Hedgehog Central banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My hedgehog Lily was taken to the vets last week for soft stool, lethargy, and lack of appetite. She was diagnosed with a bacterial overgrowth in her digestive tract from the Natural balance green pea and duck/ wellness indoor cat mix I was giving her (it didn't agree with her even though they are good foods supposedly). The vet put her on a new diet of 3-5 live meal worms and 5-8 pieces of kibbles a day (royal canin calorie control). I've been giving her the maximum amount of food and she still seems like she's starving, constantly licking her food bowl or trying to push it over to see if anythings under it. She's also biting things that aren't food (clothing, plastic) which she never did before. She is also constipated and has had some green poo, which could just be from the food change (I did it over the course of a week, as the vet suggested). I had to put her in about a centimeter of water to get her to pass stool, and it wasn't even that much that came out. She's still eating and drinking. Lily is also on antibiotics, I don't know if that could contribute to this as well.

I'm wondering if it would be safe free feed her kibble again (which I was doing before)? I would continue with the meal worms as well, but she seems so hungry on this diet, I'm wondering if its stressing her. And also if the constipation would warrant another vet visit.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,963 Posts
I wonder why on earth a vet would prescribe that little food for a hedgehog...That is definitely not enough! She is probably starving. Not enough food would also explain not much poop, and yup, the antibiotics can make it pretty green. Antibiotics are hard on their stomachs. Probiotics can help with that - either small mammal Bene-Bac from the pet store or human acidophilus from a pharmacy.

I would definitely start free-feeding her again, personally. I'm still wondering why the vet would recommend something like that...that's so strange. Did they give a reason for feeding her so little?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
3,588 Posts
I would definitely start free-feeding her again, personally. I'm still wondering why the vet would recommend something like that...that's so strange. Did they give a reason for feeding her so little?
I'll second that. Usually we are trying to keep them eating to maintain their weight while sick, not limiting it.

Calorie control is the veterinary diet right?

Crude Fat (min)7.50%
Crude Fiber (max)5.90%
Crude Protein (min)38.50%

Chicken meal, rice, corn gluten meal, powdered cellulose, natural flavors...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
113 Posts
I'll second that. Usually we are trying to keep them eating to maintain their weight while sick, not limiting it.
Agreed.. I can't imagine a vet recommending only 5-8 kibble per day for a hedgehog with an already reduced appetite.. that is a recipe for significant weight loss. When I took Henry to the vet a month ago because he wasn't eating anything unless I forced him to eat via syringe (he had already lost a lot of weight), I was basically encouraged to continue to try to get him to eat anything and everything, with no limit. I had also on my own started giving him probiotics and was told it was fine to continue those.

Interestingly, Royal Canin is one of the only kibbles I've been able to get Henry to eat, and he's only really started to eat a fair amount of kibble over the last two weeks, prior to that he mostly ate a mix of human baby food, all while I kept offering different kibble thinking eventually he'd try one and like it. I have 3 varieties of Royal Canin that he seems to like - babycat, special 33, and indoor mature 27. Personally I think Royal Canin is junk and I think it costs too much for what's actually in it, but it is better than having a hedgehog that flat out refuses to eat. I will keep trying to get him to eat better foods, but right now I'm just glad he's eating something.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Why are you restricting food on a sick hedgehog, why are you feeding a junk food, and why are you only feeding 1 food? I think your vet is clueless. My exotics vet said the same thing about their digestive tracts when I took my first hedgehog for soft stools. I soon had 4 hedgehogs on antibiotic and pain killers which cost me near $1000 with exam fees, some had to be sedated a little to examine them. It wasn't doing any good though. Salmonella flourished and I even came down with it myself. After doing research I found hedgehogs are naturally quite high in bacteria in their stools and soft stools are common if something changes like weaning, going to a new home even if you keep the same food, changing cages, etc...

So I dumped the meds, got a good grain free canned food for my picky eater who started this whole mess, fed only that for a week until everyone settled and then picked out 3 good foods for them to eat. Oddly that includes green pea and duck because it's low fat (low fat plus not eating well equals weight loss and lethargy) and one of the other foods I use is blue buffalo wilderness which is slightly over the reccomended fat content. They balance each other out and the fromm mature cat gold that makes up the third part is already balanced for hedgehogs. I weaned my picky eater on to this mix and refused to fill his bowl if left one variety behind until I had everyone eating well. Now I tell everyone that buys a young hedgehog from me to not worry when they see soft stools or lowered appetite unless it lasts more than a week because it's normal especially if they also switching foods. I even had 1 litter that both hedgehogs would have loose stools all over the place when out and normal in the cage. Everyone who saw pictures of them commented because there was always gooey poo in the pic somewhere but it was just them being nervous about coming out of their cage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'll second that. Usually we are trying to keep them eating to maintain their weight while sick, not limiting it.

Calorie control is the veterinary diet right?

