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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
Miss Prickly is around 18-20 months old. I got her from a shady pet store as a sort of 'rescue', so I have no idea her genetic background. She eats a mix of blue buffalo and before grain cat food. I have her in a large plastic cage with a ceramic heat emitter (she stays between 75-80, she seems to do best closer to 80), is litter trained, and does constant aerobic workouts on her wheel to keep her slender figure :)

As I went to leave for school this morning, my girlfriend got my attention and told me there was something wrong with Prickles (Ms. Prickly). I hadn't thought much of it when I went to leave because she was running in her wheel only 5 minutes before. I came in and she was laying on her side with her feet out, alert, not seeming to be in pain, and just laying there not trying to get up. I instantly thought wobbly hedgehog syndrome, so I took her in to the vet.

My vet is worried and said "this doesn't look good" and tried looking in her ears for any sign of an inner ear infection. She was able to get a slight smear, but not a good one since Prickles wouldn't let her get to her ears without a fight. She saw a few bacterial cells and a few yeast cells and prescribed tresaderm ear drops to hope for an improvement. With these ab, if she has a hole in her eardrum we'll be able to tell within 2 days or so (is it sad I'm hoping for that?)? She also prescribed prednisone but I'm always leary of steroids, so I don't know that I'll administer that right away.

She walks around fine for the most part if you start her off. She has problems getting up if she falls over and if she's leaning against something and falls, she has a hard time getting up. She's also dragging her rear left leg. She said an x-ray with their standard technology wouldn't show much and she couldn't feel any breaks. Once she starts moving, she's trucking around and off to the races.

So, I guess what I'm looking for is if this looks like any of your experience with the early onsets of wobbly hedgehog syndrome? She starts the tresaderm drops tonight.

She's eating well, pooping well, drinking fine, running around well, and can still curl up. She weighed 9oz at weigh in today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
As I've sat and done more research, it seems like it may be something other than WHS. WHS is characterized by a slower onset, and I feel like if she had been wobbly and uncoordinated to enough of an extent that she's now falling over, we would have noticed it before yesterday. I read about vestibular syndrome of the ear which will cause symptoms like this (although it usually effects the pupils and hers are fine) with fast onset and usually clears up in less than a week with proper care.

I took her wheel out of her cage in case it is some sort of an injury. I'm limiting the amount of food in her bowl so that I can count the pieces and monitor her food intake. I'm also giving her some baby veggies mixed with warm water and a little ensure for extra vitamins to make sure she's getting plenty. I'm going out today to get Ben-bac to make sure her GI tract is staying healthy.

Luckily my vet is wonderful and we're calling each other as we find out any information and with updates on how she's doing. So we're doing as much as possible.
 

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I hope it does turn out to be something treatable - like maybe an ear infection (weird to hope for that, eh?).

When you say "limiting the amount of food in her bowl" you mean keeping a careful count of the pieces of kibble, but not actually cutting down on the amount of food, right?
 

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I've only experienced one with WHS but her very first symptoms would have been difficult to notice if we hadn't been monitoring her so closely due to her just having been spayed.

For months, the only indication that something was amiss was when she first woke up and started to walk, her back legs were very slightly stiff. At first it was only the first few steps but progressed to 10-12" before walking normally. If we'ed missed seeing those first steps, we would have had no clue.

She also started to have hibernation attempts which we attributed to her being so sick and she was a very sick girl, almost died after developing a uterine infection while pregnant and delivering 7 dead babies and needing the spay.

4-5 months after the initial leg stiffness, she quit eating and was just generally not well. She was put on antibiotics and got better but continued to have off and on hunger strikes. By this time, even though she was not having any mobility issues other than the leg stiffness on waking, I had the feeling this was WHS and very soon after started to tip over. Once she started to tip over, she progressed rapidly to where she could no longer wheel and spend more time trying to get up than being able to walk.

In many cases, the initial symptoms are easily missed.

Hopefully it is an ear infection or something curable with your girl. I would do the prednisone because if there is swelling anywhere, it will take it down. Cinder was on it for a while and initially I thought it helped but WHS goes through stages where it can seem to be improving and I think that's all it was with Cin.

Keep close track of her weight because WHS causes weight loss even though they continue to eat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
smhufflepuff said:
When you say "limiting the amount of food in her bowl" you mean keeping a careful count of the pieces of kibble, but not actually cutting down on the amount of food, right?
Yes, I am putting 40 pieces of kibble in her bowl each time I feed her. That way, I can tell if she's eating and how much so. I'm also giving her the veggies mixed with warm water several times per day. I gave her bene-bac this afternoon for her GI tract.

I've noticed that she hasn't had a bowel movement since at least Tuesday night. She's litter trained, so it's harder to tell how much she is/isn't pooping. I took her with me around 2:00pm yesterday, she didn't have a bowel movement while we were gone and hasn't had one since we got back last night. I read about blockages causing wobbliness, which is partially why I gave her the bene-bac and I also gave her a soak in warm water and stimulated her backside just a few minutes ago (I read about that on another site)

I'm giving her the prednisone along with the tresaderm drops (luckily she's really good for her meds).

I've also read about skin infections causing wobbliness as well, her skin does look red but I don't smell any funny odors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ms. Prickly had a bowel movement last night, so my nerves are calmed on the intestinal blockage for now.

I got up this morning and she does almost seems to have a head tilt. I know hedgie's don't have much of a neck, so it's much harder to tell than cats I've been around with a head tilt. But she's leaning to her right side (also the leg she's dragging) and is falling over on her right much quicker than she had been. I'm going to call my vet today and get an antibiotic. She told me that if she started acting like this that she may very well have a hole in her eardrum (is it sad that I'm hoping this is what it is??).

Anyone had hedgies with head tilts?
 

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My Freckles went from a normal hedgehog to unable to stand. His head was tilted so far to the right that his ear was almost on the floor and his body leaned so far to the right the weight tipped him over. Long storey but he was put on a month long antibiotic and the tilt went away but he continued to have weakness in his front legs, particularly his right side. Through it all, Freckles never lost his appetite and never lost any weight.

Head tilts can also be an ear infection or vestibular syndrome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've read about vestibular syndrome, and Dr. Carter was saying that if she got visibly worse with the ear drops then there could be a hole in her ear drum.

She's calling in antibiotics for me this afternoon, so I'll start her on those tonight. Keep your fingers crossed!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I started Prickles on her antibiotics tonight. I hand fed her a mix of slightly warm/luke warm water, mashed up food, baby chicken and veggies, and ensure. Needless to say...she ate this with no fight at all and ate 7-10 CC's at a time (I fed her twice, once when I was afraid her increased wobbling was hindering her eating, then before giving her antibiotics). She ate until her little belly was full.

Does anyone know if giving l-lysine is safe for hedgies? We give it to our cat for the herpes virus and it combats her congestion. Prickles has had chronic sneezing with no infection and antibiotics don't completely clear it up. I've tried anti-histamines, changing her bedding and washing it in hypoallergenic detergent with no other added cleaners, changing her litter, and changing her food around. I was also wondering if this is an ear thing, if maybe the chronic sneezing could have caused it? She has no nasal discharge (sometimes clear boogers after sneezing), no nasal or eye discharge to indicate an URI
 
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