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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been the owner of an adorable female hedgehog for over 3 months now. She is still young, but since I purchased her from a local pet store she has always had a problem with her peeing. She sleeps in a 4" pvc pipe, and every day i have to clean it because she consistently urinates on herself when she's sleeping in it. I have done a lot of reading on hedgehogs (I've wanted one for years), and feel that I know a substantial amount (not all) of their mannerisms. I have read that, similarly to other animals, they should not be bathed too frequently because it dries out their skin, which puts me in a tricky situation because she's always covered in her urine. I try to dry her off in a towel as often as possible because I am afraid that in addition to the contents of her urine, consistent bathing will completely dry out her skin and just cause more problems.

At first I figured it was an issue due to her youth, but after a few months she has not stopped. I cannot seem to get her trained at all. I have a litterbox that she does not use, but I still keep it available in case she does use it one day. I do the poop trick (putting a few in the box to encourage using it) but with no success. I love her to death despite this problem, but I'm concerned for her health at this point, because her skin is slightly more red than when i got her, and it obviously makes her quite smelly. I have read a lot about litter-training hedgehogs, but I have NEVER seen her poop (except once or twice in the bath), and I spend quite a bit of time with her, so I haven't been able to place her in the box while she's pooping. She seems to do it all late at night when I am not awake.

First, I was wondering if there were any personal training tricks that someone could share with me, and second, should I be concerned about this self-urinating? Is there anything I can do to stop it? And more importantly, are there any potential risk factors involved with this problem? Any help is greatly appreciated, I want to keep her as healthy and happy as possible :). Thanks!
 

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Is she eating, drinking and pooping normally as well as wheeling and active? Babies often will potty in their beds but usually only until they are 2-3 months old. Often even adults in a new home will until they get comfortable. Another reason for going in their bed is illness. Does she poop in her bed as well or just urine?

My thoughts are that she could potentially have a urinary tract infection which is causing her to loose control and pee while sleeping.

Does she have a cloth in the pvc tube? They like to snuggle and if there is a cloth, even if she pee's it won't make such a mess of her. What type of bedding is she on? :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I bought her from the store when she was 2 months old. This means she's just over 5 months now.

She NEVER poops in her pipe, just pees. I used to have her in a soft cloth she would bundle in but i removed it when she peed on it every night. It became too much of a hassle to clean it every day, so I figured I would put it back when this issue subsided. Since it has not, she is still in the pipe. She eats, drinks, exercises, and poops normally, with no issues. I have not seen green/loose poop since the first week I got her. Most of her pooping is done on her wheel, which I clean daily. I use corncob bedding that is allergin-free as opposed to the cloth-like absorbant bedding that I had been previously using. I didn't like it since it had this fiber-like residue when emptying it from the bag that struck me as dangerous for such a small animal.

She used to have green poop when I first got her, which I read is a sign of stress, so I was not worried. Naturally, being removed from your environment at such a young age would be quite traumatic. I have bonded with her a lot, spending many hours with her a day so she could get used to my scent and the new environment. I make sure my room (where her cage is) has some ventilation but not so much as to create an unpleasant draft. She was very protective for the first 2 weeks, but soon after she opened up to me and by now she has no problem sleeping in any crevice she can find on me :). She lets me pick her up, lets me pick off any bedding she has on her, and even lets me pet against her quills (they are never up anymore unless she is caught off-guard sleeping). We get along great now, and I think we have a good understanding of each other.

The problem of a UTI briefly crossed my mind, but I figured it was safer to seek advice before making any assumptions. I suppose this self-urinating is not a common problem with hedgehog owners. Should I have her checked out by a vet? I have never been to a vet in my life, so I might have to do some research to find one that has experience with these little guys.

Another thing that I noticed yesterday was that her urine had an almost ammonia-like smell. Since ammonia is in all urine, I wasn't sure if this should strike me as odd. It's had me really worried, and I'm starting to think a vet would just be the safest choice to make to ensure her health.

Note: I got all of my cage/food supplies from Hedgehogs by Vickie, in case anyone was curious. She has a website, so feel free to visit. I purchased the large cage with the large whisper wheel.
 

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Does she have a water bottle or bowl? You said that she looks raw. I would suggest getting her a bowl for water. Hedgehogs tend to drink more when they have a bowl. I would definitely look for an experienced vet to take her to.
 

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I thought UTI as so as I read this. It's important that you bring her to the vet, because if she does have a UTI, and it goes untreated the infection can travel to her kidneys.
 

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I'd also get rid of the corn cob bedding. It can get caught in sensitive areas of both the males and females. Corn cob is horrid stuff. It doesn't absorb anything and is very rough on their feet. Cloth liners are the safest choice. All you need is some pieces of polar fleece and cut a few layers to put on the bottom of the cage. For her little snuggley cloth, just have numerous so when she dirties one, you can give her a clean one.

