1st time Hedge caretaker notes odds poop behavior... - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 12-09-2013, 06:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 1st time Hedge caretaker notes odds poop behavior...

I'm brand new to Hedges--and oh, my, are they just adorable! I agreed to watch a little hedgie boy while his college-student-parents left the dorm for winter break.

I've had Waldo for 2.5 days.

At first he was noticably freaked out--to be expected after traveling in a car, then being left in an unfamiliar house with people he didn't know. He didn't eat much the first night, nor was he active much (& I'm nocturnal so paid close attention)--even when I took him outside the cage and put him into his playpen area he only wanted to ball up under the towels I had lining the floor... He also hadn't pooped in the 24 hours he'd been here.

At any rate, I let him sleep in today and saw that he HAD gone several times inside the hedgebag I made for him, though they dwindled in size until they were nearly only pencil lead thickness. Waldo also just stood there, rapidly breathing and kind of arching his back and appearing as if he's straining to get more out. Every so often, A tiny piece kinda hangs there and he sometimes does this thing where he drags his nether-region through the bedding.

This has been going on since around 10 p.m. (~7 hrs). In between, he seems to get exhausted and has just plopped down right where he was pottying....

He also was pretty nonchalant with me when I tried handling him--not really puffing up much, and a couple times he just stood motionless on my lap--not laying down, just standing, and he started that straining thing again a few more thin poo pieces came out.

What I know about him: ~6-8 mos old; lives in a small 10 gal fish tank with a thin layer of aspen on the bottom. Eats Science Diet cat food, dry only. Has eaten much better today than yesterday. Is drinking a lot of water. Is not playing with his beloved toilet tube today.

I notice that when he strains for those long periods there's also usually a big wet spot under him.

Like most any concerned hedgemom (temporary stature notwithstanding), I am concerned because he seems listless and uncomfortable.

I can guarantee that he didn't eat anything outside of his cage, so has only consumed his kibble.

Having read the posts about raw pumpkin as well as flax seed oil and acidolphilus--I can purchase either/or when I wake up.

Should I make the call to his vacationing parents and/or a vet? Or am I being too paranoid?

thanks in advance:
Dawnzig
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Old 12-09-2013, 02:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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For one day, it's probably worth waiting to see if it's new-environment, although calling his vacationing-parent to check-in is a free thing to do to outsource the decision to them.

Some hedgehogs go to the bathroom better in warm water, or immediately after a bath.
Some hedgehogs go better on their wheels.
If he was stressed out, his poops would be green... It's really distinctively bright.

When he was out in his playpen, did he have full dark? Hedgehogs can be very sensitive about lighting, with even the glow of a computer screen or TV enough to drive some into hiding.

A normal hedgehog-poop is assuming a stiff-legged stance, tail up-out, and takes tens of seconds. The wet spot would be his pee. It's unlikely in this circumstance, but another fear-inducing posture is when male hedgehogs arch their backs up like a cat, and look like they're having a seizure. That also produces wet spots, but from him enjoying his own company.

Give him real dark/light cycles (12-14 hours light, 10-12 hours dark), keep him warm (74F min, 84F-ish max, minimal fluctuations), expect him to sleep during the day, see if he's more calm tonight. If you do call his vacationing-parent, you can ask what his normal routine is.
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Old 12-09-2013, 06:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you SO much for the info.

I talked to his parent today and she said he HAS had probs with constipation before -- 2 months ago-- and they first tried pumpkin (which he loves), then gave him baby laxative and changed his food, said that worked.

I will be watching Waldo when he wakes up--there is more of the little thread-like poos around the cage--and getting some raw pureed pumpkin for him.

About the darkness: that may very well be the issue. I didn't realize just HOW dark it must be for him.

And as for the stance, well, I had considered that it might also be the, uh, 'self pleasure' thing (even watched a video on it to see the difference, lol!), but really do believe it's constipation (hopefully not a blockage!), perhaps brought on by the stress/ change of locale.

Again, thank you so very much for responding and providing the helpful info--I would so hate for something to go wrong on my watch!
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Old 12-09-2013, 06:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Good! Good luck with the pumpkin; it helps to know this isn't some horrible new behaviour he pulled out just to make you feel bad, but is something his parents already knew was possible.

I'm not experienced enough (not a practiced enough poop-watcher?) to know what that sort of super-thin poop is indicative of. Constipation seems likely. Blockage is unlikely unless he managed to eat something really bad (hair, thread, carpet fibres...). Lots of freeze-dried foods (insects) can lead to constipation...

If you want to be a truly-obsessed researcher, you can check out this book o' awesome hedgehog info.

Different hedgehogs have different light sensitivity. My little guy just demands we have on either one low-wattage bulb (60W) or only coloured lights (yellows, reds, blues), and that's dark enough, thanks. But when he's feeling nervous, he wants it moonlight, streetlamp, or screen-glow dark. I haven't experienced it, but I've definitely heard of hedgehogs who are more sensitive than him, who want real-dark, refuse to come out when the computer is on, and are noticeably less active during full moons. Easy enough to check if darker helps him be more active.

Good luck, and do keep coming back with updates!
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