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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, my little Quilliam is about 11 weeks old and spent two nights in the Animal Hospital recently as he was extremely lethargic, not eating or drinking much, and made an attempt at hibernation I believe. The vets at the Animal Hospital were beyond wonderful, starting him with critical care and working up to him eating and drinking on his own. Since being home (I brought him home yesterday morning) he has been eating up a storm, drinking like normal, and much more active. His cage is warmed to 75-77 degrees by a ceramic heat emitter and he has a heating pad under his sleep house for extra warmth is he wants it. The vets at the hospital decided to put him on antibiotics for a few days as they believe he may have had a bacterial infection. I have noticed he has had very slimy, greenish/tan colored poops. He is eating a kibble blend provided by his breeder (slightly watered down as the vet think it may be a little too hard for him) and Fancy Feast classic Whitefish and Tuna wet food which he loves. He has also eaten 2 meal worms since coming home yesterday. His energy level has come up quite a bit and he is eating multiple times a day. I give him about 2 oz of wet food and fill a small bowl of kibble for him that he free feeds on all day. Could his strange poops be a result of the antibiotics or should I change his diet? Could it be something else going on? there is no noticeable smell to it or anything, it just seems extra slimy and a bit of a strange color. I know his little stomach has been through a lot the past few days so i dont know if this should be cause for alarm or if i should just let him work himself out after his hospitalization. thanks!
 

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Antibiotics are pretty hard on the digestive system as they're designed to kill bacteria - both good & bad. It's pretty common for their poop to get green & weird while on antibiotics because of that. If you're concerned, it wouldn't hurt to send a picture to the vet, just to double check with them. But if he doesn't have long left on his antibiotics, you could wait & see if it clears up once he's done with the meds. It'd also be a very good idea to add probiotics to his food, which can help re-establish good bacteria in the intestines. You can either get small mammal Bene-Bac from pet stores or from your vet (or online), or you can get acidophilus, which is found in regular human pharmacies, near the vitamins. Just make sure you don't give it at the same time or right before the antibiotics, or the meds will render it useless.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Antibiotics are pretty hard on the digestive system as they're designed to kill bacteria - both good & bad. It's pretty common for their poop to get green & weird while on antibiotics because of that. If you're concerned, it wouldn't hurt to send a picture to the vet, just to double check with them. But if he doesn't have long left on his antibiotics, you could wait & see if it clears up once he's done with the meds. It'd also be a very good idea to add probiotics to his food, which can help re-establish good bacteria in the intestines. You can either get small mammal Bene-Bac from pet stores or from your vet (or online), or you can get acidophilus, which is found in regular human pharmacies, near the vitamins. Just make sure you don't give it at the same time or right before the antibiotics, or the meds will render it useless.
Thanks again! im fairly sure it is just the antibiotics messing with his poor little stomach (that was my best guess before but i figured i would ask here just to be sure since i am still new to owning a hedgehog) so i think i will wait it out and see if it subsides after his antibiotics are complete.
I have also noticed that his activity level is a bit low (he comes out to eat a few times a day and doesn't protest when i take him out to play or anything, but is spending quite a bit of time sleeping in his sleep house. i realize he is probably exhausted from his hospital adventure and he is still a baby (and is nocturnal of course) so i assume this is probably okay or should i be concerned? like i said, his cage temp fluctuates between 75 and 77 and there is also a small animal heating pad under his sleep house that he spends quite a bit of time on. his vets told me to keep an extra close eye on him the next few days to make sure he is recuperating alright so im just trying to be sure everything is normal with my little guy!
 

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I know Kelsey touched on this, but I'm going to state it to. Give probiotics while he is still on the antibiotics and continue to give probiotics for about a week afterwards. He will likely need the influx of good bacteria for a while to settle his GI. Try to give it exactly half way between antibiotic doses, but no closer than 2 hrs to the antibiotics. Else it just kills off the good stuff.


Check his tummy. If it is not always toasty warm, bump the heat a couple of degrees. Sometimes when they are very sick they need it just a little higher to help them out.

Another thought, is the wet food new to him or is he eating a lot more than usual? Major changes in diet can cause loose, green mucousy stools too.

Basically anything can cause a hedgehog's GI to go off. Stress from diet, illness, change in environment....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I know Kelsey touched on this, but I'm going to state it to. Give probiotics while he is still on the antibiotics and continue to give probiotics for about a week afterwards. He will likely need the influx of good bacteria for a while to settle his GI. Try to give it exactly half way between antibiotic doses, but no closer than 2 hrs to the antibiotics. Else it just kills off the good stuff.

