New & old owners alike - PLEASE don't ignore the need for heat - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
Hedgehog Central GalleryForum Archives Facebook Link

Like Tree10Likes
  • 5 Post By Lilysmommy
  • 2 Post By shinydistraction
  • 1 Post By Lilysmommy
  • 1 Post By Kalandra
  • 1 Post By FinnickHog
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 01-01-2016, 05:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
Super Moderator
 
Lilysmommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 11,963
Default New & old owners alike - PLEASE don't ignore the need for heat

Okay, so I've been feeling like a major idiot the past few days. Posting about this isn't likely to make me feel better because I made several mistakes. But I really, really want to try & drive the point home here for new owners.

Do NOT ignore the need for heat. Do NOT ignore the need for STEADY heat. Hedgehogs are animals from a hot environment. There is plenty of evidence showing that they need to be kept warm. Your hedgehog is not special. Your hedgehog needs heat. Even if they're "fine right now", or "fine so far", that can change very quickly and the resulting problems will be your fault. Please don't wait that long.



So, the fun story behind this...I've been having trouble keeping Bindi's cage warm enough since I brought her home. Mistake #1: I was too impatient to get her home & didn't take the proper time to make sure I could heat her cage to a high enough temperature & keep it steady.

There's a reason the recommended temperature range is 73-80F these days. Bindi's cage was staying mostly between 74-76 in the middle area, but the edges kept falling to 71-72, and once my area started getting snow/ice several days ago, even the middle started falling to 72-73. Mistake #2: I figured the edges being a little bit down wasn't a huge issue as she mostly stayed in middle of the cage where it was warmer.

I did check her frequently, adjusted our apartment temperature & modified the cage several times, working to get the temperature up. I didn't go straight for the big guns yet, such as ordering a new space heater. No hibernation attempts, she was still eating & wheeling, etc. Mistake #3: I assumed that no hibernation attempts meant she was dealing with it fine & I still had some time to get things worked out.

The lesson I just learned the hard way, even though I should already know all of this, even though I already learned how important temperature was with Lily?

Your hedgehog can get a URI due to low temperatures even without a hibernation attempt.

I know she hasn't attempted hibernation. I haven't felt her cold at all since I got her home. But the past few nights, she's way down on eating her kibble (half a tablespoon to nothing). She has a wet, drippy nose. She's lost her attitude - not quite lethargic, but she's not bothering to give me any sass when I pick her up or do anything with her. All of these things are URI symptoms.

Night before last she got extra crickets & some cooked chicken as I thought that might tempt her more than her kibble. Sure enough, she ate all of it, less than half a tablespoon of her kibble. Last night, I gave her half of a Wellness pouch (and crickets), figuring the smellier food was getting through her stuffy nose. I want to keep her eating on her own as much as I can. She cleaned the bowl, looks like she barely touched her kibble. So today I went out & got a bunch more Wellness pouches. What the baby wants, baby gets!
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ________________________

Another important note: I am prepared for syringe-feeding. I had the supplies for that before I got her home (so at least I did that right). I want to keep her eating on her own as that's less stressful for everyone. But I am ready to go as soon as needed if she does stop eating on her own completely. This is really important too. Hedgehogs shouldn't go more than 1-2 days without eating. They are small animals that have a fast metabolism (even pudgy hedgies - fast compared to larger mammals). When they're sick, their bodies are under even more stress and anything additional (not being warm enough, not getting enough food/water, etc.) can make things MUCH worse.

Please be prepared. You can sometimes find feeding syringes at the pet store or at human pharmacies, but they tend to be expensive and syringes wear out quickly. The markings wash off after you rinse/wash the syringes several times, they start to stick & make it more likely that you're going to shoot too much food in hedgie's mouth at once (which can make them choke & make syringe-feeding even more unpleasant for them), etc. It's always good to have a stock of syringes on hand for both medicine & food. Sometimes you can get them from your vet, but some vets don't give you enough or won't give them to you for free. Plus, often times you need to syringe feed before you can get into the vet's.

So! Here's your cheap syringe source: http://www.squirrelsandmore.com/reha...-syringes.html Oring syringes are what my wildlife rehabber uses & recommends - they last longer & slide more smoothly, if I remember correctly. 1ml syringes are great for medicine, but work well for syringing food to some hedgies too (I had an easier time using them with Lily as I was able to go slower pushing & not choke her). 3ml, 5ml, and 10ml are all good for syringe feeding as well. I have some of all three sizes so that if I need to syringe Bindi, I can see what size works best for us.

