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PostSubject: Information Thread   Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:37 pm





Hibernation can be fatal if not treated rapidly. If you think your hedgehog is trying to hibernate, you should warm them as soon as possible.

The quickest and safest way to do this is wrap a hot water bottle in a towel, and place your hedgehog on the towel and they should after a couple of minutes start to uncurl

Or place them on a recommend heat mat under a towel or fleece this will also help warm them up, but make it possible for him or her to move off of the heat mat in case they get too warm.

You should NOT put your hedgehog in warm water, because being wet will create more of a chill.

To try and ensure that they don’t attempt hibernation make sure the hedgehogs' cage is not near
a window or a draft and they cages are never under 60 degrees F they should always be somewhere between 72 and 75 degrees F. (20c-25c)

If the temperatures are in this range, and your hedgehog is still attempting to hibernate, it could be that they are not getting enough light and you may need additional lighting in the cage, but his shouldn’t really be necessary the cages are in the right place in your home.

The Manual of Exotic Pet Practice has the following information regarding mites

Ectoparasitism is often diagnosed in African pygmy hedgehog patients. In the wild, tick, flea and mite infestation are common in the various hedgehog species. However, in captivity, maggot, flea and tick infestation are rare. If ticks or fly larvae are found on the pet hedgehog, they can be manually removed. Fleas of the European hedgehog can infest the African pygmy hedgehog, but cat and dog fleas generally do not infest African pygmy hedgehogs. This species predilection likely occurs because of the hedgehog's low body temperature. For treatment the practitioner can choose from a variety of topical or systemic flea control agents. Topical shampoo and powder products for approved use in kittens appear safe for hedgehogs.

Acariasis, or mite infestation, is a common problem of the African pygmy hedgehog. The indentification of these mits is not complete but they are generally accepted to be Caparinia Spp., Chorioptes spp., or Notoedres spp. In on study of wild African pygmy hedgehogs, three mites were found with differing incidences and pathogenicites. Notoedres Oudesmani, a sarcoptic mite, was sporadically found, but is usually infected male hedgehogs and caused high mortality.. Caparinia Erinacei, a psoroptic mite, was indentified on most animals but had low pathogenicity. Rodentopus sciuri, a hypodermid mite, was found on about half of the animals studied, but clinical signs associated with its presence were minimal.

Clinical signs vary greatly as some animals may have subclinical infestation without evidence of pruritus, whereas others may scratch or rub themselves against stationery objects. Anorexia, lethargy, seborrhea, quill loss, overly flaky skin and white or brown mite droppings at the base of the quills and on the face are commonly observed in affected animals. Diagnosis is confirmed by finding the mites or their eggs (nits) microscopically from skin scrapings. Treatment for mite infestation, regardless of the species, is similar, and response to treatment, including environmental sanitation, guides therapy. Treatment with invermectin, permethrin, or amitraz has been successful in cases of mite infestation. Owners and practitioners should be vigilant about environmental sanitation, and all hedgehogs and their habitats should be treated simultaneously.

Ear mites (Otodectes cynotis) are occasionally diagnosed in the captive African pygmy hedgehog. Affected animals may scratch at their ears. Diagnosis is made by finding the mites or their eggs microscopically from a swab of the brown waxy crust generally found in the external ear canal. Treatment is similar to that recommended for ear mite infestation in cats.

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The above is taken directly from the Manual of Exotic Pet Practice and it must be noted that in the case of veterinary treatment always be guided by your vet - you will normally be asked to sign a disclaimer for treatment on APH as there is no recognised treatment in the UK - in the event your vet may not know too much about APH, it is always worth while passing on what information we have been able to find out as the more knowledge our vets can get will lead to a better understanding of APH and suitable available treatments.

Last edited by Snapping Turtle Nellie on Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Information Thread   Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:02 pm


Below you will find a list of safe medicines that can be used with your hog

We will add to it as we find more....please feel free to let us know if you have anything to add..

