Bacteria in stools

Jan 4, 2016 by

  We all have bacteria in our stools. There is normal “bad” bacteria and “good” bacteria in our digestive system and therefore stool. This is normal biological flora. The “good” bacteria keep the “bad” bacteria in check. That is why it is never a good idea for us to eat poop! When an animal (us included) is under stress, the good bacteria can’t keep the bad bacteria in check and the bad bad bacteria proliferates and causes problems. Antibiotics tend to wipe out both good and bad bacteria. Probiotics help replenish the gut with healthy normal flora. Healthy bacteria are necessary to help the digestive process and to fend off the bacteria that can cause problems.Signs of a bacterial problem are off color stool or mucous in the stool. Hedgehogs have a very short digestive tract so when they are under stress or they are introduced a new food then the stool can be “off” as it is being expelled too quickly. For example, your hedgehog has normal stool at home but at your well-pet veterinary exam your hedgehog has green stool. The veterinarian may take a look at the stool and see an above average population of “bad” bacteria.My experience is that since hedgehogs have different “normal” stool than other animals some veterinarians may misdiagnose either normal stool as having a problem or stress induced abnormal stool. Abnormal stool certainly does indicate a problem...

Food Additives to Help Dry Skin

Nov 30, 2015 by

Some hedgehog owners have found that food additives or supplements may also help improve skin quality. We suggest using food additives or supplements only under veterinary supervision. The following information is a summary of products used by other hedgehog enthusiasts but we cannot personally recommend any of the following products from our own experience. Flax Seed Oil Flax Seed Oil is reported to help dry skin, aid in digestion, and is beneficial for overall good health. It can be purchased at any health food store. It should be refrigerated. Many breeders buy flax seed oil caplets from their local drugstore. These convenient capsules can be punctured on one to allow a small amount of oil to come out. If your hedgehog’s food does not already contain flax seed oil, you can also add a few drops to your hedgehog’s food. The kibble will readily absorb the flax seed oil. This can be repeated daily. Too much flax seed oil can cause diarrhea. I think what really helps his skin is adding the flax oil to his food. I feed Hejji two teaspoons of chicken or turkey baby food with flax oil each night. I mix 2 capsules of flaxseed oil in the little jar, then freeze the baby food + flax oil mixture in a mini ice cube tray, once frozen I store the cubes of food in plastic bag in freezer = super...

Respiratory Illness and Infection

Jun 24, 2014 by

  Respiratory Infections can quickly become life threatening if not treated at the first signs of illness. Types of Respiratory Infection Respiratory infections can be viral or bacterial in nature. Respiratory disease can range from a mild upper respiratory problem to a severe pneumonia. (Midwest Bird and Exotic Animal Hospital.) Bacterial infections in the hedgehog have been attributed to Pasturella spa., Bordetella bronchiseptica, and Corymebacterium spp. (Mitchell) “One of the most common causes of pneumonia in hedgehogs is the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica, which causes kennel cough in dogs. It might be wise to limit contact between dogs and hedgehogs. All dogs in the house should be vaccinated against kennel cough.” (Axelson) Clinical manifestations of respiratory infection include rhinitis, laryngitis, tracheitis, and pneumonia. (Mitchell). Causes of Respiratory Infections Predisposing factors for upper and lower respiratory tract infection are sub-optimal environmental temperature; aromatic, dusty, or unsanitary bedding; concurrent disease causing immunocompromise; and aspiration of material from an oral infection. Diseases of African Hedgehogs. The Merck Veterinary Manual http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/exotic_and_laboratory_animals/african_hedgehogs/diseases_of_african_hedgehogs.html 5/14/14 Respiratory infections are also often associated with stress. (Hancock) Lack of cage or transport cage ventilation compromise the air quality in the hedgehog’s environment. Respiratory illnesses that transmit from people to animals or from specie to specie are not common but it is possible for a human or another animal species to be a vector for respiratory illness.  Multiple people were sick at a large breeder gathering.  Many of the...

