• Wounds, Injuries, and Accidents

    My hedgehog has a hair on it's foot! What do I do?-
    First of all, see if you can get the hair removed. This should be done as quickly as possible, because leaving it on can cause serious damage. If the foot and leg are normal colored and the hair did not break the skin, your hedgehog should be fine, but you should keep a very close eye on it. If the foot is swollen, purple, or the skin is broken, you need to get your hedgehog to the vet immediately. The hair may have cut off circulation to the foot, and the foot may have started to die. If left untreated, your hedgehog may die from systemic infection from the dying tissue.

    Why are my hedgehog's feet bleeding?-
    This is often caused by excessive running on a wheel with an improper surface, or any other surface that is too rough. Hedgehogs can also snag a toe nail while they are running around. These very minor wounds can bleed a LOT, so don't be surprised if your hedgehogs cage or wheel appears to be covered in blood. Put the hedgehog in a sink with a small amount of water to soak off any caked blood and filth. Then, look for the injury. Some of these injuries are so minor that they are almost impossible to find once the foot is cleaned off. If this is the case, your hedgehog will most likely be fine. If your hedgehog has a wheel, you should double check to make sure that it is an appropriate type of wheel for hedgehogs to run on. Otherwise, check surfaces in the hedgehogs' cage to make sure that there are no rough surfaces that your hedgehog is scraping their feet on. If your hedgehog has an obvious wound, or the foot is swollen, discolored, or continues to bleed, get your hedgehog to the vet immediately.

    Why did my hedgehog lose a tooth?-
    Hedgehogs do lose teeth occasionally, especially very young ones who may be losing their baby teeth. Baby teeth will be replaced by adult teeth fairly soon. If your hedgehog is an adult and is losing teeth, you should have your hedgehog's mouth checked for any signs of infection, tooth decay, or tumors. A single lost tooth is usually more concerning to the human than to the hedgehog. If your hedgehog is very old, and is losing teeth, you should offer them either finely ground kibble or moistened kibble to make it easier for them to eat comfortably.

    Why is my hedgehog limping?-
    A vet visit is almost always in order when your hedgehog is having a hard time walking. You should do your best to figure out WHY your hedgehog is limping. Is it a single leg, pointing to a sprain, strain, or fracture? Is it one side of the body, which may signify a stroke? Is it starting at the rear end, which may point to a WHS like illness? Your vet may prescribe some form of treatment for your hedgehog, depending on the type of problem that is going on. If it is a strain, sprain, or fracture, it is usually a good idea to reduce your hedgehogs' activity until the leg is healed, by removing the wheel and reducing items that your hedgehog can climb onto. If your hedgehog has had a stroke or some other debilitating illness, you may be able to reduce the progress or even help him regain some function by encouraging gentle exercise. But determining the exact cause and and treatment regime needs to be done by a vet.

    My hedgehog's mouth is swollen. What is the matter?-
    First, you should try to check the hedgehogs' mouth carefully to see if there is anything like chunks of food, splinters or peices of bedding, or other foriegn materials stuck in the mouth. If so, carefully remove it if possible. If you don't see anything stuck in the mouth that can be easily removed, then you should schedule an appointment with your vet as quickly as possible. Most likely culprits are abcessed teeth or oral tumors. If it is an abcess, it can be treated with antibiotics and dental care. Hedgehogs do seem to be prone to oral tumors, these can be a wide variety of types, some rapid growing some very slow. Some can be treated with surgery or medications to maintain the hedgehogs' healthy happy life, others are not so easily treated.