Baytril- Anti-biotic

Xeno mini 50- Topical treatment for mites and other internal and external parasites e.g. worms

Vitamin B12- Usually an injection to stimulate appetite

Vetgold- Topical healing cream for use on minor cuts, grazes, dry skin, burns etc

Fucimide- To treat eye infections

Marbocyl- Anti-biotic

Metacam- Pain relief

Fuciderm-Steroid cream for sore or scabby

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PostSubject: Re: Information Thread   Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:04 pm


If your hedgehog shows any of these signs, you need to take them to the vet as soon as you can:

Lethargic more than usual *In the case of lethargy of not eating, make sure the temperature is between 74 °f and 90°f in the cage. Anything outside this range can cause hibernation which can be fatal

Sudden changes in their behaviour.
*Any sudden changes are often an important clue. If an ordinarily friendly hedgie suddenly becomes a really huffy or a hedgie who is ordinarily quite huffy suddenly becomes passive.

Doesn’t eat for a couple of days, and there is noticable weight loss, a vet appointment is essential.

Not drinking. Fluids are essential & again book a vet apppointment.

Difficulties breathing or raspy breathing

Any open, bleeding wound

If your hedgehog has a shallow cut which doesn't bleed much, wash the area with warm water but keep a close eye on them to check for signs of infection, or if it does not appear to be healing as even a small wound could be a deeper puncture than you realise

Discharge from nose, eyes, or mouth *signs of a respiratory infection

Excessively flaky skin
*you can check this by placing them on a dark surface to check if it becomes snowy

Diarrhoea / Vomiting
*Hedgehogs that are having severe diarrhea or are vomiting need immediate medical attention

Does not go to the toliet for entire day/night

Green poo *possible sign of internal problems

Any unusual lumps *Hedgehogs are prone to cysts & cancer, dont delay in getting the lump diagnosed

Any unusual sounds

Basically call a vet if you feel that something is wrong and you are not 100% sure you can treat them successfully
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PostSubject: Re: Information Thread   Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:08 pm



Taken from Manual of Exotic Pet Practice.

Life Expectancy 1 - 4 Years Wild, 5 - 10 Years Captive Bred with an average of 3 - 8 Years

Male Adults Weight - 500 - 600 Grams

Female Adult Weight - 250 - 400 Grams

Rectal Temperature - 36.1 degrees - 37.2 degrees (97 - 99 degrees F)

Body Length - 17 - 25cm (7 - 9")

Heart Rate - 180 - 280 beats per minute

Respiratory Rate - 25 - 50 breaths per minute

Preferred Enclosure Temperature - 24 - 27 degrees celcius ( 75 - 80 degrees F)

Male Sexual Maturity - 2 - 6 Months

Female Sexual Maturity - 6 - 8 Months

Ovulation - Induced

Gestation Period - 32 Days

Milk Composition - Fat 25.5g/100g, protein 16g/100g, trace carbohydrates

Litter Size - 1 - 7 Young with an average of 3

Birth Weight - 8 - 13 grams

Eyes Open - 13 - 16 Days

Weaning Age - 4 - 6 Weeks, eating solid foods week 3

Tooth Eruption Deciduous Starts day 18 with all erupted by 9 weeks

Permanent Begings at 7 - 9 Weeks

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PostSubject: Re: Information Thread   Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:10 pm


The most common disease that afflicts the ears of the hedgehog is mange mites.

The second most common is fungal disease.

The normal hedgehog ear appearance is thin, nearly hairless skin with a smooth edge. There should be little or no wax present in the ear canal. The signs of both fungal and parasitic disease are similar and include crusting and thickening of the ear edges, ragged ear edges, flaking of the skin on the ear flap and sometimes accumulation of wax in the ear canal. [The treatment for these conditions is found under the section on Skin Disease]. In addition, hedgehogs can be infested with the same ear mites that can affect cats, dogs and ferrets. The signs include excessive wax in the ear and the hedgehog may be scratching at its ears frequently.

The diagnosis is made by either seeing the mites with the naked eye moving about in the ear (they are white and about the size of the head of a pin) or by examining a sample of wax from the ear under the microscope looking for mites and eggs. All animals that are in contact with the affected hedgehog should be treated.

Hedgehogs can also develop bacterial ear infections. The discharge in the ear will be of a more liquid consistency than normal ear wax and will often have a foul smell. In addition, the hedgehog will be sensitive to touch on that side of its face. The diagnosis is made by examining the ear and the discharge. Your vet may wish to perform a bacterial culture and sensitivity of the material in the ear to aid in selecting an antibiotic. Antibiotics are used topically in the ear and in severe infections antibiotics will also be given orally.

If a hedgehog develops an inner ear infection, it may exhibit a head tilt or circle to one side. Damage to the brain can also cause these signs. Get vet treatment for your hedgehog as soon as possible.


