Hedgehog Rescue with PEMBROKESHIRE HOGSPITAL

FAQs

Since adding Google Analytics to my web site I am able to see some of the ways people have accessed my site and some have typed in whole questions. I hope they have found the answer here, in most cases they should have, but I thought it a good idea to add those quesions in this section.

Can a prickle infect a finger with flies eggs?  Well the prickle will not be injecting fly eggs into the finger but, whenever a prickle breaks the skin, be sure to clean the wound well and perhaps use anti bacterial cream. Sometimes the very tip of a prickle breaks off in the finger and behaves like a splinter, becoming very sore. It IS possible for the prickle to carry an infection so, should any unusual symptoms occur, perhaps swelling, reddening, temperature, see your Doctor or A&E rather than leave it. A special word to the ladies, be very careful if you are cuddling your hedgehog. I was transporting one from one room to another, wrapped in a towel (the hedgehog!) when it wriggled itself partly free and a prickle got me in a very sensitive place and, of course, the tip broke off. I was too embarrassed to go to the doctor and it took around 2 weeks before I was confident that the infection was on the wane. Anyone with more sense would have gone straight to the doctor.

How do prickles come out of hedgehogs?  The prickles are modified hairs so they moult just like our hair. Baby hedgehogs gradually replace their white and then their small brown prickles with the adult ones. However, massive losses occur when mites, mange or ringworm are present.

Hedgehog scratches a lot.  Hedgehogs do seem to scratch quite a lot naturally but there could be mite present and a dusting of Ridmite (for birds) just down ts back, should clear this up. May need repeating weekly for a couple of times. If this fails, check for mange and ringworm.

Smokers cough and is coughing hog ill?  YES. Smokers cough in a hedgehog is normally indicative of lung worm and MUST be treated quickly. The lesser, dry, tickly kind of cough is more likely to be thread worm and Panacur will sort this. I AM TALKING ABOUT EUROPEAN HEDGEHOGS. PYGMIES SHOULD NOT GET LUNG WORM AS IT IS CAUGHT FROM SLUGS. ANY COUGHING HEDGEHOG SHOULD SEE AN EXOTICS VET.

Hedgehog spitting blood..My guess would be it has died as it sounds lke a serious internal injury unless there has been a trauma to its tongue or teeth.

Ear Infecton, wobbling.  These were the keywords. Yes, an ear infection causes hedgehogs to fall around but the word "wobbling" is troublesome. With an ear infection, the hedgehog is actually giddy and loses ts balance. It may circle with its head to one side and I had one that couldn't get off its back. A hedgehog that is upright but its legs are wobbling under it and giving way is a very sick hedgehog indeed. It is in a state of collapse and will probably be very cold. It will need expert treatment, a great deal of warmth and medication and is still unlikely to survive.

Are hedgehogs deaf?  Not in the normal way, their hearing is more important than their sight.

Blood found in hedegehog poo.  In the European hedgehog this is serious as it indicates loss of blood of course and is found with Lungworm primarily. Intestinal worm can cause it and e-coli. As the person with the query says "my hedgehog" I guess it is an African Pygmy and should not have worms since it does not eat slugs and snails. Maybe the live food offered has come from an infected source but I would have the hog and a poo sample up to see an Exotics Vet right away.

Is it legal to own an African Pygmy Hedgehog? Unfortunately it is perfectly legal as long as it has been bred in this country and not imported. There is now a rescue centre for them in Swansea somewhere so, if you absolutely MUST have one, please rescue one. As with all these poor little "Must Have" pets, people get fed up with them when they realise the work involved in looking after them or find they must have live food (which also has to be fed and cleaned) and they need heat all the time. They are bred for money, sent through the post, interbred and destined to spend their life cooped up in a little cage when hedgehogs actually roam miles at night.

Where do they live?  The European one lives across Europe and in New Zealand and is not related to any other prickly creature. They like hedgerows and, if you look on my Environment page, you can see the type of garden, vegetation that they need.

Hedgehog breathing through mouth  These were the keywords I spotted and the reply to that is that the hedgehog is very close to death. I have not known of a hedgehog breathing through its mouth, surviving. They either cannot or are reluctant to breath that way. Sorry to the person who was looking up this question. As breathing is so important, when the hog is dying, the nerve instructing the diaphragm keeps it working even when the lungs have stopped working but the hog is not truly breathing.

Hedgehog losing hair on nose  Most of the queries I pick up from keyword searches are likely to be about African Pygmy Hedgehogs as they are to do with care and it is illegal to keep the European wild hedgehog as a pet. In the wild hedgehog, losing hair on the nose would instantly make me suspect ringworm. There could also be crusting. Ringworm is easily spread to people and their pets. If a Pygmy has ringworm, you need to find the source as it has caught it from somewhere. The spores are airborn and can lie dormant for up to 6 months in the fur, prickles or bedding. Really a pet hedgehog should NOT get ringworm or mange as they are (hopefully) living in a healthy environment. Although I am warning on ringworm, my guess is that the hog is rubbing its nose on something in its cage. My wild ones stick ttheir noses through the little hole for the water bottle. (European hedgehogs cannot use drinking bottles)

Hedgehog balled up with leg sticking out. The leg is most likely broken, certainly swollen. Hog needs to see a Vet as the leg will need setting. If you ring the RSPCA and get a docket number, the Vet can treat the hog for free and they will probably have it taken to a local rescue centre. OR you can take it to a rescue centre.

Can a hedgehog give you ringworm? Yes, just as any animal can if they have it. Circumstances need to be right for it to be passed on. Keep your hygiene A1 and keep the hog away from other animals. Don't hold the hog then stroke the cat or scratch your face. The spores of ringworm hang around dormant for up to 6 months and are air-born so don't shake bedding out, wear gloves, steraliise the cage every day. It can be cured pretty quickly in humans but is hard to treat in hedgehogs. One of my triplets is seeing the Vet tomorrow as I think she has it. It will mean treating all three, even if the other two do not have it. I think ringworm and mange are the two worst things to have in a rescue centre.
Since answering this, I now have it in one finger, caught from being pricked by one of the infected yougsters.

Blood in hedgehog poo This is usually serious but may be easily remedied. I am guessing this is an African Pygmy again and that is more of a worry. In the wild hogs, blood in the poo usually indicates worms and a good worming for lungworm then intestinal worms, repeated after 10 days should clear it. They get worms from their food but your Pygmy eats only what you give it and not wild, garden food so where would they pick the worms up from? Well, it could still be their food if the pet shop is not selling properly approved insects.
If the blood is not caused by worms, you have a more serious problem and there was a question about it........
E-Coli in hedgehogs. In a wild hedgehog it may be best not to treat as it comes back and back and back so, although you may appear to cure it, it is liable to return when the hog goes back to the wild and it will die a horrible death. Maybe the future is better for a pet as you can keep on treating when necessary but you really MUST see an Exotics Vet urgently. It kills quickly.

Do African Pygmies die easily? Yes if they are not cared for correctly but also, a lot are interbred because of the lack of regulations for breeding. They are being farmed by certain people simply because they can make a lot of money. The mother may have been mated too often so the litter is weak. I am sorry but I really think the trend in keeping African Pygmy Hedgehogs is cruel. I get no end of question regarding pets that have keeled over, are wobbling, blood in poo, congenital and skeletal problems. These are mostly breeding problems.