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Old 07-12-2012, 12:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default rescue hedgie..with infected foot/nail/quill issues

Hey Everyone,
so a while back I posted a concern in breeding about babies being weaned too soon on an ad posted on craigslist.

Well, another four weeks later the person posted them again. I went ahead and got the "mean" 8wk old albino baby. The person said "He is mean because that is just genetic with albinos you know" . They didn't even know how to sex them. He is such a lover..He was dirty, was on cedar, bad food, the works . He likes the way I taste, so lots of licks, just like Flower did.

Well, after a closer look and a bath later. His two front feet are badly infected. One toe nail on his right foot is missing, the rest are bloodly/black, wiggly and have infection oozing from around the nail beds. This right foot is swollen. The bath warm allowed me to get the infected dried discarge off of his foot. Poor little guy did so well and allowed me to get it off.

The left foot is not swollen yet, but it has two wiggly dark toe nails. I thought they were all just dirty, but they are bad off like the right...but not as bad.

After a good bath, I could also see that he has the same issue going on with a few of his quills. Now he is still young and I bet he is younger than 8wks. She had them listed as 10wks, but it doesn't ad up. He is so balled, it could be quilling, but I think he is still just getting quills in...Is that possible? many new quills are coming in though, so that is good. I have really noticed him loosing any.

I plan to take him to the vet, so that is not my question. I also know only a vet will be able to answer most of my questions. I guess I am looking for some support, since I know only a vet will have more answers.

I am not sure how he got an infection like this, but dirty living conditions comes to my mind. He eats, drinks and poos are good.

My question is can hedgehogs recover from an infection like this?

Probably jumping to the worse thoughts ever, but ...Will he have to loose his foot/legs? Can hedgehogs live without them?

Most importantly, are there any anti-biotics that SHOULD be used on hedgehogs? Are there ones that should be AVOIDED?

Also, can hedgehogs be gave a pro-biotic like bene-bac, or is there something like that I should get from the vet?

This is my first hedgehog with a serious issue. In the past all my hedgies have checked out fine for wellness appointments. This will be the first wellness appointment I take a hedgie that has issues.

He might have other issues going on, since some of quills seem this way also. This is so upsetting to see such a young hedgie in this kind of shape. I was really hoping it was just dirt .

Having a bad week..but I guess I brought this one onto myself.
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Old 07-12-2012, 01:59 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: rescue hedgie..with infected foot/nail/quill issues

Oh man. :[ I'm so glad he ended up with someone like you! A little guy in that condition would probably be a goner if he'd ended up with someone lacking hedgehog experience. Fingers crossed for a good outcome at the vet!

I have absolutely no experience with this kind of infection, but I can answer two of your questions at least.

Yes, hedgehogs can live without a limb, or part of a limb, etc. Young hedgehogs do especially well with it because they're better at adapting to getting around without them, whereas older hedgehogs sometimes won't adapt as well. If it comes to that (hopefully it won't!), because of his age ,he will almost certainly be able to get around and have a good quality of life with one or both of his front feet or even font legs removed. (Our mentor has a hedgehog that needed to have a front leg amputated when she was young (6-8 weeks maybe?), not even a nub left, and she gets around in her own quirky, adorable way and even is a fairly accomplished climber - she uses her mouth to help climb instead.)

Also, hedgehogs can be given benebac. We use it for all of our hedgehogs, and it was responsible for clearing up a bit of tummy trouble Archimedes had a month or two ago. Our mentor is the one who suggested it.

Hopefully someone else will come along who knows more about the antibiotic thing. Fingers crossed for the little guy!
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: rescue hedgie..with infected foot/nail/quill issues

I will let the experts answer your health questions/concerns. I would like to thank you for the care you are giving to this deserving little one and expressing outrage at neglect hedgies can experience.
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: rescue hedgie..with infected foot/nail/quill issues

My initial response is that depending on how bad things are, and with attentive treatment yes it is possible to recover from such an infection. I know I have seen a posting either on here or elsewhere of one who survived a serious infection in their legs.

Hedgehogs can survive without a limb. A good friend had one who had gangrene in both of his back legs. He lost a portion of both legs, but it didn’t slow him down. He lived a good life after he healed up.

Most likely your vet will want to give a powerful antibiotic like Baytril. Baytril has been given to young hedgehogs and they did ok, but ask about the risks. I know there are some for baby animals taking it. It can also be VERY upsetting to the GI, and can quickly turn their stools shades of green that is hard to imagine comes from an animal.

I always give a probiotic when a hedgehog is on antibiotics. Give it mid-way between doses. I don’t use benbac, instead I opt for acidolphillus.

