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Old 10-08-2012, 03:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Sneezing/Snuffling Hedgehog?

Hey! So, I just purchased my very first hedgehog this Friday, from a local petstore. Now, I don't remember her being all that snuffly in the store, however, she was pretty scared at first and therefore wasn't making all that much noise to begin with aside from the normal clicking/hissing when I tried to pet her. I got her home, got her settled and comfortable around me, and noticed later that night just how sneezy and snuffly she was. Of course, being a paranoid hedgehog owner, I automatically started to worry, but my question is... Is this a big deal, or should she be alright? The only thing that sticks out here, aside from the possibility of it being a URI, is that it might be due to the bedding the petstore used - it was wood shavings, and considering they knew almost nothing about hedgies when I went in to purchase her, I wonder if they even knew the right sort to use with them. Could that cause temporary congestion and sniffles/sneeziness in my hedgehog, or should I be worried it's something more serious?

My other problem here is that my dad doesn't seem to think it's a problem, no matter how much I tell him that it *could* be, and when I called the vet and got an estimate on a check-up ($65), he said that was a ridiculous amount to have to pay for a pet we've had just over two days. So I really don't know what to do if it *is* something a lot more serious...
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Old 10-08-2012, 03:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sneezing/Snuffling Hedgehog?

Snuffling is normal - they're very scent oriented and will sniff around and even make a very faint whistling sound when they do it (which I call "tweeting"). Sneezing isn't normal, though. If you've had her on liners for a few days, then it's unlikely that it's just irritation from the shavings at the pet store. However, some hedgehogs will sneeze on occasion and it's nothing - but if it's more than once or twice every now and then, it suggests a URI. Other signs to look for would be wheezing, excessive licking of the nose, or if the nose is dripping. Snot bubbles are a pretty obvious sign. Unfortunately many hedgehogs from pet stores come with URIs because they haven't been kept in the best conditions. A vet will prescribe an antibiotic (usually Baytril). If a URI is left without being treated, it will get worse - it's not like a cold in humans where it will go away on its own - and eventually advance to pnemonia, which is severe and can easily be deadly. Being prepared to pay the vet costs is part of responsible pet ownership.
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Old 10-08-2012, 03:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sneezing/Snuffling Hedgehog?

Good to know about the snuffling, at least - I thought maybe she was congested, but good to know they just normally snuffle! But also good to know the sneezing isn't normal, either... Also, I decided to take a video of her doing it, because I thought that might help, and it's here if anyone wants to see it - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Spscl6tv ... e=youtu.be Not sure if it will, but there's the video in case it might help somewhat!

Hopefully I'll be able to book an appointment with a vet sooner rather than later, and I'll be able to get her on her way to recovery as soon as possible! Is there any chance that the pet store might help somehow, though? Considering the fact that it's likely *they're* the ones who didn't keep her in good conditions, it hardly seems fair, really...
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sneezing/Snuffling Hedgehog?

Unfortunately, there's virtually no chance that they'll reimburse you the vet cost or anything, unless the purchase included a health guarantee. Legally they don't have any responsibility otherwise. It's one of the many reasons that it's preferable to get a hedgehog from a (good) breeder. But, URIs are easy to get rid of with meds, and hopefully there won't be other issues. While you're at the vet I'd also suggest getting a precautionary mite treatment (Revolution is what they should use) since that's something else pet store hedgies often come with. The treatment is inexpensive.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sneezing/Snuffling Hedgehog?

Most people take a new hedgehog to the vet for a health check soon after purchasing them. It's a good idea with any new pet to take them in, meet the vet and make sure they are healthy. $65 is a pretty reasonable price for an exam but you'll also have to pay for the meds and for anesthetic if they have to make her sleepy to examine her. You'll walk out paying more like $100. Keep in mind though, that is much cheaper than the vet costs for a cat or a dog and includes the general health check that is recommended to get yearly. So if you take her in soon, assuming she doesn't have a URI or it clears up with meds, you shouldn't have to take her in for another year.

You should for sure complain to the pet store and possibly report them to whatever authority in your area deals with animal neglect/cruelty. The pet store may not pay for the full exam but will maybe pay for the cost of the antibiotics or give you store credit. If you make a stink in front of other customers they will be more likely to want to come to an agreement.

When I had my last hedgehog it was hard for me to afford the vet bills but I had a credit card that I used for emergencies and the vet bills got put on that. The regular vet bills I was able to pay off within the month but if he got sick it would take me longer. It was reassuring to know that whatever happened I would be able to pay the vet and deal with the credit card at a later date. Since it sounds like you are still living at home with your parents it's a little more complicated for you. If you get an allowance or have a job then offer to pay them back for the vet in installments. Or save your own money to take her in. Did you talk to your parents about expenses when you got the hedgehog? Did they agree to covering a certain portion of those expenses? Remind them of whatever you talked about. I was in this situation my self when I had a hedgehog in 9th grade. It was really hard to give my hedgehog everything he needed and the hedgehog owning experience was not as positive as it could have been if I'd been able to make more decisions or had more support from my parents.