At Home FAQ

Nov 13, 2013 by

Care When should I take him to the vet? We recommend a well pet visit within the first month of coming home. If you are having any transitional stress issues we recommend as soon as you notice a problem. Check our Facebook page for quick answers but feel free to email us and put URGENT in the header so we know to answer your email first. How can I choose a veterinarian? These are some simple questions that will save you time and prevent surprises at your first visit. Do you treat hedgehogs? How much is a well pet visit? What do you do at a well pet visit? *We don’t believe anesthesia is necessary for a friendly hedgehog but if it doesn’t allow your veterinarian to easily exam your hedgie it may be necessary. We don’t feel a fecal exam is necessary if your hedgehog has normal, formed stool. How much is an emergency pet visit? How much is a mite treatment and what do you use? This can range from $18 to $200. We feel Revolution is the safest treatment available. Many veterinarians carry it in stock and it is relatively inexpensive. Your treatment should be less than $40. How much is a necropsy report? Losing a pet is never easy but finding out the cause of death can give important information about our herd and it can help prevent future hedgehog...

Obesity & Obesity Complications

Nov 11, 2013 by

   Many veterinarians will agree that one of  the most common medical problem seen in captive hedgehogs is obesity and obesity related problems. Cause Diet A few hedgehog enthusiasts discourage limiting a hedgehog’s food and claim that hedgehogs will not over eat. However, an overwhelming number of experts and enthusiast disagree. Hedgehogs can overeat even on a low-fat hedgehog diet, so food intake often must be restricted to maintain proper body weight. Overeating of foods too high in fat and protein such as regular cat food and fatty insects such as wax worms, mealworms, and superworms is a significant culprit of obesity. Exercise Lack of exercise is also a huge contributing factor. Cages that are too small can limit exercise and activity. However, when hedgehogs are a healthy weight they can become more active by running on their wheel and exploring their cage at night. Other Some hedgehogs are prone to obesity due to genetic predisposition. Other hedgehogs can become overweight in preparation for a lengthy hibernation that they would experience in the wild, but in captivity that that never comes. Hibernation attempts in captivity can   Detection Weight There is no standard weight for a hedgehog. The reason being that the sizes vary quite a lot from one breeder to another, so figuring out what is obese can be difficult. The typical healthy hedgehog is actually usually on the plump side but is...

Integument (Skin) Issues

Nov 11, 2013 by

The most common reason that hedgehogs see veterinarians is for skin conditions. Pruitis (Itchiness) Scratching can cause redness or damage to the skin, which could lead to secondary infection. Scratching frequently often causing self trauma Other Causes for Scratching Allergy Infection Lymphoma Skin Irritation Treatment has the best results if directed at the cause Mycotic Dermatitis Can be subclinical (Hoefer) Manifested by scales, crusts, and the loss of spines (Hoefer) Caused by Trichophyton or Microsporum (Hoefer) Treatment includes: Diagnosis is by fungal culture of affected skin and scales (Hoefer) Oral griseofluvin and lime sulfer dips weekly (Hoefer) Treatment has the best results if directed at the cause. Skin Lesions Skin lesions may be caused by many different conditions including but not limited to cancer, bacterial infection, fungal infection, or injury. Lesions may appear as open sores, red/discolored areas on the skin, or swollen or raised patches. All lesions should be biopsied and cultured if the cause is not identified by observation. An excellent article on skin lesions and cutaneous lymphoma is in the July/August 2000 issue of Lab Animal Volume 29, No. 7. A veterinarian needs to assess skin lesions by biopsy and culture before prescribing treatments. Fungal Infection  Oral antibiotics, such as Trimeth-Sulfa Suspension given twice a day or Itraconazole.  Conofite Spray used once a day maybe prescribed. oral antibiotic Itraconazole. Bacterial Infection When severe scratching damages the skin, commonly occurring bacteria on the skin (that our...