This site has several other things that would be useful for an emergency kit. I also got some things from the medical supplies area, such as gauze, tape, vet wrap, etc. But more specific to this thread, here's another thing you'll want to add to your syringe order - http://www.squirrelsandmore.com/reha...-by-oxbow.html Powdered dry food mixed with water, canned food, and baby food can all work for syringe feeding too, they just take a bit more work to make it go through a syringe properly. It doesn't hurt to have Carnivore Care on hand, just in case. Especially if your usual go-to is baby food, that won't work for a longer-term illness as it won't be balanced.

And one more useful thing that I ordered - http://www.squirrelsandmore.com/reha...lb-powder.html Antibiotics are hard on the tummy & probiotics can help keep their digestive system from going out of whack as badly. While you may want to order elsewhere (most people aren't going to need 1lb of this stuff!), from what I saw, this was a pretty good price for the amount. It was ridiculously expensive for a small amount on Amazon, so I went with this anyway. My tub says best by Nov. 2016, so we'll see how much use I get out of it before then.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ________________________

So to wrap this all up. I have four lamps on Bindi's cage now. It's staying at a minimum of 75F even on the edges, where the thermometers are. This is with the apartment temperature up as well. I have a new space heater on the way that will arrive tomorrow, so I'll be turning the apartment temp down & using the space heater to keep my room at 73-74 and we'll see how well that works. I also have 100w CHEs on the way to see if they keep the cage more steady - the 150w heat up quite a bit underneath them when they're on, which I'm not a fan of. All in all, I'm not too happy with her cage at the moment, and this will be the only winter with this cage. Once I have an established longer-term job and enough extra money, I'm ordering her a PVC vivarium that will be much easier to keep to a proper temperature. Expensive, yes...But what I've spent on heating equipment since bringing her home:

- already had two lamps & a thermostat (about $70-80 worth of equipment)
- $45 on two more lamps
- $72 on 4 150w CHE bulbs
- $40 on 4 100w CHE bulbs
- $15 on another thermometer
- $80 on a new space heater
= $252 total so far, $332 if you include the supplies I already had from Lily

A PVC enclosure that I'd like to get for Bindi costs $350 and can probably be heated with one, maybe two CHE lamps and shouldn't need a space heater. Not to mention the reassurance that she's staying warm enough and not needing to spend money on vet visits & antibiotics.

The vet is closed today, I'm calling first thing tomorrow & hoping/planning to get her in tomorrow or Monday (preferably tomorrow). If they can't do that, I'll be checking with Jackie's vet instead, I think. I want to get her in quickly so we can get meds started while this is in its early stages. I'll keep you guys updated on how she's doing!

(And thank you if you've read this whole long thing - I know it's long, but I'm a wordy person. And I wanted to show new & old owners that it's easy to forget things & make mistakes, even when it's something you should already know. And hopefully really drive the point home on how important heating is. This is always the season where we constantly have new people finding the forum due to heating & hibernation issues, so it's always coming up.)
__________________
~*~*~ Kelsey ~*~*~

RIP my sweet Lily ~ 6/12/08 - 1/20/12

Last edited by Lilysmommy; 01-01-2016 at 05:38 PM.
Lilysmommy is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 01-01-2016, 07:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
Member
 
shinydistraction's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 1,538
Default

Oh dear, poor Bindi! She will feel better soon.

Another thing to consider is proper insulation for your cage, especially if you live in colder climates. Where I live, it's normally pretty warm the majority of the year. But we've had a huge drop in temperature recently. Nico's thermostat for her two CHE lamps is set to 77, and I prefer to keep my house that warm. I do about as well in cold weather as a hedgehog. Since my house is as warm as the cage, her temp does not typically go below 76. However, since winter hit us harder and faster than usual, when I wake up in the morning I'm seeing temperatures of 74 and even lower once or twice. Thankfully, no hibernation attempts, and since she's currently on antibiotics for the skin issue that cropped up after her spay, I've managed to dodge the bullet of a sick hedgehog.

What did I do? I took my little self down to the hardware store and bought some foam insulation. I put it between the cage and the wall (which is an outside wall) and secured it. Now cage temps are back to being steady again.