If you are old enough you could get your own credit card. I got mine when I was in high school and it was the best thing I did for myself. I got practice using it responsibly and was able to increase my credit limit after a few years. By the time I got to University I had a really good credit limit and lots of experience managing my money and my credit card. It was great in university because I was always short on money, having that credit card saved me from starving lots of months. The credit card debt got paid off within 6 months of leaving University. If you only use the credit card for your hedgehog and are diligent about paying it off you will be able to be more independent with the hedgehog decisions. Just be really careful, don't spend money unless you know you can pay it back.
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Old 10-09-2012, 04:32 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sneezing/Snuffling Hedgehog?

Well, whether or not the pet store will do anything (which I doubt, but the least they can do if I ask is say no, so Iím still going to give it a shot), Iíve decided that Iím bringing her in tomorrow or the day after (whichever the vet can do), no matter what. I know my dadís a little iffy on the cost, but Iíll be able to make it work. Iíd rather be safe than sorry with her, and her sneezing isnít going away so Iím fairly certain itís not just the bedding that caused it. And reallyÖ While thereís a part of me that wishes I could have gotten her from a more caring source like a breeder or somethingÖ Another part of me is happy that sheís not stuck in that pet store being treated like that anymore, because sheís really the sweetest little hedgehog and *so* friendly. I couldnít have asked for a better hedgehog, and I just want to get her on her way to getting better!

As far as the whole parents situationÖ I live with my dad, yes, but Iíve graduated and am 18 in about two weeks. So I live with him, yes, but Iím practically an adult by now, so the main issue here is that, while I have money (and a job, though it doesnít pay much yet) and should be able to spend it how I like, since Iím still living with him he has some say in what I spend it on, and he thinks I should be saving it all for school. If any of that makes sense xD Iím considering asking him or my mom if I could pay them back gradually for it if they have such a problem with me spending my own money, and if that doesnít work then Iíll just tell them to suck it up and Iíll pay myself. And a credit card would be an option but as far as I know, you have to be 19 or older to have a credit card in Canada, and as I said above, Iím not even 18 yet. I want to get one, and do exactly what you said you did with it Ė put necessities on it and pay them back as soon as possible to also build credit as well as be able to handle paying for certain things Ė but apparently I canít do that just yet. Sigh. I think what Iíll just end up doing for now is putting fifty bucks or so away each paycheck for emergencies, hedgie related or not. :P But thank you both for the advice, and Iím really glad I came here to ask because I already feel a lot better about everything!
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Old 10-11-2012, 03:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sneezing/Snuffling Hedgehog?

So, I brought Penny in to the vet yesterday... The vet prescribed her some ChlorPalm, I think it's called, to be taken twice a day. So far she seems to be alright, though her snuffles and sneezing haven't yet gotten any better, but it's only been a day, so I'm sure that with time the medication will do its job and she'll be better. The only thing is that today, when I went to pick her up in the morning, she was curled up and spitting, something she's never done before, and for the rest of the day she was jumpy every time anyone went to touch/hold/pet her. I think she's quilling, and it might just be because of that (I can see some new quills poking through around her ears, and she keeps losing quills constantly, so maybe she's just tender?), and seems a lot sleepier today than she has been, although she is quite a fan of napping... Would any of that have to do with the medication at all, though? Or is it just a coincidence that it happened today?

Also, just because I'm curious... The vet, while helpful, didn't really seem to give very good instructions on how long I should give her the medication for - he said maybe a week, but he wasn't all that certain. Does anyone here know how long/often I should give it to her? He said twice a day, and that's what I've been doing, but just thought I'd check with all of you here, too
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:48 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sneezing/Snuffling Hedgehog?

That's a little concerning, that he didn't give a definite length of time for the medicine. If antibiotics aren't given long enough to kill all of the germs/bacteria, some might survive and be resistant to those antibiotics. To my memory, most of the time hedgies get antibiotics for URIs, they take their meds for around 10 days, but that may not always be the case. I've also never heard of ChlorPalm, so I'm not really sure. Hopefully someone else will come along to weigh in on that.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sneezing/Snuffling Hedgehog?

I think he might have, but he was sort of a quiet guy, and when I asked his response just seemed a little... Unsure, for some reason. I'll try giving them to her for 10 days, though, and... if it's given for too long, will there be any problems? I've never even actually had antibiotics myself, so I'm just curious. I'm kind of not really sure what to do now... :/
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Old 10-11-2012, 11:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sneezing/Snuffling Hedgehog?

To be honest, I'm not 100% sure. The biggest side effects I know of related to antibiotics are that they tend to upset the GI system because they kill the good bacteria in the gut along with the bad - so often the hedgehog will have very yucky green, soft poops while on antibiotics. I'm not sure of further side effects from giving them too long though...I would see if you can call the vet back and clarify the length of time to give them to her, and if he's definite on that, or if he's unsure at all because she's a hedgehog (especially if he's not experienced with hedgehogs). Perhaps if he's unsure because of her species, he could make some calls to some exotic vets in the area or if he knows any, to ask for advice. Seems like he should be willing to do something like that, both for the benefit of a customer/patient and for his own benefit - always good to learn new things!
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