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Old 10-04-2013, 11:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default HELP! Hedge is sick. Just started tipping to one side.

Hello-
I am so scarred that Woodstock has WHS. She is in the 2-3 year old range. Not exactly sure because she came from a pet store so no genetic info on her. She has been a healthy happy Hedge until today when she was tipping to her left side. Looked up everything I could on the Internet and watched really sad YouTube videos on Hedges with WHS. I am hoping its an ear infection but she doesn't have any discomfort, smell or discharge from the ear. It is fall and less light is occurring but it hasn't gotten cold yet, she has a heating pad and wasn't cold. I gave her water through a syringe because I am paranoid she is dehydrated and would tip over when she was by her water. She did eat some meal worms but no kibble. Please let me know anything you know. Woodstock is my first Hedge and I love her!
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Old 10-04-2013, 11:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't know anything about WHS, except it's supposed to be extremely slow onset.

However, you said a few things that concerned me.
1. Heating: You need to heat the air to 74-80F, not just the ground. If the only heating supply is a heating pad, you need to find a way to heat the air instead. (CHE or space heater)

2. Lighting: You mentioned there's less daylight. Hedgehogs need a steady 12-14 hours of day. The easiest way to do this is to get a timer ($5-$15 at a hardware store; there'll be lots of them for holiday light timers) and use it to run any sort of lamp (table lamp with a power-efficient LED is one of the cheapest options).

Inadequate heating and light can lead to hibernation attempts, which although I haven't observed myself, from the forum archives are usually described as a wobbly, uncoordinated hedgehog who sleeps a lot.
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Old 10-05-2013, 12:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Agreed with Annie - first thing, make sure she's getting enough light, and make sure the air is the correct temperature, not just a heating pad. Also keep in mind that some hedgehogs become more sensitive to temps as they get older. This may be happening with her, so try bumping the temp up a couple degrees higher than it usually is and see if that helps. Does her belly seem cold or cool at all? If so, you'll need to warm her slowly, either on a heating pad set to low or under your shirt - don't put her in water to warm her up.

I doubt it's WHS - also like Annie said, it's a slowly-progressing disease and usually starts with little things, like foot stumbles, or one foot not working as well.

How long has she not wanted to eat the kibble? Was that just tonight, or has she been off her food recently?

Can you describe the movement and tipping a bit more? What does she do before she tips? Does she go in circles? Or does she just fall over to the left as she tries to walk? Does it seem to be a problem with her legs not wanting to work, or more of a loss of balance or weakness? Is she able to walk at all?

If it's not hibernation related, my first thoughts would go towards ear infection or stroke. Either way, if making sure light and heat are good to go doesn't show an improvement in her condition, it's time to head to the vet and see what's up. In the meantime, make sure you keep her food and water close to her bed, so she doesn't have as far to go to get to them. If she seems to have a hard time standing in order to eat/drink, put her food down lower so she can to it more easily. Watch for any problems with chewing. If she won't eat on her own, you may have to syringe feed her - easiest ways to do that include grinding kibble to powder & mixing with water, or using baby food. Using wet cat food (if you can find the same version as her kibble) is a good option too, though you'll need to make sure you mince it even more finely and mix it with some water to thin it out. With any of the options, make sure you run it through the syringe into a bowl first before you try with her, so you can see if anything gets stuck. There's more information on syringe feeding here - https://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forum...ng-sticky.html

(Apologies, that's a lot of questions and info all at once, I know. I'm not sure how much longer I'm going to be up, so figured I'd include things all at once! )
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Old 10-05-2013, 12:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Sick Stock

