Have you recently adopted a pet hedgehog? Congratulations! Many first-time hedgehog owners face a learning curve when it comes to caring for their little buddies. One thing that is very important is being able to tell if something isn’t right with your quilled buddy. A Greater Cincinnati veterinarian discusses sickness in hedgehogs below.
It will be much easier for you to tell when something is wrong with Hedgie if you know what he’s supposed to look and act like. Healthy hedgehogs should be alert, responsive, and a bit curious. As you probably know, hedgehogs roll themselves into little balls when they are scared. Your pet should be able to completely curl up. His skin should be free of lesions, redness, and flaking, and his little eyes should be clear and bright. His stools should not be discolored, stringy, or black.
Hedgehogs can develop a variety of illnesses. Some of the ones we most often see in these little guys include respiratory issues, gastrointestinal problems, and eye troubles. There’s also Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome, a degenerative, neurological disease which affects Hedgie’s ability to walk and move. These little guys are also prone to obesity, though of course that’s not something that would happen overnight.
Many of the signs of illness in hedgehogs are also similar to those you would see in other sick pets. Some of these include lethargy: lack of appetite; reduced interest in play; blood in the urine; diarrhea; withdrawal; watery, red, or sunken eyes; sudden weight loss; breathing trouble; sneezing; coughing; and trembling. If you notice any of these warning signs, contact your vet right away.
If you know or suspect that your prickly little pet is sick, you’ll need to make sure he is warm enough. Put a small blanket over a heating pad set on low for your little buddy, and leave him in peace until it’s time to go to the vet. Hedgie may also appreciate being in a dark, quiet area when he doesn’t feel well.
While treatments are always offered on a case-by-case basis, it’s important to remember that many issues can be treated with proper care and medication. That said, early treatment and diagnosis is always going to be beneficial. Ask your vet for more information.
Do you have questions about hedgehog care? Contact us, your Greater Cincinnati animal clinic!