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Old 10-25-2010, 02:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Strange behaviour, vague "symptoms", LOTS of info

Hi,

I've posted here a couple of times before about my hedgie Bellie who I got in February. Her birthday is actually this Thursday and she will be 1yr. I've posted in the past because she wasn't eating (which turned out to be dehydration; despite using a water bottle at the breeder's she just wouldn't drink out of it for me), and a few times she's tried to hibernate (which remain a mystery to me because the temperature and light were fine). The few hibernation attempts were thwarted and afterwards she returned to her normal self.

The reason I'm posting today is because she has been acting very strangely for the last few months. It's been a slow-going thing, but it's only been getting worse. Essentially what is happening is: she won't get up at night. However, if I get her up (around 10:30pm - 11pm), she gets up, eats and drinks, runs on her wheel, and her personality/friskiness/energy levels are no different then when she was getting up on her own. Except she doesn't stay up. She will be up for maximum 25mins and then it's right back to bed. I stay up pretty late these days, so every hour or so I'll wake her up again and it's the same routine: eat and drink a bit, play on her wheel, then back to bed. When I get up in the morning, all her food is gone (meaning she did get up again of her own accord at least one more time). If I don't wake her up the first few times throughout the night though, she does not get up at all. The first time that happened, I panicked and assumed she was trying to hibernate again, but when I whipped her cabin off of her to check on her, she huffed and puffed at me and was her normal grumpy self. She just hadn't gotten up or eaten at all the night before.

Another thing is, for the past 2 weeks when I wake her up, not every night but some nights she's been hot. The temperature in my room pretty much never changes (it stays at 73F, though some nights goes up to 74F or dips down to 72F, but such an occasion is very rare), so I don't understand why she would be hot. Also, if she is too hot, then I would kind of get why she isn't running on her wheel; who would want to exercise when they're already warm? BUT WAIT! She's not hot every night, and she still won't get up/run/eat unless I wake her up myself.

Last night, I woke her up around 11pm and she ate some food, drank some water, and ran on her wheel for about 5mins (not unusual for her at this point). Then she went back to bed. I left her alone until about 1am when she got up by herself and ate some more food, but didn't run on her wheel. When I got up this morning, I saw that she had eaten about 1/3 of her food. Immediately my mind jumps to hibernation now when she hasn't eaten, so I checked on her and sure enough she was a bit cool but not unresponsive; she unballed immediately and was trying to get back to bed. I held her in my lap for about a half hour until she felt "normal" again (which was hard, because she wanted to run around and go back to her bed) but I've just put her back in her cage and she seems 100% fine personality/energy/temperature wise.

I just don't get what's going on!!

Is it possible that she's depressed? Or bored? Or both? I have her in a 19"x11" cage with room to run around, 2 balls to play with, her wheel, and her cabin which she previously enjoyed climbing on top of. The temperature is situated at 73F, and since she is sometimes hot I'm afraid to crank it up. The cage has a litter pan that stands only 2.5" high and the rest is open air wiring. I have a towel draped over the back and behind her cabin so that no drafts can get to her while she's sleeping. She gets ample light from 9am-10pm every day. She now never plays with her balls (I used to hear them dingling in the night when she bunted them around) and never climbs on her cabin. She barely runs in her wheel and I can't stay up all night long playing with her (obviously). She eats all her food if I make sure she gets up, she drinks normal amounts, her poop is normal-looking and a normal amount, she hasn't lost weight... It's just that she won't get up at night unless I force her and even then she isn't up for long.

I know I'll probably get told to take her to a vet, and I have Dr. Munn's information open in another tab here in my browser. I just wanted to know if anyone had ANY information or ideas about what could be causing this strange behaviour. Any help would be EXTREMELY appreciated.

Recent photo of Bellie:

(ps I know her ears look a bit tattered in the picture but I put Bag Balm on them after that bath and they're healed now)
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Old 10-25-2010, 02:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Strange behaviour, vague "symptoms", LOTS of info

I would bump the heat up to 75-78. What do you heat with? And do you have a thermometer in /around the cage? Is the room completely dark during the nite? Some hogs will not come out if there is ANY light at all. Your cage is 19x11 is that in inches? If so that's way to small.
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Old 10-25-2010, 02:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Strange behaviour, vague "symptoms", LOTS of info

Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryT
I would bump the heat up to 75-78. Is the room completely dark during the nite? Some hogs will not come out if there is ANY light at all. Your cage is 19x11 is that in inches? If so that's way to small.
I was thinking the exact same thing! You may think it's warm enough - but a few degrees can make all the difference.
Also, we recently discovered that our girl likes her cage covered at night, so it's pitch dark, or else she won't come out as much, won't eat as much & won't wheel as much.



