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It is with great sadness that I have to announce I lost my Bella last night after a sudden and confusing illness. She passed around 3:00 am as I was snuggling with her and talking to her. I really have no idea what happened, she had been a healthy hedgehog her whole life.

Briefly, here's the story of this week. I check her every morning before work, every evening after work and then at night when I go to bed. The first sign I had of trouble was Monday before bed. I clean the wheel every morning and she usually starts running around 8:00 pm and then runs all night. But Monday night I noticed there was urine on the wheel, but no poop. And she normally poops a lot. There were a few small smears, but should have been covered in big pieces. On Tuesday morning, still no poop but she had eaten, so when I got home from work that day I gave her a warm bath and massaged her belly. She always poops in the water, but again - no poop. That night, she did eat and drink and ran on her wheel. There were no lumps on her belly or near her rear end that I could see or feel. Wednesday I called the vet in the area that sees hedgehogs. He recommended putting a few drops of olive oil in her food and having her nibble on a piece of apple. Wednesday night, she would not eat the apple, would not eat the food I put olive oil on. But she did have a few pieces of lettuce and did drink.

Yesterday morning there were a few more smears of poop and 1 or 2 very tiny pieces of poop in the bottom of the cage. So I was excited. Yesterday after work I went to check on her and the minute I stepped into her room I could smell her. The whole room was foul. I was actually excited thinking she must have relieved her bowels, but found her under her liner with a tiny bit of poop stuck in her quills that she had laid in. Ive never smelled her cage that bad, and I had just given her a bath on Tuesday. I discovered when I carried her into the living room that it was her that smelled. Her belly was not cold, her cage had been at a consistent temp the whole time, no changes in her environment. She wasn't lethargic at all, so I gave her another warm bath to clean the poop out of her quills and make her smell better. But after the bath I could still smell her. And during the bath I noticed a problem with her back leg on the left side. She wasn't standing up on it right and she was wobbly and kept losing her balance. She had never done this before, I spend time with her daily. She had been running in her wheel just 2 days ago. Now she can't stand up. I called the vet, he made an appointment with me this morning. I baked Bella a chicken breast and offered her a piece, she didn't even attemp to eat it. She did however take some water from me. Then we sat down to watch TV, she was in her hedgie bag on my lap and she was just laying at the opening of her bag just looking at me. She never does that, she's either buried down in the bottom or she's climbing all over me looking to escape. She never just lays calmly out in the open. I knew then she was different. And she smelled bad again already. I decided to just grab a blankie and sleep in the recliner with her instead of putting her back in her cage. I woke up several times with her climbing on me. Then at around 3:00 I woke up when she brushed my left cheek and snuggled herself against my neck. A few minutes later, she made a small yelping noise, then a few weird breaths and then she was gone.

I'm still in shock. I have no idea what happened because if it were just a constipation problem why would her back leg suddenly be a problem? And if it were WHS, I thought that was a slow process, not just a 2 day thing. Does anyone have any idea?

I'm so upset, I'm just beside myself. I loved her so much and I feel so bad that I must have missed something. She was my first hedgehog and actually the first pet I've had in years. I don't even know what else to say.

Here's a picture of her back left leg on Tuesday after her bath and then a picture of what it suddenly looked like on Thursday before I gave her another bath. It's kinda hard to tell in the pic, but she's not up on her toes like normal on that back foot, and she kept tucking it up and falling over that direction.(For the record, I only bathed her once every 3 or 4 weeks depending on how dirty she was. The second bath this week was just because of her stench)[attachment=1:1fyhl1tc]DSC_0009_01-1000.jpg[/attachment:1fyhl1tc][attachment=0:1fyhl1tc]Bella bad leg-1000.jpg[/attachment:1fyhl1tc]
 

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I'm so sorry. She was a beautiful girl.

It sounds like she had some sort of infection or maybe even cancer, possibly intestinal. Illness can cause mobility issues.

WHS doesn't have symptoms like that and doesn't kill them that quickly.

I agree with a necropsy. It would give you some answers.
 

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Aww, Bella! I'm so sorry. She was such a pretty thing!

Don't be too hard on yourself either. If it were an intestinal tumor, it would make sense that it blocked her bowels and paralyzed her hind legs. At least it was quick. :(

Hedgie hugs
 
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