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Old 03-23-2011, 04:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My hedgie is acting weird. I need help.

I joined here because I just don't know where else to go. I'm a hedgehog noob.
I can't afford the vet, so I'm trying my best to find out what the problem is and if it can be treated at home.

My hedgehog is pretty young, maybe like 6 months? Or so I've been told. She was active and loved attention for the first while I had her.

I switched up her food because I couldn't find the same one she was eating.
I mixed it together with her old food so that I could slowly switch over to this new brand without upsetting her much.

I'm completely out of the old brand now, and I noticed immediately that she doesn't eat this new stuff as much.

But now I'm wondering if there's a reason why, rather than simply not liking it...

Lately she's been wobbling about with her eyes half open. She seems to still eat, but doesn't poop very much. Her water bowl is almost untouched. I gave her some scrambled egg, which she nom nom'd. Still no poop. She still runs on her wheel, but does so rather weakly.
She sleeps a lot too, of course. But she doesn't curl up into a tight ball.

I was confused for awhile as to whether anything was actually wrong, since she still ate and ran on her wheel.

Today I found her laying around, pretty unresponsive as I poked her. I picked her up, she went into a half-ball, and I put her on a heating pad with a towel. I noticed that there is brown flakey stuff caked on her face and ears. I can rub it off.

In the past, I have given her warm baths with a drop or so of olive oil, and wiped bits of polysporin on her to prevent skin issues. It seems I have failed.

I dunno what's wrong. If she's starving herself because she doesn't like the food, or if she is attempting hibernation. My room is always really warm, so I dunno why she would...
I dunno what's up with her skin either. She seems to have a dry nose as well.

She started moving around more with the heat, but she still looks pretty pathetic.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: My hedgie is acting weird. I need help.

Do you have a thermometer? The temperature in the room needs to be 75 minimum, and if she's attempting hibernation it should be around 80 to prevent her from trying again, I believe. Can you visually inspect her for any clues as to what might be going on, like is one of her legs hurt or what? They will wheel even if injured so that's not a great indication that everything is okay. The brown stuff on her face, can you tell where it's coming from? Is it from her pores or hedgie-pore equivalent, or is it from something in her cage? Keep her really warm, keep an eye on her, take her to the vet soon, please. If possible, find out what food she was on before, go buy more, and switch back to it. Good luck, I hope she's okay!
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: My hedgie is acting weird. I need help.

What is the actual temperature of her room? If she is becoming better while on the heating pad then her cage environment needs to be up a couple of degrees.

Brown flakey stuff could be mites droppings. If so, she needs to be treated with Revolution, NOT ivermectin.

She also needs to eat and you probably should think about syringe feeding her. How much exactly is she eating? Count her kibble and she may need to be syringe fed.


It sounds to me like she needs a vet check. She doesn't sound well and it may be more than not being warm enough.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: My hedgie is acting weird. I need help.

Exactly what is the temperature inside her cage? Can you use a digital thermometer and check. If it is by a window, outside wall, or on the floor it might be cooler in the cage than you expect. Do you use any sort of supplemental heat? Hedgies really need it warmer than most room temperature homes.

What kind of food is it now that she is not eating? Most people here feed a mix of high quality catfoods. Commercial hedgehog food is just not adequate and some can even be dangerous, believe it or not.

When you pick her up, does her tummy feel cool or warm? If she is too cold she may be trying to hibernate.

Does she get 12-14 hours of light every day?

Can you tell where the brown flakey stuff on her face and ears is coming from?
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: My hedgie is acting weird. I need help.

Based on your description is... oh... look at that, Nancy just beat me to the punch mid-post. I second everything she says: start syringe feeding, bump the heat up and keep it at a steady temperature (you don't want it to go up and down), make sure she's getting light for 12-14 hours a day (even if she's hiding under a blanket, you need the light on), and get her to a vet.

Also, what food was she on before and what new food did you change her to? It might not be the right one for her.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: My hedgie is acting weird. I need help.

If she's barely eating, she may be eating her poop. They'll do that sometimes if they feel like they're starving.

