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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a male albino hedgehog named Little John. He was a rescue hedgie (we got him from someone who didn't/couldn't take care of him.) We think he is around 4-5 years old, but we aren't able to know 100% since the previous owner couldn't tell us a lot about him.

Over the weekend (last week) the temperature outside had dropped pretty low so we turned off our a/c and had the windows open. Little John seemed fine until Sunday night/evening when I went to get him out to play, I saw that he had pulled his fleece into his water bowl and it had sponged up all the water in the bowl and his entire cage was cold and wet.
I had a small heart attack and immediately took him out and rubbed him down with a warm towel and held him, but I think he got too cold and since then he has been exhibiting sudden signs of WHS: extremely wobbly, unable to walk. He just scoots along and there is a lot of tipping over and flailing :(

I hoped it was just that he had gotten too cold and tried to hibernate (which is bad enough) so I waited a few days before going to the vet. On Sunday he was the worst, but after his initial improvement, I have seen no change and he is still unable to walk normally. He seems very unsteady and tips to the side or just scoots along, which is typical of WHS, but it is his front legs that he seems to be unable to control (I always thought it started from the back and worked forward progressively...?) He is still very much able to use his back legs, but the vet "examined" him and his wobbling and immediately told us he had Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome and was adamant that it was possible for it to set in suddenly even after we told him about the attempted hibernation. We are still convinced that he has an inner ear infection (or worse had a stroke or something like that.) The vet gave us a Baytril suspension (for a possible infection) and Metacam suspension (which is a NSAID that is commonly used for alleviating WHS symptoms - effectiveness varies but he thought it might help.) The Baytril is a 10 day thing and the Metacam will be every day for the rest of his life.

I'm not sure what I should do. I have been giving the antibiotic and the Metacam (this is day four of the ten day antibiotic regimen) but I haven't seen any changes. He is still his stubborn self, other than the fact that he is scooting around. He even scoots to the side of the cage every night to beg for treats. I think his medicine is making him sleepy as well, because he sleeps a lot more than he did before. We did remove his wheel because we don't want him to injure himself, so maybe he is bored and goes to bed?

I want to get a second opinion, but we already had to drive 45 minutes to get to this vet and he was the closest one to us. If it is WHS, I am going to be pretty devastated, but if not I would like to find out what is actually going on and treat it ASAP...

Edit: We haven't noticed any other symptoms (like discharge from ears/eyes, runny nose, mechanical injury, etc...) He does lose a lot of quills on a daily basis, but he always has and there are no bald spots or signs of mites/parasites.
 

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Although starting with the hind legs seems to be the most common, WHS can start anywhere. Typically it does not come on that quickly.

It's really difficult to know what it could be and it's unfortunate the vet jumped the the WHS conclusion so quickly. Metacam will help with inflammation. The hibernation attempt may have been a coincidence, or it may have triggered an illness or arthritis.

Consider putting a heating pad on low under his bed and see if it helps. Also, make certain he is eating well and syringe feed if necessary. Both Metacam and Baytril can cause tummy upset.

Sending well wishes to him. :)
 

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It's almost definitely hibernation-related and not WHS. WHS takes longer to start showing signs. So on the plus side...something that's more easily fixed!

What temperature is his cage? If you don't have a digital thermometer for it, you need to get one so you can keep track. It's important that the temperature stays somewhere between 73-78* and steady. If it's already within that range, try bumping it up a few degrees. You may need to get a heating set up in order to do that, even if you're in a warm state - CHE set ups (heat cage only) are the most common choice, and space heaters (heat whole room) are the best alternative.

Make sure there's no drafts that are reaching his cage - you mentioned this started after you had the windows open (as well as the soaked cage). A cool breeze going through the room and through his cage can cause a hibernation attempt or symptoms. And one last thing - he also needs 12-14 hours of light daily, around the same times each day, to prevent hibernation attempts.

