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Discussion Starter #1
So, I picked up our new baby girl about 2.5 weeks ago now. I did get her from a pet store. However, I am a believer in things happen for a reason. She was the sweetest thing at the pet store and seemed very laid back. I got her home and within the first day home I realized something was not right. She was sneezing and I was alarmed. By that first night I was getting up every 2 hours to check on her, as I was very worried about her. She was wheezing during the night. I brought her into the emergency vets that next day and got her on her first oral antibiotics. She was getting worse during the first 5 or so days on it. I brought her back in and they switched her to Baytril IM. I also asked them to give me a dose of wormer, as I feared lung worm and regular worms. I had all kinds of weird stools from her. She was SO VERY sick. So she was given one dose of Pancur. Later found out this was not enough and wormed her ourself with the same wormer that we had for our goats. Keep in mind I did extensive research on this and knew my dosages before doing so. Its nice being a nurse. Anyways, her stool was "normal" after just two more days of being wormed. Her URI just now is better. Keep in mind this is 2.5 weeks later. Now, she is still doing a sneeze here and there, but she no longer has bubbles, snot, etc coming out of her nose. I thought she had mites, as she was itching. So, I had her treated with Revolution. She still has extremely dry skin. I picked up a bottle of Humilac and it seems to have helped. So now that her health history is out there, I am a bit concerned still. She has developed a HORRIBLE attitude. I mean, she will take and play tugga war with her fleece liners. She is bitting, hissing, popping....the list goes on. Keep in mind she was a angel up until her URI seemed to have gotten better. She bites and tugs on anything that crosses her path. I am thinking she was so sick that she seemed nice?? OR, I am thinking something with her skin or underlying medically is still not good with her. It does not SEEM like she is quilling, as she has no quill loss. IDK. She is just crazy. I pulled her out this morning to lay with me in the bed and eat a scrambled egg with me and she did OK. She was still bitting on everything. I just had her on on my chest in her sleep sack to rest with me and she did OK. I just don't know if I should be worried about this behavior. She has also been eating her own stool. She is on Innova low fat cat food and another food and is eating fine. She gets mealies as a treat every day (2). I don't know what could be lacking in her diet. She is a sassy lil buggar. I don't mind it, as long as I know its not medical related. Please any ideas. I would be crushed if it was medical related and something happened. I have over $400 into my baby. I love this little critter like no other.
 

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It's possibly that the initial sweetness might have been related to lethargy from being sick. From the description of how she's doing right now, I'm not seeing any obvious health issues. Do you have any idea how old she is? The grumpiness might be because she's still transitioning, or simply because she wasn't well socialized in the pet store and will need some extra work. If she's young, it could be quilling related as well.
 

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She was "9 weeks" from what they said. That puts her around 12 weeks now. I don't know how true this is. It just rang home to me that the itching/dry skin could have been a reaction to the antibiotics?? Im just worried. So many things were wrong with her:( She was only 123 grams when she first went to the docs. She is now 175!!
 

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Hedgehogs are prone to dry skin for various reasons. A humidifer in the room she's in can help. I've also had great success with Humilac, which you've mentioned you're already using. So, the dry skin on its own isn't indicative of a health problem, and the itching is often because of the dry skin. 123g sounds small for 9 weeks; my breeder won't let babies go before they reach 125g, which is typically around 6 weeks. So, she might be younger than they said, or she might have been not getting enough nutrients from whatever food they had her on at the store. It's good that she's gaining weight now, though. Regardless of the exact age, she's young, so quilling might be part of why she's grumpy. Can you see any new quills poking through, or has she been dropping a lot of little quills? I except the lack of socialization is part of it, as well - one reason why hedgehogs never do well in pet stores. The best hours for socialization for them are when the store would be closed, or close to it. Just work on bonding, keep her in a bag or under a blanket in your lap, and keep handling her every day regardless of how cranky she is. The biting on fabric doesn't necessarily indicate grumpiness or aggression, though. They can do it because it tastes/smells good (such as if you use scented detergent to wash the blankets) or just because it's fun, or also as part of burrowing. My boy does it all the time.
 