Check his tummy. If it is not always toasty warm, bump the heat a couple of degrees. Sometimes when they are very sick they need it just a little higher to help them out.

Another thought, is the wet food new to him or is he eating a lot more than usual? Major changes in diet can cause loose, green mucousy stools too.

Basically anything can cause a hedgehog's GI to go off. Stress from diet, illness, change in environment....
I do not have probiotics to give to him tonight but i will go out and get some after work tomorrow to get him started on them tomorrow night. I have been checking his tummy quite a bit to make sure it is warm and it definitely is. the vet said they had his incubator at 80 degrees but i cant seem to get his CHE to warm his cage any higher than 75-77. ive tried laying some fleece over the top to keep some warmth in but it doesnt seem to be doing any good. any tips? i have a 100 watt bulb in it now. it is a wire cage.

he has been on the wet food for about a week now. i started it after his first visit to the emergency vet as they recommended adding more variety to his diet. however, he was not eating much of anything between sunday and thursday when he was checked into the animal hospital so i guess you could call it relatively new to his diet. i am still offering him kibble in a separate bowl but i have noticed that every time i see him eating he is going for the wet food - he seems to really love it. should i be limiting this food or not allowing him to have it? i offer him less of the wet food - it is in a 2 oz bowl that i fill in the mornings but do not refill if he eats it all - than the kibble which i will refill for him whenever it is empty - though i have not yet seen it empty so i just replace it daily to make sure it is fresh. i have also given him a few meal worms since he has been home - which he likes - as well as offered apple and banana but he had no interest in either.
 

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I never restrict food from a sick hedgehog. If they aren't eating anything but a canned food, then that is what I will provide. Eating something new and dealing with the GI upset is better than them not getting enough calories. But it is something to keep in mind as you see changes in their stool.

Depending on what type of cage you have, you may try wrapping blankets around it. Insulate the sides and top as much as you can to help hold the heat in and yet keep everything safely away from the CHE.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have read before that enclosing the cage too much can result in ammonia build up, should I be concerned this will happen if I wrap blankets around the cage for extra warmth? Also, I ha e a light just outside the cage (just a regular house light) that is on a 12 hour timer to be sure he is getting a regular night/day schedule. If I wrap that cage in blankets, light will not read the whole cage as well. Will these things be problems? How long should I keep the cage warmer? Do you think I should aim for 80 or even higher? Thanks for you help!
 

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I'd aim for 80 for now. See if it helps any, if it does use your judgement as to how he is doing and if it is still needed. Then lower it slowly back down.

I wrap cages on 3 sides and the top (or half top depending on the cage) when I am trying to keep them warmer. You don't have to fully wrap, just add blankets around enough to keep some more heat in. You don't even have to wrap the full side, but even half way up may help some. If the cage sits on the floor, you could even try adding a layer under the cage to insulate between the cold floor and the cage floor.

If the cage is on an outside wall, insulate between the wall and the cage. Or better yet, move it to an inside wall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'd aim for 80 for now. See if it helps any, if it does use your judgement as to how he is doing and if it is still needed. Then lower it slowly back down.

I wrap cages on 3 sides and the top (or half top depending on the cage) when I am trying to keep them warmer. You don't have to fully wrap, just add blankets around enough to keep some more heat in. You don't even have to wrap the full side, but even half way up may help some. If the cage sits on the floor, you could even try adding a layer under the cage to insulate between the cold floor and the cage floor.

If the cage is on an outside wall, insulate between the wall and the cage. Or better yet, move it to an inside wall.
The cage Quilliam is in sits on a table just on an inside wall. it got cold here last night so the house temp dropped some causing his cage to drop to about 73. it is back up to 75 now (where it has been all day) but i have wrapped a few extra blankets around it to try to get the temp up some more. in the future, would a 150 watt CHE bulb bring the heat higher than a 100? he doesnt seem to mind the cage where it is at now; hes eating, drinking, moving some, feels warm, etc. but i will raise it until i am sure he is feeling 100 percent after his hospitalization.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
hi again, another question. after the recommendations to bring my cage temps higher i have wrapped a few blankets around the sides at night to keep warmth in. Quilliams cage is ranging from 75-79 now consistently. In his cage he has two hide aways, one that is on a heating pad and one that is not. Lately I have noticed he seems to be breathing heavy - panting almost- and is occasionally splatting on his heating pad. I know these can be signs of aestivation. however, like i said, his cage temp is not going about 79 and i have only notice him doing these things on his heating pad but he has options of cooler places to sleep if he wants them. should i be concerned that my little guy is now too hot and try to lower the temps or might he just find this position comfortable? should i worry about his heavy breathing? its not always happening, but sometimes. thank you all!
 