I'd take her to the vet and see if there is a reason she is peeing where she sleeps. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Whenever I have her out, I do usually give her a bowl to drink from because I thought the same thing. It was very cute watching her learn how to drink from the bowl cause she kept putting her nose in on accident.

I called the pet store that I got her from and the woman said to call back tomorrow when the owner was in since he is very experienced with exotics. I'm going to call asap tomorrow morning and possibly bring her in for him to look at and see what he suggests.

When you say fleece, do you mean the same fabric as a fleece sweater? Any suggestions as to where I can get some? If anyone has a recommended site for hedgehog goods I would appreciate it if you'd share :). I'll post when I have further information about my situation, thanks everyone for the help and advice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
New Urinating Problem...

I have had an issue with my hedgehog urinating on herself, as I've recently posted previously. I called the owner of the pet store I bought her from and he strongly insisted that it was, in fact, a bedding problem. I tried to have him explain this to me and he didn't seem to have anything other than, "It's gotta be the corncob, if she had a urinary tract infection or another similar disease she'd be dead by now. Hedgehogs don't retain illness, they just die, so it's the bedding." This makes absolutely no sense to me as I had two different CareFresh beddings before the corncob (brown and then white) and the problem existed when I used those two. He suggested aspen bedding, but I think I am going to take the advice of this forum and go with fleece liners.

My new issue is a rather gross one. I went to take Doops out today, and she had urinatd on herself again. I woke her up, and right after she came out of her dream state, the first thing she did was to start licking up the urine she had been laying in for god knows how long. This is obviously very unhealthy, and I don't know how long she has been doing this for. Has anyone ever heard of this issue? Again, I am seriously worried for her health, although she shows no physical signs of being sick.

I'm starting to believe that this pet owner sold me a hedgehog that had natural issues he was aware of. I know it's a terrible thing to say, but I still love her and it's not fair to blame her for it since it's not her fault, but this owner seems to be unconcerned with my hedgehog, and furthermore, she was the last one in the shop, and was there for a few weeks. When I said I was looking for a hedgehog, he pressed the sale on me very hard (which I overlooked at the time, although I was suspicious), and handed me supplies that I wound up replacing almsot all of because they were simply not the best. She seemed healthy when I got her, but this problem has existed since the day I got her. I simply don't know what to do anymore. :(

How much would a vet visit cost on average? I have never owned an animal so I do not know what to expect at all. Please someone help!
 

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I merged your two threads so people can follow it easier. :)

Did you give her some fleece to snuggle in yet? It would help soak up any urine so it would not be there for her to lick up.

She really does need to see a vet. Urinating in bed is not normal unless she has incontinence issues. As I said before could be a sign of a urinary tract infection all though, it is highly doubtful she would have a UTI for 3 months without showing blood in the urine.

Where does she poop? Is there never any urine where she poops?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have not actually ordered any fleece for her yet, but i did have an extra fleece blanket that she's snuggled up in right now :). I try to keep her as close to me as possible, so for the past few days I've had her snuggled on a chair next to me when she's sleeping. I am actually at the Hedgie Den right now looking at some goodies for her.

She does not poop on herself in her sleep. I'd say 90% of her pooping is done on her wheel, which I clean daily. She does also urinates quite a bit on the wheel, so I have a puppy pad under the wheel so I don't have to replace all the bedding all the time. There are some scattered small poops around her cage usually, which I put in the corner of her litter box to try and promote her use of it, but so far all she seems to wanna use it for is to stomp around in circles at 4am. :)

I will definitely take her to a vet. Like I asked previously, I was just curious as to how much a visit tends to cost. I'm not saying that if it's expensive I won't take her, I am not that irresponsible and I would do anything for her to get better. I would just like to know what to expect when I walk in, because I just like to be prepared.

And I'd just like to thank you Nancy and everyone else, because I just happened to stumble across this forum and it has proved to be very resourceful.
 

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Unfortunately nobody can give you an idea of vet costs as there is a wide range in prices depending on where you live.

You can go to any fabric store or Walmart and buy polar fleece. Your fleece blanket will work too, just make sure the piece of fleece isn't so large she will get lost in the folds.

Are you sure that all the dampness under her is urine? I ask because some hedgies when sprawled out on plastic will leave dampness because of the plastic and their body warm. Is it possible, she is making a mess of herself on the wheel and the wet you are seeing is just dampness from her body on plastic. I have a girl who is wet underneath most of the time because she sleep directly on the bottom of her cage. Just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
She actually does periodically "drool" when she's laying down. When I put her on my bed, even for 5-10 mins, she sometimes leaves a wet spot where her mouth was.

I am nearly positive it is urine (at least most of the time). Her underside gets a yellowish stain, she stinks, and what I saw her licking up earlier was yellow in color.
 

