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Very sick, please help!

4023 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  MomLady
Hi, I'm a new member and this is my first post - but for the past year this forum has really helped me to learn about chip (our hedgie) and has been a really amazing resource for me. Please help me!
Chip is my boyfriends hedgehog, but i am definitely his main caregiver. He is about four years old and came to live with me a year and a half ago since he wasn't getting enough attention at home. This forum really helped me to bond with him since he was super fearful at first. I have come to really love the little grump and am super worried. I apologize in advance for being long winded, i just want to give u a full picture!

He has always been a bit weak and slow in moving - but used to run on his wheel every night. Recently he has stopped. Last week, we went to an emergency vet since his breathing was labored and wheezy and he clearly wasn't moving about at all. He was super lethargic and made no effort to ball up. The vet gave us enrofloxacin in case of URI. My boyfriend is wary of having xrays done, since it is expensive and we don't see surgery as an option.

It has been a week since then. His strength has improved with regular syringe feeding and watering, and the antibiotics.
The issue is he struggles to use his back legs (particularly his left), does not move about his cage at all **even for food or water**, has discharge from his nose, a few nosebleeds, cannot fully ball up, has forest green poops (slimy at first, now solid but still green), poops infrequently, pees where he sits and doesn't move away from it, tiny short bursts of energy (but only when i have him out with me, which is often), wheezy/huffy breathing on and off.

The only thing he will eat willingly are meal worms if i'm lucky (but i don't want to overdo it with those since i know they're really fatty). I gut load both to try to get some nutrients in him. He won't eat kibble either (even crushed). He eats wellness kibble and lives in a cage with a large plastic bottom, large bucket wheel, soft cat toys, TP rolls, and plushy tea towels. we use a 40w night heat bulb for warmth and he gets light and handling daily. This week we changed from crinkle paper bedding to lining his cage with puppy pee pads so i could keep track of his urination and bowel movements.

I'm at a total loss on what to do- it took ages to get to a point where he would snuggle on my tummy and eat bugs without huffing and puffing. I never thought i would be this attached to chipster, but i'm absolutely beside myself about what to do. I'm trying to take the best care of him that I can, but i'm worried about his quality of life and my bf thinks we should put him down. esp since i'm with family for x-mas and he will have to take care of him on his own.

Does this kind of thing improve?? I've always thought he was getting weaker and weaker but my bf thought i was being 'obsessive' over him.
Has anyone with a whs hog had this experience? the vet said it could be possible but u cant tell until a necropsy is performed.
Sorry for the length of this post! I am really in need of advice/support for my adoptive hedgie baby. Its time for medicine and another messy round of syringe feeding, so bye for now. Thanks!
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I'm sorry your boy is so sick, but this is not WHS. It sounds like he has a respiratory infection, or possibly heart failure which can also cause respiratory symptoms.

If this is a URI, with antibiotics and supportive care he can recover. If it's gone to pneumonia, it is much more difficult to cure. The vet sells foods made for syringe feeding which would provide him with the nutrition he requires. Hills A/D or Clinicare are both usually well liked by hedgehogs.

Any illness in a hedgehog can cause mobility issues and leg weakness.

I'm moving this out of the WHS forum.
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thanks for the response! i wasn't entirely sure where to post to be honest, so i'm glad for the redirect! i suppose i was thinking WHS after seeing the emerg vet, and since his mobility has been on a definite decline over the past year ( in terms of night activity, willingness to run in his giant ball around the apartment, and frequent falling over)

today is supposed to be the last day on antibiotics, but even though he has some strength back, im really concerned about his not moving around in his cage ( refusing to eat and drink on his own) and the leg dragging. does that mean i should call the vet and see about continuing the course of antibiotics?

i've been bugging my bf to consider taking him to a vet here in toronto named dr munn at greenwood animal hospital that other hedgie owners seem to like -- should i try to get an appt there or take him back to the emerg vet that saw him last?

are hills and clinicare only available at the vet or can i find them at premium pet shops?

currently, since he wont eat his wellness kibble, he is eating natural choice senior cat food pate watered down and administered with a 1ml syringe from the vet. i give him as much as he will stand very few hrs (not exceeding about 4ml at a time...minus mess lol)

i've thought about adding some sort of probiotic to the mix like a read about on the syringe feeding sticky, but am worried about overwhelming his system with too many new additions and stress. any opinions?

i'm off to google heart failure in hedgies now, but that doesn't sound good... i'm hoping thats not it. the emerg vet did take a long listen to chip's chest and said it sounded fine. so, fingers crossed thats not it.

