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laf724 03-16-2018 10:44 PM

Hedgehog loosing weight
My hedgehog has been loosing weight since early November. He was 330 grams then but now he has been loosing a couple grams a week. He is down to 270 grams. I weigh him at least once a week before he gets up to eat and run. He runs a lot. He always has but he used to eat more and he has been eating less. I give him a tablespoon of food every night. He used to eat it all. Again since November he eats maybe half of it a night sometimes less and occasionally more. Maybe once a week he eats most of the food. I also give him maybe a teaspoon of baby food turkey once or twice a week. He eats that all up and licks the bowl clean. He will eat more cat food on turkey nights too.
I took him to the vet right after Christmas. At that point he was only down 15 grams and the vet and I just assumed he was eating less from the weather change. It is still winter. I don’t know if that’s why he is eating less and loosing weight still. Everything else with him seems normal. Any advice will help. I am just concerned he has lost too much weight. Thank you.

laf724 03-16-2018 11:12 PM

Ignore all my spelling mistakes. I can’t figure out how to edit my post to correct them.

Yukidama's mama 03-17-2018 05:03 AM

Hi, yes I would also be concerned for him too, dropping 60gs in 4 months is quite a lot. Hedgehogs should be free fed. If he used to eat through all his food (1tbsp) then you should give more and throw out whatever is left the following evening and replace with fresh food. Sounds like he does have an appetite if he eats up all the baby food when offered and will also eat more cat food on these nights. Whilst he's trying to gain weight I'd offer the babyfood every night alongside the kibble.

What is the temperature of his cage? Sometimes if it is too cold they won't want to eat much. How old is he, is he getting old? And what is the percentage of fat on his cat food? If he is a runner and struggles to maintain weight (when he does eat well) then perhaps you need to mix in a slightly higher fat % cat food to stop him from burning of his food so quickly.

Also a great way to help gain weight is feeding insects if you don't already feed these, I'd recommend offering them every night to help him put weight back on. They're really nutritious and should be part of their diet anyways, where possible.

But in terms of getting him to eat more kibble or why he isn't eating as much ~ Are you able to check his mouth? Perhaps he has a mouth issue and kibble is too hard work for him to eat? Have you tried soaking his kibble in water so it becomes mushy (if you try this still offer a separate bowl of fresh kibble in case he doesn't like it and refuses to eat completely). Also how old is the bag of food? Once it goes stale, hedgies have been known to refuse to eat it/eat less.

Try these things and see if any help. Also I'd start weighing him every night at the same time, before or after eating/pooping/peeing etc as these will all change his weight by a few grams in itself! Weighing once a week is not enough when there is an issue as perhaps he'll eat more that day or do more poop, this will change the weight by a considerable amount and not be accurate to perhaps the following day...

My boy used to be underweight and now has gained so much I'm starting to worry he's getting too big or has a problem >< lol

laf724 03-17-2018 09:16 AM

He does free feed kind of since a tablespoon is more than he eats and if he eats it all I give him more than a tablespoon the next day. I will start giving him more baby food and hope that helps and prove he is just being picky.

His lamp is set for 75. I don't have control of the heat in my apartment. I can just close the radiator if it gets too hot. The building controls when it comes on. This causes the temperature in my apartment to vary which I know isn't good and one of the reasons I plan to move this summer. If it is cold out the heat comes on a lot and it is 78 to 80 inside until I open a window to get back to 76. If it is warmer outside (40s) the heat doesn't come on much and my apartment temp can be as low as 70. I know this isn;t good and his lamp doesn't really reach his food area or wheel. Just where he sleeps. So this could be the problem too.

He just turned 2 years old. The cat food he gets is Natural Balance LID 30% protein and 12% fat. Its a relatively new bag. Actually I think I opened it just before he started eating less. Maybe this is a bad bag.

He does run a lot. That hasn't changed. He runs as much as he always has but is eating less so losing weight. I did read to give him higher fat food and plan to get some to start mixing in.The only insects I had been giving him were freeze dried meal worms. He doesn't seem to like those anymore either. I will try some alive worms.

The vet was able to check his mouth and said everything was good in December. I try to look but I don' really know what I would be looking for. His teeth seem normal.

Thank you for your help.

Yukidama's mama 03-20-2018 05:13 AM

How's he doing now, any progress?

See if the babyfood and insects help increase his appetite, feeding a little every night along with his regular kibble.

Do you use an artificial light schedule? Especially in winter the days are shorter and darker so this could be effecting him. Hedgies need approx 11-12 hours of daylight (use a lamp or ceiling light on a timer), sunlight is not consistent enough.

You could try also moving his food bowl or sprinkle a few kibble pieces in his bed area and see if this entices him to eat. Sounds like it could be the new bag though? Sometimes companies change ingredients etc and this can put hedgies off their food. Another reason why it's good to use a mix of different kibbles together... I actually use natural balance (duck pea formula) and the kibble in my bag is really hard, I can't crush it with a spoon so there's no way a hedgie could chew it without hurting its mouth! Yuki tried one and wouldnt eat anymore of it unless it was soaked! I soak all his food in water but this is something he loves, not all hedgies seem to like it. Other members also use natural balance and have no problems with the hardness (can snap a piece with their fingers) so perhaps your new bag is a dodge bag like mine? This could be why he isn't eating so much, if he's finding it too difficult to eat... You could try soaking it a little with warm water and see if he'll eat it. Still offer a separate bowl of the dry kibble too in case he doesn't like it.

Yuki wasn't a big eater when I first got him and barely ate but over time Ive managed to get his appetite up and he's gained a lot of weight. As well as changing his food and feeding insects regularly, I've recently started giving him fresh food in the morning as well (I leave it in his bed area as he's too lazy to come out/doesn't like daylight!) and sure enough he eats a fair amount in the morning as well as in the evening (something he never used to do!).

Hope you have a breakthrough but if he continues to lose weight and/or his other behaviour changes I'd take him to the vet. They can give you nutrient packed canned food for sick animals which could help give him a boost and get his appetite back up and also check him over in case there is an underlying problem...

Keep us posted ♡

nikki 03-20-2018 11:11 AM

You can try adding in a small amount of kitten food to his dry food, it's higher in fat and protein and can help stop weight loss and help with weight gain as well.

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