Clinical signs of otitis externa in the hedgehog include sensitivity of the area and purulent discharge and malodor from the ear. Tick and mite infestation may predispose hedgehogs to otitis externa, and bacterial and yeast infections should be included as possible causes. Diagnosis is based on cytology and/or culture of the exudate from the affected ear.

Crusty ear edges, or pinnal dermatitis, is a common finding in captive and wild African pygmy hedgehogs. Skin secretions accumulate at the ear margins resulting in a ragged crusted ear edge. Multiple factors have been associated with this syndrome and include dermatophytosis, acariasis, nutritrional deficiency, low-humidty conditions and dry skin.

Last edited by Snapping Turtle Nellie on Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:23 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Information Thread   Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:11 pm


Hedgehog eye disease is not common most likely due to the excellent protection the quills provide when they are pulled over the face.

Hedgehogs can sustain eye injuries due to fighting or contact with protruding cage wires.

These hedgehogs can also develop infectious eye disease and it is possible that hedgehogs can develop cataracts and glaucoma.

A hedgehog's eyes should be clear, bright and dark. If you notice swelling of the lids or of the eye itself, excessive tearing, squinting, staining of the face with eye discharge or a closed eye there is a potentially serious problem that needs immediate vet attention.

You can gently clean the eyelids or the area around the eye with warm water or saline on a cotton ball if there is dried discharge that might be causing discomfort. Particularly in the case of eye injuries, it is important to get your hedgehog to a vet as soon as possible in order to try to save the vision.


Proptosis and orbital cellulitis has been reported in eight male and female African pygmy hedgehogs ranging in from 2 years. Concurrent neurologic disease was present in two hedgehogs with clinical sings of circling to one side, progressive weakness, reluctance to stand, and lateral recumbency on the ipsilateral side and proptosis on the contralateral side. Degenerative neurological disease was found in these two hedgehogs. One hedgehog had leukopolioencephalopathy, myelopathy, and Wallerian degenration of spinal nerves and the other hedgehog had vacuolar myeloencephalopathy. Incipent anterior subcapsular cataracts were also present in one hedgehog. Fat occupied about 2/3 or the orbit in an obese hedgehog. Orbital cellulitis, corneal perforation and panophthalmitis were the predominant findings in the yes of all reported cases. In most cases of eye disease in the hedgehog, the retina, lens, uvea and retina were extruded through the perforated cornea, and periorbital tissues were markedly inflamed. No definitive cause was found for these cases, but trauma seems a likely cause and the shallow orbit of hedgehogs may predispose them to orbiat disease. Additionally, these cases occurred in Canada, where even the indoor temperature and humidity may be inappropriate for maintaining hedgehogs. All bacteria found were considered opportunistic invaders. Before proceeding with enucleating, lateral tarsorrhaphy may be a viable option for managing these cases, in order to maintain the globe. Surgical replacement of the globe with a prosthetic was not considered a viable option based on the shallow orbit. A complete ophthalmic examination vis isoflurane anesthesia is recommended in all suspected cases of hedgehog ocular obnormalities. Culture and approprite treatment should e initiated early and aggressivley in cases of hedgehogs exhibiting these clinical signs.

Last edited by Snapping Turtle Nellie on Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:56 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Information Thread   Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:12 pm


Tooth and gum disease is quite common with APH’s. This may be due to a diet that is insufficiently high in food items that stimulate the gum tissue. Using hard food as a major portion of the diet is the best prevention, but as the hedgehog ages gum and tooth disease may still develop. Normal hedgehog teeth are white and the gums should be a healthy medium to dark pink in colour.

Signs of dental disease include drooling, foul breath, reddened and/or swollen gums, tooth discoloration and pawing at the mouth.
These signs indicate a serious problem and you should seek vet attention for your hedgehog right away.

Your vet may need to take an x-ray to see if there are any tooth root infections before treatment.

