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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some background information:

I'm a student, but I do small animal rescues as a 'hobby' and out of my passion and love for animals. I usually take in guinea pigs and chinchillas, as there isn't a shelter here that does that.

In my country, hedgehogs are illegal and should not be owned as a pet. However, 2 weeks ago, I received a call from a fellow rescuer who passed two girls to me, surrendered by an owner who 'did not find it interesting anymore and they were too prickly'.

Luckily, the pet supply shop owner I'm familiar with was willing to deliver all the items I needed within the day - cat food, water dishes and bottles, Critical Care and Carnivore Care, etc.

When I got them, they were in a really bad state, poop stains everywhere and one of them was extremely weak. While one was extremely grumpy (kept huffing, curling into a ball etc.), she's now tamer and though she curls when I touch her forehead, she's willing to let me hold and cuddle her. She seems to be quilling too, as she lost 3 quills within a few minutes, and I can see half-emerged quills growing on her back. The other was extremely calm and weak. She walked and ran a little around my room, and fell asleep on my palm in less than an hour. She had no problem with me handling her and even till now, she sleeps in my palm always. I do think her 'relaxed' behaviour is also due to her weakness, such that she doesn't have the energy to curl into a tight ball, but is able to curl nonetheless.

They're currently supposedly 2 months old, although one of them weighs 60g and the other 220g according to the vet. I'm aware that one of them is severely underweight.

I never had any prior experience of taking care of hedgehogs, and neither of us knew who could help with them. Many of the vets here only tend to dogs and cats, a handful who are able to care for rabbits and guinea pigs, and far lesser who are exotic-savvy. (We have chinchillas here.) I felt like I turned into a hedgehog care 'expert' overnight due to me staying up all night reading forums and possibly every single reputable hedgehog care site.

I would really appreciate and need everyone's help in guiding me more on how to care for this two lovely girls. Correct me if I'm wrong and please do advise products which I can get for them.

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Housing: I've made a 2x2 C&C cage with 10" walls to house them. I used piggy bedspreads (fleece) as bedding for them before I realised they had mites. Worried that the mites might infest on the fleece, I moved both hedgehogs into a glass fish tank with wood pellets as bedding, to house them till they're free of mites.

Food: I followed the list of recommended food as much as I could, but brands like Blue Buffalo, Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul, Natural Balance are all not sold here. I got Acana's Wild Prairie Cat, Solid Gold's Katz-N-Flocken, and Wellness' Trufood Indoor - Chicken, Chickpeas & Chicken Liver Recipe. The weaker one, Ponyo, is currently on Hill's Prescription Diet a/d™ Canine/Feline Critical Care. She is able to eat on her own and I feed her every 4 hours, through the night too. I let her eat till she shows disinterest, and depending on how much I've seen her eat, I'll syringe-feed another 1 or 2 mL. She refuses to eat anything else - dry cat food, Oxbow's Critical Care and Carnivore Care, even if it's mixed into the a/d canned food. She can't be on a/d forever due to the high protein and fats and I'm worried she won't eat anything! So far, despite the high protein and fats, she lost some weight. The other eats the dry cat food just fine and I think she's put on some weight since I got her...

Heating: I live in a tropical country and the temperature never drops below 26C/80F, and is usually 32C/90F. However, I do sleep with air-conditioner and it's usually adjusted to 25C/77F on high power. The past few weeks, I never dared to turn on the air-conditioner as I'm worried it might cause them to be unwell. I can't move them to another room either due to space restrictions. I've ordered a heatpad off Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Snugglesafe-Microwave-Wireless-Heatpad-Fleece/dp/B0014LJKUA) in hopes that I don't have to suffer in the heat at night, while they won't have to suffer in the cold.

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Now to the most important part, Ponyo's health issues! :(

When I got her, her skin seemed flaky and her right eye wouldn't open. She was sneezing and scratching, and it just rang so many alarm bells in my head.

