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Hedgehog Stops Eating

What would cause a hedgehog to stop eating?

By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, DABVP
Posted: June 27, 2011, 5 a.m. EDT

Q: Our hedgehog suddenly stopped eating her food, and her stool is not looking good. The veterinarian has tested her stool and found nothing. My daughter is distressed, and we don't know what to do. Now we are taking her in for X-rays. Do you have any idea what could be wrong and how to treat it?

A: It sounds like your veterinarian is doing all of the correct things to help find out what is wrong with your hedgehog. When a hedgehog stops eating, this is known as a non-specific sign of disease. What that means is that anorexia (not eating) can be caused by many diseases, not just limited to those of the oral cavity.

The first place your vet looked was at your hedgehog’s stool hoping to find parasites that could cause anorexia; such parasites are easy to treat. Unfortunately it sounds like he/she did not find any.

The next step includes bloodwork, radiographs (X-rays) and maybe an examination of the oral cavity under light sedation, depending on how cooperative your hedgehog is.

The problem can be anything from a tooth infection to a disease of internal organs. This is why the cause of anorexia can be so difficult to determine.

Once your vet finds the cause of the anorexia, then you can decide what course of action to take. In the meantime, make sure that your hedgehog has adequate nutrition and fluids in her system to keep up her strength.

See all of Dr. Rosenthal's Critter Q&A articles>>

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