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Old 06-18-2019, 03:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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[Warning : this is long]

Ok, this isn't about Igor, this is about my cousin's female hog, Lulu..

She came to visit with her hog this school vacation. She's been here 2 days now. Yesterday, I saw Lulu again after, like, 6 months, and... I'm kinda... Shocked... To say the least.

I like to make myself believe she's trying to take care of Lulu, but... The evidence just shows neglect.

1st most startling characteristic of her that I saw, was her weight. This poor hedgehog is so underweight, you can see her ribcage when she's walking or stretching. When she balls up, it isn't even shaped as a ball, it's an oval. She weighs 228grams... In her body state, I think she should be here around 300 or something... She's way too skinny.

Now, I know why this is a problem. She gets enough food. Her food bowl is filled and left in her cage till its empty (I'm not 100% onboard with this, since I like to wash Igor's food bowl every day just to prevent any possible problems.)

Ok, so it isn't the food intake, its the food nutrients. She's still on the food her breeder told her to use. Igor was also on that food for like a week before I switched over to a 'better' food, with more nutrients. The ones she uses, has low fat, highish protein, let's see if I can remember... Ok I think the protein is 28, fat is like... 9 or 10, and the fibre I didn't look at much. Its cheap food.

I changed it, because of the lack of nutrients Igor needed... Now... Couldn't my cousin see her hog is underweight? Couldn't she think that she maybe needed to change the food?

Anyway, I told her about the current food I'm using, Royal Canin Kitten. I personally like it, since its high in fat, protein and fibre, and it has an omega 3 oily subtract.
But, I'm thinking of changing when summer comes around and Igor doesn't lose weight, since he's gaining and, yeah, gaining.

My mom said its cause its winter, and he needs to stay warm, so he eats more, so if he doesn't lose this summer, I'm changing to Royal Canin Mother and Kitten.

Also, dietary problems about Lulu is, she gets no insects. Reason, she doesn't like them. Ok. So, I went and tried to give her one of the mealworms I have for Igor, (since I knew that sometimes you need to try more than once) and she gobbled it up. I was happy, since its fatty, and she needs to build up weight, ASAP. So I'm not greedy with the mealworms, I gave her 3 after the one, and later two more with her food, gobbled it up. I also gave her a Dubia Roach to see if she's interested in that. I doubted she'd be, but she ate that guy up as quick as the worms.

So, my cousin decided to try and change her diet, to Royal Canin, and get mealworms and Dubia Roaches for her hog. Ok, that's a good start! I also mixed some of my food with Lulu's, so that she can just, try to get some weight on.

But, (sorry if this gets long)

Second worry, her nails...
My cousin hasn't trimmed Lulu's nails in 6 months. Last time she did it, was here, and that was six months ago. Reason she doesn't do it? Lulu doesn't unball...

BS tbh. Lulu is an absolute sweetheart that easily unballs, ok, actually hardly balls for me. So, I took it onto myself to trim her nails. She needed it. Her front nails scratched me without even trying and it bled. So, nail trimming time.

She is alot harder to handle when it comes to trimming than Igor. Igor is a breeze. I'll never complain again. She balls up, and won't come out after I finished the first left front paw. She refused to allow me to do the others. So I had to persuade her with mealworms. Only 4 was eaten today, yesterday was the others, so it was ok.

I decided to leave the last left foot's last 2 toes, since she just wasn't use to being handled by her feet. She even bit me that it bled... 3 times!!! I'm going to try the last to tomorrow, when she's chilled.

Third condition problem...
Her skin

Ok. It ain't good. She almost has an entire bald spot on her butt, and her hair falls out alot. Her quils naturally too. Igor only looses that much quils once a month during occasional quilling. He looses one hair every week or month. He doesn't loose hair as much as Lulu. She also has dryyyyyyy skin. Super dry.

So, I told my cousin about the flax seed oil and told her that it helps with the skin condition, and helps the digestive system. I showed her my capsules I have, and she said she'll buy some and use it once a week on Lulu's food.

