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Old 12-30-2010, 12:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Adopted hedgehog, underweight, dry skin

I adopted a hedgehog over the weekend that was (according to the previous owner) brought up in a very loving home. Her and her husband started fighting and he was abusive to both her and we believe, the hedgehog. She brought him back to the pet store where he sat in an aquarium for over a month with scarce attention. He is extremely skittish and on edge at every little sound or movement anyone makes. He is already making a lot of progress from just the past few days. I just don't think anybody was giving him any attention and he was depressed. He is a year old male and only weighs 355 grams but is not real skinny looking. The pet store said he just recently got his appetite back but has had a big one ever since I got him. The normal is more around 500 grams for males so I don't know if that's something to worry about? He is very active and energetic with a good appetite so I'm not sure if I should be really concerned? Also, his skin is very dry and flaky looking and I can see a lot of his skin between quills when he is rolled up into a ball.I know that is not normal but from what I've read, that can happen from stressful, traumatic times. I have not seen any quill loss at all though from the time I got him so I don't know how long he has been like that. The pet store wasn't too helpful about it which made me further want to get him out of there. I want to get him to a vet right away but I'm worried that it will only traumatize him further. He is starting to make good progress with me and I am afraid to ruin it so soon. Again, I only got him four days ago. I do not know how serious the dry, flaky skin is or will even something as simple as a bath help? I'm sure he has not gotten one for a long time.
Sorry this is so long but I thought knowing the background would help shed some light on his condition.
Again, should I worry about his weight and what exactly to do about the skin?

Thank you so much in advance for anyone's help!
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Old 12-30-2010, 03:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Adopted hedgehog, underweight, dry skin

Welcome and congrats on your new adoption!

Now on to your questions. ALL hedgehogs, regardless of male or female range from 200 to 1000+grams. So as long as his sides are not sunken in, he should be fine.
What food are you feeding?

As for his skin, you can give him an oatmeal bath, with either plain oatmeal in a sock, swish till you get cloudy water, or use Aveeno oatmeal wash. Never use anything with the word "shampoo" on it, as it will just end up stripping away too many oils. To finish off the bath, you can also pop open a capsule of flax seed oil, empty into a small cup, fill that with warm water, and just pour over his back.

A few weeks later, once he is more settled, you can start to think about supplementing with flax seed oil. You can start off with 1 capsule/week, and can increase to 1 capsule every 3-4 days until his skin is looking better.

If you wish for more detailed explanations(sorry, it's 3am lol) feel free to search(located upper right corner) "Aveeno", "flax seed", "oatmeal" and you will find many threads on them.
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Old 12-30-2010, 10:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Adopted hedgehog, underweight, dry skin

Congrats and Thank you! I am not one for those Dog commercials or seeing the dieing cats, but hedgehogs have a special place in my heart, and I like seeing one go to a better home.

Immortalia is right on IMO. I feed Snooki Blue Buffalo Weight Control, and she loves it. A wheel is a must if you don't have one, and LarryT makes amazing wheels. This place is the fountain of knowledge for all things hedgehog. One member also has a free book with a ton of info (sorry, I forgot who it is). Pretty much every question can be answered with the search. If you can't find it, post
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:04 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Adopted hedgehog, underweight, dry skin

Thank you Immortalia for all the info! I am feeding his the Sunseed hedgehog formula as the base. Then I add in small amounts of fresh fruit & veggies (aside from grapes, onions and other big no no's) , and crickets. He just loves pouncing on the crickets!! I haven't tried meal worms or wax worms yet so I don't know if any one is particularly better or not. I was reading posts on diet and got some feedback about mixing in cat food, I just have to find which one. I am not familiar with cat foods at all.

I am going to get some oatmeal today and give him that bath, I really hope it helps. Can you find the flax seed oil just about anywhere? Also with that, when I start giving him capsules, are there different sizes? I don't know if there is any kind of limit on the mg they should get each day. My last question!.....the oatmeal wash seems harmless enough, could I use that each time I bathe him or would it just be unnecessary?

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Adopted hedgehog, underweight, dry skin

Sunseed isn't too bad, but I don't think it should be used as a staple. For using cat food, you really have to look at ingredients and protein, fat, and fiber percentage. I looked at every food in Petsmart before I settled on the Blue Buffalo.

I bought my flax seed oil at walmart in liquid gels. I pop the pill and squeeze it out. They are pretty big tabs, I think about 1000 mg. I use oatmeal every time I bathe Snooks. I don't see the harm in it either. Wait a week or so before mixing it on food. Start with one pill a week, then make it every 5 days, then every 4. I do once every 3 or 4 days depending on skin condition.
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Adopted hedgehog, underweight, dry skin

There is no average weight for hedgehogs and often the males tend to be smaller than females. A 355 g male is quite normal and many are considerably smaller than that. Go by his body shape, rather than actual weight. If his sides are not sunken in, he is most likely fine.
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Adopted hedgehog, underweight, dry skin

I had heard Blue Buffalo was a good brand by many people. Should I be looking for the same percentages as with the hedgehog food? Like protein around 30, fat around 10, and fiber around 15? Or should I be looking for something richer? I guess I don't fully understand the reason to mix the foods. Is it for nutritional requirements or just for a larger variety of foods to better copy their natural diet? Also for mixing, is that only dry food or combo of wet/dry?
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Adopted hedgehog, underweight, dry skin

I personally don't mix, so I can't really answer it. I use only dry food, but you can always moisten it with warm water. Your numbers are right, but I look for less than 10% fat. Treats (like mealies and Crickets) are higher in fat, and make up for it if your hedgie likes them.
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Adopted hedgehog, underweight, dry skin

You don't mix dry and wet or you don't mix the cat food with the hedgehog food?
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Adopted hedgehog, underweight, dry skin

Welcome to HHC & congrats on your new hedgie!! It's wonderful that you're giving him a good home. Poor guy has probably been through a lot.

The reason we mix the kibble is that there is so far, no perfect hedgie food out there. The food that's usually marketed toward hedgies either isn't the best stuff, or can actually be dangerous ( like with pieces of dried fruit). Mealworms & waxworms are a good treat. However, waxworms have a lot more fat than mealworms (& are more expensive), so most people use mealies.
I would wait until you've had him a week or 2 before scheduling a vet. That way he has time to settle in & you have time to get to know him.
Don't get overwhelmed on the food. I'm still a bit confused by it. But you do have plenty of time, since it takes a while to introduce a new food. You should do it gradually. So, if you find 1 good food, then you can get another one later.



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