The point I'm trying to make is that it doesn't matter how much heat you have going in to the cage if there's nothing to hold it in there. If you have a very big, open cage with lots of ventilation, it's going to cool down more quickly than a cage that is more enclosed. While lots of ventilation is good (and preferred) that means other steps may be necessary to keep your hog warm. Styrofoam under the floor of the cage for example. Insulation between the cage and the wall, or wrapping a blanket over the sides of the cage. You may even need to move the cage to a warmer spot.
Lilysmommy and FinnickHog like this.
shinydistraction is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-01-2016, 07:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
Super Moderator
 
Lilysmommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 11,963
Default

Excellent addition, ShinyDistraction! Thank you. I should take a picture of my cage...I have coroplast all the way up the back & both sides. I also have sheets of coroplast on top in several places. And I have two blankets draped over the front as well, which is what finally did the trick, along with the 4th lamp. It'll work for now, but it's far from ideal.
__________________
~*~*~ Kelsey ~*~*~

RIP my sweet Lily ~ 6/12/08 - 1/20/12
Lilysmommy is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-01-2016, 08:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
Member
 
twobytwopets's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 2,553
Default

Also, depending on the age of your house, interior walls may only be a bit better than exterior walls.
We also need to keep in mind that every winter is different. And as hedgehogs age, their needs can change. What was fine last winter may not be ok this winter. Locally we have some nasty winters, we are still waiting on it to arrive this year. Last winter cages were insulated with foam and space blankets.

Kelsey, don't beat yourself up. You got Bindi right in the middle of your first winter there. The weather down there can be very different. If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes. You knew what's needed, but you two are still figuring each other out. You caught it early.
twobytwopets is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-01-2016, 11:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
Super Moderator
 
Lilysmommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 11,963
Default

Thanks, Two. I think the other thing that complicated it is we just moved into the apartment, so I'm still getting used to how well the heating works, what to keep the thermostat at, and so on. My room at home heated more evenly, there are a lot more cold spots in here, especially because the vents are all up high (??? that doesn't make sense to me - heat already rises! put them down by the floor dang it). She's on an inside wall (I had that planned out before I even moved anything into the room), but I think I may see how much it'd cost to get a sheet of foam insulation to put underneath the cage. Especially since she's a dork and likes sleeping under her litter pan, directly on the coroplast bottom.

I have a feeling that in a month or so, I will be listing stuff for sale on here. Extra heating supplies and C&C cubes. I really want to get a viv for her soon, if at all possible. At least it'll be easier to keep her warm for the remainder of the winter & I'll have an easier time of it next year too.
__________________
~*~*~ Kelsey ~*~*~

RIP my sweet Lily ~ 6/12/08 - 1/20/12
Lilysmommy is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-07-2016, 02:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
Administrator
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Michigan
Posts: 3,400
Default

So... I may have missed it. How is Bindi???????
__________________

Snuffle!
Kalandra is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-07-2016, 07:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
Super Moderator
 
Lilysmommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 11,963
Default

Sorry, don't think I've updated yet!! Thanks for asking and for reminding me!

We went to the vet on Saturday. We got super lucky, I called as soon as I woke up that morning & they'd had a cancellation, so we got in at 10:30. I was very happy!! And I love the exotics vet there. She's very friendly & nice & Bindi did great with her. The vet was impressed by how well socialized she was & didn't bother using gloves with her. She agreed that it seemed like Bindi had the beginnings of a URI and prescribed antibiotics. Don't have the bottle nearby right now - she said it's similar to Baytril, but doesn't have the awful taste. 0.15ml once a day for two weeks. Said she looks great otherwise & they actually just called earlier today to check in with how she was doing. I'm gonna have to call them back tomorrow to update them, I missed the call.

Before I left, they gave me a little folder of info on hedgehogs that they give to all of their hedgie owners, I guess. I was already thinking "Here we go...". But the vet said that since it sounds like I'm fairly experienced (I mentioned that I'm a mod on here), she would like to know if I disagreed with any info in the packets. That made me happy! And of course, I have some things to discuss with her. The info wasn't as bad as from my last clinic, but still some issues - a mention that it's fine to switch the light schedule & make them active during the day, saying it's fine to keep them in groups as long as there's only one male to the group (uhhh no??), and I'm wondering if they'd be willing to adjust the temperature requirements. Not far off, but a little bit. Still a lot better than the MI vet's brochure that recommended a diet that included grapes and a wheel made out of popsicle sticks.

