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Old 01-26-2012, 05:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Possible Hibernation?

Hello everyone and thank you for this wonderful fountain of knowledge. I am picking up a hedgie soon that has been kept in a room with no heat (outside temps in 30's-40's) and "sleeps a lot". I am very worried about her and am nearly positive she's trying to hibernate. I've picked up some wellness indoor cat to switch her to (She's on Meow Mix) but I'm very worried. What should I do to help bring her out of hibernation? I know nothing of her other than she gets grumpy and sleeps. I have a bit of knowledge on hedgies thanks to a friend owning one and I've been tearing this site up reading. I have already found a loving and well known home for her but she will be with us for an unknown length of time, probably until I'm sure she's okay. Any and all help is very greatly appreciated. Thank you all <3
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Old 01-26-2012, 06:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Possible Hibernation?

Is it at all possible for whoever has her now to get the temperature up? How long until you go pick her up? If they refuse to raise the temperature, I'd see if you can go get her ASAP, she could already have some major issues if she really has been attempting hibernation or even just been a little too cool for long enough.

When you do go get her, make sure you're prepared to keep her warm. Have a carrier with lots of fleece in it and some handwarmers (make sure she can't get to them, put them in socks or wrap them in fleece). Feel her belly when you get your hands on her and see if it's cold or cool. If it is, she's definitely attempting hibernation. My favorite way to warm up hibernating hedgie (done this a few times, both with Lily and a pet store hedgie) is just to stick them under your shirt, against your skin. No risk of burning them, and you'll be able to kind of monitor them as they warm up. However, if you don't have the time to hang around and warm her up against you, I'd get her in her carrier, make sure there's no drafts and she can get close to the handwarmers and get her home. If it's a long drive, stop and check on her every 15 minutes until you can tell she's warming up. If she hasn't started to warm up and become more active in an hour, you need to get her to a vet ASAP.

Once you have her home, I'd keep the temperature for her cage around 75 at first, until you can see how she does. If she's not used to the heat, it may feel too warm for her, or it may be perfect. Watch her for clues - splatting out or lack of activity can be signs of too warm. Lack of activity, wobbly walking, and cool belly are all obviously signs of hibernation. Once you know she's warm, you can let her be to settle into her new home.

Also, I'd make sure you have a good vet lined up and you're able to get her there in a day's notice if needed. URIs and pneumonia can often be caused by hibernation attempts, or being kept too cool for too long. Personally I'd take her in after a week at least (or before, if she's showing any symptoms), just to be safe. A hedgehog I rescued once was kept with no heat in a high school classroom. She had some other issues, but didn't have any sneezing, runny nose, or anything. A month after I passed her on to a hedgehog rescuer, she ended up passing away from pneumonia because it wasn't caught.

Sorry for the overload of information! I hope some of it is a help to you, at least. And we'd love to see pics of the little one once you have her, before she goes to her new home!
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Old 01-26-2012, 08:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Possible Hibernation?

We got her shortly after I posted thankfully. I tried to check on her and she just hissed and shivered so I was afraid of stressing her out even more and getting bit. I placed her blanket back ontop of her and set a large heating pad on top in place of her igloo and turned it on low. I have ferrets so my vet is well versed in exotics, plus my friend's hedgie had mites so he brought her there. I have her in a dark quiet room right now. No idea on age. I wanted to get slow heat to her ASAP and leave her be before doing even more damage. She was getting up and eating and she was taken out here and there. She's in a piggie cage, should I wrap most of it in saran wrap (vet suggested it for my sick lovebird once) or blankets to help keep heat in? I can turn the pad up quite higher and place it on top to help heat the cage. I use that pad a bit so I know how high it can get. The new owners were thinking of getting her tomorrow but I avised them not to and to let me make sure she's okay first. I'd hate for them to miss something and I'm no stranger to nursing sick animals back to health. I'm positive this all stems from misinformation.
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Old 01-26-2012, 08:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm trying to feel her belly but she just freaks out. Picked her up in the blanket and she sounded rather like an idling engine. When I came downstairs she was shuffling around under the blanket. Right now she's drinking and nibbling food. Is there a sound that helps calm them down? I'm afraid I'm sounding like I'm hissing back to her. Oh! Her eyes look bright, nose clear, no mite ear discharge. Her ears hoewever look very ratty on the ends like they've been chewed on. She's been alone some time, possible old wound from when she was a wee one? They don't look new... Her fur is very nice and bright white.
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Possible Hibernation?