Fourth environmental problem,
There's no heat source beside blankets. We live in SA. Now I understand she lives in a house where there's heating, but here where I live isn't. Her hog can go into attempt hibernation in 20 minutes, and die.

I took into working with it. I threw a blanky over her cage to keep cold air out, but kept a side open to help with air. I take it off in the day to help with the day and night cycle. Tomorrow night, ima use a bottle full warm water, for her as a heat source, as I do with Igor.

She says she is trying to get a lamp. She wants to get an infra red lamp, since someone in her family breeds with birds and they said it works best and she isn't going to argue and I'm not going to argue so yeah. I did mention the CHE setup I tried, but she shrugged it off.

Fifth!!! Environmental problem.
Her cage

Oh god.... My heart breaks for that poor hedgehog. Her cage is dirty... She sleeps and lies in her own filth... Her water was dirty. I had to go throw it out, clean the bowl, and pour clean water in. We cleaned... I cleaned her cage today, my cousin helped since i did most of the work.

I told her, to stop using cat littler as bedding. Its bad. And just difficult to clean. She hasn't cleaned that cage in 6 months. She picked the poo up every once in a while, but the urine is bad. The clumps of cat litter is excessive. Ok I cleaned the cage, threw clean litter in, and told her to switch to something more manageable like fleece or shredded cardboard, dust free.

She said she'll look into that. Ok, I hope she will actually.

Sixth healthish problem.
She stinks.

Igor doesn't stink. He smells like diapers for some reason. He doesn't smell. I clean his cage everyday thoroughly. Wash the blankets every week, wash the wheel and bowls daily. Change the fleece bedding daily. He doesn't smell. His cage doesn't smell.

Lulu's reeks... She stinks. She smells like urine, to the max. I've never smelled it so strong before. Some part of her cheeks are yellow because of the urine...

Now I would've bathed her, but I don't want to. I don't even bath Igor in the winter or autumn when its this cold. I'm scared his body will go into shock, or not warm up quick enough, so I told her to bath Lulu immediately when it spring and the temperature rises. She can't go on smelling like this.

She said ok,

This is basically... Alot... But I just needed to tell someone since the neglect is frustrating. Since I had igor and I met Lulu, hedgehogs had grown super close to my heart, I can't manage to look at one neglected. I just needed to tell someone, thanks for listening to my rant.

(I attached photos of the girl)

Oh, yeah, and she doesn't have a wheel
Attached Images
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would be as honest as possible with your cousin. She's probably not going to change. I'd offer to buy the hedgie from her if you can.
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I tried beforehand, she refused.
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Old 06-19-2019, 03:01 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Oh no. That's sad. She's one of those people that has an animal as a posession not a pet. So she doesn't want to give up one of her "things". She's over 18? Do you have humane societies where you live? Maybe she needs an animal control officer or humane officer to talk with her about proper care and responsibility. Sometimes it makes people realize they dont have what it takes to be a pet owner.
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Old 06-19-2019, 04:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You have that other che set up don't you ?? That you was told not to use ?? I would use cable ties and hang it from the top middle of the cage while she is there with you just to keep it warm. Control it yourself and keep some the sides covered.

Also bathing lulu now won't hurt. I personally would just to make sure she gets cleaned, get a hair dryer, only use it on 1 and keep your hand there to control how high you want it so its not too hot, only use on the quills to dry them faster.
The belly rub it a bit the keep her on your body heat while she dries on the bottomw to keep her warm. If shes that bad she really needs a bath !! I would also use aveno baby wash or an oat bath to help sooth her dry skin.

Now to be honest with balding patches I would get her to a vet and get a skin scrap for any mites or sort of infection. Because this isnt right. Now if Lulu is in your house and she comes back with mites I would also treat igore and change the fleece more often, and make sure you clean any material around the house so Igor wont be affected.
The flaxseed oil on the fold once a week I would make sure you do some while they are with u.