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About the "puppy pad," I've done some reading on this site and others that suggests that puppy pads aren't terribly good for hedgies. My understanding is that there is some sort of chemical/odor in them that makes puppy want to go there... and that chemical/odor could be problematic to hedgies whose little bodies and noses are ever so close to the floor.

I second Nancy's observation about the wet hedgie on plastic phenomenon. Sometimes, my girl feels rather damp and a touch stinky because of that. She's a big girl and loves to sleep right on top of the plastic. And since she sleeps there right after a night of pooping and peeing in her wheel (and getting some of the urine trapped in her skin folds while doing so), her belly fur can appear rather yellow - especially if I don't do a foot & tummy bath every morning.

The licking it up is a bit baffling to me though... Hopefully the vet you find will be able to figure things out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hm, that's very interesting. It is possible that she isn't urinating I suppose, because I've never actually seen her urinate in her sleep. It's hard to say cause when I smell it (even if she sleeps in a blanket or sheet she is sometimes wet) it smells what I think is urine, although I could be wrong. Doops is also a fairly large female, so it might actually be the same situation.

Thankfully I have not actually started using the puppy pads, it was something my girlfriend kinda just gave to me yesterday as an idea to help with sanitation. I will not use them now, thanks for the advice.
 

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If she is getting messy while on her wheel, that dampness when laying on plastic is going to smell like urine and feces. My Lexie is really bad that way. She is a large girl and always has dampness under her and because she makes such a mess on her wheel she stinks. I'm not sure about licking up what looked like urine though.

Try giving her one of your t-shirts to sleep in and see if that helps.
 

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I'm wondering if anyone else has experience with their hedgehog licking their urine? I noticed today when I took Sylvie out to give her antibiotics, her stomach was wet. When I put her back in the cage she was a little wobbly in walking. I wasn't comfortable with this, so turned up her heat from the regular 23 to 25 & took her out. She sat on my lap in my fleece house coat on top a snuggle disk until she started crawling around again & her tummy was dry. Since it was a wet tummy rather than cold (it was damp) I'm thinking she may be urinating in her hut again. This goes with an observation I made awhile ago of pee stains under her hut.

She's now lying behind her wheel but was licking at the edge of her litter pan. Is there a correlation here?

Also, if peeing in the hut is suggestive of a URI, would dry skin on her hind hanks also be suggestive?
 

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Silvercat, what antibiotics is your hedgie on? My hedgie is on Clavamix and Chloro-something (I forget) and is also very wobbly after taking them. I am wondering if this is a side effect? Let me know and we can compare
 

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She's on Enroflaxacin. No wobbling or damp belly today. After I give it I always hold her for a bit to stop her from anointing with it. Then when she goes into her cage again she does pause for a bit before going back to bed. But nothing out of the normal today.
 

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I found this forum because I am having nearly the exact same problem. I have a 6-month old African Hedgehog, her name is Pi. She came from a breeder 3 months ago. Last night I pulled her fleece bottom from under her hidey-house to find it soaked in urine.She's been peeing there and sleeping in it. I can only assume she's been doing it for 2 or 3 days now.

She is healthy, eating like a horse, drinking normally and extremely active at night. There has been no change in her behaviour... except the whole "wallowing in her own urine all day" thing. Her feces are regular and normal, and her urine is clear and normally scented. Her colour is good, her eyes bright and shiny, and her nose damp. Her skin and fur is soft, normally coloured, and not flaky or dry.

On the advice of this forum and a few others, I took her to the veterinarian today. He examined her and reported that other than the urinating problem, she appears to be perfectly healthy. He gave me antibiotics in case of Urinary Tract Infection, and I'll begin her regimen today and see if it helps.

I'll be monitoring her for two weeks and I'll keep you posted. If it gets better, then a UTI was probably the problem!

Lorna

P.S. KENNYS: I took her to an exotics veterinarian in El Paso, TX. My bill came out to about $90.00 ($65.00 for the exam, and about $20.00 for antibiotics) which I consider quite reasonable and about average, especially for an exotic animal (Keep in mind your location, though... El Paso, TX and Los Angeles, CA rates wont be the same.). The vet was knowledgeable and friendly, and my favourite thing about him was that he told me, "This is what I suspect the problem is, but before I give you any medication, I'm going to go check a few reference texts." Hedgehogs aren't common enough for any one vet to know EVERYTHING about them. If your vet acts like he does, find another one. A good vet is one who'll admit that he might not HAVE the answer at the tip of his fingers, but before you leave he will FIND the answer.

P.P.S. I know they're warm weather animals, but the thought occurred to me that sleeping in her own sodden wet mess has to be quite cold - is it possible that it's simply too warm in my room for her to sleep, so she's solving the problem by creating a cooling puddle for herself?
 
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