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Old 09-15-2011, 04:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Talking help! old age or something else?

My hog is about 5-6 years old. Everything I read seems to have a different average lifespan, but reading through personal accounts on these forums it sounds like 4-5 years is typical. So I guess my little girl is an old lady.

I've never really had problems with her until recently. Sure, her behavior the last few years isn't as predictable as it used to be, but I assume that's typical. 3 months ago, she lost one of her bottom teeth. At first I freaked out, but there was no blood and she was normal otherwise, I think it just fell out, and she's been fine since. However I've been monitering her extra close lately.

2 weeks ago, I went to hang out with her one afternoon, and to my horror I found some fly maggots in the cage. It's the summer and there've been some flies in the house, didn't think anything of it... It looks like they hatched on a piece of poop trapped under her bedding in the corner I didn't notice; they weren't near/on her, and I immediately spent to whole day cleaning her cage, and washing her thoroughly. I even threw out all her bedding and blankets to replace with new clean ones, and I've been inspecting her constantly to make sure none got on her, in her ears or mouth or quills or anywhere, and I've been keeping everything impeccably clean. I am pretty sure they didn't cause her any problems. For like over a week after that she was completely normal.

Then suddenly, she stopped eating. I wasn't worried, sometimes she decides to get picky but she always gets over it soon enough. She's still really active and running and walking normal and at normal temperature. But then she still wasn't eating and I checked her out, and discovered she's lost her other bottom tooth. I crushed her kibble and left half of it dry and have of it really mushy with warm water to see which she'd prefer. She ate a little, not much but figured she was just being picky with the "new" food.

Last night, I came home and heard her sniffing like crazy, as if there was some super strong weird ordour but there were no new smells in my house... She also seemed hyper almost, running around her cage frantically. She still hadn't eaten or pooped much so I scooped up a bit of mush and just put it near her mouth a bit. She seemed interested, sniffed at it, and then started vomitting this greeny blueish foam!! It wasn't much at all, but she has never ever vomitted before and hasn't again so far. Right after, it was like she was annointing, licking her mouth lots and foaming a bit... Then started running around again frantically. I tried all night to to get her to eat, offered different levels of food from runny to mushy to dry, but she just wouldn't, just seemed freaked out about something and wanted to run on her wheel. Finally I just left her alone because it seemed that's what she wanted, and I don't know what else I can do.

This is the worst timing as I'm leaving for 4 days so my roommates will have to feed her- I plan to just have them leave out a variety of soft foods. She MUST take to something, right? She won't just willfully starve herself.. Unless there is something else going on. But if she was sick I would expect some lethargy or weakness. I will try to get a syringe to feed her when I'm back if it's still a problem but I don't think it's necessary, she's definitely capable of eating herself, she just won't.

Am I wrong in thinking the maggots and her tooth loss/vomitting is unrelated? What's with the vomit? Besides the maggots, are these just the unfortunate inevitable symptoms of old age?I feel really, really bad for having to leave tomorrow but I simply can't cancel. And honestly, I love my pet dearly but at this age I don't think I will take her to the vet. I'll do what I can to help her but if this is her time I think it's best to let nature run its course rather than drag it out if she is suffering. I will at least talk to a vet though asap.

Any insight or advice is appreciated, as to what may be going on, what I can do, and also how I can keep her comfortable at this time. I cut up some old pajamas that smell like me to make her feel at ease while I'm away. Hopefully she'll prove my worrying wrong, she's always been a tough cookie.

Thanks (and sorry for the length)
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Old 09-15-2011, 04:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: help! old age or something else?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Esther
My hog is about 5-6 years old. Everything I read seems to have a different average lifespan, but reading through personal accounts on these forums it sounds like 4-5 years is typical. So I guess my little girl is an old lady.

I've never really had problems with her until recently. Sure, her behavior the last few years isn't as predictable as it used to be, but I assume that's typical. 3 months ago, she lost one of her bottom teeth. At first I freaked out, but there was no blood and she was normal otherwise, I think it just fell out, and she's been fine since. However I've been monitering her extra close lately.

2 weeks ago, I went to hang out with her one afternoon, and to my horror I found some fly maggots in the cage. It's the summer and there've been some flies in the house, didn't think anything of it... It looks like they hatched on a piece of poop trapped under her bedding in the corner I didn't notice; they weren't near/on her, and I immediately spent to whole day cleaning her cage, and washing her thoroughly. I even threw out all her bedding and blankets to replace with new clean ones, and I've been inspecting her constantly to make sure none got on her, in her ears or mouth or quills or anywhere, and I've been keeping everything impeccably clean. I am pretty sure they didn't cause her any problems. For like over a week after that she was completely normal.

