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Hi all! My 5-year-old hedgehog, Bean, has been dealing with weight loss and slight mobility issues for a while, and the vet believes that he has WHS. Unfortunately college life caused me to neglect his care more than I should have, so I didn't catch on to a lot of his symptoms until he had already lost a significant amount of weight.... I've definitely learned my lesson that annual checkups are NECESSARY because we also learned that he somehow lost all of his teeth! : (

Thankfully, he's been eating a blend of wet dog foods for a while and has a hearty appetite, but the vet prescribed oxbow critical care to feed him 2-3x per day to hopefully get his weight up. He takes this pretty well, and I'm hoping that his weight will start to get up in the next few weeks. Also, I read online that Vitamin E may help to slow the onset of WHS symptoms -- does anyone have experience mixing this with critical care? I may try to mix in one capsule each day.

Also, a behavioral change I've noticed is that Bean is really into licking stuff in his cage now -- he chews on crinkle balls and licks the wall, houses, ping pong balls, etc. I even had to switch to only fleece bedding because I caught him trying to eat Kaytee paper bedding multiple times! :,) Out of curiosity, has anyone else had this experience with WHS? I'm assuming it's because his neurological function is deteriorating and that it isn't anything to be majorly concerned about, but it's a bit strange! My only other guess would be that he has some sort of vitamin deficiency, but his diet hasn't changed in a long time (aside from the critical care, but I think this behavior started before that).

Also, if anyone has general care suggestions for WHS please let me know! I think Bean still has good quality of life at this point -- he gets around fairly easily, still runs on his wheel occasionally, is ALWAYS hungry, seems to be alert, etc. I feel terrible about not taking him to the vet earlier because, like I said, he's been having weight loss and reduced activity for a while, so I want to make his last little bit of life as comfortable as possible < 3 I've heard some things about possible massages to help mobility, so if anyone knows anything about that I'm all ears!
 

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Hedgehogs presenting with WHS start onset typically 6 months to 1 year old. Many people that care for and keep elderly hedgehogs will see them slow down and start to present "neurological issues" past the age of 3 years. The reason for this is the exposure over time to many carcinogens throughout our environment. I am sorry that your senior guy is starting to drop weight, but this is oftentimes just related to old age. WHS cannot be diagnosed while a hedgehog is alive (only Suspected) I think that any vitamin you add to your baby's diet will be beneficial. You can add Benebac probiotic powder as a supplement to help him get his tummy balance back also! Carnivore care is what is mainly used for weight gain in hedgehogs its a maroon and silver bag and it is amazing! I'm impressed that your baby is 5 that exceeds the normal 3 to 5 year expectancy! very few hedgehogs make it to 7! I think that you are a great owner! Your vet is doing a great job but may not know as much about the most up to date studies and findings on WHS. Oftentimes it is more likely cancer or tumors in the brain. Our environment continually exposes us to carcinogens at every turn. Imagine how quickly the exposure effects small animals. Also if your baby gets cold under 75 degrees they can begin to wobble just due to sensitivity older hogs have. I hope that whatever is going on your baby bulks back up. Also, I have a friend who had an older hog that started losing weight and dragging his back legs in older age. Her vet said it was like the brain no longer made the connection. I do not know if she had him necropsied or not. I'm sure she'd be happy to discuss what she did to help Kenny live out his final years. here is her contact: Columbia Basin Hedgehogs
 
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