Hedgehog Central banner

1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My 3 month old female hedgie has had a ton of energy and has a fearless personality. She usually plays on the coffee table so she can't get into anything.

Suddenly overnight Tuesday, her back legs became like....paralyzed from her "knees" down. Worse on the left because she can sometimes use her right. I thought it was broken because her paw was turning upwards and just looked broken. Xrays showed no broken bones. She was given a steroid to take at home, she pooped while she was at the vet Wednesday afternoon, and she hasn't pooped since.

Been giving her warm baths and trying to rub her tummy but she has always been a grump. Going to try some pumpkin tonight. After $1,000 in vet bills over the last 2 weeks between 3 animals, we're financially tapped out. We have no idea what is making her legs stop working, or the constipation.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,963 Posts
I'm sorry she's (and other pets) are having issues! :( My first thought is something like a stroke, especially if it's worse to one side...though I'm not sure if something like that would affect just the back legs rather than both legs on one side. The only other thing I can think of is something like a pinched nerve, maybe...But these are just guesses. I would wait for someone like Nancy, Nikki, or Kalandra to come along - they have much more health experience & may have more ideas. Keep us updated on how she's doing...hopefully she'll start to regain use soon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thank you, I never thought about a stroke. We think a heart attack killed our young male hedgie two weeks ago. Broke my heart, I refuse to let her go too. She is now using her back right leg 80% of the time and is able to wiggle her toes on the left, even if she still can't use it. I think the steroid is in case it's a disc issue that didn't show up on the xrays. I'm thinking we may have to syringe feed her baby food and the pumpkin, but I have no idea how much to give. They said she weighs like...330 I believe.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,963 Posts
I wouldn't do a ton of pumpkin - maybe half a tablespoon? I'm not really sure if there's a correct/perfect dose to help with constipation. Are you sure she's constipated, or has she not been eating on her own? If she hasn't been eating, she's probably not pooping because there's just nothing to come out. Syringe-feeding her is a good idea at any rate. The usual suggestion is however many mLs you get into her = how many hours to wait until the next feeding. So if you get 4 mLs in, wait 4 hours before the next feeding. You can try skipping night feedings if you think she's eating a bit, or if you want to encourage her to keep eating on her own. Just keep her food/water dishes close to her house so she doesn't have to go far.

If you have to feed her long-term, see if you can get some Carnivore Care or Hills A/D from your vet - they're both foods meant to easily syringe to sick animals, and they're nutritionally complete. As far as syringe-feeding her, just do what she'll let you. If she starts fighting too much, call it quits for a bit and try again later. You don't want to stress her out more than the food's worth, or have her use her energy in fighting you. Try different positions too - holding her against you, holding her in your lap with a steadying hand on her, etc. Also make sure you keep the syringe tip a bit diagonal in her mouth so you're not shooting it right down her throat!

It might also be a good idea to syringe her some water when you feed her, to make sure she's staying hydrated. The food has more moisture than her usual food (I"m assuming kibble?) does anyway, so you probably don't need to give as much as food. Just try offering & see if she wants it, and keep an eye on urine for dehydration signs (dark yellow urine).

Sorry if that's all more info that you needed/wanted! Just thought it might all be useful, especially if this goes into more long-term care. I'm so sorry about your male hedgie, and all of the trouble you and your quilled ones are getting right now. :( Keep us updated on how she's doing. I'll be thinking about you guys.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
She has been urinating...there's quite a few urine spots on her cage liner and they seem to multiply each day. Her water in her dish has been half empty each morning as usual, so I check it to see if she's drinking. We had to syringe feed a sick ferret two weeks ago so I know it gets pretty intense and takes a ton of work. She has to be partially balled up to take anything...she's very hissy/clicky a lot of the time. She takes it very well though and mostly licks it off the syringe when I put it up to her mouth. The vet did say they had that food for the syringe, just spent so much $$ I'm not sure we can find $20 to get it. We do have baby food, but it isn't nutritionally complete...especially not when watered down in a syringe. She still seems to have a lot of energy. I have her .4ml of pumpkin diluted in her distilled water. My bf is going to give her more when he gets home later since I'll be at work. If she would poop and eat, I think she'd have a good chance. She usually poops a lot and there's a few BM residue spots in her cage, but no actually feces. I'm a caregiver so I'm like a hawk about spotting bowel issues (plus my cat has megacolon and was just given an emergency procedure) so I'm watching for vomit or other signs of a blockage. She usually poops a LOT, so I'm getting worried. She pooped a lot, I guess, when sedated Wednesday evening. But that was the last time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
My bf texted me a pic. She pooped! Wasn't a ton but it looked hard. Hoping that was just what plugged her up and a lil more pumpkin will move the rest along:) now just gotta get her left leg to work...
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
3,585 Posts
Does she only poop on her wheel normally?

I had one that was paralyzed in her back legs due to a slipped disc. She became extremely constipated after the event. We tried different things but she continued to not go. I finally tried "walking her." Meaning I placed her on her wheel and held her rear end up for her. She immediately started walking with her front legs, stopped after about 10 steps and took the largest poop I've ever seen.

After that I made a little sling out of fleece to hold her back end up while she would "run" on her wheel to pee/poop a few times a day. After about a week or two she finally adjusted and started to go on her own again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Best. Idea. Ever. Yes. she usually poops on her wheel, and the poor thing has desperately been trying to get to her wheel since I removed it because her left leg gets twisted when she tries to run. Idk if she'd allow me to hold her up, but I'm willing to try! She took two kinda small poops overnight and it looks like she ate a little.

