• The Scoop On Poop

    Written by Antigone Means-Burleson

    Lately I have been fielding a lot of questions about hedgehog poop (what a way to start an article, eh?!). Normal hedgehog stools are usually a medium to dark brown in color and fairly firm, kind of like the texture we expect from a healthy dog. While it is not normal for hedgehog stools to be soft or runny in consistency, it isn't all that unusual of an occurrence.

    A lot of things can lead to hedgehogs having soft or loose stools. Stress is probably the biggest factor. Shipping, travel, a change in environment- these things can be a stressor to the hedgehog and will sometimes result in a few days of soft stools.

    Reactions to new foods, or even foods themselves can result in soft stools. Dairy products are notorious for creating soft stools. So are cheap cat foods. Some foods can even cause some rather scary looking discolorations. Once I got in a rescue that had what looked like hideous and like it might be bloody stools- but the vet confirmed it was merely red dye from the food. Whew! I've also seen where yellow dye does nasty stuff to the coloration.

    Generally, if the hedgehog is eating and drinking normally, following its usual behavior patterns, and there is no unusual coloration that is not accounted for by the food, loose stools are not cause for alarm. Things to check would be diet, making sure there are no signs of illness, and making sure hedgie is sufficiently warm. If there is unexplainable discoloration, hedgie isn't acting right, or it lasts for more than three days, a trip to the vet is warranted. If hedgie isn't acting right, take hedgie to the vet right away.

    The vet may advise to put the hedgehog on a bland diet and may recommend a stool sample. The stool sample will likely involve a check for parasites and bacteria. Depending on what the vet finds, you may be prescribed an antibiotic or antiparasitic medication, usually given orally. The vet may also give fluids or prescribe something to give to help with the immediate symptoms.