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Old 10-25-2013, 01:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy WHS URI or Perhaps just Old Age? Any info helps!

Hi everyone!

I am having some troubles with my Moose and wanted to share my experiences and perhaps you can help me.

So this actually all starts about 6 months ago:
Moose has been slowly but steadily becoming less and less active over the past 6 months. Using his wheel less, eating less food and drinking less water on his own.

After a recent visit to the vet to check if perhaps his teeth were bothering him I was told "Moose is quite old and sometimes with old age come less mobility, you may have to start feeding him yourself." With this information I have been monitoring Moose's eating habits and whenever I can tell he is not eating or drinking enough I feed him myself.

About a month ago I noticed a drop off in wheel activity. I made a little mark on his wheel to see if it would move but I found whenever he was using it he was just plopping down for a nap.

About 2 weeks ago the temperature dropped suddenly and he tried to hibernate. I pulled out my winter kit and began to get him out of his hibernation mode which seemed to work really well but his mobility has been really limited and he doesn't often venture out of his hut. Since then I have been feeding him water (sometimes juice to get his sugars up) and wet foods daily and making sure I keep comfy and a little bit active.

The last few days are when I started to see new behaviours which is what brought me here.
I know the common signs of URIs are sneezing, nose licking and runny nose which if it gets bad it is THEN followed by lethargy and loss of appetite, but it all seems to be going in the opposite direction. His mobility has been down steadily for a few months now as well as his appetite so when I noticed he has a runny nose the other day I was confused if it is just a passing thing or not. He does have a slight click in his breath but I find that only happens when his breathing is elevated and once he calms down it is gone (and not an angry click.. more like what I have read on here could sound like a wheeze) but like I said, once he is calm the runny nose and click goes away... other than that he has no symptoms of a URI?

Next off I noticed he would walk on my bed a few paces and then just plop over on his side which made me wonder if he is starting to show any signs of WHS? If I rest my hand on him he just lays there whereas before he would have spiked up at me.

I have had Moose for about 4 years now and he was already a year to a year and a half old when I got him, so perhaps, like my vet said, this behaviour could just be attributed to his old age?

I am doing my best to make sure he is being well fed/watered, warmed and comfortable. I just want to make sure I am doing the right things right now to keep Moose comfy and happy.

If anyone has any advice or perhaps shared similar experiences with an older hedgie please let me know! Anything would be helpful.
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Old 10-25-2013, 02:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Oh boy, that must be painful to watch I'm sorry, I'm not an expert in the hedgie health field, but since your hedgie is 4 years old already, it could be due to old age. (Mainly referring to the decline of activity)

To be sure, maybe make a trip to another vet to see what might be happening, as a second opinion?

Wonton and I wish you both well!

Last edited by LittleWontonPoo; 10-25-2013 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree that it may just be old age.

WHS doesn't come on that quickly, but hibernation can weaken the immune system which could explain the URI symptoms. Since he's clicking when he breathes you may want to look into getting antibiotics. Did the vet say anything else or run any tests?

Keep up with the hand feeding/watering, but don't give him any more juice. The sugar isn't good for them.

Give him lots of love and keep him as comfortable as possible.
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Old 10-25-2013, 04:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Seconding Abby with the new breathing symptoms = vet visit for URI.

As for the reduced movement:
From the archives, I've read that for older hedgehogs experiencing movement reduction (for WHS, for arthritis), supplementing the normal heating setup with a heating pad can help. I've also read to adjust cage-setup to create "paths" where they can lean on things to get around. Hopefully one of the experienced breeders will come around, because I think they occasionally also recommend a medication to ease joint pain that maybe you can ask your vet about?
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Old 10-26-2013, 03:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you for your replies.

Today Moose's condition worsened rapidly and we brought him to the vet... Moose had an irregular heart beat and fter discussing our options we decided the best thing to do was take away his pain and let him sleep.

Thank you for your help and support.

There is a post in the memorials section for Moose.
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