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Old 11-12-2016, 01:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hedgehog - Inner ear infection? Tumour? WHS?

Hey everyone! So my hedgehog, Hog (original, I know), is 5 1/2 years old. I noticed about two weeks ago that she was kicking her shavings EVERYWHERE, especially into her water dish multiple times a day, but just figured that she was being a brat. After a few days I realized that she was falling over a lot, which was what was actually pushing her shavings around. It took so long to notice because she doesn't fall when being handled as she is normally in cupped hands/cradled to the body/wrapped in her towel for snuggles and belly rubs. She had recently had a bath and her nails trimmed (a few of which were cut to the quick) so I assumed I may have hurt a leg or foot in clipping her nails and checked her legs and feet, but they seemed fine.

On Friday I noticed she couldn't stand on a flat surface (counter) without falling over so I got a vet appointment for Thursday (yesterday). Hog was so sweet and cooperative with the vet (she is quite social and curious)! The vet said that, despite what I suspected, nothing was wrong with her legs or feet (reflexes were just a tad slow, but she is old) and that she was having trouble standing and walking because of a leftwards head tilt. She said that her top two bets were (1) inner ear infection or eye infection or (2) brain tumor. She didn't mention WHS, but that has been in the back of my mind too (although she seems a bit old to just be displaying symptoms now and this seemed rather rapid?) She said that her weight, skin, teeth, gums, heart, lungs, and abdomen (including kidneys) all were great. She noted some discharge in her left ear and that her eyes were slightly protruding. She sent me home with oral antibiotics (2 weeks) and an anti-inflammatory (5 days) to rule out infection. If she doesn't improve, or if she gets worse, we will assume a brain tumor and put her down (she has had a long life for a hedgehog!).

She is taking her medications well, eating regularly, defecating and urinating fine, and generally seems alert and quite willing to move around as long as she is leaning against something (especially inside her favourite towel). I have started administering water by syringe when she takes her medication because I have not seen her drinking as much and was warned that the anti-inflammatory can be hard on her kidneys if she is dehydrated.

So, question: How long until I can expect an improvement if it is an infection? She has been on her medication for 24 hours now (I expect that is too soon, but I stayed home from university today to watch her and I am driving myself up the wall overanalyzing her every movement). I think she can stand a bit better (although that might just be wishful thinking) although she still head-tilts to the left and often circles to the right until she falls on her left side. If she doesn't show improvement in a few days, should I consider taking her back and having her euthanized or wait out the full antibiotic course? I don't want her to suffer unnecessarily just because I am attached to her. Also, how much water should I be giving her (she is 234 grams)? At the moment I am just administering as much as she will take before she gets really annoyed and bites me (have to put a finger in between her head and forelegs or she swats the syringe away before I can medicate).

Last edited by Littisha; 11-12-2016 at 01:05 AM.
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Old 11-12-2016, 11:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Manning, Alberta, Canada
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The head tilt does sound like an inner ear infection. You should see an improvement in 2-3 days. For the water she should get about 2-4 tablespoons of water a day.
Retired breeder and active HWS rescue station

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antibiotics, dehydration, ear infection, tumor, whs

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