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-   -   Worried about my senior hedgehog 😞 (https://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=191264)

QueenTruffles 04-23-2019 04:51 AM

Worried about my senior hedgehog 😞
My hedgie is just shy of 6 years old. The last 2 nights she hasn't eaten or been in her wheel to run what so ever. I just woke up, (it's the middle of the night) and this will have been the 3rd night now she hasn't been out. I realize you can't give medical advice - but for those of you who are experienced hedgehog owners, what did it look like before you lost your little one? I have only had Truffles for about 14 months. I adopted her from someone who could no longer keep her. I know 6 is a good lifespan for a hedgehog, but she is my first one, and I don't know if she could be nearing the end of her life 😢 She has been a very healthy girl - the only issue she has had was a lump on her lower jaw which was removed and she healed wonderfully from.

Thank you in advance.

Ps- of course I will take her to the vet, I just wanted to know your guys' experiences with an older hedgie.

QueenTruffles 04-23-2019 04:55 AM

I had her out lastnight (snuggling in my arms in a blanket) and she was very active! Poking her nose out, moving around lots, digging etc.

Kalandra 04-23-2019 10:37 AM

It could be a symptom of an age related issue. They can and do get similar problems like we do, for example arthritis. But that would only explain the less activity, I'm more concerned about not eating. If she isn't eating at all, I'm be more concerned that she has something going on in her mouth again. Pain in the mouth could certainly make her feed like just hiding instead of being active.

How are her teeth? Does she have many left and are they wearing down? I've seen plenty that lost their teeth or just had nearly no tooth left as they wore down to nubs and needed a diet change from their kibble to be able to eat again.

QueenTruffles 04-23-2019 02:05 PM

Thank you so much for your reply! She is very social but she is hard to get a good look at her teeth without her balling up. No obvious signs of any issues but I will keep trying to get a good look. Just now, I went to her cage and she had been up because her water was spilled everywhere. I cleaned it all up and gave her dry linens and fresh water. A few minutes later she came out and was drinking - I'm relieved about that. She then went to her usual spot and peed and pooped. It seems she was having a little difficulty going, but eventually "went" a decent amount, then went back to bed. It's weird for her to be up at all during the day, but I am hoping maybe she is starting to feel better and will get sorted out. I'll definitely be checking her teeth again soon.

QueenTruffles 04-23-2019 02:10 PM

Is there anything I can add to her diet to help with elimination? Just in case she is slightly constipated?

Kalandra 04-23-2019 02:36 PM

If she will eat pumpkin, its good at providing bulky fiber. Squash can be used to a lesser degree. Mostly its just getting fluids in them, just like with us.

Will she let you do a pinch test on her back quills? Basically pinch/pull up on her back skin a little bit and see if it snaps back into place of it takes a bit to go back to normal. If it takes a bit she's dehydrated, which could explain the constipation. The longer it takes the more dehydrated she is. If she's dehydrated then we need to figure out if its just from not drinking and how to encourage her to drink more, or if its something else causing it.

How are her eyes doing? One concern I often have when they start to get up during the day if they never have before is if they are seeing really well. If they are developing cataracts they sometimes get confused about when its day/night. With that said, I have had some that just get up during the day as they get older for a snack or to go to the bathroom.

QueenTruffles 04-24-2019 09:50 PM

I think she came out and ate a kibble or two today. She definitely drank a lot of water, I watched her. I will try the hydration test. I just bathed her and she pooped and today it was a little mucousy and dark green. I know that can be a liver issue? I will monitor it. Could that be due to an empty stomach? Yesterday her poop was normal, just seemed she wasn't getting a lot out.

QueenTruffles 04-25-2019 06:09 AM

I forgot to answer your other question! Her eyes appear fine, no obvious signs of an issue. I am feeling sick with worry and I think I'll need to take her to the vet today or tomorrow. She still hasn't eaten anything over night, and this is the 4th night she hasn't been out in her wheel and that is highly unusual for her. Is there anything I can try to syringe feed to her that would be safe to try and stimulate her appetite?

QueenTruffles 04-25-2019 07:15 AM

I read that a hedgehog can go 10 weeks without eating?! Obviously not ideal but possible? Is that true? That just blows my mind.

I want to get food in to her. She ate like one or two kibbles yesterday - and drank lots of water. A couple days before she had a tiny nibble on lettuce. I don't want her to pass away because she starves to death or something 😢

Kalandra 04-25-2019 09:55 AM

If she still isn't acting right, take her in and have her checked out. Something is amiss, its just figuring out what.

I'm going to guess the 10 week number the length of time a hedgehog who hibernates can go without eating. With our little ones we need to start syringe feeding really soon after they go off their food as they quickly become weak and fatty liver sets in.

For feeding, you can do a couple of things, one is to crush her current kibble as fine as you can and add enough water to it to make it a paste. This will cause the least amount of stomach upset as its her normal diet. Another option, and does have some chance of stomach upset due to diet change is to buy a pate style canned cat food. I've had really good luck with Wellness turkey the last couple of times I needed to use it, but really any pate style should work. You may need to add a little water to it to get it to flow easier.

For amount, target getting 1 cc of food per hour. So at least 24 cc in 24 hours.

I'd start syringe feeding her now. If she hasn't eaten she will need the energy. Monitor her weight. If you can get several small meals in her vs one big meal that is fine.

Green stools mucousy stools can be caused by a variety of things. Collect a sample in a plastic baggie and take it with you on your veterinary trip. They can simply be from stress, dietary stress/change, intestinal upset/infection, antibiotic use, etc. Their GI is easily thrown off by any change.

One other thought, as they get older and if they are sick, monitor her cage temperature closely. You may need to turn her cage temperature up a lot more to keep her more comfortable.

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