Some hedgehogs who have lost a significant amount of teeth, will need to switch over to a soft diet because they have lost the ability to break down hard food.
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PostSubject: Re: Information Thread   Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:13 pm


Most domestic pets have the potential to spread disease to their human companions. Hedgehogs are no exception. Although disease transmission between hedgehog and human is not common, it can potentially happen with such diseases as salmonellosis [food poisoning] and external parasites. The best prevention for disease transmission is to use good hygiene around hedgehogs or any other hedgehog for that matter. This means washing your hands thoroughly after handling your hedgehog, particularly before eating. Do not wash hedgehog food and water containers or cages in or near human food preparation areas. If there is anyone in the household that has a weakened immune system, they should not be allowed to clean the hedgehog's cage or food and water containers. In addition, children should be instructed in the proper handling of the hedgehog and also should not be allowed to clean the cage until they are old enough to understand the responsibility of hand washing afterwards.

Skin disease is one of the most common reasons that hedgehog APH’s need to see a vet. Normal hedgehog skin should be smooth with occasional small flakes of dried skin. If you notice heavy flaking, quill loss or hair loss, scabs, redness, ragged or crusted ears or swollen, crusted paws there is a problem.

In addition, some hedgehogs will be scratching at themselves constantly. The most common skin disease is caused by a microscopic sarcoptid mange mite. This parasite lives and breeds on the skin and can be transmitted from hedgehog to hedgehog by direct contact. There is a very small possibility that some humans can also contract this parasite, but primarily it affects hedgehogs. Your vet can diagnose the presence of the parasites by examining a small scraping of skin under the microscope for mites and eggs. The condition is treated with an injectable antiparasitic drug. The injection will be repeated two to four times depending on the severity of the disease. All the hedgehogs in the herd should be treated because some may be affected and not be showing signs yet. In addition, it will be necessary to clean the bedding and cages thoroughly because the mites can live for brief periods off of the hedgehog.

If your hedgehog becomes soiled with faeces it can attract the adult fly which lays its eggs directly on the hedgehog's skin. The larvae hatch out in 24 hours and start feeding on the skin immediately. In literally a matter of hours, significant damage can take place. You can remove some of the maggots by washing your hedgehog immediately with copious amounts of warm water and then using hydrogen peroxide [H2O2] on the area and rinsing again. Your hedgehog should be taken to a vet as soon as possible as some maggots may have burrowed deeply under the skin or there may be severe skin damage with the potential for bacterial skin disease to develop.

Hedgehogs can develop fungal disease of the skin. It is most commonly caused by a fungus called Trichophyton mentagrophytes. This fungus can also affect cats, dogs and humans. The signs of the disease are similar to mange mites, but the hedgehog is usually not 'itchy'. The lesions appear mostly around the face and ears with dry, crusty and scaly skin. A vet can make the diagnosis by plucking some affected hair or quills and performing a fungal culture. The treatment may include both topical and oral medications. It is necessary to treat all the hedgehogs that might have had contact with each other. In addition other household pets should be examined by your vet and may also be treated.

The African Pygmy hedgehog population is prone to developing cancer they age. Cancer has been reported affecting almost every organ of the body. Signs of disease vary depending on the area affected. The treatment is based on the organ(s) affected and may even include chemotherapy. It is unknown at this time, why African hedgehogs have such a high cancer rate.
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PostSubject: Re: Information Thread   Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:15 pm


The most common cause of respiratory disease in hedgehogs is a bacterial infection.

The signs of respiratory disease include nasal discharge, decreased or difficulty breathing, increased breathing sounds, loss of energy and sudden death.

Respiratory disease can range from a mild upper respiratory problem to a severe pneumonia.

One factor that may make a hedgehog more prone to develop respiratory disease is if it is kept at too low of an environmental temperature. In addition to this a poor diet and a dusty or dirty environment may contribute. Respiratory disease in the hedgehog can be rapidly fatal if pneumonia develops, which is why you must take your hedgehog to a vet as soon as possible if you see any of the signs listed. Your vet will diagnose respiratory disease based on clinical signs, the physical examination and an x-ray.

You will need to keep your hedgehog in a warm, quiet, clean area while it is on medication.

Exercise should be restricted for hedgehogs with pneumonia until they are back to normal.

Other disorders of the hedgehog that can mimic the signs of respiratory disease include heart disease and cancer in the lungs or chest. These can be differentiated from respiratory disease by x-ray and/or ultrasound examinations.
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PostSubject: Re: Information Thread   Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:16 pm


If you have an emergency with your hedgehog, there are a few things you can do for your hedgehog until you can get to your vet.