The day after I got them, I was able to convince a vet to treat Ponyo. She said Ponyo had mites and possibly upper respiratory infection. Ponyo was given a dose of Revolution and the vet provided me a few cans of Hill's Prescription Diet a/d™ Canine/Feline Critical Care. I then made an appointment to review her in two weeks. (Check: The vet said a dose of Revolution (Puppy/Kitten) for Ponyo, who was 60g, was 0.006mL.)

In the next week, Ponyo a little more active and very much less scratching, but she is often asleep, even in the night. The other girl (which I haven't given a name to) was more active, ate really well, but was sleeping most of the time too. She would frequently knock down the water bottle holder, trying to escape the cage. I tried giving them a water dish but they would always end up stepping in it and playing with it instead of drinking any bit of water.

Their poop were always soft and gluey, sometimes even watery. While Girl (temporary name :p) always had a consistent brown poop, Ponyo's was of different shades of green. Although green seemed off, I've seen so many varieties of poop I don't know which one is normal! So... What consistency is hedgehog poop supposed to look like?

Anyway, a few days before her next appointment, Ponyo's condition went downhill and she could barely stand. Her genital area started swelling and the skin on her forearms started peeling off. (See images below.)

At the vet's, they didn't know what was wrong with Ponyo but gave her a single dose of a medicine, to deworm her. List of Ponyo's prescribed medications:
- Metrogyl, antibiotics (Diluted 3x) - 0.1mL twice a day.
- Bacidin, antiseptic - used to wash genitals and forearms before applying cream.
- BNP + Ketoconazole - applied on genitals and forearms.

So, here I am, extremely confused and worried about Ponyo... The following images are of Ponyo's condition now and mostly what I'm worried about.


(http://i.imgur.com/sUghLu8.jpg) Weak, weak Ponyo.


(http://i.imgur.com/jSFHs5L.jpg) Initial state of Ponyo's genitals.


(http://i.imgur.com/O5pJM27.jpg) After applying cream. You can see her wound on her forearm here too. The q-tips are there to prevent her from curling up and getting the cream all over her, as well as to prevent her from licking the cream.


(http://i.imgur.com/BBqM1MZ.jpg) Eyes - they seem sunken and unclear. Is this a cause for worry?


(http://i.imgur.com/BBqM1MZ.jpg) Teeth - do they seem normal? Could this be a reason why she's refusing dry food?


(http://i.imgur.com/codG7XH.jpg) Poop - while I'm typing away, here's what she left in the 'observatory' I made. It's actually just a huge lunchbox with fleece bedding.


(http://i.imgur.com/CdhxH0x.jpg) Posture - she seems to crouch and always tuck her tail underneath her... It may be because of the inflammation of her genitals making her uncomfortable, but I'm unsure.


(http://i.imgur.com/SrY81Pc.jpg) Just curious... What colour is she? Some tell me pinto, some tell me salt and pepper?

Thanks so much in advance for all your help! I really really really appreciate every single response I can get.

Just for LOLs - Ponyo the altar sacrifice!

(http://i.imgur.com/Yax2gt6.jpg)
 

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Is she eating at all? Are you syringe feeding her? If you're not syringe feeding then you need to start doing that now. She needs to eat about 20-24 mls a day. You can use the A/D or the carnivore care. Her teeth look like baby teeth to me which leads me to believe she's younger than what you were told. I would also keep her separated from the other girl.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Is she eating at all? Are you syringe feeding her? If you're not syringe feeding then you need to start doing that now. She needs to eat about 20-24 mls a day. You can use the A/D or the carnivore care. Her teeth look like baby teeth to me which leads me to believe she's younger than what you were told. I would also keep her separated from the other girl.
Thanks for the quick reply, Nikki! Yes, she's eating. In fact, she would literally follow the smell of A/D everywhere.

