Articles on basic care and considerations for new or prospective owners.
Articles pertaining to health, nutrition, and veterinary care.
Articles and pictures about hedgehog breeding, growth, and development.
Articles for people who already own a hedgehog or want to know more than just the basics.
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Where to purchase hedgehog supplies and collectibles.
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When to Take Your Hedgehog to the Vet
Vet care can be expensive and many hedgehog owners are reluctant to take their hedgehog to the vet for fear of running up high bills when there really is not a problem. The list below includes some common situations where people often have to decide whether or not to take their hedgehog to the vet. The rule of thumb I use is: when in doubt, go! Hedgehogs often do not show signs of illness until they are very sick, so fast action can often make quite a difference. Here are some situations people frequently ask about, and the decision process I go through:
1. My hedgehog is acting funny:
Behavioral changes are often
an important clue. If an ordinarily friendly hedgehog suddenly becomes a
grouch, or a hedgehog who is usually quite huffy suddenly becomes
passive, this is a sign that something may be going
on. I schedule a vet appointment within 24 hours if I notice a major
2. My hedgehog collapsed and is limp:This, obviously, is never a good sign. Get the hedgehog to the vet as soon as possible. Make sure to keep him or her comfortable and sufficiently warm, but not overheated.
3. My hedgehog has not eaten for 24 hours:
This is not necessarily a problem. Sometimes hedgehogs go on a hunger strike for as much as a day to three, then resume their eating normally. If it lasts longer than that or if there is notable weight loss, then you will want to schedule a vet visit right away. Also, if the hedgehog has not consumed water for 24 hours, you should schedule a vet visit right away, as water is quite critical.
4. My hedgehog has eaten household cleaner or another potentially toxic item:Get to the vet right away. Some substances that are potentially toxic can be counteracted if treated right away, but are fatal if you wait. Better safe than sorry.
5. My hedgehog is having seizures:
Get to the vet right away. You
may want to have the vet check the blood glucose level to rule in our
6. My hedgehog is breathing but is unresponsive and cool to the touch:The first thing I do is try to warm up the hedgehog, either by placing it under my shirt or placing it on a heating pad set on low, with a blanket between it and the hedgehog. The hedgehog may be trying to hibernate. If this does not help within an hour, get to the vet right away.
7. My hedgehog is walking stiffly:This could be due to a wide variety of things- arthritis, injury, Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome, etc... Get a veterinary opinion right away to make sure you are treating the right problem.
8. My hedgehog has dry, flaky skin and/or is losing a lot of quills:Most likely, your hedgehog has mites or a fungal infection. A vet can easily diagnose and treat this. Home remedies are not often as effective and can wind up being more expensive, so seeing a vet right away is a much better strategy.
9. My hedgehog has ruffly ears:Try putting a little lotion on the ears at least once a day for several days. If it does not clear up or there is any kind of swelling or pus, you will want to have a vet check to rule out fungal or bacterial infection rather than just dryness.
10. My hedgehog appears to have a broken limb:Take your hedgehog to the vet right away. An unset limb may heal incorrectly, causing discomfort later. The vet may also prescribe medication for pain, to help your hedgehog feel better.
11. My hedgehog has a runny nose and/or discharge from the eyes:Your hedgehog may have an upper respiratory infection. These are quite easily treated by a vet, but may prove fatal if untreated. Please get your hedgehog to the vet quickly.
12. My hedgehog has an ingrown quill that looks infected:If a quill gotten infected it may need to be lanced and cleaned by a vet. Antibiotics may or may not be prescribed. Your vet will be able to tell what your hedgehog needs!
13. My hedgehog has an unusual lump or bump:Hedgehogs are prone to cancer. We have also had some who developed cysts. The sooner a vet can diagnose and treat, the more options your hedgehog will have if treatment is needed.
14. My hedgehog has green poop:If it is sticky in consistency, get to the vet right away! Tarry, sticky, green poop can be a sign of serious internal problems. If stools are loose, think about what the hedgehog has eaten in the last 24 hours. If they have had some new food it may just be mild tummy upset. If it persists for more than a day or two, then you will want to have a vet check a stool sample. Green stool is a general symptom of a very wide variety of things, some harmless and some very serious, so when in doubt, take your hedgehog to the vet.
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