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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey All,
So I've been super busy lately which is why I'm not around much anymore, but I was cleaning Turbo's cage today and I noticed a few unusual things.
- First, his wheel has been poop-free for 2 nights now, and although that's happened occasionally in the past, it's unusual. There is a little bit of fresh poo in other places in his cage, but not as much as usual (maybe because it's not being flung everywhere by the wheel?)
- Second, he's lost a lot of quills lately, like, 20 in the last 2 days. He's on liners, he hasn't been exposed to anything that could harbor mites, and he's too old to be quilling. I've given him flaxseed oil on his food, but I can't tell if it's helping or not.
- Third, the temperature in our apartment flucuates a lot, but I try to keep it fairly stable where his cage is and I've been monitoring him closely for hibernation attempts- he seems fine.
- Overall, he looks fine. His eyes are clear, he's not injured, he pooped in front of me today so I know he's not all blocked up... I'm just concerned over the quill loss and lack of poopy wheel. Am I overreacting?
 

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I am going through the same issue, with regards to the quill loss anyway. My topic on the forum is X-files. In the top post I have an entire list with facts about my little one, including possible causes.

I have:

-Mites (you never know, and treating with Revolution can't hurt)
- Fungal (ringworm for example) infection
-Bacterial infection (often involves ruptured skin: pus, blood etc...)
-Dietary issues (what's yours eating?)
-Stress (would seem unlikely if she isnt losing weight and still eating etc. on the other hand, sometimes they hide their problems well)
-Hormonal issues
-Plain old dry skin
-Allergies (did you change anything lately? Like washing up powder...?)

I would say see how she gets on and make her environment the best you can. If it continues, go to the vet.

The best of luck anyway, there are people with far more expertise than me here...
 

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IF I recall correctly Turbo is getting older is he not? How old is he? My vet told me that even hedgehogs kept in the best conditions can get mites because often they are dormant in the hedgehog (not sure how true this is but if he has ever been exposed to something that could have mites in his entire life they could have been dormant). I'm going to guess that now he is getting older and possibly the stress of moving (if it was you that said you moved recently) weakened his immune system allowing the mites to take hold. According to that x-files post that Linda mentioned there are also a number of infections that can cause Quill loss.

Your safest bet is to take him to a vet do some tests and/or treat with revolution just to be safe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Turbo is about 2 1/2 years old; I'm not sure exactly how old he is since I got him from a newspaper ad. We moved at the beginning of September, and he was stressed for a week or so but then resumed normal behavior, so I doubt that it's still a stress response after 2 months. Right now I've tried boosting the temp a little and am using flaxseed oil in case it's dry skin. I'm keeping a close eye on him and if things continue as they are I'll make a vet appointment.

Thanks for the advice!

Update: Today- No new quill loss, and he's been eating, so that's good. A few poops around his cage, but still no sign of wheel activity, so that's still a little disconcerting.
 

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drowsydreamer said:
Update: Today- No new quill loss, and he's been eating, so that's good. A few poops around his cage, but still no sign of wheel activity, so that's still a little disconcerting.
The wheel thing has happenend on and off with my Piper. She's about 4 now and somedays she just doesn't go on her wheel. It's been several days that we've not needed to clean it, but I have caught her using it during this time. She just chooses to go behind it. *shrug*

Maybe it's a phase? Tired of wearing boots... for now. hahaha
 

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How's his weight? That's one of the first things I'd check - looking to see if there are any fluctuations. Does he have any bald spots or areas where his quill cover is looking thinned out?

You said that you try to keep the area near his cage consistent... could you fill us in a little more on that?

Beyond that, I'm thinking a possible cause is stress related to temperature variation. Perhaps it's stress itself leading to quill loss or stress contributing to a mite outbreak?

Or, of course, something entirely different... there are just so many possibilities. Because of that, I'd be thinking vet appointment if I started finding 10 or more quills a day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Update: No more quill loss. He's eating and drinking, but still no sign of wheel activity, and less poop than is normal.

His weight is stable, no bald or thinning spots of quills.
His cage is by the radiator in our apartment- the warmest place available, and when the radiator is on it can get up to 78ish, but when it's off the temp can drop as low as 70. Is that too much of a fluctuation? I also usually slip a snugglesafe disc under the part of his cage where he sleeps for a little bit of extra warmth during the day. If it ever drops below 70 (and it has once or twice) I move him into the bathroom and turn on my space heater to a comfortable 75.

I'm still keeping an eye on him, obviously, but with no new quill loss, and normal eating activity, I'm hesitant to take him to the vet. I'll definitely do so if things get worse.
 

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That much temp variation could pose a problem. I've had a challenge keeping Quigley's temperature correct at times, like at my parents house the space heater has to be constantly monitored otherwise it gets ridiculously hot or if you turn it off or on a low setting for too long the temp drops dramatically.