It sounds to me mostly like he got cold & has never gotten completely warmed up. If you're still not seeing any improvement after making sure his temperature & light situation are appropriate & steady, though, it sounds like it's probably worth it to find another vet for a second opinion. I know 45 minutes away sounds like a long way to drive for a vet, but honestly it's on the short side for hedgie-experienced vets. It's kind of like trying to find an avian vet - they can be few & far between. Some people have to drive for 2+ hours to get to their normal hedgie vet. Ear infections do also show similar symptoms, but I would think the antibiotics he's on would start showing an improvement for that. Maybe Nancy or one of the other admins will have some more ideas.

Edit: Woops, Nancy beat me. :lol: Sorry for anything repeated!
 

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Thanks for your responses!
We had already ordered a thermometer for his cage, but we're still waiting on its arrival. I was already worried about his cage since the weather is finally starting to change (we live in Texas and it's only just now dropping below 85-90)
But I'm really hoping that it's hibernation/temperature related or an ear infection, rather than the dreaded WHS or something else more serious.
I am looking at getting a heater for his cage now. I want him to be comfy and warm even if that's not what is causing his wobbliness.
I am pretty sure that he's been getting enough light each day, but I will start making a habit of leaving the blinds open especially in the day when I'm gone at work.
I'm really hoping that I start seeing some kind of improvement soon though. He doesn't seem to be in any pain, but if it's something treatable, I would really like to get it diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. I will definitely be looking for another vet to get a second opinion (even if it is just to verify my nightmare of WHS&#8230;) I wasn't very satisfied with the way he just dismissed us. He didn't really do anything outside of a parasite screening (stool sample) and a visual look at Little John walking (which was a 15 minute ordeal because what hedgehog just uncurls on cue at the vet's office and prances about for an examination /yeahright/ though he is generally pretty friendly <3) I think he just heard me say "wobbly and trouble walking" and automatically assumed. But I don't know, I'm not a vet&#8230;

Do you guys have any specific heater recommendations? I'm not sure that the boyfriend would be able to tolerate a heater in our room (although I do have a portable radiator that would do just fine.) Would one of those reptile heating mats work, or would that be too hot? This is why I haven't gotten him a heater already. I can never figure out which one would be ok to use :p

Also, if it does turn out to be WHS, has anyone ever heard of using vitamin E to temporarily mask the symptoms? I know that a tolerance to it will develop, causing it to stop being effective, but anything that would alleviate some of his discomfort/inconvenience even if only temporary, would ease my mind a lot. It's just terrible watching him struggle to get around and not being able to run or play like he did before.
 

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Would one of those reptile heating mats work, or would that be too hot? This is why I haven't gotten him a heater already. I can never figure out which one would be ok to use :p
There are stickies in the forum that go into this in great detail. It's really not that complicated if took just 30 seconds to look into it.

You need:

1. Temperature Controller (Thermostat)
2. 8.5" or 10" Heat lamp (clamp lamp)
3. CHE bulb in appropriate wattage (I use 100W bulbs, but others use higher/lower).

You really cannot safely use ANY heater without a temperature controller. Using a heat lamp and CHE is a very localized way to ensure a safe consistent temperature for your hedgehog without heating up the whole room.

I live in TX too.. I can't imagine not having a heater set up for my hedgehogs all the time, if only to combat the drafty effects of having the A/C running. Just because the thermostat for the house is set to 78˚ which should be "safe", doesn't mean that it's 78˚*coming out of the vents. That air is much colder and you can effectively get "drafts" in some areas of the house.

Also, with windows open, I know that the temperature was well down into the low 60's here a few nights ago - just because it's warm during the day doesn't mean it is at night.
 

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I'd recently purchased http://www.thatpetplace.com/ceramic-infrared-heat-emitters, some say that the 100 watt is best though I'd ordered the 60 watt CHE and the clamp lamp http://www.thatpetplace.com/reptile-clamp-lamp-ceramic-10in. I think these two in combination with a thermostat http://www.bigappleherp.com/BAH-1000-Thermostat. This should be an accurate set up for administering heat to your little one. (I don't have the exact store links anymore but this is what I could find in a hurry to duplicate the same brands that I'd ordered. Maybe check out the "Cage Setup" sticky and they'll have more brands there.

