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so Dr Susan Horton detected this bacteria called Clostridium in Sweetie's stool. she prescribed him Metronidazole (antibiotic) and Bene-Bac (probiotic) for smaller animals. she said it must have been caused by the watermelon consumption, so he can't have any fruit at all now. anyone has any experience with this?

Dr Horton also gave him Heal X Booster (she said she likes the stuff) and suggested a daily dose of vitamin C to prevent the dwindling of teeth down the road.
 

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I did a quick google search for "watermelon clostridium" and came across a few papers that documented cases of people getting clostridium from watermelon. The skin of the watermelon was contaminated, probably before harvest, and the clostridium was transfered into the watermelon flesh when cut. Just another good reason to wash ALL fruit before cutting or eating, even if you're going to peel it.
 

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oh, we wash everything. we are obsessively clean. Dr said it's the sugar. i'll ask her again when we come in for a follow-up.

Sweetie is 4 months old and i couldn't detect any symptoms. i brought him in for a well exam and they detected the bacteria in the stool sample.
 

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I have never heard of Clostridium being caused by sugar and did a search and have not found any information that puts sugar as a cause.
 

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Why did the vet run a fecal? Are there any symptoms? Are you immune-suppressed/compromised?

I ask this because Clostridium is a naturally occurring resident bacteria in small animal guts and doesn't require treatment unless there are clinical symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea or green smelly stool. There are many species of Clostridium. Did the vet identify the strain?

Stress or change of any type can cause an overgrowth of Clostridium but an overgrowth would show symptoms. Being on antibiotics can cause an overgrowth. If there are no symptoms, then this is just a normal state of affairs for Sweetie

As far as sugar being an issue, in HUMANS C-difficile is thought to thrive in a high sugar diet but this is anecdotal and not supported by scientific research.

If Sweetie is experiencing enteritis, then the treatment may help but also a bland diet is necessary to allow the gut to recover from the problems.

To the best of my knowledge, and it's pretty extensive, the only species where sugar is the cause of enteritis is in mammals that are cecal digesters such as chinchillas and rabbits. In the case of cecal digesters, the sugar interrupts the natural bacterial balance in the cecum and destroys the animal's ability to digest fiber, which is the bulk of the animal's diet. Horses are also cecal digesters but they'd have to be fed pounds of pure sugar to affect them, due their size. In case of rabbits, chinchillas, etc. the small body size reduces the amount needed to impact them to such a small amount that merely feeding a few pieces of dried fruit can cause the problem.

If Sweetie were mine and not showing any symptoms, I'd skip the metronidazole, give the benebac to help boost healthy gut bacteria and repeat the fecal in two weeks, unless symptoms arise.

Almost every hedgehog I've owned has adored watermelon. Every single one has eaten some type of fruit several times a week. Granted this is anecdotal but not one was ever diagnosed with Clostridium. I wonder if your vet has her species confused.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
HedgeMom said:
Why did the vet run a fecal? Are there any symptoms? Are you immune-suppressed/compromised?

I ask this because Clostridium is a naturally occurring resident bacteria in small animal guts and doesn't require treatment unless there are clinical symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea or green smelly stool. There are many species of Clostridium. Did the vet identify the strain?

Stress or change of any type can cause an overgrowth of Clostridium but an overgrowth would show symptoms. Being on antibiotics can cause an overgrowth. If there are no symptoms, then this is just a normal state of affairs for Sweetie

As far as sugar being an issue, in HUMANS C-difficile is thought to thrive in a high sugar diet but this is anecdotal and not supported by scientific research.

If Sweetie is experiencing enteritis, then the treatment may help but also a bland diet is necessary to allow the gut to recover from the problems.

To the best of my knowledge, and it's pretty extensive, the only species where sugar is the cause of enteritis is in mammals that are cecal digesters such as chinchillas and rabbits. In the case of cecal digesters, the sugar interrupts the natural bacterial balance in the cecum and destroys the animal's ability to digest fiber, which is the bulk of the animal's diet. Horses are also cecal digesters but they'd have to be fed pounds of pure sugar to affect them, due their size. In case of rabbits, chinchillas, etc. the small body size reduces the amount needed to impact them to such a small amount that merely feeding a few pieces of dried fruit can cause the problem.

If Sweetie were mine and not showing any symptoms, I'd skip the metronidazole, give the benebac to help boost healthy gut bacteria and repeat the fecal in two weeks, unless symptoms arise.

Almost every hedgehog I've owned has adored watermelon. Every single one has eaten some type of fruit several times a week. Granted this is anecdotal but not one was ever diagnosed with Clostridium. I wonder if your vet has her species confused.
would you tell Dr that you skipped the antibiotic?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
they didn't do a culture, so they can't tell me what strain it is. a culture test is $200.
 

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fracturedcircle said:
would you tell Dr that you skipped the antibiotic?
I would. I'd let the DR know that Sweetie is asymptomatic and that I've done my own investigation. I'd let her know that you've discussed this with very experienced owners and you believe that it's in Sweetie's best interest.

I believe in open communication between owner and vet. I also believe an educated owner is a hedgehog's best ally. Vets really know very little about hedgehogs specifically. While a great deal of information is applicable across all species, it doesn't always apply.

Always ask questions. Ask "If Sweetie has no symptoms, why are we treating this?" "Is there any danger in waiting a few weeks and retesting?", "How familiar are you with normal bacterial levels in a hedgehog?". And I'd ask if she can document the relationship between sugar and clostridium. I can't but, if she can, I'd be more than happy to change my position.
 

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Bean is a 1 year old apricot hedgehog. I've had her for about 10 months. She is very picky.
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I did a quick google search for "watermelon clostridium" and came across a few papers that documented cases of people getting clostridium from watermelon. The skin of the watermelon was contaminated, probably before harvest, and the clostridium was transfered into the watermelon flesh when cut. Just another good reason to wash ALL fruit before cutting or eating, even if you're going to peel it.
What other causes are there for clostridium?
 
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