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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Aries is approx. 2.5 years old. He is missing several teeth and has been on a soft food diet of canned salmon Fancy Feast for 6-7 months. We noticed he was not eating much of his soft food a few days ago. I mixed some canned food with warm water and syringe fed him. He had a loose tooth near the front of his mouth during his first encounter with the syringe, and the tooth came out during his second feeding the next morning.

We went to the vet this morning. The vet did not gas him to take a good look at his mouth, but held his mouth open with a cotton swab to look for irritation or infection. His mouth looked health and pink, but I saw a tiny bit of blood where he had lost that tooth. The vet said to keep an eye on him and syringe feed him if necessary. The vet took a poop sample (fresh from my shirt) and said he didn't see anything bad. Aries has lost weight, too--from .68 lbs (in October) to .56 lbs. The vet also suggested Pedialite.

I could not find Pedialite at Walgreens, so I got vanilla Ensure powder mix--it was right next to Boost and I've heard of people giving hedgehogs Boost before. I mixed some Ensure to a almost pudding texture and syringed some to Aries. He had about 1 cc/1 mL before he started pushing the syringe away with his foot. I held him for a bit, then he threw up the Ensure mixture--now tinted light green (he hasn't eaten anything green in weeks).

He also pooped a little bit--brown, but very mucousy and runny. It smells HORRIBLE. He hasn't been pooping much in his cage, but there are several poop spots in/around his bedroom and on his fleece bedding. His bum and underside look like he's been sitting in his poop and pee. He was smacking his lips a lot the past few days, but he has pretty much stopped that now. He hasn't been running on his wheel, and he's been awake at unusual times during the day--sometimes just sitting in his litter box or hidey house (it's got a yellow translucent panel I can see thru), wide awake.

What else should I do to make sure Aries is okay? Is Ensure going to be okay to give him? Should I mix in some acidophilus to the canned syringed food? How can I get him to eat more? He will only take about 1 to 2 mL/cc before he won't eat any more. I'm sure having a hurt tooth makes him feel sick and yucky, but he's been so pathetic lately that I am getting really worried. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you!
 

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Is aries on any kind of meds?
I don't know if ensure is ok for hedgies but i'm sure someone else will chime in.
Most all grocery stores have pedalite,it's with the infant stuff.
Praying aries will make a full and fast recovery.
 

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I think I have heard of feeding Ensure but it might have been what made him throw up so I wouldn't risk giving it again. Maybe the vanilla flavour didn't agree with his tummy.

I hope he gets better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Aries is not on any meds. I haven't given him Ensure again... I'm trying to keep the calories IN him! I don't know if that is why he threw up, but I'm not risking it.

I've been syringe feeding him chicken and gravy baby food. I tried to give him baby chicken sticks, but he wasn't interested in eating any. He acted too tired to do anything, except try to push the syringe away and get away from me when I feed and water him. I have Pedialite now, but haven't given him any yet.

I think the baby food is doing him some good, as he is pooping more, but it's kinda green--I assume from the food switch. I was brown and slimy, after baby food it is green and slimy. He doesn't move to poop, and stays sitting or lying in the same position after he goes. I've been cleaning up after him, of course.

He's going to sleep with a heating pad in a Sterilite bin tonight. My husband said he seemed cold when he checked on him this morning, so he's either been on the heating pad or being held all day.

I *think* I might have seen some irritated places on his gums while feeding him. I'm going to check with my vet AGAIN tomorrow morning and hopefully he can take a good look at his mouth this time. It's okay for a 2.5+ years old hedgie to be gassed for a tooth check, right? If my regular vet is too busy, then I will take him to a different vet ASAP and all of my hedgehogs will probably switch vets. I'm pretty annoyed that he didn't help much and check out Aries's mouth thoroughly.

The good news is that I talked with someone from HWS--thanks, Beth and Susan!--and it's been determined he has a will to live. His eyes are still bright, he's fighting with the syringe but getting some food down, and his breathing is a bit hard, but he's not gaping or struggling to breathe.

It's not awesome, but he could still have a miraculous recovery. I'm doing everything I can think of to make sure he is okay. Thank you for your help.
 

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I recommend you get some Hills A/D from the vet to syringe him. Depending on how much he eats at a time, you may need to syringe him every few hours. Sometimes it takes a while for them to figure out that the syringe gives them yummy food.

Ensure is okay to give him but not the chocolate one. I've never had a hedgehog yet that would drink Ensure or Boost. What you could use instead that he might like better is puppy or goats milk. You can get it at Petsmart or the vet sells puppy formula. If you get powdered, you mix it up fresh for each feeding. It goes bad fast so don't save it from feeding to feeding. The one I use is a 1:2 mix, meaning 1 part powder, 2 parts water so you can mix up any amount you want as long as you follow that formula.

Yes, a 2.5 year old can be gassed but if he is very weak, I'm not sure I'd risk it until he gains some strength. It sounds like he is a very sick little boy and I'd try for a more experienced vet. Go by what the vet says as far as gassing.

Hedgehog stomach bile is green which is why when their tummies are upset their poop gets greenish. When you syringe him, do you see any white or yellowish areas in his mouth?
 

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poor aries! i'm sending well wishes your way.

pedialyte is usually hiding in the baby section and not in the pharmacy section. i have found it before at walgreens, walmart and target in their baby sections.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Aries went to a different vet this morning. I saw our new hedgehog vet's degree on the wall--she graduated May 2009. She has reptiles and other animals. She is the exotics vet at their office. I was REALLY happy with her and how she handled Aries. He was calm and she visited with him and held him and petted him a bit so he would be comfortable with being checked out.