Health Care FAQ

Nov 11, 2013 by

 Do hedgehogs require vet visits? We suggest a well pet visit two to four weeks after taking your hedgehog home and annual well put check ups. We suggest calling local veterinarians to find out: Do they treat hedgehogs? How much is a well pet visit? ($25-60) How much is an emergency visit? (Traditionally more than a well pet visit) How much is a mite treatment ($25-$200). Hedgehogs can be treated relatively inexpensive with Revolution combined with simple things you can do at home. Not all vets are aware of these treatments. How much is a necropsy? (Necessary to fulfill our health guarantee. ($0-$300) Some vets will do this for free. Hedgehogs need immediate attention when hedgehogs are ill or have an accident.  It is extremely important to know your veterinarian and to have a veterinary care plan. Do hedgehogs require vet visits and shots? No. There is no need for shots or other treatments such as routine spaying or neutering. What are the most common health problems? The most common accidents are climbing and falling injuries. The most common need for veterinary treatment is for mites (about as common as cats and fleas). The most common cause of death is...

Zoonosis vs. Anthroponosis

Oct 24, 2013 by

Zoonosis is the ability for an animal to pass a disease to a human Anthroponosis is the ability for a human to pass a disease to an animal At this time, this is the list of reported diseases that have been passed to humans from a hedgehog; however, some of this diseases have only had a few incidence reports (All taken from Cross Zoo website) Please keep in mind that this information is not meant to scare you but to be truthful and honest about all reports related to all hedgehogs and not just African Pygmy Hedgehogs breed in captivity. Reports of illness from breeders in the United State are actually fairly rare. Types of Illness Bordetella bronchiseptica – infections in humans are usually under atypical conditions Colibacilosis – E. Coli Erysipelothrix Infection –  reported to be caused by bite or puncture Leptospirosis Bacterial infection from infected urine-contaminated food or water Oral route of infection Mammalian Tuberculosis Not recorded to date in the UK, but a few incidences occurred in isolated hedgehogs in New Zealand Pasteurella Infection Caused by bites or punctures from spines Pseudomonas Actually common Can be transmitted via bites or skin punctures Rabies Very uncommon (especially when a hedgehog is purchased from a breeder as the animal must first be infected either by parent or another animal infected) Ringworm Common fungal infection that could be picked up from a hedgehog Salmonellosis Common bacterial...

Help! My Hedgehog Is Not Eating: Tempting Taste Buds...

Sep 2, 2013 by

Symptom The loss, or lack of appetitive, is medically referred to as Anorexia. The first sign of illness is often loss of appetite. It is important to get your hedgehog checked out right away by a veterinarian, if you cannot easily determine the reason for the change in eating pattern. Cause – Change in Environment or Routine It is not uncommon for hedgies to skip their first meal or two, in their new home. Sometimes hedgehogs are just too busy sleeping, exploring, or running on the wheel, to take the time to eat. Waiting to introduce the wheel, after the hedgehog has acclimated to eating and drinking in its new home, will help prevent eating distractions. Make sure your hedgehog is warm and comfortable and that they have easy access to their water bottle or dish and that your hedgehog in fact is drinking. Our small bag of “baby” food is the “trick up our sleeve” to tempt babies into eating when they go to new homes.  It tastes really good to them and they will typically eat it without a problem.  It is very rich so even a little food will sustain them through their adjustment period. Refer to our Environmental Stress and Not Eating article for more information on this topic. Cause – Change in Food It is a good idea to keep your hedgehog on the same diet for at least a month,...

The Aging Hedgehog

Sep 2, 2013 by

Hedgehogs go through an aging process similar to humans and other animals. Activity and Movement As hedgehogs age they become less active and are generally slower in what they do. Their gait may appear to be stiffer and as they age it may be more difficult to get around. Physical Appearance Change Colors of spines begin to dull and fade Spine tips begin to dull Fur on face begins to fade and may look disheveled Nails thicken and darken Their teeth may wear down or some may be missing Care for Aging Hedgehogs Routine veterinary check-ups will help both you and your vet monitor the aging process.   Also, it ensures that changes in health are age associated and not due to illness or injury. Older hedgehogs do better at warmer temperatures and will benefit from additional heat sources. Softer diets may be necessary as teeth wear down or fall out. Author:  Gail Dick, Millermeade Farm’s Critter...