Crude Fat (min)7.50%
Crude Fiber (max)5.90%
Crude Protein (min)38.50%

Chicken meal, rice, corn gluten meal, powdered cellulose, natural flavors...
I'm just clarifying, do you think this food is bad? I thought royal canin was a recommended food brand :-| , although I know corn isn't ideal for them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Why are you restricting food on a sick hedgehog, why are you feeding a junk food, and why are you only feeding 1 food?
I just wanted to clarify that she is also getting live meal worms, but I do agree that this vet doesn't seem to know much.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I don't know why the vet would restrict her diet so much, I thought that maybe it was because of the live meal worms (that maybe they were equivalent to a couple pieces of kibble each or something) or maybe because of the antibiotics. My hedgehog is definitely not overweight either. But now I'm pretty certain this vet underestimated how much hedgehogs need to eat, which is a shame considering that she seemed to be knowledgeable and I was told she had worked with hedgies before. I'm going to free feed her kibble and keep the live meal worms in her diet, but I'm going to call this vet and ask why she recommended what she did. I'm also going to finish off the antibiotics just to be safe, because she definitely did have an issue with her digestive tract before.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,963 Posts
Sounds like a good game plan! Royal Canin Babycat is recommended for moms & babies because of it's super-small size and high fat content. Other than that, Royal Canin is one of those brands that makes itself sound better than it is...it also has a pretty high price tag for being only a medium-quality food. If your hedgie is eating it & seems to like it and does well on it, & you want to keep it, it's not a terrible thing to feed - but I would still at least find another kibble to mix in with it, if you can. I would also make sure the other kibble is maybe 12-15% in fat...You said she's not overweight at all, and the RC you're feeding is VERY low in fat. If you get a higher fat food & she eats both, the fat should balance out a bit better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you for responding, do you have any recommendations? I feel so stressed about this, the foods I was originally giving her were supposed to be good, but they didn't work, and I figured a health care professional would recommend a good food, but she didn't :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The doctor wrote a list of foods that she recommended as well, but I'm looking them up and they're all filled with soy meal and corn meal and meat by products as the top ingredients, or its way too high in protein from what I've researched.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,963 Posts
Unfortunately a lot of vets aren't exactly great at nutrition. I recall a vet student (on here? Or maybe somewhere else) saying that they really only get one or two courses on general nutrition in vet school. Add to that the part where many vets get paid by companies to endorse/sell their food...which is often the companies that can afford to do so, which aren't usually the same companies that have decent ingredients. :?

I know how you feel...food seems to be one of the more confusing things for hedgehog owners, and for any animal, really. This list might help a bit - http://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forums/12-diet-nutrition/23042-recommended-foods-list.html It's mostly the more popular brands on the forum at the moment, that are pretty easy to locate in most places. There's a ton of other good brands and foods out there though, but if you're already feeling overwhelmed, it might be a good place to start, at least.

I would avoid Wellness, since she was having issues with it, and it's somewhat common for hedgies to have some issues with Wellness. Lily's favorite was Solid Gold, and I like that that one has lamb for the protein. A lot of people like Blue Buffalo, though, and I've seen many comments saying that hedgies seem to enjoy it too. Innova is the other most popular one (currently), from what I've seen.

Some of the others who have been commenting & currently have hedgies may have some suggestions too, from what their hedgies like. :) Try not to worry yourself too much! It can usually be a bit of a guessing game to finally get the right food mix for a hedgie, and sometimes you have to go through a couple rough patches first. You haven't done anything wrong here, and you're doing your best for your little one, which is the important thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you so much! I think I may have settled on blue buffalo grain free indoor adult, and mix it with the royal canin since she's eating it (although when it runs out i'll switch to another, better brand to mix instead), and keep the live meal worms. Have any of your hedgehogs experienced bacterial overgrowth in the past? I'm wondering if it happens again if it would be necessary to go back to a vet, or just try adjusting her food on my own?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,963 Posts
I'm not sure, really. I never had something like that happen with Lily, so I'm not sure if it would be easily resolved with probiotics and removing food that causes the issues or not. Maybe someone else will have some advice on that. But your plan sounds good! :)
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
3,588 Posts
Royal Canin Babycat is recommended for moms & babies because of it's super-small size and high fat content. Other than that, Royal Canin is one of those brands that makes itself sound better than it is...
Royal Canin, as far as I know, is discontinuing the old Baby Cat. In some areas it is no longer available. It is being replaced by Mother and Baby. I know the formula has changed. I believe I read somewhere that the kibble shape has changed too. They have replaced chicken meal with chicken by-products in several of their formulas already.

Honestly, I would ditch the RC. The first 5 ingredients aren't great. The 4th ingredient is a fiber which is put in there to make the animal feel full while providing no calories.

I would add some probiotics, improve your diet plan, free feed and see what happens after the antibiotic run is over. If the lack of appetite and lethargy come back, you are going to have to go back to a veterinarian.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Hi, I bought a hedgehog from someone about a week ago, but what I didn't know is that they were starving her. I've tried to give her some of the food I give my other hedgehogs, but she refuses to eat it. I unfortunately ran out of mealworms right when I got her, but I don't know what to do.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,963 Posts
It'd be better if you could start a new thread with questions - this one is 4 years old & it confuses people when old threads are brought up & new questions are easily missed.

But when you start your new thread, let us know what you're trying to offer her, if you know what her old food is, and if she's been without food the whole week you've had her. If so, this is an emergency situation and you need to start syringe-feeding her immediately - there is info on that in the Health FAQs.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top