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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello fellow hedgie parents,

Tonight I'm experiencing something strange and unusual that I've never experienced before with my little eeek. I understand well that winter is coming and temperatures have dropped, especially here in Berlin. My first hedgehog lived with me when I was in Los Angeles. We never had the need for any exterior heating because Los Angeles never gets any colder than 75° anyway. My New little lady is about 14 months old. I've noticed she hasn't used her wheel since Saturday and I left a worms in her cage last night. Tonight when I got home from work, The worms were still in her bowl. I took her out and realize that the underside of her was pretty cold and although she was still responsive, her breathing is heavy, she is very lethargic and she wobbles over in Exhaustion. Her sides look thinner, and she makes it sort of clicking sound when she breathes… Almost like a chirp but sounds more like Morse code. But there is no wheezing, coughing, sneezing, runny eyes, bubbly nose or Any of that

I've spent the past four hours trying different methods to get her to warm up. She has cuddled with me in the bed against my skin with a hot water bottle under a towel. She will move to make herself cooler and I have turned the heat up in the room and moved her cage next to the radiator. What bothers me the most is that when she breathes and attempts to walk she looks as though she's got very thin on the sides before her legs start. I got her to drink a few drops of water which I felt was progress after three hours. I then put her back in her cage with the hot water bottle and a towel over it and I've left her there with blankets over the cage to keep the heat in. I also have to sleep at some point… But I'm too worried. I wonder if she's dehydrated, but then again because she had a cool underside, I'm convinced she's attempting to hibernate. I really hope I didn't get to her too late… Are there any remedies that anybody has tried that they could perhaps offer some comfort for her. She seems to continue to want to sleep but she's much more responsive than she was when I found her. I don't know what to do… I feel so helpless. All the things I've read have stated that their hedgies go back to acting normal after they initially get warm… But it's been hours and I know that she's definitely warm because I'm sweating with this heater on... I have to wait until the morning when the shops open to go get some sort of grapes or Pedialyte to see if I can help give her some of her energy back… Any suggestions?

I'm sure this is a tired thread on the subject, I just had nowhere else to turn to… I have always admired this this forum from afar but never joined until now. Such an unfortunate reason to join but I'm glad I have the advice from experienced hedgehog owners to help guide me. The winter/hibernation has never been an issue until now.
 

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I'd get to the vet asap. There could be something else going on and things can go bad to worse very quickly. Also, don't feed grapes, they are toxic to hedgies. Have her eating habits been normal? Activity levels? Did it all start tonight? Or has there been anything odd going on for a few days?
 

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Agreed. If she's not acting normal again, she needs to go to the vet right away. Rule of thumb (for future reference) is that if hedgie doesn't warm up or start acting more normal within an hour of when you start trying to warm them up, it's emergency vet time.

For now, you can try syringe-feeding her some water with a little sugar & a little salt mixed in. Basically a homemade electrolyte solution. Only do it if she actually feels warm though - giving her anything orally if she's still cold will only make things worse. She needs to get to a vet & receive supportive care while they figure out what's going on, if it's still hibernation affecting her or something else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'd get to the vet asap. There could be something else going on and things can go bad to worse very quickly. Also, don't feed grapes, they are toxic to hedgies. Have her eating habits been normal? Activity levels? Did it all start tonight? Or has there been anything odd going on for a few days?
She won't move from the corner of her cage, she's like entirely collapsed. No wheel activity since Friday ... No eating that I've noticed since Sunday, not even her worms. I mixed up a pate paste of soggy crunches and worms in warm water but she's not interested. I forced her to have a bit of water and she sort of started to come back, but I've just checked on her and she's still in the corner where I left her before I went to sleep.

The problem with berlin is there aren't many vets I can take her to - I'd need to take her on public transit (you don't need a car in Berlin) but I fear going outside in her box into the negative will do more harm... But it seems like Thats the only choice

I didn't know about the grapes - thanks for future reference, I've never given her any other options other than cat food and mealworms
 

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Do you have any kind of heating for her? What temperature is her cage? You need a thermometer in her cage to know the exact temperature. It sounds like she's still not warm enough. Her whole cage needs to be kept warm, and she also needs 12-14 hours of light during the day time to keep her from repeatedly attempting to hibernate. She could also be suffering from having not eaten. Hedgehogs don't do well at all without eating. Do you have syringes, or can you get some from a pharmacy? If not, you can get them from the vet if you can get her to one, or just stop by one. If she's not eating on her own, you need to force-feed her with a syringe, as well as continue to get water in her.

I still think it would be best if you can get her to a vet. They could probably give her some IV fluids to help support her, and may have an easily-syringed food for you to give (as well as syringes). Make sure she has plenty of fleece blankets in her box, both under & above her. If you can, get small air-activated handwarmers (they are often sold in the US & Canada for outdoor activities, hunting, etc.) that you can wrap in the blankets. If you can't get those, see if you can find microwavable heating bags or pads for people (often used for sore necks & such). I suppose a last-chance thing that might work is heating some smooth stones in the oven before you go (make sure they're only warm to touch to you, not hot enough to burn her) and put those underneath her blankets in the box. You could also wear a sweatshirt with a large pocket in the front and put her in that, with your coat over her. It's not ideal, but it's very important to get her to a vet ASAP, and to keep her warm while doing so.

Good luck and please let us know how she does.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everybody for your help… I did go to the pharmacy and got syringes and tried a bit of organic chicken baby food in some lukewarm water and she took it really well… I thought that was a good sign of progress.. But she had a spasm and died in my hands shortly after :( I'm so traumatized, the things you can't unsee. I took her to the vet last night to see if I could get answers... He told me something about how common it is for African hedgies to die between 1-3 years of an enlarged heart and that the symptoms including the shallow breathing were not of her attempting to hibernate, she probably had suffered a small heart attack and the days she spent not eating she was resting it out until the end. He was very sympathetic and took her for me.

I only wonder if I sped it up with the intake of food :( I miss her so much ... Thanks everyone for your words
 

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No I don't think you did anything wrong by feeding her. While I am very sorry that you had to witness her passing, take comfort in knowing that she passed in your arms feeling secure and loved. She felt safe and protected and knew she could go to meet her maker.
 
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