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Old 11-13-2007, 04:45 PM   #1
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Default Obese Hedgehog makes headline

I've copy/pasted the main text of the article. We seldom hear about obesity being a problem for our animal friends, so I thought some of you might find this of interest. The full story along with really cute pictures (if only we could all be that cute with the extra weight...) found here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/liv...n_page_id=1770

Four times the weight of his peers, George the 5lb hedgehog goes on a crash diet
Last updated at 12:53pm on 13th November 2007

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Hefty hedgehog George has been placed on a crash diet after he weighed in at an amazing 5lb.
And he is so fat that when he sheds the weight vets may have to give him a tummy tuck to remove the excess skin which will drag on the floor.

The tubby creature, who is supposed to weigh around 1.5lb , currently weighs the same as a small baby.

He piled on the pounds by scoffing anything he could lay his paws on in the garden in which he lived.

The tame hedgehog was handed in to the Wildlife Aid centre, made famous by TV show Wildlife SOS, because his keepers thought he must be suffering from an illness.

But after staff at the centre, in Leatherhead, Surrey, carried out check-ups they found he was simply obese.

Now he is being placed on the controlled diet of cat food to try and bring him down to around 1.5lb - the weight of a regular hedgehog.

But centre staff say it could take up to six months of controlling his eating and forcing him to exercise to hit the target.

Sara Cowen, the centre's head nurse. said: "He was brought in to us a few months ago and we were able to re-home him with a member of the public.

"Now he has been brought back in to us because he has got so big that the owner thought he was ill.

"We looked at him and thought that maybe he was suffering from a condition called 'ballooning' - but after we checked him out we found that he was just obese.

"He's the size of a football and weighs about four times what he should weigh.

"I think that he was a bit of a terror in the garden he lived in, just shuffling around, eating anything he could find.

"He hasn't hibernated either because he has that much fat on him that he isn't cold - his body isn't telling him that it's time to hibernate.

"We are planning to put him on a slow weight loss programme that we are expecting will take around six months.

"We will be feeding him cat food but just much less of it.

"He will also need to get more exercise - we might need to find the world's smallest treadmill for him."

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Crash diet: George needs to lose 3/4 of his body weight

Sara says that obesity in hedgehogs can bring about the same health problems as it can in humans.

She added: "His weight is a big problem. He could suffer fractures to his legs with the extra weight and he could have heart problems.

"I've never seen anything like it before so it's going to be new territory for us trying to put together a programme for him to help him lose the fat.

"He will probably be with us for six months before we will look at putting him through a slow release back into the wild.

"Even then he might need some more help - if he has excess skin left then he might even need a tummy tuck."

The Wildlife Aid sanctuary employs around 140 volunteers at its Leatherhead base. It takes in injured or abandoned animals and looks after them until they are well enough to be released back into wild.


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Old 11-13-2007, 05:48 PM   #2
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Oh my...well...I just have to pop into this forum and say:

AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! He's adorable, fat as he is. hehe!
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Old 11-14-2007, 09:27 PM   #3
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wow...he's in bad shape. I think its sad...as a vet i see so many overweight pets and a lot of their owners are in denial. Keep feeding them leftovers and people food...despite how many times i've seen them for pancreatitis or now diabetes. They feel they need to show their animal love via food. I tell many of my clients you are killing your animal with love when you keep feeding them too much crap. Obese animals have the same problems obese human have. So yes its definately improtant to keep your pets weight in check.

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Last edited by GatorgalstuckinGA; 11-14-2007 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 11-14-2007, 10:45 PM   #4
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Personally, I think it shows that obesity is very often a natural response to an unnatural situation.

Often obese people are treated as though they are mentally ill, or otherwise defective in some way. And overeating can be a symptom of a compuslive disorder, but it isn't necessarily. I think obesity is often just a natural consequence of living outside the natural order. Many animals in the wild would also overeat if the opportunity presented itself, but the natural order tends to prevent obesity. If there is an overabundance of food, overpopulation tends to occur before wide spread obesity. An obese animal can't hunt or avoid predators, so if an animal starts to become overweight it loses the weight, or it loses it's life.

As humans we create a very unnatural environment for ourselves and our pets. It's like enriched white bread - we take out all of the good stuff and then try to put it back. It never quite works quite as well as the original.

I think it's funny that many of us drive to the gym, maybe even take an elevator in order to exercise.... We've taken all of the work out of our day, and it isn't really easy or "natural" to put it back in. We have to work really hard to create a simulation of a natural system that we can't really go back to (when people had to work very hard for their food).

I was watching a program about a zoo several years ago, and they were saying that they were having to reformulate all of their herbivor and omnivor diets. 25 or 30 years ago, the diets were specially formulated to keep the critters healthy, and while the animals needs were still the same, the fruits and vegetables had changed. An average apple still looks the same as it did 30 years ago, but because of selective breeding, there are actually many more sugars and starches in today's fruits and vegetables, because WE like them that way.
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Old 11-16-2007, 12:27 PM   #5
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How horrible...

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Old 11-16-2007, 09:17 PM   #6
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Terrible, but if you read the article, you will see that this is NOT A PET. He has been taken out of a garden by the owner and taken to a wildlife facility. He will be reintroduced to the wild after he is better. He has not been overfed by an owner!
Talk about nature!!!
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