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Old 12-19-2013, 09:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default HELP My hedgehog went into Hibernatio

I thought my hedgehog would never go into hibernation, but I'm obviously very wrong... I just got home and I found my hedgehog making this weird wheezing sound which alarmed me. I went over and my hedgie was in a tighter than usual ball. I tapped her and she cringed her quills in. Her tummy was cold. She wasn't hissing or jumping at me like she usualy does when I wake her up. She is now weak. I have got her out of it but I'm scared that she will attempt it again...

She really needs a bath because she pooped and peed inside her ball-it's really gross. Is it safe to give her a bath?
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't have direct experience with hibernation (yet), but once she's warmed up, a bath should be fine. Just don't use the water to warm her up, because that can put her into shock and make things worse, and be hyper-careful about getting her totally dry and warm afterwards. If you're really worried, you can try spot-cleaning with a damp washcloth instead of getting her totally soaked.

Figure out why she went into hibernation. Heating fluctuations, insufficient light, a draft... Find it and fix it.

She's going to be more likely to try to hibernate for the next while -- I'm not sure how long that is, but I think it's on the order of a few months. You might need to crank the heat up a few degrees to make sure she doesn't reattempt. Her immune system is also weaker now, so be extra-vigilant about URIs (and keep her from dunking her nose underwater in the bath!).

This sticky might help.

Good luck!
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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NO, do not bath her. She needs time to recover from this. Give her at least a couple of days to get back to normal and even then you are going to have to make certain she does not catch a chill.

Her cage needs to be kept warmer and it's especially important to ensure she is warm enough as repeated attempts in the first week or two are common.
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy View Post
NO, do not bath her. She needs time to recover from this. Give her at least a couple of days to get back to normal and even then you are going to have to make certain she does not catch a chill.

Her cage needs to be kept warmer and it's especially important to ensure she is warm enough as repeated attempts in the first week or two are common.
That's what I thought Nancy. Could I still give her foot baths? She needs those 'everyday' because she is one of those marathon runner/ultimate pooping machine, Her feet get sore if she has caked up poo in her feet.
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Old 12-20-2013, 03:27 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Interesting! First: I'm glad Nancy chimed in; clearly she's got way more experience than me and absolutely listen to her advice.

Second: to thread-jump a little bit, follow-up questions so I can learn more:
Even after she's warmed up, and even if you're really careful about getting her dry, a bath is still that much of a risk? I thought the danger was in temperature-shocking with water (so getting them wet before they're warmed up), or the risk of chill afterwards. Is even the process of drying off after a bath too much exposure to temperature change to a pre-weakened system? Or is there another risk going on that I haven't learned about yet?
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Old 12-20-2013, 10:16 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Even after she's warmed up, and even if you're really careful about getting her dry, a bath is still that much of a risk?
I can't provide the science (i.e., I'm not actually qualified to answer the question), but even warm water wicks heat away from the body very quickly. Water has to be really warm before the body responds with less than an, "Oh, f...!" when we get in. Residual moisture even after toweling off leaves us susceptible to feeling pretty darned cold. I would be inclined to be very careful about washing a hedgehog at risk to being too cold.
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Old 12-20-2013, 09:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The problem with bathing them after a hibernation attempt is that hibernation attempts can lower the immune system which can cause the hedgehog to become chilled and get sick easier. Even if the water is warm and the hedgehog is well wrapped and dried after there is a higher risk of getting chilled. This is why baths are recommended after a hibernation attempt. The risk of getting chilled and sick is not worth having a clean hedgehog.
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