Very lazy hedgehog, constantly gaining weight
I am looking for a bit of advice.
I have another thread going here where i keep a medical log of my hedgehog's health issues, but this topic is different, and i would like to get answers.
First of all, medical history. We got our little girl at 7 month old (so the shop told us). shortly after we got her, she developed a bump on her back, that we had removed. turned out to be sarcoma. we've been taking her to regular check-ups since and nothing so far. Then after about a year, she developed pyometra, so operating table again, and we had to spay her. She got over that quite well.
Lately, about a month ago, we saw some small spots over her body, vet initially said they are fat spots, but as they seemed to get bigger, we insisted to have a sample taken in for analysis. last time 2 of them on her front paw turned a bit bloody so the vet said infection, and prescribed antibiotics we are administering now. we also cleaned her paw with betadine, and they healed right up in 3 days. we are still waiting on the results for the sample.
Now what i wanted to talk about, her activity levels and weight. This is not a new issue, did not happen 2 days ago, this is something that has been increasing steadily over the past year, and we have no idea what to do..
She has not used her wheel for some time. only to poop on it. We thought she got bored, so we let her roam around her room. which she did. if we would take her out for 2~3 hours, she would be walking around for the whole time until she would crash in a corner to sleep. lately that has not been happening lately. she just does 2~3 laps around the room, then finds a corner to stop in. does not curl up, just sits there, but if you look at her, you can see her eyes closing slowly, and she starts to slip as she falls asleep. if i take her out, she either just lies on my lap and doses off, or does a lap of the room, then finds another corner and the process repeats.
I have a camera set up at night, so i keep track of what she does. if i leave her alone (do not take her out of her cage) she will get up to eat, drink. maybe heads down to her wheel to poop, spends about 30 mins there, then comes back, eats and drinks again, and then sleep. this happens 2x a night TOPS. there are nights (we were away for 3 days on a weekend break) when she will not even go down to pee and poop. just eat, then back to sleep. during the day, it's all sleep. she is awake at about 13:00 14:00 from what i caught, but she just digs in her little cube, finds a good spot, then back to sleep. does not step out, does not eat.
Her weight has been steadily getting higher since the spay, she was 470g after the operation, then went up to 490. has been steady there for a few months, but then went up to 500, after our 3 day holiday, when i weighed her, she went up to 520! yesterday, she was at 528!
We did switch to lower fat food after the spay, as we saw the weight going up, we even portioned it out, but she does not seem to eat THAT much. last time i remember leaving 15 kibble, and finding 3 there in the morning.
Now to make her take the antibiotic orally, we had to resort to chicken (we make a chicken soup, take a bit of meat, and put the pill in). we are afraid the weight is going to go up again.
Does anybody have a clue what we can do? aside from the presumed skin infection we are treating, vet sees nothing in xray, ultrasound, even listened to heart and breathing, said it's normal.
it's like she is always sleepy. and lazy...
is it her age? she is almost 3. should we expect this? is she officially old now?
Any advice or ideas are welcome.
I think it could partially be age but could also be that all the health problems are making her not want to be so active. Whats the fat % of the food your feeding now ??
The chicken soup And buts of chicken wont be that fatty, chicken generally isn't fatty.
Also how many insects and what insects is she getting ??
Have you tried a forage tray to make her work for her own insects ?? This is a great way to keep them a bit more active so at least she would get some activity even if its just searching for her own food/treats.
Hello and thank you for the reply!
the food kibble is 9.9% fat, 33.4% protein.
as for the soup, not really a soup, just chicken breast (no skin) and carrots. we feed her just the meat an carrot. trying to keep it extra slim.
no insects i'm afraid, she never got any. all i can find in my location is canned stuff, for reptiles.
i will look for a forage tray, don't know what that is, i'll goolge it.
i did place an order for one of those feeding balls for cats, where you can put kibble inside, and if the ball is moved the kibble will fall out. just to get her to work for the food.
it is weird because she never seemed affected by her operations. except the normal 2~4 weeks for healing, but after that she seemed fine.
it's just that the activity level has steadily decreased over time to something that is a serious problem now...
A forage tray is basically a tray thats filled up with loose things to dig around in and then you just hid food in them, so I like gravel trays from a garden centre (disinfect it before using it) and then fill it up with like fleece strips, and then you can hid some chicken in there for her to work for or the kibble.
Your fat and protein is good, especially for a hog that needs to loose weight, could be a bit high in calories.
I'd stay with what your feeding but maybe add in something like parsnip or sweet potato on some of the days, this can help with feeling fuller and has less calories than the biscuit does so may help with eating a bit less biscuit but eating the same amount or food.
The fact she's still putting on weight but the fat is low I dont think its something to do with fat, she's not really eating much biscuit so I think it may be a bit high in calories which could be making her have more weight especially as she's not being very active !!