Now I would suggest a bio active set up for lulu. This is because your cousin obviously doesnt want to make time to clean out the clumping litter. Clumping litter is actually worse than normal litter as well !!. Anyway with a bio active set up you get a clean up crew in the soil and sand mixture, so it basically self cleans. I honestly would recommend this your cousin.

As for a wheel lulu does need one but at the time she is now so underweight I wouldn't want to give her one until she gained weight again.

Nail clipping how are you doing it ?? She seems like Holly when trying to clip hers but worse because at least Holly likes her feet being touched. Anyway I have Holly lay on me flat then play with her feet now shes relaxed clip and then once the foot is done treat. She gets a treat per foot I manage to do, so she acknowledges its a good thing.
This may help you with the rest of lulus nails.

I'm glad shes finally saying she will feed insects, she can always put them in the freezer and just de frost the ones she needs that night.
I hate the insects, I just get over it for Holly. Thats really what she needs to do, but I cant see that happening from all the things you have said about her.

Infra red should never be used for hogs either, they dont actually give enough heat, and sometimes the red light annoys them. Its just not okay to use.

Actually having said all that. If I was you I would just tell my cousin that she isnt fit for this and just take away the hog to look after it myself and then make time between my other hog and the new one.
Wouldnt even offer, I wouldnt even buy her, I'd just take it and not let her have it
Your cousin really isnt fit to look after the poor girl.
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Old 06-19-2019, 10:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I once told her she isn't fit to look after a hog, and she retaliated with 'you're not fit to look after a hog either' and ignored me the rest of the day.
I would take her, I really would, but, its not family acceptable. It'll cause chaos, cause she believes she has the money to take care of her. Time too. Her parents won't be happy if I just take her. They'd probably forcefully take her back too.

She's 13, and I'm 16. Not much I can do.

The CHE setup. I did think about it, but, the only place where it'll be able to be plugged in, would be either in the living room right infront of the front door, or in my room (not a good idea, Lulu will ovulate and it'll cause problems for Igor) and in my gran's room, where my cousin is currently sleeping. That room isn't really big enough for a hedgehog cage, especially with the baggage. But, I'll try to make a plan.

Ok, I'll bath her. I'll get permission for the blow dryer and use my body heat. I have Johnson's Baby Shampoo which doesn't smell like anything, and it worked well with Igor. I'll also give her a capsule tonight on her food.

I personally don't think its mites, since she doesn't scratch as often as one with it does, but... Oof... I'll... Try to get her to see a vet? I don't know how she'll react to that. Vet costs on hedgehogs aren't cheap, but hey. She has the money, atleast thats what she says.

I'm currently working for money to pay for Igor's vet checkup. So I'll get everything sorted then.

There's a difference between me and my cousin. She has the money, but not the responsibility. I have the responsibility, not the money. She is rich. But they're greedy.

Like Darcie said, yes, she is her possession. Because firstly, she got Lulu for Christmas, because its a unique, and expensive animal. Not because its a good pet! I got igor, cause I've realized hedgehogs help me with my anxiety and depression, and Igor helps me everytime I feel down. And, they're just all in all good pets. Fun to watch, and makes you feel less alone.

Let me tell you all something funny. (Not)

My cousin had 5 Guinea Pigs. They died within weeks. Reason, they got left in the sun for too long. (Neglect)

She had a hamster. He was given to me, cause she found it too difficult to clean its cage. I'm not a hamster person (and I was young, so I didn't have the knowledge nor responsibility to care for it properly), so I gave it to my aunt, where it lived its years healthy and happy.

She had a Chinchilla. It got sold off cause she didn't want it anymore (like wtf)

She had 3 cats. 2 ran away.

She has 3 dogs now... She barley takes responsibility for the 2 she had now she got a puppy.

She had multiple bunnies that died. (Heart attack, and some ran away, others got bitten by dogs, or given away)

She had 2 birds that died. (Wrong food or not enough knowledge about the insects that was given to them)

And she likes to blame all these animals' deaths on someone else. She can't take responsibility.