Signs Of Good Health

Sep 2, 2013 by

The following is a list of things to observe both in selecting a hedgehog as a pet and as a way to identify potential problems with your pet. Eyes Check it’s eyes to make sure they are bold, clear, round, and bright. The eyes should be wide open. The eyes should not be watery or sunken or dull. They should not have any discharge or matting of the fur around the eye. Nose The hedgehog’s nose should be moist and clean. It should not be dry, bubbly, or running. Keep in mind hedgehogs have an excellent sense of smell so that nose is likely to be busy sniffing you or the air to check out it’s surrounds. Ears Your hedgehog’s ears should be clean with no drainage or crustiness of the fur at the base of the ear. There should be no flaking or “finger-like” projections on the outer part of the ear. Some hedgehog babies may have ear damage that occurs during birth or at a young age. As long as the wound has healed a less than perfectly shaped ear should not affect its quality of life or health status. Skin and Quills Check the skin to make sure there are no: abrasions open wounds lumps bumps excessive dryness Missing quills or bare patches may be a sign of mites. Some colors of babies may appear to have thinner, less dense quills and...

Anesthesia

Sep 2, 2013 by

Anesthesia is an induced state of unconsciousness in animals. Veterinarians may anesthetize your hedgehog to examine it thoroughly or during a procedure that requires the hedgehog to remain still. Anesthesia is also necessary for surgery. Three components are involved in this process: analgesia (pain relief), amnesia (loss of memory), and immobilization Within the components there are numerous stages Stage 1: (voluntary excitement): heart rate and respiratory rate increase; this is usually where the animal will struggle in confusion Stage 2: (involuntary excitement): Loss of consciousness Stage 3: General anesthesia Plane 1: light anesthesia (reflexes are still present) Plane 2: medium anesthesia (surgical level with muscles relaxed) Plane 3: deep anesthesia (breathing endangered) Plane 4: too deep (diaphragm is paralyzed) Stage 4: (irreversible anesthesia): respiratory arrest Recovery stages work in reverse from stage 4 back to stage 1 The preferred method in small animals is isoflurane gas This is done in induction chamber than switched to a face mask for maintenance Endotracheal intubation is nearly impossible The smaller trachea of hedgehogs makes it difficult to tube the animals unlike cats and dogs Injectable agents can also be used though not as popular Ketamine can be used alone or in combination with diazepam (intramuscular) Tiletamin/zolazepam in combination Halothane and methoxyflurane are used for shorter procedures, but isoflurane is preferred for longer procedures Patient physical condition is usually used as the primary method for determining the method...

Human Allergic Reactions To Hedgehogs...

Jul 23, 2013 by

Introduction We are often asked about allergic reactions and hedgehogs. Many potential customers want to know whether or not hedgehogs are good pets for someone who is allergic to cats and dogs.  A quick search on the internet will uncover a variety of answers to this question.   Hypoallergenic? Hedgehogs are often sought out as an alternative pet for individuals who are allergic to cats, dogs and/or other pets. Although hedgehogs may be a good pet alternative for individuals who are allergic to cats and dogs, according to an article titled “Hedgehog Hives,” the presence of allergies to other pets may be predictive of hedgehog hives. Therefore, hedgehogs are not, per-say, 100% hypoallergenic. It is always a good idea to visit a hedgehog prior to purchase if you are allergic to other animals and want to make sure you are not allergic to hedgehogs as well. Allergy symptoms can vary between each person and various animals. Many people with mild allergies can handle hedgehogs. Types of Reactions Hedgehogs may elicit the same types of allergic responses, as other types of pets and allergens do. Several people have told us that they owned a hedgehog (or multiple hedgehogs) for quite some time when they suddenly developed sensitivity to their pet.  The most common skin related allergic reaction is the development of skin redness with some type of white or red bumps. Another type of allergic...