Then suddenly, she stopped eating. I wasn't worried, sometimes she decides to get picky but she always gets over it soon enough. She's still really active and running and walking normal and at normal temperature. But then she still wasn't eating and I checked her out, and discovered she's lost her other bottom tooth. I crushed her kibble and left half of it dry and have of it really mushy with warm water to see which she'd prefer. She ate a little, not much but figured she was just being picky with the "new" food.

Last night, I came home and heard her sniffing like crazy, as if there was some super strong weird ordour but there were no new smells in my house... She also seemed hyper almost, running around her cage frantically. She still hadn't eaten or pooped much so I scooped up a bit of mush and just put it near her mouth a bit. She seemed interested, sniffed at it, and then started vomitting this greeny blueish foam!! It wasn't much at all, but she has never ever vomitted before and hasn't again so far. Right after, it was like she was annointing, licking her mouth lots and foaming a bit... Then started running around again frantically. I tried all night to to get her to eat, offered different levels of food from runny to mushy to dry, but she just wouldn't, just seemed freaked out about something and wanted to run on her wheel. Finally I just left her alone because it seemed that's what she wanted, and I don't know what else I can do.

This is the worst timing as I'm leaving for 4 days so my roommates will have to feed her- I plan to just have them leave out a variety of soft foods. She MUST take to something, right? She won't just willfully starve herself.. Unless there is something else going on. But if she was sick I would expect some lethargy or weakness. I will try to get a syringe to feed her when I'm back if it's still a problem but I don't think it's necessary, she's definitely capable of eating herself, she just won't.

Am I wrong in thinking the maggots and her tooth loss/vomitting is unrelated? What's with the vomit? Besides the maggots, are these just the unfortunate inevitable symptoms of old age?I feel really, really bad for having to leave tomorrow but I simply can't cancel. And honestly, I love my pet dearly but at this age I don't think I will take her to the vet. I'll do what I can to help her but if this is her time I think it's best to let nature run its course rather than drag it out if she is suffering. I will at least talk to a vet though asap.

Any insight or advice is appreciated, as to what may be going on, what I can do, and also how I can keep her comfortable at this time. I cut up some old pajamas that smell like me to make her feel at ease while I'm away. Hopefully she'll prove my worrying wrong, she's always been a tough cookie.

Thanks (and sorry for the length)
I am no expert on older hedgie but they will stop eating all together if its been a few days from feeling icky she needs to be syringe fed and probably a vet visit immediately to be sure its nothing more then old age.

Syringe feeding seems to be the best option especially if you cannot verify her eating on her own before you plan on leaving.
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Old 09-15-2011, 05:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: help! old age or something else?

It sounds like she needs to get to a vet ASAP. Irratic behavior sounds like there is a problem. If you don't want to have her treated, you can still go to the vet for an office visit and find out what the problem is. If it's something you don't want to treat, then you need to have her euthenized, rather than let her die of starvation. Dying of starvation is very painful.

Since you are going away, you need to find someone willing to take her to the vet and provide the necessary care. She CANNOT wait 4 days.
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Old 09-15-2011, 05:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: help! old age or something else?

The teeth thing is not a big deal. If they loose one it is fine but if she lost two... i am not sure about that, and blueish greenish foam, could it be the blankets? She could be eating that if her blankets are blue or green or just annointing it. The flies in the poop could carry desieases and you should take her to the vet befor you leave. That is all I know, mamybe wait till someone with more experience comes along to answer the questions
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Old 09-15-2011, 05:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: help! old age or something else?

The color of her vomit is caused by the bile in her stomach. It happens when they have nothing in their stomach. Your little girl needs to see a veterinarian ASAP. Syringe feeding her may or may not work. It may only make her vomit more. If she continues to vomit when you syringe feed, you need to talk to your vet about getting medication to help settle her stomach. Pepcid & tagamet may be prescribed (these are available over the counter) or carafate may be prescribed. Also talk to your vet about get her a sub-q of fluids.

It is impossible to determine what is causing all these problems. It could be cancer related, it could be infection, or some other problem. Those are things that a veterinarian will need to determine. Make an appointment.
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Old 09-16-2011, 12:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: help! old age or something else?

Thanks everyone. I will get her to a vet asap. I do not want her to be in pain.
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Old 09-16-2011, 01:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: help! old age or something else?

Please keep us posted on how she's doing.
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