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Old 11-23-2010, 02:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default New owner - help!

I adopted my little guy two weeks ago. He is over 4 years old. I took him to the vet for a nail trim as his nails were really long, curling, and asked for a little hoggy physical as well. Apparently he's not in very good health. He has very few teeth left, and has a mass in his abdomen. The vet suggested not to do a biopsy/scan/x-rays because of his age.

I realise that these little guys are very sensitive to new surroundings, but he just likes to sleep. That's all he does! I have a heater (with thermostat) next to his cage, so I don't believe he's cold. He seems to have a good appetite and drinks a fair amount of water. He only eats his dry cat food (I use the same brand as the previous owner). I've tried wet cat food (different brands and flavors), meal worms, fruit, cottage cheese. He ignores it all and goes straight for the dry food (which I now soak in warm water on the advise of the vet).
He doesn't appear to enjoy physical contact. He hisses quite often, and goes straight to his blanket/t-shirt as soon as possible. Is this because he's still getting used to me? Is he too old to get into a new routine? I'm not sure how much physical contact the previous owner had. I know they are supposed to get a fair amount of exercise, but he gets none at all. He ignores the hedgehog wheel I bought.

My question is: should I just let him sleep, or should I try and get him to be a bit more physical? When he hisses, should I back off and leave him alone? Or try and coax him to be a bit more adventurous. Right now, I leave him alone when he hisses as I don't want to distress him. Occasionally he will sit on my lap and sleep for a while, but most often he won't settle down. I'm okay with leaving him to sleep if that's what is best for him.
I just want him to be happy! I'd appreciate any advice.
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Old 11-23-2010, 02:54 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: New owner - help!

Welcome Wooshey to HHC

I'm not an expert but first I want to say you've done a good thing adopting that guy. I'm not totally sure on the sleeping, but I think its because of his age. If he's over 4 years old, that would put him roughly 71+ years old in human years, so he's a senior citizen, and the elderly do enjoy snoozing a lot. So that's probably why he's sleeping all the time, especially if he's warm and on a light cycle.

As for the hissing, its indeed because he's in a new home, and in general, especially if he's sleeping, hedgehogs tend to be grumpy about being woken up, the young and the old. But its probably more the new home, it takes time for them to get use to a new place, and I think its more so when they're older. Same with exercise, they are very active and your typical hedgehog can run on a wheel up to 10 miles or more, but again due to his age, he's probably not interested.

I hope that helps out some, other members will give you their own advise, I haven't had a hedgehog long enough to get into the senior years, so they can probably give you advise on making him comfortable. I know extra heat is always a good thing, the vet was right on the kibble since his teeth are worn and gone.
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Old 11-23-2010, 03:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: New owner - help!

Kudos to you for taking in an elderly hog! I hope the little guy has plenty more time to enjoy in your care. Sounds like you are doing great so far, and that you have a good vet. I'm not sure at his age that you'd want to try and change too much, besides necessary ones for his health (such as offering a better quality food, or what not). He may never get around to enjoying handling, but just letting him sleep in a blanket in your lap will help with bonding. Do you have a scale that will weigh in grams? As long as he can ball up tightly (i.e. covering up his face), he shouldn't be overweight and it's okay if he doesn't run on his wheel. Letting him run around in a bathtub or on the floor helps (keep an eye on him if he's on the floor, make sure no hairs get caught around his legs, etc). If he's not interested in being active I'd just let him do what he likes, he's an old guy and would appreciate it.

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Old 11-23-2010, 10:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: New owner - help!

Welcome to HHC & congrats on your hedgie! I think it's wonderful you took him in. Even if all he wants to do is sleep, I'm sure you will get much joy from having him around.
My girl Zoey is missing some teeth also. I'm sure he really appreciates the moistened kibble.


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