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Old 05-28-2011, 01:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Importance of 24 Hour Emergency Clinics

Over the years I have read many posts on here about hedgehogs being incredibly ill but the owners having no where to take them because 24 hour emergency clinics won't see their hedgehogs. This makes me so sad and angry at the same time and I know that many hedgehogs have lost their lives because of this fact.

Knowing of a 24 hour emergency clinic that WILL see your hedgehog can save their lives, so if you do nothing else in preparing to get your first hedgehog or even if you already have a hedeghog but don't know what you would do in an after-hours emergency, do this now.

Obviously the first step is to have a knowledgeable and trustworthy regular hedgehog vet. Of course most of these vets are exotic vets and are open ridiculously short hours. But once you have a vet you trust (and yes you SHOULD bring your hedgehog to a vet when you first get it and at LEAST once a year, and TWICE a year for older hedgheogs EVEN IF they are perfectly healthy), ASK your vet where they recommend you take your hedgehog in an after-hours emergency.

But don't stop there, call the clinic, find out if they see hedeghogs for sure - and if there's only one vet there who does, or if there's multiple staff who are able to, etc. While the emergency clinic may see hedgehogs, they may not be knowledgeable, so ask how much experience they have too.

I have ferrets as well and my ferret clinic is actually a 24 hour emergency clinic. That being said there is really only 1 vet there who is knowledgeable enough to save my ferrets in a true emergency, but she is ALWAYS on call for ferrets.

Unfortunately, this situation, while ideal, is almost impossible to find for hedgehogs! So if you can, find more than one emergency clinic who has vets willing and knowledgable enough to see your hedgehog. That way you have more than one phone number you can call in an emergency.

And finally... be prepared to deal with an emergency YOURSELF, if all else fails. If you don't have a first aid kit, make one NOW. If nothing else ensure that you have 1. a heating device of some sort be it a human heating pad, or even those chemical hand warmer heating packs, 2. syringes for force feeding food and water and 3. an electrolyte solution for dehydration and high quality canned cat food for force feeding

While there are countless other emergencies you need to be prepared for, i.e. bleeding, at least be prepared to cope with the basic life needs of your hedgehog: food, water and heat.

Also READ about syringe feeding and even practice once or twive on your hedgehog with a tasty treat food so that you are prepared to start immediately should they stop eating. And remember you shouldn't wait for them to stop eating completely to start syringe feeding, if they are only eating a few kibbles, it's time to start syringing! - monitor their food intake and if it decreases too much, start syringe feeding then and get them to a vet ASAP.

Hedeghogs hide illness so you need to be a detective! Weigh or count kibble, buy a wheel bike pedometer or sprinkle flour if you suspect they aren't wheeling and don't be afraid to dissect poop to check quality of it!

But most of all BE PREPARED. I realize that emergency vets SUCK when it comes to exotics and there may only be so much you can do, but wouldn't you feel better knowing you have done EVERYTHING than YOU can do?

Sorry for the rant I just feel like far too many hedgehogs have passed away recently
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Old 05-28-2011, 02:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Importance of 24 Hour Emergency Clinics

You took the words right out of my mouth. I agree with you 100%, thank you for posting this!
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Old 05-28-2011, 02:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Importance of 24 Hour Emergency Clinics

yes yes yes! I'm fortunate enough to live in a big city with several good vet options - but even if I didn't, I'd know a place I could drive to any time, and be willing to drive there!
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Old 05-28-2011, 07:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Importance of 24 Hour Emergency Clinics

Great post, we should ask Nancy to make this a sticky.
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Old 05-28-2011, 07:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Importance of 24 Hour Emergency Clinics

The emergency clinic here does not see hedgehogs and is nothing more than a rip off. Two years ago my Betty Blue had to be rushed in,they ran every test there was and she died of course costing me well over $2,000 and the part that really gets my goat is they charged me a $100 emergency visit fee WTF it is a 24 hour emergency clinic. Sorry I know this is off topic just had to get it off my chest.
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Old 05-28-2011, 07:09 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Importance of 24 Hour Emergency Clinics

Great post Snuffle.