Zoonotic Diseases

Jul 15, 2013 by

Illness Potential To Humans Zoonotic diseases are diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Any animal has potential to transmit illness to humans, just like humans can spread contagious diseases to other humans. Bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Clostridia  are all considered normal flora of a hedgehog’s digestive tract. Such bacteria may be shed in feces at any given point in time. Hedgehogs are not known to carry any diseases dangerous to humans. However, hedgehog feces does contain bacteria (including those mentioned above) so young children, the elderly, and others with compromised immune systems are at greater risk for potential problems. Proper hand washing and cleaning practices are keys to preventing illness. Young children are prone to putting their hands in their mouth, which is also likely to increase the risk of potential problems. Hedgehogs are cute and cuddly and it is tempting to kiss our sweet pet but kissing our pets does dramatically increase the risk of ingesting fecal bacteria.   Quick Reminder Please wash your hands before after handling your pet. Do not wash pets or pet related items around food. Remember: Pets poop. Small animals may walk in their poop. Poop has germs. Germs can make you sick. So please do not eat poop!...

Dry Skin Treatments

Jun 13, 2013 by

Treatment Overview The first step in treatment is to look at a clean, completely dry hedgehog. Our Bathing Articles describe an oatmeal bath, how to bathe your hedgehog, dead skin removal, and simple skin care tips. Various owners and breeders treat simple dry skin with various over-the-counter remedies and other items usually found around the house. Very rarely will a veterinarian prescribe a prescription treatment for dry skin only, since many other more cost-effective means are successful. In many cases an oatmeal bath will clean and soothe the skin, and no other treatment is necessary. Healing should happen fairly quickly, and if not, a trip to the veterinarian is necessary because dry skin that is not accurately treated will become worse over time. Mite infestations can be the root of the dry skin problem and will continue to cause more skin and quill damage if not properly treated. Most veterinarians recommend a treatment of Revolution as a precautionary against mites because it is more reliable than looking for mites, it is inexpensive and very safe. Another reason to see a veterinarian is the he/she may need to prescribe oral antibiotics such as  Trimeth-Sulfa Susp and Conofite spray for fungal problems.  Oral antibiotics such as Itraconazole may be necessary as well.  Harrison’s Avix Soother Topical Spray Great for skin irritation, mange, minor lesions and itching Promotes soothing relief for skin inflammation Is safe and effective for all species...

Hedgehog Longevity

Jun 11, 2013 by

Natural Longevity Hedgehogs typically live two to three years in the wild.  The most common cause of death in the wild is due to predation rather than age. Various resources report a relatively wide range in the maximum life expectancy of hedgehogs kept as pets. Hedgehogs can live up to 10 years in captivity, but those hedgehogs are few and far between.  A 10-year-old hedgehog would be as rare as 104-year-old grandma. Some believe the hybridization of the Algerian and White Bellied species resulted in a more resilient hedgehog that lived longer.   After several generations, hybrid offspring’s longevity began to more closely compare to the original bloodlines.  This is called the Founder’s Effect and can be seen in other animals as well. A 5-year-old hedgehog is about 76 in people years, so if your hedgehog lives 5-7 years it has lived a full life, but five years is longer than the national average. Hedgehog Age in Calendar Years Equivalent Human Years 2 months 10 years 6 months 20 years 14 months 30 years 3 years 40 years 3 years and six months 50 years 3 years and 8 months 60 years 4 years and 2 months 70 years 5 years and 4 months 80 years 6 years and 2 months 90 years 7 years and 8 months 100 years *adapted from Laura Ledt’s website     Average Life Expectancy of Pets According to the...