I adopted my dog, Leroy, from a local rescue and rehoming shelter, and just after that, she wanted to adopt one too.

She frustrates me.

But I'm giving Lulu her insects, clean water, food, I told her to pick up the poo once a day. I mean, how'd you feel if you had to sleep in your own filth everyday?

But, so far, were doing good. I'm gonna give her last two nails a trim, since she didn't allow me yesterday.

Ok. How I trim her nails. Firstly, I'm not Lulu's owner, so I can't trim her nails comfortably. She won't just lay on me. She's uncomfortable. And her owner ain't gonna do it. I mean, she doesn't even trust her owner. I tried the treat trick, but she's stubborn.

I'll try telling her about the infrared light, but I don't have much say there. Its my word, against a bird breeder's...

Last edited by Brooke Lancelot; 06-19-2019 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Okay, well to be honest if she tries to hibernate with how low in weight and little nutrition she has she aint gonna make it even if you try.
It may not be mites but a could be bacterial infection where shes been in her own filth for so long.
Really I'm a little surprised that Lulu isnt really ill now if it carries on and the food isnt changed then I cant see Lulu living too much longer especially if they wont take her to a vet.
I get that you cant just take her, but if shes only 13 then the hog is the parents responsibility more than your cousin so why arent they making sure these tasks are being carried out?? And with that track record on animals I really wonder why they got her Lulu to start with.
No offence but your cousins sounds very much spoilt.
The infra red in the end if nothing else changes will be the last thing that she needs, But I would try to use it while Lulu is there if its getting really cold.

When I got my first pet at 17 my mum said "shes your pet, and I expect you to take her of but I'll make sure you get it done as shes still my responsibility" which doesnt seem to be your cousins patterns attitude at all

All you can do is try, but really I would convince her to go a vet. (I would bath Lulu first so it doesnt smell or look like shes totally unchared for)

Giving the hamster to your aunt to look after shows you was responsible even when you was younger which is good.

Holly really helps me with my anxiety and feeling down they really are great pets, but they need a fair bit of things to make the care right, once you get there its pretty easy.

At least your trying to cut her nails thats a good thing, and Its obviously really hard to get your cousin to listen, but keep trying, maybe see of your mum or nan can talk to her or her parents about the care and the heat.

Maybe scare her into changing ?? If she really doesn't want to go a vet then tell her she has to listen to you and change what she is doing, maybe ask you to cut Lulu's nail whenever they get long. Lulu will eventually get use to you doing it.

Its good that your really trying though. Really you need discreetly convince her to just give up and take her for yourself or rehome her with a good home after bringing up her weight and sorting the dry skin
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Old 06-19-2019, 04:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have to really applaud your efforts and all your observations especially at your age!!!!! I can tell you are trying so hard and please keep trying. So sorry you have to deal with such OBLIVIOUS self centered and neglectful family members. You are making such a difference for this little baby.
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I know, I'm scared that Lulu is gonna go into hibernation. I put a warm bottle in last night, I'm gonna refill it this morning. When I get back home, I'm gonna try get thr che up.

My cousin said I should go with her to the pet shop to help her get the CHE setup. So she listened to me about the infrared light, so that's good!

And she said she'll take her to the vet, so she's trying.

Her mom, doesn't really - I think she thinks shes doing her a solid by learning her how to have responsibility, I guess..

And I did talk to her about... The possibility of her giving lulu to me when she feels like she can't care for her anymore. She didn't say anything. And it didn't seem like anything clicked, but yeah.

Thanks Darcie! I appreciate it greatly. I'm trying. Lulu didn't choose her as an owner. So it isn't right that she's being neglected.
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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She said she's gonna hand pick clean the cage everyday... She didn't do it today.. *sigh* guess I'll have to go do it. She just went to sleep, not caring if lulu has food or water or warmth. She just went to sleep... I clean Igor's cage every night at 6:30 pm. Put him in his cage at 8:00pm. I'll have to start doing Lulu's too.
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