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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well... turns out that Tex Buckaroo Hufflepuff is a sneaky one. Since I've had him, he's done a wonderful job of painting poop murals on the walls and mashing it into his wheel, so it's been difficult to get a good sample. I had brought what I could find to the vet previously... had to collect for days. And it came up negative. Since what I could see of his poops were nice and brown and he was active and maintaining weight, we figured we were in the clear. I dropped quarantine after a month.

This happy existence all changed when I found giant mushy diarrhea poops in his hedgiebag with him a few days ago. I scooped them up in a jar hoping it was just a fluke. Happened again the next day, so I scooped them up. I checked on Satin as I usually do and found her with messy poops. Scooped those up and called the vet. We made an appointment and I brought in both hedgies with A LOT of messy poo in small jars.

Guess what the vet found in Tex's poo? Yep. A nice smiley face. She noted it's very small and difficult to see, so it *might* not be giardia, but sure seemed like it to her... particularly given the symptoms and the absence of finding anything else. Satin's poo didn't turn up any, but we figure it's likely she has it too. Their poop looks identically bad... smells identically bad...

Poor little fuffers..

So now I'm super-duper cleaning EVERYTHING. And get to medicate two hedgies. Mind you, I've never seen the inside of Tex's mouth... he's just so private in his way (beyond spreading poop crumbles all over his wheel). So this should be a hoot.

They're both on meds for the next 5 days starting in 10 minutes... make that 9...

I tried a quick search for an "idiot's guide to giardia" but didn't have too much luck. Perhaps I'm a poor searcher. Any advice you can offer in terms of making sure I'm cleaning their belongings correctly would be much appreciated.
 

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OH NO! I'm so sorry you are having to deal with it. I've never (touch wood) had any experience with it myself but some people seem to say it's no big deal and others say it is horrible to get rid of. If Hedgemom comes on, I'm sure she will have some good advice.
 

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Good ole' Giardia.

Comes mostly through the water system. Isn't worth treating unless there are symptoms (as in, if it's picked up in a random fecal and there isn't any diarrhea, don't bother with meds). It's also usually self-limiting and, if you can provide supportive care, the body will take care of it by itself. UNLESS the body is stressed or ill, then it won't and you should medicate. Activated charcoal can be used to help control diarrhea, as can Pet Pectin. I'd keep them both in my first aid kit from now on because you'll need them.

Giardia will remain in the stool forever. Often at sub-clinical levels but reappearing during times of stress or secondary to another illness.

Unless you've had a husbandry issue and not practiced good sanitation between the two hedgies, there's a chance that the giardia came from your water and wasn't passed from Tex. Especially since they both had a common onset time. Even chemically treated public water can have giardia in it because it's as hard as the dickens to filter out and giardia forms spores that are resistant to a lot of chemicals. A certain level is considered acceptable water quality. If you're worried about it, boil their drinking water for 5 minutes and then cool it. Wash water bowls and food bowls in hot soapy water with a cup of bleach added. Do not rely on the dishwasher to kill things off, even the sanitize setting.

Do what you can to keep them eating and drinking. Adding a second water bowl with chamomile and mint tea or water with honey is a good way to encourage drinking. Sprinkling 1/4 of a child's chewable vitamin c tablet on their food can help boost the immune system. Don't forget the probiotics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks HM... I'll be sure to hit "print" and add your notes to my hedgie-care binder so we can get going with your recommendations this evening.

For their bedding (fleece), I've decided to change it every night... partially because Tex is having diarrhea in his hedgiebag sometime during the day, so it absolutely needs to be cleaned in the evening. Would sending them through the washer on hot and dryer on high heat be sufficient?

What you're saying about it likely coming in through the water makes sense to me. I was thinking about it as I was falling asleep and remembered that Tex did make little poop logs at one point, so it's unlikely he's been harboring it all this time in disguised form. It's such a rare treat to find a log that hasn't been smushed to death during wheeling that I actually held his first in my hand and ran over to Hedgiedaddy who was also excited to see a log from our little guy. The things we do :roll:
 

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Because they are having diarrhea you need to keep them hydrated. I would use Pedialyte.

If you are giving your hedgies tap water, I would recommend getting a filter or using bottled water. Giardia is relatively big and can be removed with most water filters (make sure it is at least 1 micron pore size). I'm actually surprised the water treatment plants don't already remove it. :shock: If you use well water and especially if it flooded recently, I'd say that is definitely the culprit.

If you have other animals in the house, the giardia could have come from one of them. It usually comes from contaminated water/food or fecal matter.

It's good you have medicine. I don't know about hedgehogs, but in other small animals it can be fatal in days (quickly dehydrates from diarrhea).
 

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I got it from the water in New Orleans once back in 1998 or 1999 (before Katrina). I had other intestinal issues with the water in our town (chlorine content) and had diarrhea for 6 weeks before I realized it wasn't my normal abnormalness.

G. doesn't always show up in the samples. Nothing showed up in mine, but I was given antibiotics based on where I'd been. Cleared up the problem and then I gained back all the weight I'd lost.

Since I was a human and not a cute little wheel pooping hedgie, I didn't have to worry about cleaning stuff. Just make sure you guys wash YOUR hands thoroughly after handling them and their poo. And make sure you give them ALL their meds.

Good luck. So not fun :-(

Jodi
 

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HedgeMom said:
Sprinkling 1/4 of a child's chewable vitamin c tablet on their food can help boost the immune system.
i didn't know you could do that. would that be safe for all the time? or should you only do that when they seem unwell?
 

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Personally I think you should only give the tablets when they seem unwell. Too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea and possibly other problems too. I would try to give something with a natural source of vitamins rather than supplements as they don't absorb as well and can be harsh on the body.
 

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hihihi****e said:
Personally I think you should only give the tablets when they seem unwell. Too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea and possibly other problems too. I would try to give something with a natural source of vitamins rather than supplements as they don't absorb as well and can be harsh on the body.
You need mega doses of C to cause diarrhea and supplements work as well, or often better, than natural sources. Using oranges as an example, the natural source can cause oral ulcerations as well as skin erosion and upset stomach, the children's chewable in the dosage I suggested will do none of the above.
 

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Like I said, it's a personal thing. I don't feel comfortable giving a daily dose of X amount of supplements that have not been fully tested or vet approved (I'm assuming you would have mentioned it if your vet ok'd it). Just because they're not having diarrhea doesn't mean it's not too much. For instance, Airborne is pretty much an overdose of vitamins to boost your immune system. If you take it nothing bad happens, but the bottle says not to exceed using it for more than a few days because otherwise you'll trash your kidneys.

There are many other fruits and vegetables that have more vitamin C than oranges, for instance strawberries, papaya, etc. Oranges are an obvious bad choice, as are any one choice since too much of a good thing is bad for you and you want to get a good range of different vitamins, etc.

Supplements don't really work better. They're just the lazy man's way of eating healthy. They have a bigger number to make you think you are getting more, but your body doesn't absorb them as well, leaving your kidneys to filter out the rest.

(Sorry for going off topic of Giardia)
 
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