Anyway, Bindi seems to be doing better. Her nose seems less drippy, which is good. Still hard to tell how much running she's doing (not a lot gets smeared on the wheel, but I think because it's running off), but I do think she's being active. She's still eating all of the Wellness pouches, I've been giving her 1/3 of a pouch, plus a couple crickets. She's started eating a couple kibble again too. I'm going to keep up with the Wellness pouches until she's off antibiotics, at least, because it's easier to mix the probiotics in with it. Her poop is a bit green, but still well formed.

However, taking the antibiotics...She's good once I get them in. I can tell the taste must not be too bad, because she doesn't try to spit it out, gag, or anything. But she hates me trying to get the syringe into her mouth. She even earned a new nickname - Squoosh Ball. Because she squishes her head back into her body until I can't get to her mouth! I don't know how on earth she does it...I asked her if she even has a skull or bones in there. So far it's been working best to put her on her back in a ball. The amount isn't enough to make her choke & I go in diagonally with the syringe, so that helps too. She's not pleased, but it works! One week and two days left to go.
FinnickHog likes this.
__________________
~*~*~ Kelsey ~*~*~

RIP my sweet Lily ~ 6/12/08 - 1/20/12
Lilysmommy is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-07-2016, 08:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
Administrator
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Michigan
Posts: 3,400
Default

Good. Sounds like you caught it early and all is going well.
Lilysmommy likes this.
__________________

Snuffle!
Kalandra is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-08-2016, 05:44 AM   #9 (permalink)
Member
 
FinnickHog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Camrose, Alberta
Posts: 1,029
Default

Poor Bindi. That darn awful syringe is trying to kill her, you know! It's best not to have a head in those situations.

I'm glad she's doing well! And your vet sounds awesome. I love the ones that are open to debate on their outdated care sheets. Everyone, even vets, should be willing to learn new information.
Lilysmommy likes this.
__________________
~Ashley
FinnickHog is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-09-2016, 12:00 AM   #10 (permalink)
Super Moderator
 
Lilysmommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 11,963
Default

Headless Hedgehog...the new Halloween monster. I think I know what her Halloween costume is for next year!

She is taking it a bit better now that we've figured out that the on-her-back method works best to get it over with quickly before she fights too much. I got her dosed in less than a minute tonight! I'm not entirely sure how much better she is - her nose does seem less wet & drippy, which is encouraging. But I think she sneezed a little when I first took her out tonight, which still makes me nervous. She also makes little noises that I can't hear well enough to tell if they're Bindi noises or stuffy-nose noises. I gave her less Wellness meat tonight (just enough to mix her probiotics with) to see if she'll eat more of her kibble. I forgot to call the vet after work, so I'm going to call in the morning to leave an update & see what she thinks about the amount of progress in relation to the length of time she's been on meds now.

And I totally agree. I already liked her with her friendly attitude & how gentle she was with Bindi. Her letting me know she wanted feedback was the cherry on top!
__________________
~*~*~ Kelsey ~*~*~

RIP my sweet Lily ~ 6/12/08 - 1/20/12
Lilysmommy is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in




Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
My Baby is sick & I don't know what to do... robinlim501 Health 1 06-24-2014 09:32 AM
They don't like green pea & duck Tash Diet and Nutrition 3 08-30-2013 12:15 PM
I cant find a baby food she wont ignore. kweenlaydehh Diet and Nutrition 9 01-27-2012 12:48 AM
CN & FN Owners! sdenney Cages 4 07-14-2011 04:10 PM
testing siggy- just ignore me. drowsydreamer Hedgehogcentral.com Tech Support 3 12-08-2008 06:14 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:20 AM.



Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.1
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
PetGuide.com
Basset Hound Forum Doberman Forum Golden Retriever Forum Beagle Forum
Boxer Forum Dog Forum Pit Bull Forum Poodle Forum
Bulldog Forum Fish Forum Havanese Forum Maltese Forum
Cat Forum German Shepherd Forum Labradoodle Forum Yorkie Forum Hedgehog Forum
Chihuahua Forum Retriever Breeds Cichlid Forum Dart Frog Forum Mice Breeder Forum