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Old 06-17-2018, 12:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Sudden death (fine a day ago)

My girlfriend and I were recently given a hedgehog by on of her coworkers (about two weeks ago) and he passed away last night. The past two weeks have been very fun, watching him curl up when we interact with him and slowly get used to us. It happened pretty quick as just a few days ago he was running all around the bed with us and climbing up on our shoulders. I could even pick him up without a towel or anything to protect my hand as he wouldn't spike up at all. He was born this past march so he was only a few months old and up until maybe 7pm yesterday (18 hours ago from time of posting this) he seemed fine. It was a particularly hot day yesterday, 85-90F, and my girlfriend noticed he wasn't burrowed under our shirts under the heat lamp like he normally was, he was away from the heat lamp not under anything. She took him out and gave him a little water bath to cool him off, recently it's been very temperate, around 68-75F, so she was worried he might be overheating. (it can get a little colder that that sometimes but he has a small heat lamp in his cage) He appeared wobbly and was breathing shallowly at the time. He seemed to be better after the little swim and she cleaned out his cage and put in a box as a sort of shelter for him to maybe help stay cool. Last night the temperature dropped pretty drastically and got down to maybe 40-50F. This morning at around 11am my girlfriend woke me to tell me he was dead, it's now 1pm at the time of posting this. All this happened very suddenly and as it's sunday, there's no vets open until tomorrow so we can't find out what happened. If anyone can help that would be great, we would really appreciate some direction as far as why he passed away so suddenly when just a day or two ago he was behaving like a normal hedgehog. I can provide additional information if need be and post pictures of his cage if it helps.
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Old 06-18-2018, 12:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: GTA, Ontario
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There are a lot of things in your post that have been left unanswered, and could be potentially why your hedgehog passed away. Also, the vet may not be able to give you answers about why he died, because he'd likely have to do an autopsy, and those are real pricey.

The temperature range for a hedgehog is 73-80F, with 74-78 being the ideal range, depending on the hedgehog's personal preference.
  • When it was 85-90F, was there no fan or AC on? His environment should have been cooled to 73-80F at least. If his enclosure was 85-90F then he was definitely overheated, and may have had a heat stroke.
  • After the water bath, if you did not dry him properly he could have caught a chill.
  • When the temperature dropped to 40-50F, did you make sure that his environment/enclosure was between 73-80F by turning on the heat lamp?

    Heat lamps are supposed to be connected to a thermostat so they automatically turn on during temperature drops, and so they regulate the environment to the correct heat.

All in all, his temperature and light schedule (73-80F and 12H of light) shouldn't have fluctuated at all. If it did, he very likely tried to hibernate, and hibernation kills pet hedgehogs unless you can catch them on time and stop them. If it was around/over 85F for a long period of time, then it's also likely that he could have overheated and/or had a heat stroke.

Edit: 90F to 40F is a huge temperature fluctuation. Even a non-hedgehog would get sick with that sudden change of temperature.

There's also other factors that we don't know about and were unspecified, but that's all I could get from your post. Hedgehogs are very specific pets with very specific needs, they take a decent amount of research.

My condolences for your loss.

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Old 06-18-2018, 10:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm so sorry to hear of the sudden loss of your hedgehog.

The only way a vet could potentially tell you what he died of would be to perform a necropsy (an animal autopsy).

Just to add to Hammy's post, the huge fluctuation in temperature would most likely make him sick if this was actually the cage temp readings, if using a digital thermometer on his cage. Also an animal should never be put in water if they appear sick or have potential heat stroke. The sudden change in temp (if overheated to a cool bath) can send them into shock. It's best to cool down slowly and naturally. Other factors could have been if he was eating and drinking enough and daily. He could have also had an underlining health problem you weren't aware of. If it would give you some peace of mind a necropsy is the only thing that can confirm the cause.

So sorry again
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Old 06-23-2018, 09:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm very sorry to hear that your hedgie has passed.

If the large fluctuation was the cause, you may have discovered poops with a green tinge in the cage.
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Old 06-24-2018, 07:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by welcomemoo View Post
I'm very sorry to hear that your hedgie has passed.

If the large fluctuation was the cause, you may have discovered poops with a green tinge in the cage.
**In tempature
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