Signs of Poor Health
Healthy hedgehog stools should be firm enough to remove from a cage in one piece, medium to dark brown in color, and about the width of a pencil. Very moist, mucous, green, or very dry stools are signs of either dietary or health problems and require examination by a veterinarian.
There are a couple tricks to naturally relieve hedgehog constipation – the first is to place your hedgehog in a couple inches of warm water. The second option is to feed your hedgehog a little canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie blend.) If constipation is anything other than fleeting, be sure to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.Diarrhea
The biggest danger with diarrhea is dehydration. Make sure you monitor your hedgehog’s water intake and supplement with extra if needed. Diarrhea that is anything other than very fleeting should be examined by a veterinarian.
Ratty ears or discharge could be signs of mites, fungus, or infection. If these problems have been eliminated by your veterinarian, then ratty looking ears could just be the result of dry skin.
Swollen jaw and/or inflamed gums are another sign of dental disease. Make sure you get this problem examined by your veterinarian.
Any time your hedgehog seems uninterested in food, there is cause for concern. Sometimes a lack of interest in eating can be a sign of tooth problems such as gum disease. Check your hedgehog’s mouth to see if you notice irritation, discolored teeth, or a bad odor. Never leave tooth problems untreated as they can easily develop into serious infections and other health problems.
Make sure than you monitor water intake at this time as your hedgehog could suffer from dehydration. If your hedgehog is not drinking on her own, consider feeding water via a needless syringe. All you need to do is squirt the water (a little at a time) into the mouth.
Obesity can lead to Fatty Liver Disease, which can be fatal if left untreated. Signs of Fatty Liver Disease can also include yellowing under the armpits.
After examination by your veterinarian, the best course of treatment is to increase activity and slightly decrease food intake. Be sure to monitor weight on a regular basis as described in Chapter 5.
Open sores, irritated skin, itching, and flakey skin can be signs of a mite infestation. If left untreated mites can cause blindness and ear infections. In the very worst cases, hedgehogs have been known to die. If you suspect your hedgehog has mites be sure to visit your veterinarian and completely wash (and disinfect) your hedgehog’s cage to prevent reinfestation.
If while examining your hedgehog you find a lump underneath his or her skin, this is something you need to get checked out. The source can be anything from a cyst to a tumor.