From what I have read a temperature drop of just 5 degrees can pose problems.
 

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An 8 degree fluctuation is probably a bit much for the little guy. I'd start looking for ways to keep the temperature more consistent. What type of cage does he have?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
His cage is a large sterilite tub. His bedding is a fleece liner, and he has a fleece sleeping bag, as well as a PVC pipe, his wheel, and food and water dishes. It's a pretty simple setup.

I know that it's not recommended to use a ceramic heat emitter with plastic bins, but I'm looking for something more cost efficient than running my space heater all the time. Any suggestions?
 

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Hmm... with a plastic bin, I think you're pretty much limited to heating the whole room. There might be more efficient whole-room heaters - think about the oil heater/radiator type.

Else, I'd just bite the bullet and get a wire-top, plastic bottom. I just checked the PetCo site and there's a sale on the Marchioro's: http://www.petco.com/product/13394/Marc ... Cage-13394
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I talked to the maintanence people in our apartment and they're going to see if they can get the heat to be more regular, but I think I might get a new cage anyway (his tub is cracking in one corner, and I've been looking for a good excuse to replace it).
I definitely agree that it's a heat issue, and I think until I figure something out I'll keep him in a different room with my space heater.

Thanks for all the advice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Update: I changed his cage setup so that he is definitely getting enough heat and light, and has been now for almost a week. I've been monitoring him closely, and he's losing a lot of weight (I don't have a scale- I know, I know, I'm a terrible person for not knowing exactly how much he weighs) but he has visibly lost weight. He's still eating his normal amount of food. He's pooping and peeing- still a normal consistency and amount. No more quill loss (yay!), but no wheel activity yet either :(

There was one thing that really concerned me today though, and I figured I'd ask. I was watching him eat, and usually he stands and leans over his bowl to eat, but today he kinda laid sideways on his back legs and just let his head into his bowl- like he didn't want to put too much weight on his hind legs. It might seem like not a big thing, but could this be a sign of WHS? That would explain the lack of wheeling too... I don't know much about it, could anyone provide advice?

If he doesn't start showing signs of wheeling or weight gain I am taking him to the vet on Monday.
 

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Hey

I'm so sorry. It sounds like Turbo isn't doing well. Hopefully the vet will be able to give you an answer as to what's been going on. I don't know anything about WHS either but I really hope he is ok.

The fact that he is eating but still loosing weight with no activity increase suggests to me that there is something happening in the digestive track (it would with a person anyway). Something like a tumour or a parasite that is not letting his body derive nutrients from the food. Some things like this don't necessarily show up in the droppings so there may be no sign. Also could be an infection or something similar taking a tole on him. I don't know anything about hedgehog disease and obviously I'm not a vet but my gut tells me that less activity and same amount of food doesn't not equal weight loss so there is something going on internally.

I hope whatever it is can be cured and Turbo makes a full recovery.
 

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Sadly unexplained weight loss and sitting weird to eat can be a sign of WHS but it can also be a sign of other illness as well. The fact that he is still eating well tends to rule out many illnesses that cause loss of appetite.

With the recent temperature issues, it lowers their immune system and leaves them at risk for illness. I think a vet visit is in order.

Try and keep his cage at a stable temperature and maybe give him some extra heat in bed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Ok. He has a vet visit scheduled for Monday. His temperature is stable at 78, and has been for several days. He pooped last night and ate some of his food, but no wheel activity.

Other than the temperature thing, is there anything I can do to make him more comfortable until we get to the vet?
 

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I'd keep doing what you are doing - nice consistent temperature, easy access to food, water, and accessories (wheel, etc...). You could put a snugglesafe or other warmer near his sleeping area so he can walk over to it for a little extra heat or away if he's getting too warm.

I'd skip any footbath in the event that he does wheel & wind up with poop-boots.

And I'd give him plenty of snuggletime with you unless he's indicating that he does not want that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Update Post-Vet Visit:

Ok all, thanks for all the advice. Turbo headed to the vet today. His weight loss was way more significant than I thought (last time he was at the vet, a year ago, he was 315 g, now he's 210). She looked at him thoroughly, took x-rays, and decided that cancer is unlikely. He looks good and clear of infection as well. Her best guess as to what's been going on is either a hibernation attempt that's taking a really long time to bounce back from, but WHS is also a definite possibility, especially because he does have weakness and loss of some muscle tone in his back legs.

All in all, things are looking okay. He's eating and pooping and at a stable temperature now. If he gets better and starts running on his wheel again we'll assume it was a hibernation attempt with complications, if he doesn't improve, we'll just try to make him comfortable and monitor his progress if its WHS. In the meantime, thanks for all your help, and I will keep a close eye on my little one and enjoy the fact that I don't have a poopy wheel to clean (at least for awhile).
 
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