You can get a syringe to feed her at any pharmacy, usually for free. It's the kind used to give medicine to babies, not the kind with a needle. Just ask if you can buy one to feed your sick hedgehog, and they'll usually give you one for free

As far as what to put in the syringe, I'd probably get a can of vanilla Ensure and a jar of turkey baby food and mix equal parts, and try that just for a day or two. I don't have as much experience as the other posters here, but I had a hedgie who used to quit eating sometimes. I made food for her because I had to syringe feed her for a long time and the little baby food jars get expensive.

Have you called the vet to see how much an office visit would be? It might not be as much as you think and it sounds like she really needs to be seen.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: My hedgie is acting weird. I need help.

I have no clue how warm the room is, I don't have a thermometer. I guess I should get one...

Currently I have a portable heater blowing at her too, but I just dunno how hot is too hot. I don't want to overdo it. Or underdo it.

I turned the light on just now based on what you guys have said. She usually gets the best of both worlds, but lately she gets a lot of darkness because I read somewhere that a sick hedgehog prefers it... So there's one mistake.

As for the brown stuff, I have no idea where it's coming from. Her bedding is currently Aspen, which is not particularly dusty, if just a bit. It's definitely not as horrible as pine, and her owner was dumb enough to have her living on that before. I could change it. Newspaper? Fabric?

I don't think her legs are injured either, but I can't be sure. She huffs at me and resists if I try to handle her when she's sleeping. (Which is... a lot.) I can't even feel her belly properly.

The food she has now is Brown's Zoo Vital. I read about bad food to feed your hedgies before, and this wasn't on that list, so I got it. Now that I read more, this could be mistake #2.
I'm not sure what she was on before... I just remember what it looks like.

I want to take her to a vet too. But I need money, and I'd have to take her on a long ride on public transit.

Does anyone have any suggestions for mixtures when it comes to syringe feeding? And how do I get her to take it? I will look it up online, but I don't know what to trust anymore.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: My hedgie is acting weird. I need help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Judi
If she's barely eating, she may be eating her poop. They'll do that sometimes if they feel like they're starving.

You can get a syringe to feed her at any pharmacy, usually for free. It's the kind used to give medicine to babies, not the kind with a needle. Just ask if you can buy one to feed your sick hedgehog, and they'll usually give you one for free

As far as what to put in the syringe, I'd probably get a can of vanilla Ensure and a jar of turkey baby food and mix equal parts, and try that just for a day or two. I don't have as much experience as the other posters here, but I had a hedgie who used to quit eating sometimes. I made food for her because I had to syringe feed her for a long time and the little baby food jars get expensive.

Have you called the vet to see how much an office visit would be? It might not be as much as you think and it sounds like she really needs to be seen.
I will call the vets and see. I just... will hate to take her on the bus.

Thanks very much for the suggestions. I will go out and get those things.
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: My hedgie is acting weird. I need help.

Hedgie on a bus is a small price to pay for a healthy, live hedgie. I feel your pain for not having your own transportation. I'm a student myself, with no car, and I technically should not have a hog sitting beside me right now. BUT, I promised myself before I decided to bring him along to school that I wouldn't let him suffer my decision to have a dormitory animal. You're lucky that your vet is at least on a public transit route-- I have vivid, prickly memories of walking a hog, in January, against my own chest, wrapped up in my shirt, sweater, and hardcore winter jacket for a half hour trek down the hill to get to the vet when he started going bald last year. My poor tummy was so sore and red that my shirt hurt me for about two days after :0 Thank goodness the vet's is on a bus route now.

Anyways, whatever the circumstances, if she needs a vet, she needs a vet.
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: My hedgie is acting weird. I need help.

Lulu wouldn't eat Brown's Zoo Vital at all...I bought it because I thought it was neat that Petsmart had hedgehog food, and mixed it with her cat food. She ate the cat food but wouldn't touch the Brown's. I tried it with Spikey also (who will eat anything) and he didn't eat it either.

You should get some cat food. There's a list of brands on here but really, anything that she'll eat for now would be good.

I have a video on youtube of how I syringe-fed Lulu, but Lulu had WHS and was pretty weak, so I was always able to hold her by her scruff which made it easier. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGQ2u1Y7WJM Your little one might also be willing to lick from a spoon, if the syringe is too tricky.
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