Causes Of Dry Skin

Jun 11, 2013 by

In order to treat the dry skin, it is necessary to understand potential causes of the problem.Several factors may contribute to the dryness, but the problem will not be completely eliminated without treating the specific problem. Quilling Varying degrees of quill loss may also be associated with dry skin.  Quill loss and dry skin may indicate a mite infestation or fungal infection but is not always the case. A veterinarian can rule out mites by observing skin scrapings under a microscope and performing a simple fungal test. It is very important to visit the vet and ascertain the reason for the dry skin if the problem persists or there is quill loss. Our Quilling Article has more details on this subject. Mites and Fleas Refer to Mites and Other Ectoparasites for More Information Fungus and Bacterial Infection Your vet will need to do a skin scrapping and will prescribe antibiotic if necessary. Fungal spores are airborne and can be transferred easily throughout the environment. Animals (and humans) with dry skin are more susceptible to funal infections Fungal infection: ringworm Fungus (dermatophytoses. (Vet Med, 1999). Type of Bedding Bedding with fine particulates can dry out the skin Hardwood beddings and dusty beddings can also dry the skin. Diet Deficiency Certain dietary issues may also cause dry skin. Allergens Grass Detergents Fabric Softener Carpet Cleaner Bathing Too frequent Type of soap or shampoo Not rinsing shampoos well can cause...

Monitoring Hedgehog Health

Jun 11, 2013 by

Pet hedgehogs depend on us to provide quality care throughout their life and to recognize any potential health concerns.  You should visually inspect your hedgehog everyday while handling your hedgie and look for any signs of change or concerns.  An observant owner may detect potential problems while they are still treatable, thus ensuring greater health and longevity of their pet.  Visual Inspection Check its eyes to make sure they are bold, clear, round, and bright.  The eyes should be wide open. The eyes should not be watery or sunken, dull, or have any discharge. The hedgehog’s nose should be moist and clean.  It should not be dry, bubbly, or running. Your hedgehog’s ears should be clean with no drainage, crustiness, or flaking on the outer part of the ear. Check the skin to make sure there are no abrasions, lumps, bumps, excessive dryness, bare patches, or signs of mites.  The underbelly fur should not be matted. The hedgehog’s body should be filled out through the back and sides. Some hedgehogs have a streamlined appearance, but their skin should not be loose and they should be filled out below the ribs. Other hedgehogs are plumper, but they should not be so fat that they cannot easily roll into a ball. Breathing should be regular with no wheezing or signs of stress.  Do not confuse the normal hedgehog huffing for the rattle of a respiratory illness. Notice the amount of food and water consumption from the previous night and has the hedgehog gained or lost a significant...

Weight Log & Size

Jun 11, 2013 by

The average hedgehog weighs approximately ½ to 1-¼ pounds, and most are the size of a softball or slightly larger when they are rolled into a ball. Some adult hedgehogs have a slightly larger build and can weigh up to 2 pounds (the size of a small guinea pig) without being fat. Most hedgehogs are 6-8 inches in length, but it is hard to accurately and consistently measure a hedgehog because their body changes shape when it is balled up, relaxed, sitting or moving. One way to keep track of your hedgehog’s health is to keep a weekly weight log. Around 6 months of age your hedgehog should have reached it’s adult size. If an adult hedgehog’s weight changes too much in a single week then you should find out why. If it is a steady weight gain over a couple of weeks in an adult hedgehog then perhaps you should reduce the treats to avoid an obese pet in the near future. A weight loss (when not on a diet) can be a sign of an underlying illness and a veterinarian should evaluate your hedgehog. When searching for reasons of a weight loss please keep in mind that a hedgehog is quite capable of “losing” around 20 or 30 grams in a single trip to the potty. It can also “gain” just as much if you allow it to eat it’s dinner before...

Overview Of The Skin

Jun 11, 2013 by

Healthy Skin The epidermis and dermis are the two primary mammalian skin layers. The epidermis is the topmost layer is the selectively permeable skin barrier. It is called the dead skin layer, which provides waterproofing and serves as a barrier to damage. The dermis serves as the location for appendages of the skin including hair follicles and quills. Healthy skin is important to maintaining a formidable barrier to external stimuli including protecting against dehydration,  environmental changes, and diseases such as bacterial infection. Any modifications to the skin’s barrier equilibrium may trigger skin conditions such as dryness, itchiness, or dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) Healthy skin can be hard to maintain due to numerous environmental factors Temperature Sun Pollution Water itself can cause dry skin if one showers in excess or in hot water because it removes the oils the skin naturally secretes for moisture. Additional Articles Problems Associated With Dry Skin Causes of Dry Skin Diagnosis of Dry Skin Treatment of Dry Skin Other Skin...

Page 1 of 212