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Old 10-25-2010, 02:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Strange behaviour, vague "symptoms", LOTS of info

Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryT
I would bump the heat up to 75-78. What do you heat with? And do you have a thermometer in /around the cage? Is the room completely dark during the nite? Some hogs will not come out if there is ANY light at all. Your cage is 19x11 is that in inches? If so that's way to small.
Okay, but I'm concerned to bump up the heat when she's been so hot. Like, hot to the touch. Is it safe to turn up the temperature when she's felt hot in the recent past? Not last night or today, but as recent as two nights ago?

The room she's in is the room I share with my elderly grandmother, and my grandmother uses an oxygen tank that runs constantly and keeps the room very warm. It's the warmest room in the house because of the machine. When I feel like Bellie needs extra heat, I turn on a space heater that is situated right by her cage (but not blowing directly on her).

I have a thermometer right above her cage. It is reading 73F.

No, I have to keep a very small night-light on for my grandmother, but up until 7-8 weeks ago (and I've had Bellie since February) she was getting up on her own. Sometimes when I'm sitting around with my desk lamp on around 10pm or so, she will poke her head out to see if I've fed her yet, but that hasn't happened in a few weeks (maybe 2) which is why I posted here.

I'm sorry, her cage is 14" x 26" (I just measured it). Yes in inches.
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Old 10-25-2010, 02:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Strange behaviour, vague "symptoms", LOTS of info

Quote:
Originally Posted by PJM
Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryT
I would bump the heat up to 75-78. Is the room completely dark during the nite? Some hogs will not come out if there is ANY light at all. Your cage is 19x11 is that in inches? If so that's way to small.
I was thinking the exact same thing! You may think it's warm enough - but a few degrees can make all the difference.
Also, we recently discovered that our girl likes her cage covered at night, so it's pitch dark, or else she won't come out as much, won't eat as much & won't wheel as much.
The only thing is, when I wake her up some nights she feels hot to the touch. That's why I haven't bothered turning up the heat (which would normally be my first inclination as I have had to deal with her trying to hibernate before).

I read before I got her that hedgies need ventilation though and covering their cages with a blanket was a bad idea. Is it safe to do that? I already have her cage partially covered by a towel to help keep out drafts.
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Old 10-25-2010, 02:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Strange behaviour, vague "symptoms", LOTS of info

Wait on Nancy to post before you do anything She has forgotten more over the years than I know.
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Old 10-25-2010, 02:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Strange behaviour, vague "symptoms", LOTS of info

Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryT
Wait on Nancy to post before you do anything She has forgotten more over the years than I know.
Okay. Thank you for your help.
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Old 10-25-2010, 02:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Strange behaviour, vague "symptoms", LOTS of info

What kind of a wheel does she have?
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Old 10-25-2010, 03:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Strange behaviour, vague "symptoms", LOTS of info

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheryl
What kind of a wheel does she have?
I just took these photos of her cage set up. I have covered her cage more than usual just in case it's a bit drafty or something (I'm still nervous to turn up the heat). Usually the towel only covers half of the sides and the back. You can see the space heater sitting on top.



Her wheel (which is the same wheel she ran on at the breeders, and has had no problems running on/using since I got her):

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Old 10-25-2010, 03:18 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Strange behaviour, vague "symptoms", LOTS of info

First, I'd start by changing her wheel. Get a nice bucket style wheel. While I do have and have used the plastic mesh spool wheel, the metal mesh ones have been known to catch toenails, and if she caught one, she may be reluctant to try to run on the wheel again.

What size is that wheel? I'm wondering if since she has grown up if the wheel may be a bit small in diameter which could cause her to feel uncomfortable when running for very long.

Do you have a snuggle bag that she can sleep in? That cage has a metal pan and you are using substrate bedding. If she is burrowing down into her substrate under her house, the metal of the pan could be causing the oddness in being hot/cold.
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