Ditto to what SarahSpins posted. :)

I used to live in Texas myself so I'm sure the humidity is good enough there as long as you don't run a dehumidifier in your house. I lived in Dallas area (Frisco) and in the Houston area (Pearland) for a few years. Good, warm weather for hedgies!

Here in Colorado it tried to snow today and is down to 39 degrees!
 

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I mentioned a heating pad because although it will not warm up the whole cage, if this is arthritis sometimes sleeping on warmth will help. Often when they are sick, the extra warmth helps. There are numerous types of pet heating pads. Do a search on the Petsmart website and you will find many. Or, you can use a human heating pad but you have to make certain it doesn't have auto shut off. Don't use reptile heat mats. They can get too hot.

Over night is the most important time for hedgehogs to have a warm cage as that is when they are up and active. If the night temperature is dropping, it certainly could be causing issues for him.

There is no way to tell for certain if it's WHS except through necropsy after death. The most a vet can do is make an educated guess based on symptoms after ruling out other causes.

I've no experience with using Vit E as my only WHS girl was years ago. I'm not sure if there have been any studies on it's use or not. WHS symptoms do usually level out for a while and then suddenly get worse, level off, get worse etc, so it is difficult to know if something is helping or if the disease is at a holding point.

The vet should have looked in his ears and an ear swab to rule out infection, look in his eyes, poke and prod and move his legs and look in his mouth, and listen to his heart and lungs.
 

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The vet should have looked in his ears and an ear swab to rule out infection, look in his eyes, poke and prod and move his legs and look in his mouth, and listen to his heart and lungs.
Yeah, he did none of those things. I was very disappointed and should have said something right then, but as he was diagnosing my Little John with WHS, I was a little overwhelmed/scatterbrained.

And yeah, it's unfortunate that the only way of diagnosing it is through necropsy, but I would at least like to definitively rule out anything else (especially something as simple as an ear infection.)

Thanks for your help! I'll be getting a heating mat TODAY.
 

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Keep us updated on how he's doing! And as far as the vet visit, it's really easy to forget to ask something, or to be unsure about requesting or refusing to let them do something, especially when you're getting horrible news like that. Vets can be just as stressful for the owner too, especially when you're already upset that your hedgie (or any other animal) isn't feeling good. So it's definitely not your fault for not demanding the vet do more examination before giving a diagnosis. :)
 

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Well, we went to the local pet store and picked up a CHE with the wire "lamp" holder thing but they didn't have any thermostats in the store (apparently they're an online only item) so I got a probe thermometer for tonight. Set it all up a few hours ago and it looks like it's holding right at 75 for now (when I get the thermostat, I'll be bumping up a few degrees). There's no way I'd be able to fall asleep knowing that it would just be running all night, so I used my aquarium light timer to set it to switch off for an hour after two hours on, just to be safe. I'm hoping that will do it for tonight, but I'm anxiously awaiting my thermostat...

I don't know if it's his medicine, or coincidence, but even before I set the CHE up, Little John was looking noticeably better than last night. Alert, cooperative with his medicine (he won't eat it unless I fill an oven dried mealworm with it, which is tedious to say the least. But if anyone is wondering, you can get anywhere from .05 to .1 mL into a hollow mealworm) He also seems to be gaining some strength/mobility in one if his front legs, but the other one is still just like before.

I'm cautiously hopeful. Thanks for all of your replies.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have gotten the thermostat and his cage is staying between 76 and 77 degrees and he seems in much better spirits. Finished his ten day medicine last night, but sadly it looks like he does have wobbly hedgehog syndrome :(
He has started scratching his shoulders raw though. I'm not sure why, he only scratches his shoulders and the vet said no to mites. I'm stumped. I thought maybe he was scooting himself along in his cage, but I saw him scratch at it several times over the last few nights. Any suggestions/ideas?
 
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