I think it's a disc problem as well, one that didn't show up on her xrays. They gave her a steroid just in case it was a disc and now she's able to use her right leg, and as of this morning she is able to occasionally use her left leg!!! Yesterday all she could do was wiggle her toes, which was an improvement so I'm really hopeful! I'm going to try the wheel idea tonight since I'll be at a wedding today. I'll let you know how it goes. thanks again! Never would have thought she could run with me holding her up!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
3,585 Posts
We tried anti-inflammatory with mine. Sadly for her they didn't do anything. We occasionally thought we saw movement in her legs, and I thought occasionally she felt something, but she she never regained use of those legs.

She did live quite well though without her back legs. We arranged her cage so that her back legs wouldn't get caught on anything and everything was super soft. She managed to pull herself around and seemed to be a happy hedgehog once she adjusted.

The sling I used was just a long piece of fleece cut just wide enough to double over and hold under her tummy. I tried a couple of different widths before we found one that worked perfectly.

Good luck. It took a few tries to adjust where to put the piece of fleece under her tummy and how to hold it for her. But in the end she realized I was helping her and we worked well together.

Oh I should also note, that I had experienced this no pooping unless there was a wheel instance once before which is why I thought about it. I had a male who had eye surgery. He didn't go pee or poop after surgery and I was getting really scared for him. He was on 4 medications at the time including 2 eye drops that required at least a 5 minute delay between them (I think it was 5 minutes anyway). I set him on a blanket next to me on the floor while we waited. I had made the "mistake" of putting his wheel next to the blanket and he immediately saw it and perked up. I decided since the only reason we had taken it away was to keep his stitches clean, I would let him have a few minutes on it. He immediately pooped and peed after stepping on that wheel. I ended up having to "walk" him the entire time he was recovering from surgery in order to keep him going to the bathroom. Since he had his mobility, I just had to pop his wheel in his cage, he would immediately jump on, run a few steps, poop & pee and I would remove it again.

Hedgehogs are creatures of habit, and I guess that includes using their wheels as toilets.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
That is some pretty quick thinking. I'm glad she lived so well. There's a lot of people that would have just put her down instead of trying to work around her disability! Thankfully Porky has been a trooper. She doesn't fight her steroid syringe and actually seems to enjoy her syringe of pumpkin and finds it rather tasty Lol and now her back legs are almost back to normal!! She still drags her left leg because it can't quite keep up. I'm about to go offer her some supervised wheel time. She is eating a little, but I feel like she still is backed up a bit and that has to make her not hungry.

It's amazing how helpful you guys are. I used to search this forum for all my hedgie questions before I ever posted:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
She's on her wheel now and after two mini sessions, I thought it was too much for her legs cuz she kept dropping low, turns out she was pooping a little bit!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Does anybody know if there's anything other than pumpkin we can try? She seems to be straining a lot and only gets out a small amount...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,999 Posts
Yay! I'm glad she's being a tough little girl and seems to be responding well. :)

I've heard a little bit of olive oil in the food works, but I'm not sure how that would mix in with the syringe feeding.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
We have some so I'll have my boyfriend try tonight. Her poop is really...tacky...compared to how it normally is, so even once she starts getting some out, it gets stuck:( so maybe the oil will help lubricate it. Idk if she can have Miralax. My big fat kitty cat takes 1tsp of miralax a day to draw water into his colon, but idk if hedgies can take any.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
3,585 Posts
Tacky how? Mucousy? Green? Dark color? Strong or putrid smell?

Will she eat watermelon? Or squash, sweet peas, or sweet potatoes (baby foods)? All will work to help give them moisture, and can give a hedgehog a quite runny stool if they don't need the extra. Typically if I have one a little constipated I'll give them an larger helping of baby food. Or watermelon. A little warning though, if you feed too much watermelon you may find a red stool. Sometimes they will pass the watermelon nearly undigested if they eat too much of it. It can freak you out the first time you see it as it will be a dark red spot in a stool or a complete stool.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
She will take whatever I give her in a syringe, otherwise she isn't too big on treats. Never tried watermelon though... her poop is tacky like....it's dense and sticks together more compared to how it usually squishes easily. I'll have to try watermelon with her. The pumpkin has gotten her to go, but she strains because it's so tacky/dense. Before the pumpkin she couldn't go at all.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
3,585 Posts
How about moistened kibble? If that won't work, try watering down the pumpkin a bit more or syringing her a larger amount. Quite often if you get a lot of liquidy food in them they will have looser stools.

Are you certain she's drinking plenty? Try pinching the quills on her back. Do they snap back into place quickly, or does it stay pinched for a little bit? If it is staying pinched, she's dehydrated, which could also explain the stools. If she's dehydrated you will want to get more fluids in her, and if its bad enough, take her to the vet for a sub-q of fluids (or do it yourself if you have the equipment).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I water down her pumpkin a lot because we use such a small syringe, but she'd easily take more. She seems to be drinking a lot because I have to refill her water the same as always. I can see if she'll eat wet kibble too, or try pedialyte?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
3,585 Posts
If she is drinking plenty then that shouldn't be the cause. I believe my vet told me that a slipped disc can cause constipation (can also cause total loss of bowel control). If it continues for much longer, I recommend calling your vet and giving him an update on her condition. See if he wants you to try anything different to get her bowels moving again.

Watch for any stools that are particularly dark, tarry, smell putrid, or have blood in them. If you see any of those, you need to talk to the vet sooner than later.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Thank you. We think it was a disc problem that didn't show up in her xrays. Her legs are about 90% of normal now, 6 days in on her steroids. Getting her on her wheel hasn't helped much, unfortunately, but at least she isn't completely constipated now. She seems to prefer climbing all over me instead of her wheel, which is new.
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top