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Old 04-24-2016, 07:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Time to start syringe feeding?

If you have not read my previous threads I will summarize my situation for you briefly.

I picked up Prim (7 weeks old) from the breeders on Friday, the Sunday previous I picked her out when she was in perfectly good health. Upon arrival at the breeders I herd Prim make some noises that myself and the breeder brushed off as huffing. I soon learned when I got home with her that this was actually sneezing, not huffing. She had some clear mucus coming out of her noes and has been sneezing ever since. The breeder told me she had a virus outbreak in her herd and she didn't think it spread to the babies which is why she allowed Prim to come home with me. She told me that her personal vet told her that it was just a virus, like in humans, and would pass on its own with it's main symptom being sneezing. It could last from two days to two weeks and I could put her on probiotics if I felt the need.

I will be bringing Prim to the vets tomorrow, whether they have an opening or not she will be seen. She has mostly been sleeping and will not on her own come out of her snugglesac. I have only seen her drink once since we got her and I have not seen her eat any food. I have provided her with the breeders mix, wet cat food, and baby food and none were a hit. I have found her in her snugglesac standing up and slightly wobbling which I fear is from her lack of eating. She pooped twice on the way home from the breeders but has only pooped in her cage once. I did the dehydration test where you gently pinch the skin between their shoulder blades and it seemed to fall back as if all was normal, Is it time to start syringe feeding her tonight until I take her to the doctors tomorrow? It hurts me to see her like this and it's really unfortunate that these are my first experiences with a hedgehog of my own. Anyone with any advice would be greatly appreciated.

(Also, if this sickness is what I suspect it is, a URI, is it contagious to other animals? I have three dogs and a chinchilla.)
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Old 04-24-2016, 09:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If she hasn't eaten since you got her home on Friday, that makes two nights without food, so yes, I'd start syringe-feeding. At least try to get a little something in her tonight. You can use baby food, which may be easiest, or if you have a blender, you can soak & blend up kibble until it's fine enough to go through a syringe. Or same thing with canned cat food. Once you're at the vet's, you can ask them for some Hill's A/D and/or Carnivore Care, both of which are much easier to syringe.

Make sure she's staying warm as well. You can also try putting some of the breeder's kibble mix in her bag with her & see if she's willing to eat if she doesn't have to leave bed. But not wanting to eat could very well be due to the URI, since they can have a hard time smelling/tasting food & therefore not want to eat. I'm glad you're taking her in to the vet! I don't think I trust the breeder's vet much. I've always heard of URIs in hedgehogs being treated with antibiotics, not written off as a viral thing that will pass on its own.
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Old 04-24-2016, 09:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Time to start syringe feeding?

I was thinking the same thing, I have been reading everything I can get my hands on from this forum for months now, even before I got her, and have never seen anything about viruses. I bumped up her cage a couple degrees to ensure she's staying warm (77F was at 75F) and I will attempt at giving her some baby food tonight. The breeder said she would reimburse me for any antibiotics the vet may give me tomorrow and did extend her health warrantee until this is all gone and taken care of. Do you think I will need to syringe feed her until this is all cleared up?
Thank you for your response!!!
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Old 04-24-2016, 09:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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At least until she's eating again, yes. Make sure you keep checking her for dehydration as well, just in case. She may just be drinking when you're not around to see, but dehydration can set in fast & can make them much worse quickly as well. It wouldn't hurt to offer her water when you syringe feed her, just be careful as that's easier for her to aspirate & make her URI worse.
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Old 04-24-2016, 10:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I never thought I'd be happy to say this but...she just pee'd on me! I'm glad because that means she has been drinking some water over the past few days. I will continue to check her for dehydration.


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Old 04-25-2016, 06:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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UPDATE ON PRIM:

I was able to syringe feed her some last night, and this morning which did lead to three poops! One in her cage and two on our way to the vet. They were very green, but as expected with the stress of moving and this illness.

I brought her to the exotics vet this afternoon, who did seem knowledgeable about hedgehogs. He did a full exam and came to the same conclusion, to my surprise, as the breeders vet. He diagnosed it as a type of viral infection, like a cold in humans. Her temperature was slightly low and the sneezing is still continuing. She also has developed this sort of "gag" like movement she occasionally does, which I assume is from the mucus going down the back of her throat. He did not prescribe me any antibiotics, only a probiotic used once a day (Bene-Bac) to help with her GI track. He also gave me syringes and instructed me to syringe feed her 5 - 8 times a day using a combination of vegetable and meat baby food, I mixed together pea flavored and beef. This should help with her food intake and water to prevent dehydration.

He then went on to tell me to be wary of high quality cat food, like Blue Buffalo, because they do not have great quality control. He recommended larger brands such as Purina and strongly advocated for hedgehog insectivore brands.

He seemed to know what he was talking about and was a nice man. It only confuses me because throughout all of my reading I have never come across a case of a viral infection in hedgehogs. Most people link the symptoms of sneezing, clear mucus, and noes licking to a URI, which I suggested to the vet, but he assured me it was only a virus and would go away with time. It also made me a little wary when he was talking down about the high quality cat food brands that I know almost everyone on this forum uses and swears by.

What does everyone else think? Any personal experience or opinions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-25-2016, 08:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Fair enough opinion on Blue Buffalo, really, especially with the lawsuit they went through not long ago. Boo at his opinion on Purina though. I tend to disagree with most vets on nutrition as they don't seem to get much information on it in vet school & it seems to be sponsored by the big pet food companies - Purina, Science Diet, Iams, etc. Those are the ones that have been around for the longest, and have the most money to spend on research. Of course, all of their research backs up exactly what they want it to...funny how that works. Maybe they do have better quality control as they have more money to spend on those things. But their ingredient quality is still crap, and I don't think that's any better. "Quality" crap ingredients are still crap.

And it's not uncommon for exotic vets to insist that hedgehog food is better or to be partial to companies like Mazuri, which makes food for zoos too. Those are the companies they know, and I don't think they really look at the ingredient list much. At least, that's all I can think of to explain it. I'm not sure why else someone would think powdered cellulose should be a key ingredient in a hedgehog's diet. I've long since given up on vets and nutrition, though. I haven't met many that seem to have a reasonable opinion on the subject, and about the only thing I can agree with them on is that a balanced diet is a requirement.

I have to say, I'm also a bit confused that he didn't give you a better food for syringing. Baby food is useful for short term, but I prefer more balanced foods for longer-term syringing. But might as well continue using them for now & see how she does.

I don't know what to think regarding the URI. I'm still kind of skeptical about a viral infection....I've honestly never heard it mentioned before. Did he say why he thinks it's viral? Did he do any tests?
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Old 04-25-2016, 09:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I can pick up some Hills A/D at the vets office where my dogs go, if you think that is a better option for her. She is taking the medicine and the syringed food fairly well, all things considered.

He did not really mention why he believed it was viral. He did a basic exam and checked her temperature, that was basically it. It does seem like her sneezing has gone down since Saturday, but it may just be a coincidence. He told me to call back if there was any change in the color of mucus or she did not seem to be getting better. I am also skeptical of this viral infection diagnostic, but it has now be diagnosed by two separate doctors. I guess for now all I can do is take it day by day and continue to syringe feed her and give her the probiotics to see if there is any improvements.

Thank you for all your input and the responses!
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Old 04-25-2016, 09:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I also just remembered that he said that I may run into conjunctivitis with her in the future due to the sickness. Just thought I'd throw that out there.


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Old 04-25-2016, 09:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Is that by any chance the same vet as the breeder's?
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