good sign, I hope!) But I'll still keep a watch on her skin. If I suspect anything else other than typical quilling dry skin, then I'll bring her in immediately.
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Old 12-09-2013, 02:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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She's lucky it's finals week for me...I got lucky this semester and only have one written final, so today is a stay at home and study/cuddle day. I'll be watching her all day. (:
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Old 12-09-2013, 02:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Could she possibly be pregnant? Mines pregnant and acting the same way!
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Old 12-09-2013, 03:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Sounds like it's probably quilling, then. No petting her back, lots of snuggles, oatmeal baths, and patience. It's totally normal to sleep a lot during quilling -- growing is hard work, and I certainly love to sleep when I'm feeling miserable!
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