It could be the medication thats making her activity decrease, I'm not too sure, or it could just be down to the fact she's getting a bit old so she's slowing down anyway.
According to your description, I don't think there is anything wrong with the feeding. Because it's sick now, it's not a good time to lose weight. About less activity, perhaps because it's old or tired from treatment for illness. In addition, you can check the temperature and environment. It can also cause drowsiness if the temperature is high or the ventilation is poor. You said the doctor operated on it because the uterus had pus. I don't know if the uterus was removed. If so, changes in its estrogen levels can also lead to obesity.
My advice is that once it recovers, you can adjust its diet and choose a diet with a lower fat content than the current one. For now, you can try scattering food in every corner of the cage. This will increase its activity as it searches for food.
This is my suggestion. I hope it can help you.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with whats being fed, but for a hedgehog thats not really being active the biscuit could have too many calories, by adding in lower calorie food thats going to still fill up the hedgehog it recused the calories consumed so will stabilise the weight while sick.
I'd talk to the vet, about it to see what they say about the weight increase.
I don't know if he has changed his hedgehog diet recently. The food he usually feeds is not high in fat. The hedgehog did not change much in weight until it became ill. It began gaining weight after becoming ill, suggesting that its metabolism had slowed recently. So we need to reduce its calorie intake. But now he is sick and weak. I think this time should give it to supplement nutrition, rather than let it lose weight. Once it's back to normal, we'll consider changing its diet. Your suggestion is good, he can refer to it. I just don't think this is the best time.
Hello again, and thank you for the input.
i'm going to try and give a timeline of events, seems like it's in order.
- first big issue, was the lump on her back, that was extracted 07/2017, and turned out to be a good idea, since the post op analysis of the tissue said it was sarcoma. after this operation, the recuperation was quite easy so to speak, she did not seem that affected by it. activity was great, 2~3 hours of wheel use per night! healthy appetite too. weight was 450~46 grams.
- second was the pyometra, spay was performed around 02/2018. this was hard on her, and took weeks to recover. we even took the wheel away, to make sure the wound would close up well. after about a month and a bit i think, the wheel came back, she was using it, but not as much at first. 2 ~3 months after the spay, her weight moved up to 490g, we attributed to no exercise while recovering, and also since all the lady bits were taken out, we were expecting weight gain.
she was steady at that weight, until this year, about 3 ish months ago, when she would fluctuate 490~500. since the spay, her activity level has been gradually going down.
about 2 months ago, we noticed something like pimples on her skin. on her sides and 2 on front left paw. i could swear seeing one a long time ago, but it was not that big. vet said they are because of fat, and that they do not pose a problem. a few weeks ago, the 2 on the front paw turned bloody, we went to the vet, and we got the antibiotics. diagnosis skin infection. also drained one, and sent the puss for lab analysis. still waiting on result. the bloody spots were fixed in 2~3 days by rubbing betadine solution on them. just 2 smaaaal black dots remain.
since this started she went from 500 TOPS, to 530 now. biggest jump was in our 3 day vacation, left her at 510~ish, found her at 525+. and she has been hovering around 525~530 since.
i realize the spay may have made her less active. i also realize that the antibiotic must be draining her energy. but it's just on the long run, she seems to do less, and gain weight. ofc i am also afraid of a bigger problem than skin infection.
that's why i am trying to find out if we are doing something wrong. or if this is to be expected. i also know that she is not that young in hedgehog years, wondering if 3 is the official senior age, and if with age the weight gain is normal, or there could be other causes for it.
PS: i can provide pics of the "skin problem" if somebody has any experience.
aaand i only now saw the last post @e006073 wrote.
yes, i agree, but like i said, now is not a time slimming down, and since i can only convince her to take the antibiotic with chicken meat... i am afraid this will be all she gets until the antibiotic is done. twice a day, a bit of chicken with the med. at night she also gets carrots. maybe some cucumber. i am afraid to add dry cat food in there as well, because then she will definitely gain weight.
and @Ria you are right! i was only looking at the fat content of the food. the dry cat food says:
Crude fibre 1.0
Carbohydrate (NFE) 49.7
carbohydrate is kind of big.
I'm not saying to put her on diet maybe I was a bit unclear, I think that it needs to be stabilised a bit so that the weight gain doesn't get too high, because with being ill her immune system isnt going to be too strong, so tryingto bring it down wouldn't be a good idea at this point, but I dont think letting it get much higher would be very good, so really you need to balance it now to keep stable at what she is now so that when she's better loosing the weight wont be as hard. If that makes sense ??
I'm not brilliant with wording stuff so it came across as saying to loose weight now sorry.
4 is generally the main age for senior age and slowing down but I think that because of the illnesses and medication its made her slow down a bit sooner.
Carbohydrates at that much dont help no, I think after getting her better and building her immune system again a change of food with low fat and lower carbohydrates will help with her weight
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