HAVE A HEDGEHOG THAT MIGHT BE DIABETIC? Well meet TATTER, my diabetic hedgie!
There is really only one indicator that a hedgehog may be diabetic (that I know of). The indicator would be drinking a lot of water. If you notice that your hedgie is drinking much more water than the rest of your hedgies, then they could be a diabetic. Tatter would drink almost a full bottle of water a week, which led me to believe she might be diabetic. Most, not all, but most hedgies drink less than ½ a bottle a week.
If you suspect your hedgie is diabetic, don’t panic. First take your hedgie down to your vet and have them run a urine analysis and blood work on them to test for diabetes. It would also be a good idea to run a full-scale test on all the blood work and urine analysis. Not only was my Tatter diabetic, her test came back as having liver issues as well. Tatter’s liver issues will be explained in “Tatter’s Story”. If the test comes back that your hedgie is a diabetic, once again don’t panic because I have already done that for you, lol, and found all the help you will need.
First get a clear clean copy of your hedgies blood and urine values. You will need this information to consult with a wonderful man named, Andrew Berwitz, a homeopathic pharmacist in England. You can either scan and e-mail this information to Andrew, or explain it to him over the phone. Andrew is the homeopathic pharmacist for the Welch Hedgehog Hospital over in England as well. If it weren’t for Andrew, my Tatter would have never made it to the age of 4, much less a year. My Tatter is a full blown diabetic, not a boarder line, but full blown. Here is how you can contact Andrew:
Kell Green Hall Farm
Kell Green Lane
Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 7SL
His phone number is 011-44-1565-889-090 If you dial 10-10-987, before you dial his number, you will be charged 39 cents to connect and 3 cents after that. So you will need to dial, 10-10-987-011-44-1565-889-090. This means you can talk a long time for a few dollars. Since you will need to act fast, I would suggest you call Andrew instead of e-mailing him. Please call him during normal US time around 9 am to 4 pm.
Not only does Andrew treat animals of all kinds, he also treats people as well. In fact he has treated many terminally ill cancer victims. Great name and number to always have on hand, ANDREW BERWITZ.
Now that you got your hedgies results back, and it has tested positive for diabetes, and you have placed your call / e-mail into Andrew…..the next step is diet. Diet is everything when you have a diabetic.
There are only two foods your hedgie can be on. One is Prescription Diet by Hill’s called W/D. The other is called Select Care, by Innovative Veterinary Diets called Hi Factor Formula. Both of these are made for diabetic and or over weight cats. It works wonders on them. You can only get this diabetic food from your vet’s office. A diabetic hedgie can also have mealworms (as treats – they are high in fat), boiled turkey, chicken, and non-sugary veggies. It is very important that your hedgie does not get chubby or fat. A diabetic chubby hedgie will only make it worse, just like it does in diabetic people.
Once you start on Andrew’s treatment (and this will be the only treatment you will find to be safe) and the diet, you will need to retest your hedgie in a few weeks. That means taking it back down to the vets and having the urine and blood tested again. It is a MUST BUY to ALWAYS have urine analysis test strips so you can do WEELKY checks at home. You can find these at a pharmacy or your vet could order them for you. It is best to get the “10” value test strips. Once you and Andrew have obtained normal glucose (i.e. urine and blood) levels, you will need to do WEEKLY urine test strips on them to maintain and monitor their normal values. This will be done all the time till the of their life.
Come meet Tatter and hear her story.
I got a little rescue from TN, about 3 ½ years ago. A little hedgehog whom I named Tatter. I gave her this name because her ears where the worst looking ears I have ever seen in all my hedgie years. She had the MOST tattered ears I have ever encountered!!!! I knew for sure her ears would never look normal and would always be tattered, so hence the name, Tatter.
When I received poor little Tatter she was so frightened. She had been from home to home, from pet store to pet store and was last given to a child who was too afraid to hold her. Poor little Tatter, no one wanted her. When she arrived I gave her a nice clean cage with a hedgie wheel, fresh water and lots of yummy fresh foods, a super deluxe hedgie bag to sleep in and a tiny stuffed toy. I could tell by her reaction that she had never seen a wheel, or a hedgie bag and I doubt she had ever seen a clean cage and yummy food either. She LOVED her food and ate it hardly. She seemed to love her new cage with all the fixings, but I could tell she was “extremely hesitant” to enjoy them. I could just sense this. It was an intense feeling I could sense from her. It was as if she was saying, “don’t get too comfy here, cause once I do, then off I go again to another place.” Strange, but I truly could feel her thoughts coming through to me…..it came through very loud and clear. I felt bad that she was afraid to enjoy her new life, so every day I would pick her up and say to her, “Tatter girl, this is your new home……you will never go any where else ever, again.” I would tell her this two or three times a day every day!!! It was funny cause she seemed to understand what I was saying. She started to enjoy her new home and even me holding her and talking to her. Tatter was a huffy little girl, but she was looking forward to my daily talks. I could really see a big change in her.