    My hedgehog wobbles when it walks. Is there something wrong?-
    A healthy hedgehog should not wobble when it walks. The easiest cause of wobbliness to figure out and solve is partial hibernation. Feel your hedgehog's abdomen. If it is cool to the touch, then it is possible that your hedgehog is attempting to hibernate. Another cause of wobbliness that is pretty easy to treat is an ear infection. This can make them appear rather drunken and off balance, but normally can be treated easily and cured completely with a course of antibiotics. In some cases, hedgehogs can become wobbly due to toxins, either from the environment or ones produced by their own bodies. Some illnesses can reduce the function of organs like the liver or kidneys that help filter out toxins from the body. If these organs are not operating properly, toxins can build up in the body and cause difficulties in the function of nerves. One illness that is commonly blamed for any sign of wobbliness is Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome, or WHS. This is a severe neurological disease that causes gradual paralysis that progresses until the hedgehog is completely paralyzed and unable to move about on their own. Normally, the hedgehog is euthanized when their quality of life becomes very low, but in some cases the owners continue to do supportive care until the hedgehog is no longer able to swallow, and may experience respiratory difficulties from inability to control the muscles that control breathing. At this time, there are multiple supportive treatments that can be used to slightly slow the progress or keep the animal comfortable for a longer period of time, but there is no cure. This illness can be genetic, with multiple animals from a single family coming down with the illness, but there are some forms that appear to be caused by some issue other than genetics. Other problems that can cause wobbliness include brain or spinal tumors, minor strokes, neurological infections, or injuries to the head, back, or legs.

    Why is my hedgehog's eye cloudy or bulging?-
    Cloudiness or abnormal bulging in a hedgehog eye is a sign of one of a variety of problems. Sudden onset cloudiness or bulging is often a sign of an injury to the eye. It is possible that your hedgehog either bumped it on something, or caught it with a foot while they were scratching. Gradual onset is typically seen in situations that can include tumors, infections in the head or face, or cataracts due to age or illness. Any time your hedgehog has a cloudy or abnormally bulging eye, you should take them immediately to the vet. Some problems can be treated with medication, allowing your hedgehog to keep their vision and eye.

    My hedgehog cut itself, what do I do?-

    First of all, get any major bleeding stopped. This can be done by putting a bit of direct pressure on the injury with your finger wrapped in a bit of gauze or if necessary, paper towel. If the cut is very small, shallow, and does not gape open, it MAY be able to be treated at home without vet assistance, but it is a good idea to call your vet to ask their opinion and suggestions. If the cut is long, deep, gapes open, or has blood squirting or spraying out, you need to get your hedgehog to a vet IMMEDIATELY. Hedgehogs don't have a large amount of blood circulating in their body, and losing too much blood from a severe injury can cause them to die.

    Why is my hedgehog's nose bloody?-
    It is not uncommon for an active hedgehog to repeatedly scrape their noses on the wall of their cage or an obstacle. These injuries can cause a frightening amount of bleeding, but normally are quickly healed. These injuries typically appear to be a scrape either on the end of the nose or on the top of the snout. If this is the problem with your hedgehog, try providing more stimulus for your hedgehog. Either more out of cage time, a wheel, more toys, or anything else to keep the hedgehog entertained can be helpful. If your hedgehog is rubbing their face on the front or side of their cage, try re-arranging the cage accessories to reduce the amount of bare cage wall that your hedgehog is pacing.
    If your hedgehog is bleeding from the nostrils, then you need to get to a vet immediately. These can be signs of tumors in the sinus cavities, ruptured blood vessels in the lungs, injury to the nose or respiratory tract, or other severe medical issues that need to be dealt with immediately.

    My hedgehog has crusty looking zits, what is it?-
    There are several issues that may cause crusty looking sores or pimples in hedgehogs. One possibility is an allergic reaction. This is more likely if your hedgehog has recently been changed to a different bedding, different brand of same bedding, or different detergent on fabric beddings. Another possibility is a skin infection. Staph infections often present as crusty looking bumps on the skin, frequently focusing on the legs, feet, and face. A vet visit is necessary to determine the exact cause of these wounds, and to find the appropriate treatment for them.

    What is this lump, bump, or mass on my hedgehog?
    Sadly, hedgehogs are prone to developing cancers. Any lump, bump, or mass should be checked out by your vet as soon as possible to rule out easily treated causes, and to discuss treatment options if it is a tumor.