one last question... if it is just a bad URI that we could potentially cure, could he regain full mobility? on average, or in the experience of others, how long does it take a hedgie to bounce back from a particularly bad bout?

sorry i have so many questions, but my bf doesn't like to talk about it cuz it makes him sad and our families seem to think i'm nuts. hence my posting here, since i know there's lots of hedgie love goin' on around here :)
ive never had an exotic pet before chip, and we came together by chance, but i'm determined to give him a happy healthy life (to the best of my ability)
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Hmmm You didn't mention, or I missed it, in your first post that he was frequently falling over for the past year. Now that you mention how long his mobility has been going on and that he tips over, it could be WHS. Has he been loosing weight over the past year? At 4 years old he could also be showing age related slowing down.

The symptoms of wheezy and nose discharge are typically signs of a respiratory infection. It's good that the vet took a long listen of his chest. Does he sneeze?

His green poop is probably antibiotic related.

It sounds like he may have a few issues going on. If he is still showing respiratory related symptoms he needs to continue with the antibiotic or he possibly needs something different. Enrofloxacin/Baytril is usually the drug of choice for severe respiratory infections, but it may not be working well enough.

I would take him to Dr Munn rather than back to the emergency vet. Write down everything you can think of describing his symptoms and the time frame that each symptom started. It's much easier to remember things before we are at the vets. :lol:

Hills and Clinicare are only available at the vet.

If he does have WHS, it cannot be cured. If some of his mobility is age related, it won't improve either.

Usually they bounce back fairly quickly from a URI. I've found within 4-5 days their symptoms are usually lessened or gone. I have had a few who took the full course of antibiotics before showing improvement. Right now my 6 year old Daisy is on her 3rd round of antibiotic. It goes away but then comes back 3-4 weeks later.
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Don't do anything until you take him back to a vet, not the emergency vet. have they ever treated a hedgehog before? take him to the toronto one.

And replace the 40 watt with a ceramic heat emitting bulb!
I spoke with the emerg vet clinic today and i'm supposed to take him tomorrow for a checkup with the vet who saw him on the 7th. they told us when we were there that they had dealt with hedgehogs before and i didn't get the impression that they were incompetent in any way. i was thinking it would be good to see him again since he has met chip and saw the condition he was in.

i'm thinking we will go for the checkup tomorrow since he is just finishing his round of antibiotics, and then make an appointment with the other vet who got good reveiws from hedgie owners...

why not the 40 w night bulb? does ceramic produce a more diffused heat or something? the thermometer in his cage generally is between 23 and 25 (at the warmest). but we did have a cold snap last week, so now i'm thinking maybe we didn't realize and he got chilly...
Your hedgehog shouldn't have any light on night, that's probably why he's never been really active. A Ceramic Heat Emmiter, CHE, only emits heat, no light. Depending on your cage set up a 100 watt is the best way to go with a 8.5 to 10 in dome. With your little guy being older, he is much more susceptible to the cold and to infections. He will need to be kept warmer than before and steadier than before if he is to get better. I can't help you with his sickness but a change in heat source and no light at night will definitely help your little man.
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poor thing

Well, I just wanted to say good luck. Since it sounds like you are the primary care giver, I guess I have to ask, would you be willing to pay for additional tests for him since your boyfriend does not want to?
Like Nancy said, there could be many things causing his immobility - WHS is one of them, but it also could be spondylosis (arthritis of the spine) which would also be progressive. I have a hedgehog that I sit for sometimes who has this really bad and basically just waddles around. This hog is also 4 years old and he also tends to lie in his own waste and not move. His problem is that he cannot lift up his back end properly to go to the bathroom.
Maybe the CHE heat bulb will increase his activity but winter is hard on hedges no matter what - I mean, it affects their behavior.
Anyway, please keep us updated and let us know what the vet says.
Best wishes,
Susan H.
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Im not sure what to say. Im so grateful for such thoughtful and detailed responses, but unfortunatly when i went out this afternoon and he was napping, little chipster passed away.
Everyone at this forum (without knowing it) has been amazing in helping my boyfriend and I learn about hedgies special needs. So thank you for trying to help and for being there all along, in a way. I really thought he seemed like he was getting stronger but I think his system was just too overwhelmed no matter how much I fussed over him.
He was a sweet little kermudgen and he is very deeply missed by us both.
RIP chip :(
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I am so sorry to hear of the passing of poor little Chipster.

It is good that you took over his primary care and he was able to have some love in his life for the past part of his life.

Hedgehogs leave their quills in our hearts forever.
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