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moxieberry said:
Hedgehogs are prone to dry skin for various reasons. A humidifer in the room she's in can help. I've also had great success with Humilac, which you've mentioned you're already using. So, the dry skin on its own isn't indicative of a health problem, and the itching is often because of the dry skin. 123g sounds small for 9 weeks; my breeder won't let babies go before they reach 125g, which is typically around 6 weeks. So, she might be younger than they said, or she might have been not getting enough nutrients from whatever food they had her on at the store. It's good that she's gaining weight now, though. Regardless of the exact age, she's young, so quilling might be part of why she's grumpy. Can you see any new quills poking through, or has she been dropping a lot of little quills? I except the lack of socialization is part of it, as well - one reason why hedgehogs never do well in pet stores. The best hours for socialization for them are when the store would be closed, or close to it. Just work on bonding, keep her in a bag or under a blanket in your lap, and keep handling her every day regardless of how cranky she is. The biting on fabric doesn't necessarily indicate grumpiness or aggression, though. They can do it because it tastes/smells good (such as if you use scented detergent to wash the blankets) or just because it's fun, or also as part of burrowing. My boy does it all the time.
I don't see any quills around her cage. I wanted to think she was quilling too, but no quills. I think she had major worm issues and her bad URI was why her WT was so low. Thanks so much for your advice.
 

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Yeah, worms could definitely be related to that. Glad she's doing better now! It's strange that she's not dropping any quills at all - typically hedgehogs will be shedding them starting from 6 weeks through until 12+ weeks, more at certain times than others. It's possible that she's in a light stage of quilling, or possible that she's actually older and it's finished. Anyway, keep us posted! Sounds like overall she's doing fine health-wise though, just be patient and work on bonding. Good luck!
 

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horsewildfire, you sound like you really got a baby who needed you. The eating of stool is a bit concerning. How long has she been on innova? Sometimes stool eating can indicate something is missing. If she just began the innova recently, her body still may be adjusting. How is her skin and quill coat? Does it seem shiny, or a bit dull? I know that may be hard to tell now since you are using the humilac, but before you started would you consider it dull? Healthy quills should have a sparkle to their tips.

I wouldn't be surprised with all that she has been through if her body could use a little extra supplementing for a while to adjust. You may want to try Sunshine factor. You can either get it from your vet or Drs. Foster & Smith carries it. It looks pricey, but its actually very cheap for the amount you use. I recently purchased some to try out with a rescue who was on a bad diet when he came here. It seems to be helping mine some (its still too early for me to call it a miracle supplement though) and others on here seem to feel it has helped theirs. It is an immune system booster too, so it may be worth your time to look at it and see if you want to consider trying it.

Quilling could still be an option. I disagree with Moxi, I actually don't think its strange at all that she's not dropping quills but yet could be quilling. With some you will never find a baby quill that they shed. Now I haven't had many babies, as I prefer to take in adults who need a lot of work, but of the 5 babies I have raised, 3 of those I never knew they were quilling except they had a behavior change. One was very cranky, but as hard as I tried to find baby quills being dropped on her liners, I never found one. That same hedgehog turned into one of my sweetest, so don't give up hope.

It is also possible that she may just be beginning to quills. some hedgehogs could start to quill well past the 12 week end date Moxi mentioned. I have a rescue who entered the rescue station at age 3 months. She began quilling after she arrived there. So late quillings can happen and are not abnormal.
 

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Kalandra said:
Quilling could still be an option. I disagree with Moxi, I actually don't think its strange at all that she's not dropping quills but yet could be quilling. With some you will never find a baby quill that they shed. Now I haven't had many babies, as I prefer to take in adults who need a lot of work, but of the 5 babies I have raised, 3 of those I never knew they were quilling except they had a behavior change. One was very cranky, but as hard as I tried to find baby quills being dropped on her liners, I never found one.
Actually, you're right, it does make perfect sense that quilling could be going on without the obvious dropping of quills. I know Archimedes continued to shed quills for weeks after his temperament improved and the new quills were no longer visibly poking through, so I assume the reverse would make sense too - discomfort and grumpiness from new quills coming in, before the baby quills fall out. I do find it a bit mind-boggling that you had some that you never saw shed quills of ever - I'd think they'd have to go somewhere, right? But since hedgehogs can vary a lot in how many quills they drop during quilling, it makes sense that for some the dropped quills would be much fewer than average.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Kalandra said:
horsewildfire, you sound like you really got a baby who needed you. The eating of stool is a bit concerning. How long has she been on innova? Sometimes stool eating can indicate something is missing. If she just began the innova recently, her body still may be adjusting. How is her skin and quill coat? Does it seem shiny, or a bit dull? I know that may be hard to tell now since you are using the humilac, but before you started would you consider it dull? Healthy quills should have a sparkle to their tips.