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I would take out the heating pad. He doesn't have the capacity to understand that he is too hot and needs to move off of the warm spot. Heating pads should only be used very briefly on very low setting in only certain situations. They shouldn't be part of the regular heat setup as they can cause low temperature burns, and some hedgehogs will refuse to leave them causing other issues. Since you've gotten the cage temp higher he really shouldn't need it anyway.
 

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Heating pads are bad for hedgehogs. They make a part of the cage warmer than the rest of the cage and can cause hibernation attempts. Hedgehogs are not good at regulating their own temperatures by moving to cooler or warmer parts of their cage. They will usually stay in the warmer spot even if its to hot for them. In the wild the whole area is the same temperature so they don't have to move from one area to another. You need to heat the entire cage to the same temperature without using a heating pad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The heating pad I have for him is a small animal heating pad that was recommended by his breeder. It is cool to the touch and only warms when he is laying on it. The breeder made it very clear that this was basically a necessity for all hedgehogs along with a CHE to warm the air. Since I am getting two completely different opinions on the heating pad, I am not sure what to do about it (I'm not saying youre wrong - you definitely know much more than I do and I am grateful for your input, I'm just confused now). If it is a heating pad designed for small animals should it still be removed? Thank you!
 

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On an electronic basis, it's all the same.
Think about a cold morning, before you get out of bed and your warm under your covers... What gets you out of bed? Either your bladder or your responsibilities. Hedgehogs won't care so much about where they go, or may just move far enough that it's just far enough from them. And they have no responsibilities.
Heating pads are great for reptiles, because they aren't capable of controlling their own body heat. So they need a warm spot to go to whe they are cold, and a cool spot to go to when they are warm. Hedgehogs maintain their body heat, but need a constant and consistent temperature. Much the same way as we can control our body temperature, but can die of heat stroke or hypothermia.
Years ago, heat pads were recommended. But as we learn more, we try and do better. The goal is to make their lives as good as we can, both mentally and physically.

My suggestion, is to question the pros and cons of everything. Ask yourself, is it worth the risk. Ask why someone has a belief they do. But in the end it is up to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
okay, it is sounding to me like i should take the heating pad out of his cage. he has already made one hibernation attempt and i want to be sure he does not try to make any others. since he has become used to having the heating pad under his sleep house, what would be the best way to remove it? should i simply unplug it first and let him have it not warm for a while before removing it from the cage or just take the whole thing out at once? thanks for your help everyone, i had no idea the heating pad was doing more harm than good. do you think his activity level will rise after i remove the heating pad? it seems to be going up some but i have noticed he is still slightly on the low activity level side. thanks!
 

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I don't see any benefit to leaving it in the cage turned off, I would just take it right out. The other problem with heating pads is because they are a low temp they're very comfortable to lay on. The long term exposure to the heat can actually cause low temperature burns. It has happened to some hedgehog in the past and the burn can be very serious. Think of how they live in the wild. The heat comes from the sun and they live in burrows so the burrow isn't a warmer area.

I think that his activity level may improve without the heating pad, he wont be as tempted to stay in bed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
thank you very much for your help! i was planning on doing a deep clean of his cage today anyway so i removed the heating pad as i was doing it. i also rearranged his cage to give him something new. it is 2pm here so he went right back in to sleep but i will see if this helps his activity level at all in the next few days. i did notice he chose to burrow in the bedding under his sleep house now rather than splat out on the heat pad which i assume is a good thing! hopefully he likes it.
just to check, since he is not longer sick, a temperature range from 73-77 (usually at 75) is okay for a healthy almost 3 month old hedgehog, right? he does not seem to have a problem with it but i figured i would check since he no longer has a warm spot in his cage. thank you!
 

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I can attest to the fact that heating pads are problematic. I used one for a few days while waiting for my heating equipment to come in and I have to say he rarely wanted to leave the comfort of the pad while it was there. It made me incredibly paranoid the whole time to see him not being very active at all. Heater arrived and thermostat hooked up and it was a 180 almost over night. He is now very active at night and trashing his cage like a proper lil hedgehog. Proper heating has certainly made him a healthier more active hedgehog. Worth every penny I promise.
 
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