If you have a thermometer, put it in the cage so you can keep track of the temperature. The heating pad isn't the best thing, since the air needs to be warm too. It does sound like she's warm though, and blankets around the cage would help keep it warm as well. And if the heating pad is all you have for heating, putting it on top and turning it up may be more effective for heating the cage air rather than just the floor. Keep in mind that temperature fluctuations can lead to a hibernation attempt as well, so you want to keep the temp steady as well as warm.

Sounds like she's better off than I was thinking, though, that's good! The ratty ears are likely just from dry skin. They get tattered looking, like they have fungus or something on them. I wouldn't worry about it, it's not a huge deal. If she gets more comfortable with you though (or a tip to pass on to the future owners), you can get some vaseline or flaxseed oil or something and rub it on her ears. That'll help get them nice and moisturized and clean looking again, given time.

I'm sure you'll get some other comments and such from our awesome mods like Nancy and Kalandra, but personally, I'd keep her for a week or two and see how she does before giving her to a new home, especially if they're inexperienced with animals/hedgies. That way you can be sure she doesn't have any issues, especially a URI or anything, before she goes to her new family.
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Possible Hibernation?

http://i735.photobucket.com/albums/ww35 ... 48db05.jpg
http://i735.photobucket.com/albums/ww35 ... b1492b.jpg
http://i735.photobucket.com/albums/ww35 ... bcf4ce.jpg
http://i735.photobucket.com/albums/ww35 ... 1442c7.jpg

These are the best I could get of her. She wasn't a fan of the flash but kinda got used to it. I hope you can see what I mean about her ears. They're really scaly as well. Tried again to feel her belly even quick but she would have none of it. She nearly spiked me a few times. I gave up before I stressed her out even more. When she would calm down she was quiet, didn't hear any sniffles. I'm wondering if she was cold for so long she just kinda got used to it for awhile? Thoughts?
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Possible Hibernation?

Yeah, they just look very dry in my opinion. I bet they'll clear back up with some oil or vaseline, if she'll let you get any on them.

As far as I know, it's possible for some hedgies to be fine at cooler temperatures. I'd still keep a close eye on her for awhile though, and wait and see if Nancy or Kalandra say any different. They both have much, much more experience than I do.

Also, once she has a couple days to settle in, I'd get her off the wood shavings. She could get mites from them, or could already have them if that's what she's been on at her old owner's. Liners are the safest thing for them, and they can be as easy as buying a fleece blanket and cutting it to fit the cage.
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Old 01-28-2012, 03:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Possible Hibernation?

She's eating up a STORM! Everyday we're refilling her food dish! I think the warmth and better food added has really sparked her apetite. I do have a few worries still though. Her new momma is here and they are together in my playpen right now. The hedgie is toddling all around, crawling on her and everything! I'm completely shocked! She wobbled a bit when I first put her in the playpen but she has gotten stronger as time goes on. Her back legs seem to bow in some and I'm not sure if that is normal for hedgies or if it's from being cold/lack of nutrition/lack of exercise. She's also scratched 2-3 times. We haven't been able to make real contact with her yet so we can't inspect her closely. I'm also worried she's skinny. Got a couple pics of her with new momma and Auntie wants to make sure she's doing good lol! She's still gonna stay here for a bit so she can get used to people and not scare new momma to death. (She's eating next to new momma right now!!! Hehehehe)

http://i735.photobucket.com/albums/ww35 ... ee82ac.jpg
http://i735.photobucket.com/albums/ww35 ... c421bf.jpg
http://i735.photobucket.com/albums/ww35 ... 0edf9a.jpg
http://i735.photobucket.com/albums/ww35 ... 28d398.jpg

Boy is she going to town on the kibble!!!!
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