After we had Tatter for about a month I noticed she was drinking LOTS of water. Way more than any other hedgie I ever had. She would almost empty an entire water bottle before the week was out. I remember on a list where someone mentioned the first sign of a diabetic is drinking too much water. I took her down to a vet and had her tested for diabetes. The test result came back and confirmed my suspicion. Not only was she diabetic, her liver values didn’t look good either. Holly Cow Almighty Moses……………….what was I to do????? I started her on milk thistle for her liver. I gave her one-drop a day, for a month. At least, I knew how to begin treating her liver issues. (Please seek your veterinarian’s advice before using milk thistle.) I then called every vet I knew. I got on the Internet and asked for help. I called vets from New York, to Canada……I searched and searched for a month trying to find help for her. If I didn’t do something FAST she would die of organ failure. If we treated her with the same type of medication you would give a cat or dog, that could fatal as well. The type of medication given to a diabetic cat/dog, if given to her in the most minuet amount over her normal dose could kill her. What was I to do???????? It was far too risky to “guesstimate” a dose for her based on these odds.
I contacted the Welsh Hedgehog Hospital who put me in touch with Andrew Berwitz, their holistic pharmacist. Andrew was my only hope!!!!!!
When Andrew first made his holistic remedy for Tatter we weren’t sure it was going to be the exact dose she would require. After Tatter had been on the holistic insulin for a few weeks I took her back to the vet. The sad thing is I had to leave her there for a week!!!!!! Poor Tatter, she had thought I lied to her and she was being given away again. This really killed me to leave her there, but I had no other choice.
While Tatter was at the vets they tested her urine and blood values. The vet said, “I don’t know much about homeopathic stuff, but this really works!” The vet said when he took blood and urine values from Tatter after the holistic insulin was given, her values were normal. If he took her blood and urine samples before her next dosing, her values would be out of whack again! So the holistic insulin was working!!!!
This was great news!! I was so excited!! Tatter on the other hand, was very upset with the whole ordeal. After I got her back, she was so happy to see me!! She was soooo snuggly and glad to be back home, but only for the first hour. After her hour of snuggling she got mighty mad. She felt that I had betrayed her by leaving her with strangers. She thought she had been pawned off…… again. She was sooo upset with me that she spend the next hour biting the towel on my lap, my pants, and my shirt!! Tatter was so shook up by the whole, “no one wants me…..again” ordeal that she would peek out of her hedgie bag and glare at me, as if to say, “You promised me this would always be my home……” I could see the hurt and betrayal in her eyes. This went on for over a month. Boy did I feel like dirt, especially after all the progress we had accomplished making her feel secure in her new home.
We put Tatter on a diabetic cat food diet, which she loved so much that she decided she didn’t want to eat the fresh foods any more. And she finally forgave me for leaving her at the vets. Not only was she doing well with her holistic insulin, her ears even started looking real soft and velvety.
After about a year and a ½ later I noticed that Tatter was drinking a bit too much water and I was seeing blood in her cage. I rushed her down to Tallahassee where my exotic vet is (hadn’t found this vet till after she was tested the first time) Tatter had to have an emergency spay. We were a little bit worried about doing a spay on a diabetic. On a diabetic you can’t take away their food and water before surgery like you do most animals. Tatter came threw the surgery with flying colors. While she was there we tested her blood and urine values. The Vet confirmed that her values were all ok, but she had a little too much sugar in her urine. So I put a call into Andrew. Based on her values Andrew made a different batch of holistic insulin for her. I noticed with in a few weeks she was back to drinking a normal amount of water.
Last October while we were getting ready to leave for vacation to visit family, Tatter stopped eating!!!! I rushed her to the vet to find out she had a UTI (Urinary Track Infection) AND my vet here in town (just found him a few months back – thank GOD) said, “Shonda, if you hadn’t told me she was diabetic I would never have known……..her blood and urine values are perfect and even her liver values as well!!!!” If you recall the fist testing done on Tatter showed her that her liver values weren’t that great.
So after three years of using Andrew’s holistic insulin and a few times we had to fine tune it over the course of three years, Tatter is in perfect shape thanks to him!!!! Andrew has been a total lifesaver!!! Thanks to him, Tatter is a normal happy little hedgehog.
To this day, Tatter has the most beautiful ears out of all my hedgies. She takes her holistic insulin (which is very yucky tasting) twice a day without any qualms. And she loves to get her twice (or more) daily doses of kisses on her cute little hedgie face.
If you would like to contact Andrew for any holistic help with your pets or even people you can contact him at:
Andrew was also a huge help in helping me with Belly Boy for those of you that remember him as well! Poor Belly Boy had a kidney stone too big to pass and was peeing blood all then time. Once again, Thanks to Andrew and his holistics, Belly Boy stopped passing blood and the pain went away. One of the holistic he used was made to take the barbs off the kidney stone, which is what causes the most pain, and to shrink the stone as well.