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Old 01-17-2012, 05:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jan 2012
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Default My hedgie is sneezing, and other questions.

Hello, this is my first post here I'm new to hedgehogs, I just got an African Pygmy about a week ago from a pet store, she is now about 10 weeks old and is adorable! Yesterday, I noticed that she started sneezing constantly and licking her nose. Her nose is moist, but I don't see any mucus, crust, or other signs that would indicate she is sick, but I'm obviously not an expert on this so I don't know exactly what to look for. Definitely not lethargic either, she still likes to explore when I take her out of the cage and ran on the wheel at night.

So now for some relevant information. I use aspen bedding in her cage since cedar and pine can cause allergies and she has been fine with that for the week since I've had her. In the pet store, her bedding was some kind of egg-carton-like material. The room I always keep well above 70 degrees; enough to make me comfortable in a T-shirt. Her poop has been a dark greenish-brown (but more on the green side) with a toothpaste texture since I got her. I feed her a specific "Hedgehog Food" recommended by the pet store along with occasion fruit. I don't weigh my hedgehog, but she's not overweight and I think she is still eating and drinking properly, although this just happened yesterday so it's probably too soon to tell.

I just moved into a new apartment 2 days ago, but she showed no signs of anything wrong. Yesterday afternoon, I gave her her first bath and replaced the bedding in the cage with fresh bedding. Still, she was normal, no sneezing. Later I let her explore around the room, the hardwood floor might be a little dusty I guess, but she wasn't sneezing or coughing. It was only at night that I came home to find that she had pushed her igloo-like house to the side a bit and was sleeping under the wheel instead. I went to see what was wrong and she was sneezing a lot. I took her out of the cage to see if anything might have caused allergies. I suspected the house since I cleaned that recently. There was no smell or residue that I could detect, but I washed it down with more water and dried it just in case and put it back in the cage. However, she is still sneezing.

So I know this sounds like a lot of things that could have caused this, but I find it odd that she only started sneezing last night, not after making the changes. I hope she's not sick. These are the questions I have:

1. Will getting an air purifier help? Are they very sensitive to dust? My room doesn't feel particularly dusty to me.
2. If sneezing continues, at what point should I take her to a vet?
3. I happen to live in a state that does not legalize hedgehogs, can I still take her to a vet with no trouble if she gets sick?
4. Is there anything else I can do to diagnose the problem?

And also some other questions I've had that I might as well merge into this thread:

5. I always hear her scratching her house, I think its to file her nails. Is it common to put a rock or something in the cage for them to do this on instead? Or am I way off?
6. I found a chicken-based weight control cat food that has 28% protein and 9% fat. Is that acceptable to feed a hedgehog?

Thanks in advance for any help!
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