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Old 07-10-2014, 06:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Don't agree with the vet

My hedgehog Adella has recently lost weight. Her sides have kind of curved in and she hasn't eaten for a few nights aside from two mealworms. I tried baby food, softening and crushing her food, and wet cat food. She doesn't want any of it.

So of course I called up the vet and got her in as soon as I could with the hedgehog vet. So this morning we brought her in. It turns out the vet was looking up hedgehogs before our appointment (she said so herself) and she consulting a book that appears old and not recent.

When she concluded Adella had a calcium deficiency from reading her book I was skeptical. She printed a page off for my mom and I. I read through it and was horrified at the many errors and I am not so sure about her conclusion. The section said to feed commercially made hedgehog food, as well as a 30-50% protein and anywhere between 10-20% fat. Clearly, there are some errors. So I don't know what to think about her advice if she's getting it from the book.

Another thing is my mom is sort of "The vet said this, so let's do this." My opinion isn't much compared to the "experts". But honestly, we told her Adella's symptoms and she looked it up in her book and on the internet, which I could have done myself.

I really don't want to be taking advice from her, and I would rather see a specialist. I just know my parents are shrugging off the issue because the vet said she was in the clear.

I convinced my mom hedgehog food was as healthy as cardboard, but my mom is pretty sure about the calcium. I honestly haven't run into anything about calcium so I can't say. But she also wants to add a bunch of new foods to her diet to try and get her to eat, and that I know for a fact will upset her stomach.

Any help? Is calcium the problem, or should I schedule an appointment with the hedgehog expert the recommended out of town (though I'm unsure of their advice on exotics at this point)? Should I wait some more? Do I need to see how much she's eating?

Here are the sickness symptoms and some facts:
-Stopped eating for a few days (if she ate, she ate like five pieces of food), and she ate two mealworms last night
-Her sides have hollowed in a bit
-Poop was green the other night (and my mom thinks some diarrhea medicine will fix that, also the vet's recommendation)
-She still drinks
-Still runs like a marathon runner

Last edited by Teddi4211; 07-10-2014 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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A calcium deficiency would be unlikely. That usually happens to nursing moms or if there is a lot of blood loss during delivery. This isn't to say it can't happen, but there would be different symptoms.

I would start trying to syringe feed her and see if her appetite bounces back. Also put kibble in her bed with her and count all the kibble you give her, both dry and dampened. The main thing is to get food into her so Fatty liver disease doesn't start.

See how things go over the weekend and make a decision about seeing another vet at the beginning of the week.
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree with Nancy- start syringe feeding her. Hopefully her appetite will come back. Are you keeping track of her weight?
I don't know anything about calcium deficiencies in hedgehogs, so I'm of no help there.
The greenish poop may be due to the fact she hasn't been eating much.
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for your input. I don't know much about calcium in their diets. When I got her, I got her with my baby from the breeder since the breeder was retiring her. Her babies have been weaned for nearly a month, so the deficiency wouldn't still apply, right?

I'll see how she does over the weekend, and revisit syringe feeding. I couldn't get her to open her mouth once for me. I tried putting it on her lips and holding her in different positions. Any tips?
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The symptoms of a nursing related calcium deficiency is lethargic, seeming out of it, weak, wobbly, not eating and generally looking ill.

What part of the examination did the vet determine calcium deficiency? From what I know, without obvious symptoms, a blood test would be required.
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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When I syringe fed my hedgies I had them in a blanket. I sat with my knees bent so I could put them on their back against my legs (I hope that makes sense). Then I would wait until the came out of their ball and put the syringe in. To get them started and understand that you are trying to give them food, you can squeeze out a little bit and have the hedgie lick it off the syringe. And then you can gently force their mouth open to get it in all the way.
Mine caught on quick and were easy to feed. You may have to do several feedings in a day depending on how much she eats at a time.
I always used an A/D formula and watered it down. Just make sure you go slowly so she has time to swallow.
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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She sort of just felt around Adella. Such as, she poked her stomach, ran her hands over her body, etc. I know she definitely isn't lethargic, and the vet even commented so herself. We'll see how she does. My mom bought a ton of wet food with calcium and new dry cat food with calcium to mix in. Will the extra be okay?

Adella just won't lick anything from the syringe. She won't lick it, and will hardly sniff it. Every time I get it near her face she completely balls up.
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I wouldn't supplement calcium. From the sounds of the vet, Nancy knows more than she does! Extra calcium can cause problems as well. If the food itself doesn't have extra calcium, it should be fine to feed, but I wouldn't mix in any extra calcium supplements or anything.

The video and information in this sticky might help with the syringe-feeding - https://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forum...ng-sticky.html
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Old 07-10-2014, 11:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I will definitely talk my mom out of the calcium supplement idea then. I understand how she can expect the vet to know what she's talking about, because in my opinion if they say specialist they should. However, that sticky is very helpful. I had her on a towel in case some spilled, but I never thought of wrapping it around them, which makes sense for a huffy hedgehog.
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