Thank you for the replies. She wasn't cold when I checked on her but I am going to get a light and see if that makes a difference. The air temperature is above 70 but if it gets colder I will heat her room as well. She had been eating more worms and less kibble lately. She has Hedgehog Diet from UltraBlend Select. Before this happened I was worried she wasn't getting enough nutrients because she prefers worms to kibble so I ordered 2 new foods that haven't arrived yet. Hedgehog Complete and Insect Eater Diet from Exotic Nutrition. When she walks she keeps her head down and tilted to the left. When she is on the floor she can walk strait but when she is back in her area with wood chips she is pretty much tipping over and I have to put my hand on her side to keep her up. It seems like more of a balance issue but her back leg is less responsive than her front so when she was on the floor it was more like she was sitting. When she is laying in her bed it is also on that left side more which is not common for her. It's 11:37 here and she hasn't come out to eat, drink or run on her wheel so I know she is not feeling well. I started her on oral antibiotic tonight but don't know if its an ear infection because she has none of the other symptoms except loss of balance. Thank you again for your help. I feel so bad for her.
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Old 10-05-2013, 01:00 AM   #5 (permalink)
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It'd probably best to have a digital thermometer with a probe specifically for her cage if you don't already - if you're going by room temp, that can vary based on where you are in the room. You can get a thermometer fairly cheap at a store like Walmart. Make sure the temp is at least 73, but 75 would be even better.

Some people do prefer hedgehog foods, but honestly, IMO cat foods have much better ingredients than most hedgehog foods. If you're interested in reading more about ingredients, etc., this sticky might help - https://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forum...nutrition.html

It does sound like an inner ear infection to me. If it's inner ear, I doubt you'd see/smell signs of it on the outside, and inner ear is what messes with their balance like that. Did you already have the antibiotics on hand or something? It'd probably be best to have a specific prescription from a vet unless you have experience dosing, etc. on your own...

Also, I forgot another thing you can do for food - if she doesn't seem to want to come out, you can put some kibble in bed with her as well & see if she'll eat some that way. It'd probably best to help her drink or syringe her water though, if she's having a hard time standing long enough to drink.

Good luck, and I hope she feels better soon. Keep us updated!
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Old 10-05-2013, 12:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Woodstock is still tipped to her side. She is eating and drinking. She doesn't seem to be in any pain and is alert. I had some antibiotics that I dissolved in water and have been giving her. I have been dosing on the low side because I don't have an exact weight on her. I am taking her to the vet on Monday to get weighed and to get an oral or topical antibiotic so hopefully that will help. If that doesn't then I will have to explore other possibilities. Thanks again for all of your help.
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Old 10-05-2013, 01:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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What are the antibiotics from though? Personally, I'd stop the antibiotics you're giving her until you can go to the vet. There may be specific antibiotics that are more useful against an inner ear infection, or it could be something else entirely. Unless you have experience in medicating animals yourself, it seems smarter (and safer) to leave the prescription & dosing of medicines to a vet. Especially considering overuse or misuse of antibiotics can lead to resistant bacteria making the whole problem worse.
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Old 10-07-2013, 11:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I had Woodstock on amoxicillin over the weekend and took her to the vet today. The vet weighed her and perscribed antibiotics (an Amoxiciilin combo). Unfortunately this is not a hedgehog vet. They are very close to my house and cheap. I am going to see if the antibiotics work before thinking about taking her to an expensive specialist. She is eating and drinking well. She is also very alert and active but has not been on her wheel due to the head tilt. In my non-expert opinion she either has an ear infection that will be taken care of with antibiotics, she has had a stroke which there is no treatment for, she has the V (inner ear) condition which there is no treatment for and she is not vomiting or she has WHS. She will be getting new food when it comes in and I have heated and lit her room so at this time I am going to give her antibiotics and see how it goes. Does she need any probiotics with antibiotics? Thanks for your help.
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Old 10-07-2013, 12:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Probiotics aren't required, but can definitely help keep the digestive system from getting quite so disrupted by the antibiotics. So they'd be a good idea, if you can get them. People usually use either acidophilus (human, found in pharmacy near vitamins) or small animal Bene-bac (pet store, vet, online). Just make sure you don't give them right before or after the antibiotic, since the meds will kill the bacteria in the probiotics too.

Good luck, and I hope it's just an ear infection and she feels better soon! Let us know how she's doing.
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Old 10-13-2013, 09:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Woodstock will be on antibiotics for a week tomorrow and her head tilt has become less pronounced but she seems to be weak on her left still especially in her back leg/legs. She has a heating pad and heater in her room. I turn on the light when it becomes dark outside so she is getting around 12-14 hours a light a day. She is eating well a mix of dry food and wet insect eater diet. Seems like she is drinking less water. She will walk around her area that is fleece but is not as active and when she is at her food dish she sits instead of stands. Any ideas?
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