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Old 08-21-2018, 07:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
Taroon's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: New York State, USA
Posts: 43
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Not sure which health-subtopic this may fall but my son's Hedgehog is acting quite strange since we came back from vacation and I'm getting concerned. I'll try to organize and list all the important facts:
  • About four weeks ago Knuckles started transitioning food to a healthier choice (i.e. Blue's Wilderness: Natural Evolution Diet, Chicken Recipe with LifeSource) and is now 75% new with 25 old food. He actually loves the new food so much he won't eat his old. The transition so far has always been fairly smooth, with maybe 2 slightly green poop and a some minor mucus poop in the beginning weeks.
  • Knuckles may be between or entering a quilling stage. He is around 5-6 months old. He's been a trooper when he's quilled, before. We have Aveeno Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo with Natural Oat Extract for him that we use during every bath and about 25% during foot baths.
  • My son and I went out-of-state to visit family and left Knuckles with my ex-wife (and son's mother) for five days. He has a similar cage-setup (same food, light schedule two-stage-controller, etc.) and has transitioned fine between households every weekend (she sees them both on the weekends) since she bought Knuckles for our son.
  • Upon returning, Knuckles seemed fine. My son's mother says he was "fine" with her.

It has been two days:
  • Since he was covered with an abnormal amount of poop--with poop lodged in his nails--we gave him a foot bath. He promptly pooped about 3-4 times and peed once. The poop was a little lighter brown than usual but still solid and fairly normal for him. We noticed some very minor red marks on his feet. He probably ran a little too much at my son's mother's place. I didn't feel it was serious enough warrant a one or two day wheel removal (if it was a little worse then I would say yes).
  • During bonding time he never pooped on us (which is super rare).
  • He has been clearly more grumpy and jumpy since his return--always--when in his stage, when bonding, when he simply hears us (which is also abnormal for how chill/calm he was beforehand).
  • Most concerning is that outside the foot bath on the night he returned, he has not pooped once. No hidden poops in odd places within his cage.
  • Additionally, he has not wheeled at all. So far, the best I've seen is him get on the wheel one time and immediately off of it around 2:30 AM. (I plan to put down a thin layer of flour on his wheel tonight.)
  • He is still eating the normal amount.

So, what do you guys think? I'm very concerned because I hear hedgehogs can go down-hill pretty quickly. Is my concern valid? What should I do? When do you think I should stop investigating and just rush him to the vet? What do you think is going on? How serious do you think things are now and how serious are things if they continue like this? Help, please.
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Old 08-21-2018, 10:27 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Manning, Alberta, Canada
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To me it sounds like the stress of moving from one household to another all the time is starting to cause him to be stressed more. Hedgehogs don't like to be shuffled from one household to another and it can cause a significant amount of stress which can in turn cause them to become ill.

I would monitor him for another 24 hours and if he doesn't poop then schedule a vet visit. Is there anyway he can stay at your house on weekends when your son visits his mom? This would eliminate the stress of moving all the time.
Retired breeder and active HWS rescue station
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Old 09-05-2018, 08:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: New York State, USA
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A couple or so days later, I took Knuckles to the vet: I went to Dr Godin of Burnt Hills Vet Hospital since 1) he was recommended and 2) I live in Upstate New York.

He was decent despite not much being done for Knuckles at that point. He did analyze some stool and concluded there is no impaction. He believes it could be a number of things but did not feel it would be cost efficient at the point of seeing him to delve into extensive tests just yet. Probably a little constipation and stress from the freeze-dried mealworms and the vacation/move, respectively.

Unfortunately, Knuckles still has not recovered fully. Occasionally, he will be normal for one night out of the blue but for the most part, no. He may use his wheel or not and may sparsely defecate during the night (1-2 times) or not at all. Additionally, his stool is very much still not a normal color and often is greenish (or so light brown it looks greenish).

Dr. Godin did say call him in a couple days after we saw him but Knuckles has improved. His next course of action, if he were to take one would be to put him on anti-bionics. Alternatively, he was equally open to pro-bionics when I responded to his anti-bionic comment.

Any who, I just figured I'd give everyone an update here. I plan to make another post, specifically asking about the pro-bionic dosage. I hope this information helps someone else in the future.
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