You should always transport an ill hedgehog in a small secure container that can be kept warm, especially important during the colder months. If an ill hedgehog becomes chilled, it can lead to serious and potentially fatal complications. A hot water bottle can be placed under a soft towel in the bottom of the container to keep the hedgehog warm. Make sure the lid of the container is perforated for ventilation. When the weather is cold, warm up the car before placing your hedgehog in it.

If your hedgehog is experiencing severe diarrhoea or is vomiting, remove all food and offer only small amounts of water. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling your hedgehog. You can check your hedgehog for dehydration by pulling up on a small section of quills over the back, letting go and seeing how quickly the skin returns to its normal place. Normal hedgehog skin will go back into its normal position immediately, whereas dehydrated hedgehog skin will slowly regain its normal position over several seconds.

You may offer a warmed small amount of honey in warm water orally. Use an eyedropper or syringe, hold the hedgehog so that the head is elevated, but are not completely on its back and slowly push the fluid into the mouth. Give only as much as the hedgehog will take willingly and allow it to swallow before giving more. If your hedgehog vomits within a few minutes discontinue oral fluids immediately.

If your hedgehog is bleeding, put firm pressure on the area to slow or stop the flow of blood. Apply flour or cornflour to a small wound or bleeding nail to slow or stop the bleeding. Do not use powdered products on large open wounds. Bandaging is difficult in the hedgehog, but if there is a large wound on the body that needs to be covered, gauze pads may be held in place by slipping a small section of a sock over the body, from front to back like a tube. The quills will help to keep it in place and it can be easily cut off at the vets.

If there is bleeding from the nose or mouth, do not apply pressure to the face, but rather keep the hedgehog quiet in a small dark box to minimize movement and get medical attention immediately.

If your hedgehog is weak or is unable to move, it may be in severe shock caused by a variety of conditions (such as heat stroke, liver or kidney failure, septicaemia, severe dehydration, intestinal blockage, etc.) or may be suffering from a neurological disease or a fractured limb. Handle your hedgehog as little as possible in case there is an injury to the spine and to reduce further stress. Slide your hedgehog onto a piece of firm cardboard or thin wood to transport it to a small box padded with soft towels. Place a heating pad or a hot water bottle underneath the towels to provide heat. Get your hedgehog to a vet immediately.

Occasionally a hedgehog that is acting sluggish is simply suffering from hypothermia (low body temperature) due to an environmental temperature that is too low. If you warm up your hedgehog as described previously, it should respond within an hour or two and become much livelier and want to get out of the box. If your hedgehog becomes livelier, but still does not return to all of its normal activities, it should still be seen by a vet.

Hedgehogs that are having severe diarrhoea or are vomiting need immediate medical attention.
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PostSubject: GASTROINTESTINAL DISEASE   Sun Aug 14, 2011 6:03 pm

Taken from the Manual of Exotic Pet Practice - Mark Mitchell and Thomas N. Tully Jr.

Pyloric and intestinal obstructions of the stomach and intestines occur in hedgehogs and my be caused by rubber, hair, or carpet fibres, among other things. Clinical sings are similar to those in other small mammals and include acute anorexia (with or without vomiting), lethargy, and collapse. Intestinal mesenteric torsion resulting in fatality has also been reported.

Diarrhea is a commong presenting complaint of hedgehogs and differential include inappropriate dietary components (such as milk) trvrny firysty vhsnhr og firysty infidvtryion, malnutrition, toxicosis, liver diesease, infectious or parasitic causes of diarrhea or systemic disease. Hematochezia should be clearly defined from urinary or vaginal bloody discharge in these cases.

Hepatic lipidosis and obesity are common disease syndromes in the captive African Hedgehog. Obesity is the most likely cause of hapatic lipidosis, but nutrtional imbalance, starvation toxicosis, pregnancy and infectious and neoplastic diesases have also been noted as contributing factors. Clinical signs stem from hepatic dysfunction and include lethargy, inappetence, icterus, diarrhea or sings of hepatic encephalopathy. Diagnosis can be supported by hepatic enzymes, plasma bilirubin and bild acids test results.. Radiography may reveal an enlarged liver, and an ultrasound-guided aspirate can provide a noninvasive diagnosis. Cauthion should be exercised when obtaining dianostic samples of the diseased liver as a dysfunctional liver may result in prolonged clotting times. Treatment is supportive with fluids and a low-protein, low-fat, high-energy, easily digestible diet. Milk thistle of other nutraceuticals may be beneficial in cases of hepatic disease

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