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I'm very sorry for your loss. Sadly, when they start to gasp, they are doing their final breaths and nothing can help but a vet can help them cross quicker.

How long have you had him?

A plastic bottomed wire cage is the best and yes sometimes they do climb. There are ways to make the cage climb proof. Weaving stiff plastic or cardboard in and out of the lower bars will make it so they can't climb. Usually after a few months you can remove the plastic/cardboard and they still think they can't climb.

He could have sustained an injury from climbing and falling. That might explain the hibernation attempts. Depending on how long you've had him, he could have been ill when you got him. He could have been too cool. Heating pads alone won't keep a whole cage warm but providing him with the heating pad and he should have warmed up and shown improvement.

There are many possibilities and you will never know the reason. Hedgehogs can go downhill very quickly and by the time they show symptoms they are very ill. It can be very difficult sometimes to recognize the symptoms especially new owners with a new hedgehog.

Hugs
 
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