Thank you so much also for letting me know how much she should eat... I've been trying to find out for so long. I would usually watch her while she eats and if it doesn't seem like much, I would syringe 2-3 mL of A/D to her. She usually ends up falling asleep while chewing. Sometimes, she would chew till the food starts coming out of her mouth. Not sure if that's considered spitting?

I suspect she might be younger too... The weight difference is too large to be true!

Could you let me know the reason for separating them? As they seem really bonded, sleeping together usually, and I'm not sure as I don't really want to put them apart from each other! Is there anything I should watch out for? What are the signs of a good bond between two females? :)

Thank you so much once again!
 

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Adding to what Nikki posted.
How much liquid is she getting? Dehydration is a major cause of sunken looking eyes, as well as other issues.
Given her lack of movent, and posture the redness on her bottom could be a diaper rash, for lack of a better term. Also if she is dehydrated, her urine is essentially concentrated.
I agree that you should sperate them. The reasoning isn't the standard, hedgehogs are solitary animals and don't want a friend. More so you don't want ponyo to be getting pushed out of the food or water dish. You don't want her getting bullied because of animal instincts to push away the weaker animals. Also, you don't know what your dealing with as far as any illness goes. You likely don't want to find out it's contagious by watching the other go downhill. You need to be able to tell who is eating and drinking what and the amounts. You need to know for certain who is pooping what.
 

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Twobytwo touched on most of the reasons for separating them but I'd like to add that since Ponyo is so small and young the bigger, older girl could easily become aggressive and hurt her when you aren't around to stop it. This has happened in the past with other hedgehogs. Another reason is its easier for you to see how much Ponyo is drinking and pooping if she's by herself. Since you don't know how she got the sore on her leg it's very possible that the bigger girl bit her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you guys so so so much!

@twobytwopets: She's getting about 40mL of water a day. Is that enough? How much water would be a good amount? As for the rash... Do you have any ideas how I could relieve and prevent it?

@nikki: Actually... The sore was caused when her skin was mushy and wet after her bath and the towel rubbed it off her. :oops:

I will definitely consider separating them. For now, Ponyo's been in the observatory hut with me for about the entire day, as she has to be fed every 3 hours and I do want to observe her pee and poop. I agree that the bigger girl may turn aggressive suddenly, but so far, they have only been huddling together (as seen in my profile picture) and have never had any sign of pushing nor rejection. I've also read that female hedgehogs in captivity usually prefer having a cage mate, and I'm honestly quite reluctant to separate them as Ponyo always seeks the other girl's cuddles. Nonetheless, I would definitely separate them for their good. :)

Would there be a time that I can put them back together? E.g. when Ponyo is around the same size and weight as the other girl. What are some signs that they enjoy each other's company, or if they prefer to be alone?

When should I start decreasing Ponyo's A/D diet and switch her to dry food, and how should I do so as she refuses to even try biting dry food?

Lastly, while I was gone for a bath, I returned to these little poopies by Ponyo. Does it look normal?


(http://i.imgur.com/d4HSJXu.jpg)

I'm so sorry for asking so many questions, I'm just really worried about her and animal lives are too precious to me! Thank you so much again for all your help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hello again! I'm still extremely worried and in need of guidance, with many questions unanswered. You guys are most likely more knowledgeable than any available vet here. Please do help me on this, I'm terribly afraid of losing Ponyo!

I suspect she has giardia, given the symptoms and the fact that her poop has always been inconsistent. Sometimes, it's extremely watery and dark green, and it'll just ooze out of her anus. She seems to pee while pooping too. I'm praying that the other girl doesn't have it either.

I'm really sorry for all the poop pictures, but here are the latest ones I've got. I decided not to upload them so as to not put off others.

Ponyo's - http://i.imgur.com/YJbyzMu.jpg
Girl's - http://i.imgur.com/HRdBsdL.jpg

Thank you guys so much, and I'm really sorry for pestering! Hopefully, I'd get some answers from my first post too. Thank you so so so much! I really, really, really appreciate all and any response!
 
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