Have the vet get a good look at his skin, and most likely you will want to have a skin scraping done to check for mites.

I will note that if your vet gives you an antibiotic and you don’t see improvement quickly, talk to your vet about having a culture and sensitivity test done. You may even mention this right from the beginning. A culture would tell you exactly what type of infection is happening, and what antibiotic will treat it best. They are a little pricy, but they are so very worth it when it comes to getting these little ones on the road to recovery, and reducing the amount of time they are suffering.


Sadly, this is the risks you take when you adopt hedgehogs from people who do not have good reputations. But don’t be sad. Get mad at the idiot who allowed this to happen. Be happy that he is with you, and that he is going to get treatment. Stay positive that this is curable and that this is just a tiny road bump in a very long, happy life that he will spend with you being completely spoiled and loved.

Keep your head up, and we do require pictures. Love those albinos!
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: rescue hedgie..with infected foot/nail/quill issues

Thank you all for the advice and support.

I knew when I took him in that there would be issues...between the bad food and cedar bedding. I was thinking URI though, nutrition issues, and not feet/legs. I did think possibly infections..just not like this.

Kalandra, I will for sure ask for a culture an sensitivity test to be done. Thank you so much for the tip on that.We always have a skin scraping done with new hedgies, at the wellness checks, just to be safe. The acidolphillus...where can that be purchased? Something about yogurt pops into my mind, but I think I have seen acidophilus tablets at walgreens.. Is there a certain form it should be bought in for hedgie use?
I asked about bene-bac because I always keep it on hand.

I gave the individual a good talking when we picked him up. I picked him right up and sexed him, both actions shocked her. She is wanting to breed, and well, I told her she needs to learn proper care, and know how to sex a hedgie before breeding them. I have tried several times now, to educate this individual, and have recommended this forum several times to her. I will be calling her again after the vet appointment, that way she can know what the vet diagnoses, and she can hear what this poor hedgie has in store.


An upside for him today, is that some of the swelling has gone down. The is some more nasty drainage on his foot again today. I plan to do another foot bath with a warm cloth, soft it up again and remove it. I will repeat this often until the vet visit. I called them this morning, they are booked for the day, but if they can squeeze us in today they will call. I will call again after lunch to check. We have an appointment for our rat and one of our other hedgies tomorrow, so if nothing else he will tag along then.

I'll get the camera out today and take some pictures. I am sure you all will fall in love with him.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: rescue hedgie..with infected foot/nail/quill issues

I recommend acidophilus because I always have it on hand . I’ve never used benbac. Acidophilus can be purchased at health food stores, drugs stores, etc. Look for one that has the highest number of live cells. I buy it in capsule form and sprinkle a hefty amount on the hedgehog’s kibble. Or if they will eat baby food, I mix it in the baby food.

Yogurt that contains live cultures can also be used. However, I tend to stay away from yogurt if the hedgehog has never had it before. I figure adding a new food when their GI is already upset from antibiotics is probably not the best course of action.
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Old 07-12-2012, 11:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: rescue hedgie..with infected foot/nail/quill issues

Poor little baby! I am so happy he is now safe and with you.

Can't wait to see photo's of his little face, and to hear all about his speedy recovery!

Hugs from me and my quilly ones.
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Old 07-13-2012, 10:27 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: rescue hedgie..with infected foot/nail/quill issues

I'm looking forward to a.. its not as bad as we thought, or its bad but fixable post .

How are things going today?
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:53 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: rescue hedgie..with infected foot/nail/quill issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalandra
I'm looking forward to a.. its not as bad as we thought, or its bad but fixable post .

How are things going today?

Okay, so I will try to post this again. The site keeps messing up, and it doesn't post.

Yep,that is pretty much how the vet appointment went on Friday !

Vet says he will most likely loose all the bad toe nails, when it is all done. Vet thinks lots of foot baths, clean environment, and good food will got a long way. I have things I am suppose to add to the baths. The foot baths loosen up the infected drainage, and I am able to get it off without hurting him.

The small number of bad quills did not really concern the vet. He thinks new will come in when he quills.

He is on a low dose anti-biotic to be safe, for two weeks. Skin scraping and fecal tests came back normal. Vet wants to wait on the sensitivity test.

For now this little guy will not have a wheel, just till his feet arr healed.

Vet thinks dirty living conditions are the cause of feet infection. The infection is bad, but the vet thinks that that a full recovery is possible!!!

I have camera batteries charging, so hopefully pictures today!!
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:14 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: rescue hedgie..with infected foot/nail/quill issues

I am so happy to hear this update! Thank you!
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