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Old 01-17-2012, 06:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default A new owner's questions concerning health/sneezing/diarrhea

Hi! I'm new to hedgehog central and have had my first hedgehog, Humphrey, for a bit over 2 weeks and he is a DOLL. He's huffed at me maybe 3 times before for waking him up and rarely raises a quill besides getting woken up... he's almost too tolerable of us!

ANYHOW, Humphrey had been very snuffly like a little freight train in his sniffing/exploring since I first held him at the breeder's and I found it so endearing at the time that it didn't strike me as a concern. Then when he was sneezing a good amount when I brought him home I of course was worried. For the last few days my cousin had been hedgehog sitting for me at her house because I had to go on a ski trip with my dad/brothers. I had a bad hedge-mommy moment realizing I was weening (or a lack thereof) him off of his food way too fast before sending him off. His breeder gave us a small baggie of what she had fed him, which was a mix of 4 or 5 different cat foods and when I noticed it was running low I started mixing the Purina One Yesterday Chicken/Rice Formula but before I knew it the breeder's food was all gone and i had to fill the bowl with nothing but the new Purina food and send him to my cousin with just that. When I got back yesterday, she told me that he has had diarrhea. When I picked him up there for the first time since I left, he smelled pretty terrible as opposed to him usually smelling like pretty much nothing like a normal hedgehog and for some reason he wasn't quite as snuffly as he had been and hasn't been since.

I decided to switch to fleece because the shavings were probably not helping his sneeze and I had another feeling like a horrible hedge-mommy case realizing how dusty that bedding was as I was throwing it away from his cage. My dad needs to take me shopping for Humphrey's liners asap and I have been using a temporary big white pillowcase to not only hold him by until I buy actual fleece liners but to also be able to better observe his bowels. Since I did that and he has been home I haven't heard a sneeze out of him (YET) which somewhat relieves me. BUT he does have diarrhea and is going potty all over himself in his bed. The rest of the cage just had random little poop smears here and there like he was holding some not let completely out yet diarrhea or had just smeared the floor from getting himself dirty earlier. His poor little tail is covered in hedgey diarrhea. My other huge concern is that he seems to be drinking a normal amount, but does not seem very keen on eating his food.

So, my main questions: Should I attribute this to the swift change in his food and perhaps the stress of going to my cousin's and coming back here? At what point does "oh, its just because these minor things and its probably temporary" have to become an "I need to go to the vet" situation? I don't know how many days/weeks of diarrhea are too many. & it is really smelly. Should I clean the pillowcase daily? Should I be giving him a lot of baths for going potty on himself or at least one full bath and daily footie baths? Is it normal for babies to go in their beds like that?

I'm sorry this is so long I tend to ramble when I'm typing
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Old 01-17-2012, 06:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: A new owner's questions concerning health/sneezing/diarrhea

He's still really young and doesn't have bowel control yet.
His stomach and GI track is still upset over the drastic food change. You want to slowly ween him off of that food, and go to a better brand, such as Chicken Soup for the Cat Lovers Soul Light.
These are the ingredients in the food you're currently feeding:

Chicken, brewers rice, corn gluten meal, poultry by-product meal, wheat flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), whole grain corn, fish meal, soy protein isolate, animal liver flavor, phosphoric acid, potassium chloride, caramel color, choline chloride, salt, calcium carbonate, Vitamin E supplement, taurine, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), sodium selenite.

Those being the first ingredients are bad. It's basically junk food.
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Old 01-17-2012, 06:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: A new owner's questions concerning health/sneezing/diarrhea

Jinxed myself.... just heard a little sneeze!
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Old 01-17-2012, 06:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: A new owner's questions concerning health/sneezing/diarrhea

I'd start getting concerned when you see mucus or drainage from the nose or the eyes (they're all connected).
It could just be from the stress of drastic changes.
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Old 01-17-2012, 06:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: A new owner's questions concerning health/sneezing/diarrhea

Thanks for the food suggestion. I just sort of bought the Purina on a whim when I first got Humphrey because I had previously heard good things. I will probably go get the hedgehog a better quality food and leave the Purina "junk food" for the poor cats since it will be a total upgrade from the nasty Meow Mix my mom insists on buying them (but that's a whole other story )

Would this just stress him out more though? Being switched to one new food and being switched to another new food a days later? It's like I would have to ween him off a food he's not even used to yet to another new food. He's generally completely comfortable around everyone and it didn't seem to take him a long time to get settled in here but I do get that moving him around so much along with a food switch would be stressful on him. After I've settled on a food and he's settle back here enough, I'm just confused on how long after that that the diarrhea and stuff does not have to be a major concern.
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Old 01-17-2012, 06:43 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: A new owner's questions concerning health/sneezing/diarrhea

It's not the best way, but add in a few kibbles of new stuff, and slowly increase the kibble count over a few weeks.
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: A new owner's questions concerning health/sneezing/diarrhea

Thanks. I just got him out of his cage to play and even standing right above the cage I could smell a HORRIBLE smell. After I moved his bed and took him out, the cloth behind it had sticky bright green diarrhea on it which scared me a lot
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Old 01-18-2012, 07:54 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: A new owner's questions concerning health/sneezing/diarrhea

I would highly suggest just leaving his food alone for now. He's had a LOT of changes in the past two weeks - new home, new owner, new food, then going to another new house for hedgiesitting. The food isn't the best food ever, but it's not going to kill him and it's perfectly fine to leave him on for awhile. There's much worse that you could feed him. Just let him get used to it and let his tummy settle down. You can help it out by getting some probiotics at the store (you'd find it in the pharmacy section, called acidophilus) and putting a good sized pinch of it on his food. That'll help restore good bacteria to his stomach and help with the messy poops.

With the sneezing and such, I would keep a very close eye on him. It could be due to the new environment, but it could also be a URI, which can quickly turn dangerous. What temperature do you have him at? Do you have a heating set up for him? It's hard to tell if his symptoms definitely mean URI or if they're all due to other things, since they could all be due to things in the change of houses. If he continues sneezing though, I would definitely suggest looking up exotic vets near you and get him in. If nothing else, it'll be good to have a check up and make sure everything's normal.
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Old 01-18-2012, 08:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: A new owner's questions concerning health/sneezing/diarrhea

It's now day 2 of not touching his food and I don't think he even got out of his poopy bed at all last night
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:17 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: A new owner's questions concerning health/sneezing/diarrhea

Sneezing, not eating, and not active like normal mean he needs to see a vet today. They are all signs of a respiratory infection progressing.
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