I'd also like to mention that as well as finding out which vet are hedgehog experienced, keep updated because often a clinic that wasn't in the past will get a hedgehog vet, and sometimes ones that did have the hedgehog vet, will loose him/her. Same with emergency clinics. Some vets extend their hours, or do so during the summer.

It's always ticked me off that even if a vet is not hedgehog experienced they don't at least try in an emergency situation. After all, a hedgehog is not much different than any other small animal except it has quills and can ball up which make certain procedures done differently. A knowledgeable owner working with an open minded hedgehog inexperienced vet can do wonders and can make the difference between life and death or do supportive measures until an experienced vet is available.

I'd also like to stress what Snuffle wrote about the importance of not only knowing how to syringe feed but having the supplies on hand. Too often we hear of a hedgehog not eating and the owner having to rush out to get the equipment to syringe. Depending on where you live, that can be difficult after hours or on holidays. Best to be prepared. A couple syringes and a can of A/D costs under $2 and if you never need it, it's not like it's a big financial loss.
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Old 05-28-2011, 07:11 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Importance of 24 Hour Emergency Clinics

Quote:
Originally Posted by susanaproenca
Great post, we should ask Nancy to make this a sticky.
Good idea and done, not that people read the stickies.
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Old 05-28-2011, 05:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Importance of 24 Hour Emergency Clinics

Completely agree Larry and Nancy - even if a vet knows nothing about hedgehogs, shouldn't they be like doctors who take an oath to help animals no matter what? I know I would do everything in my power to help an injured animal so why won't a vet who's job is to save animals?

Great idea about calling the emergency clinics for vet updates Nancy, I think I will have to do that one myself, I know we've had a few on-call exotic and emergency exotic vets open up in my area just recently so Im going to take my own advice and check them out.

And thanks for making it a sticky! But you're right, why don't people read stickies?!! I wish other pet forums had As Many awesome stickies as HHC - people don't realize the wealth of information we've got on here!
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Old 05-30-2011, 11:45 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Importance of 24 Hour Emergency Clinics

Great post Snufflepuff! I couldn't agree more!

We had quite a few issues with Ralph. We'd suddenly need to see the vet and there would be no-one available, they'd tell us oh well there's an opening tomorrow afternoon, no alternative help was offered up even when we said how dire the situation was and Ralph would not see the next day without immediate help. We did call the emergency vet clinic and they were totally reluctant to help, they agreed to keep him in overnight for $100 but couldn't guarantee that anyone would monitor him - we told them to stuff it and helped Ralph ourselves, brought him back from the brink quite a few times over many a sleepless night.

A little vet research goes a long way i guess, i was just ticked off with their "oh well, whatever" attitude when our emergency didn't fit into opening hours. When we actually did see the vet, she was pretty knowledgeable and very good with Ralph.

As Nancy mentioned, having the basic supplies on hand doesn't cost alot, we always had syringes and A/D or carnivore care on hand.

Remember too, just because a vet says they will see a hedgehog, doesn't mean they actually know anything about hedgehogs....what they're saying is "sure we'll take your cash, but we can't guarantee we can really help..."
If you do have great vet facilities for your needs, you're lucky and i'd hang onto them like gold!!!
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Importance of 24 Hour Emergency Clinics

Make sure to clarify with the vet that sees your hedgie when they are exactly available. Where I live there are no 24 hr clinics but there is always a clinic on call. The exotic vet is available 24/7 even if her clinic is not the one on call. The other clinic that is on call determines if the pet has to be seen and as long as the owner wants to bring in the pet the exotic vet is paged. There may be a system in place similar to that in other cities that do not have a 24 hr emerg clinic. Make sure you know the policies, just don't assume there is no one available cause the clinic is closed.
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