I wouldn't be surprised with all that she has been through if her body could use a little extra supplementing for a while to adjust. You may want to try Sunshine factor. You can either get it from your vet or Drs. Foster & Smith carries it. It looks pricey, but its actually very cheap for the amount you use. I recently purchased some to try out with a rescue who was on a bad diet when he came here. It seems to be helping mine some (its still too early for me to call it a miracle supplement though) and others on here seem to feel it has helped theirs. It is an immune system booster too, so it may be worth your time to look at it and see if you want to consider trying it.

Quilling could still be an option. I disagree with Moxi, I actually don't think its strange at all that she's not dropping quills but yet could be quilling. With some you will never find a baby quill that they shed. Now I haven't had many babies, as I prefer to take in adults who need a lot of work, but of the 5 babies I have raised, 3 of those I never knew they were quilling except they had a behavior change. One was very cranky, but as hard as I tried to find baby quills being dropped on her liners, I never found one. That same hedgehog turned into one of my sweetest, so don't give up hope.

It is also possible that she may just be beginning to quills. some hedgehogs could start to quill well past the 12 week end date Moxi mentioned. I have a rescue who entered the rescue station at age 3 months. She began quilling after she arrived there. So late quillings can happen and are not abnormal.
She started eating her poo after I started her on mealies. I wonder if that has anything to do with it? She does have a nice little sparkle to the very tip of her quills. Almost like a glisten. I do notice that she has smaller quills that have what look to be shriveled up or dry ends. Maybe they are small baby quills? All I know is that she has very dry skin. She has been scratching at her under tummy and ears too? I wonder if the one treatment of revolution was enough? To me she has a pretty good diet. She eats a lot. It includes scrambled eggs, mealies, and chicken aside from her staple food. It has me stumped. I have noticed also that when she is done eating or being handled, she will go into her house or face away from me and make this sort of popping/shaking movements. Along with it she has a very subtle sound. It concerns me. I don't think its a seizure, as I can snap her out of it. Im wondering if its a sorta "silent" cough. Like she is trying to hold it back. Im going to get a video of it when I catch it again.
 

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Baby quills should look like normal quills only smaller. The shriveled up dry ends are another indication of a possible nutritional deficiency in the past. As Kalandra has mentioned, poo eating is also a sign and now that she is getting good food, it may take a while for her to catch up. Starting after she started getting mealies is odd but maybe hold off on mealies for a few days and see if she quits.

I do not think it strange either that she is not obviously dropping quills. Some get grumpy in the weeks leading up to the start of quilling. Others their grumpiness starts when visible quill dropping has stopped. Some give a shake and quills drop like rain, but others quill slowly and unless you are searching for quills, you would probably miss them. It may also be puberty related. I've had numerous, usually girls, that became moody at around 5-6 months. I've also had babies who quilled early and fast and were done by 10 weeks, and others who were late quilling and slow and were still quilling at 6 month.

123g at 9 weeks is on the small side but she may be from small parents, or is slow growing. I've had a few that were tiny as babies but once they hit their growth spurt, they made up for it fast.

The shaking that looks similar to a seizure is normal as is the sound. They do a sort of twitch combined with a soft ticking sound. Usually it is when they are comfortable and relaxed.

Sounds like she is on the mend and lucky girl that you took her in and are giving her such great care. :)
 

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As Nancy mentioned, that little seizure thing, while scary, is normal. I find that when mine have been a bit defensive our grouchy and then when they finally settle down and relax they will twitch and some make a faint noise from it. I was told once that the big muscles in their backs responsible for the curling effect are usually a little tense to ensure that the hedgehog can close quickly. But when they fully relax they often will twitch for a few moments. Not sure how accurate that is, but it seemed a reasonable theory.


Nutritional problems take a while to recover from. Quite often I have seen additional issues pop up after we fix the nutrition issue often 4-6 weeks later. Even in adults we see massive quill loss when they move from a bad diet to a good diet (as they shed the damaged and grow in new) or if they have had a serious health issue and have recovered.
 

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Thanks so much for the advice, all of you. I found a teeny tiny quill in her cage this AM and a whole lot of dry skin. She weighed in at 190 grams last night! Thats 67 grams in two weeks that she has gained :) Its so reassuring to know that little seizure looking movement is normal behavior. Whew..... Here is a pic of Tootsie last night. She looks much better.
 

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She looks great. Quite a darling little girl you have there. And that is a nice weight gain. Looks like you may just be on the road to a normal life with a hedgehog.
 
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