She did not have to gas him to see in his mouth! She held his mouth open with her fingers and checked his gums and teeth. He DOES have bacteria in his mouth--aka infection--aka gum disease. She felt his belly and didn't feel anything unusual. He's got irritated places in his mouth, but no white or yellow to indicate tumors.

We came home with Clindamycin (.1cc, 2x/day for 10 days) for the gum disease and Metacam (.05cc, 1x/day for 10 days) for pain. It's not flavored, but I gave him both medications when we got home and he took them just fine.

He's still not eating very much, and I forgot to ask about the Hill's A/D. She didn't mention it. I'll get some tomorrow. She told me to give the hedgehogs fruits and vegetables every day to help prevent gum disease. She also asked if Aries would let me brush his teeth--I told her I had never tried it, but he lets me syringe feed him. Does anyone brush their hedgehog's teeth? Do we need to start doing this?

I'm pretty mad at our old vet. He said Aries's teeth and mouth were fine 2 days ago, and we took Aries in for tooth loss and bad breath back in October and he didn't see anything wrong then, either. I feel bad for Aries because this could have been helped several months ago and he wouldn't have had to go through this.

Aries was friendly and sweet at the vet. He explored the exam table and did not seem as tired, though he is plenty skinny. He weighed 244 grams. He's still eating chicken and gravy baby food. He's picky and does not think anything I syringe to him is yummy. He hasn't eaten chicken sticks or his regular salmon wet food, probably because he'd have to eat it on his own. He takes water from a eyedropper very well. He's got a plate of hedgehog delicacies in his house right now, in case he decides to eat on his own, but I bet his mouth still hurts a lot, so I'll keep syringe feeding him.

Thank you for helping me with Aries! I will give updates on how he is doing. I really appreciate all of you!
 

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Hello RainbowCookie, I saw that you had commented on my post. Thanks so much. I am heartbroken and just chatting with other hedgie owners helps a lot.

Clover had some eating issues too starting a year or so ago. I took him to the vet and he extracted a couple of teeth, but it did not help much. What my husband and I started doing was we cut his kibble in half one by one so he could munch easier and now we also wet his dry food so he can eat easier. He has never been big on anything except his dry food, banana, and an occasional cricket or meal worm, so we had to keep him eating his kibble in some way so that he would eat. He is extremely picky.

Give your sweetie Aries a hug from me. Hope he is feeling better.

Ferma
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
We got Aries some Hill's A/D today and mixed it with some of his baby food and a bit of fish oil. He's still not eating on his own but he is taking the syringe better. He is okay with having some Pedialyte, but prefers water from an eyedropper.

He's still really tired and has been sleeping even more than usual. He's exploring more than he was a few days ago and has been digging at his fleece blanket to make a comfy spot to sleep instead of just lying down exhausted wherever he is.

He peed right after waking up today, and made a somewhat normal looking tiny poop! It looks like he is getting better, even if he is still scrawny and sick. Thank you everyone for your help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I stayed up really late cleaning and giving hedgehog baths and pedicures to the TX girls, and I saw Aries strolling around his house! He even took 2 bites of soft food! He's still getting syringed food and water, but I was SO HAPPY to see him trying to eat on his own!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Aries is done taking his Clindamycin except for once a month. His vet said his mouth was looking a lot better when we went back one week after his first appointment with her. He will be getting Clindamycin once a month now.

I took him in for a checkup because he had dried blood around his mouth. It was from biting the base of his wheel and plate. He seems frustrated and pushes his plate and water bowl around a lot. He's back to his wheel, but walking, not jogging like he used to. His mouth is fine and he hasn't had any blood around it again.

My BIG problem: He's STILL not eating on his own! He'll take mealworms from a spoon and drink water from his bowl, but otherwise I have been syringe feeding him Hill's A/D (which he doesn't like so much) mixed with canned salmon cat food and water. He likes it a little better when I heat it in the microwave.

Tonight Aries and Zeus (Zeus is missing lots of teeth, too) had a soft food sampler plate--cottage cheese, organic chicken pate wet cat food, turkey and gravy baby food and chicken and apples baby food, and a mix of the baby foods, plain yogurt, and cottage cheese (the beginning of Vern's Bodegas Blend). Zeus ate and anointed with the cottage cheese and chicken and avoided all baby food. Aries didn't touch ANY of it! He's going to by syringe fed in a little while. I also got Royal Canin Baby Cat wet food, but haven't opened it yet.

Is there anything you all can think of to get him eating on his own again? He used to be a good eater but now he isn't eating any of the things he used to like. He won't TOUCH moistened kibbles. He loved salmon cat food, but only eats it from a syringe now.

He doesn't like being syringe fed, either. I hold the syringe by his lips and wait for him to smack his lips and open up. I squirt in the food, and he makes this frowny grumpy face while he eats and mooshes the food out of his mouth. I've been holding him on his back lately so the food won't fall out of his mouth but goes back in. He gets more food down this way, and I give him little bites, so he's not struggling or choking or anything.

The only other thing I am worried about is that he is walking like an old man and kinda shuffling around. It doesn't look like WHS because he is in control, but his bum and tail are pointed toward the ground more than they used to be and he walks with his front and back legs closer together than he used to. I hope that makes sense--I'd put up a video but I'm not sure how. Do you think it could be just because his bum hurts from pooping on his tail and sitting in the poop? I clean him up, but his tail looks pretty red and irritated.

I know I am asking a lot of questions and hope this is not TMI! I'm so thankful for you all and your great suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Aries's tail is looking better and he is pooping outside of his bedroom now. He ate some cottage cheese on Sunday and ate his normal salmon cat food and some cottage cheese last night! He's not eating everything on his plate like he used to, but he's eating WAY more than he has been. I give him mealworms every night and he chews on them until the inside is all gone.

I hope he keeps eating on his own. He gets so mad at the syringe and pushes it away, but he has to eat!
 
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