Monitoring Hedgehog Health
Pet hedgehogs depend on us to provide quality care throughout their life and to recognize any potential health concerns. You should visually inspect your hedgehog everyday while handling your hedgie and look for any signs of change or concerns. An observant owner may detect potential problems while they are still treatable, thus ensuring greater health and longevity of their pet.
- Check its eyes to make sure they are bold, clear, round, and bright. The eyes should be wide open. The eyes should not be watery or sunken, dull, or have any discharge.
- The hedgehog’s nose should be moist and clean. It should not be dry, bubbly, or running.
- Your hedgehog’s ears should be clean with no drainage, crustiness, or flaking on the outer part of the ear.
- Check the skin to make sure there are no abrasions, lumps, bumps, excessive dryness, bare patches, or signs of mites.
- The underbelly fur should not be matted.
- The hedgehog’s body should be filled out through the back and sides.
- Some hedgehogs have a streamlined appearance, but their skin should not be loose and they should be filled out below the ribs.
- Other hedgehogs are plumper, but they should not be so fat that they cannot easily roll into a ball.
- Breathing should be regular with no wheezing or signs of stress. Do not confuse the normal hedgehog huffing for the rattle of a respiratory illness.
- Notice the amount of food and water consumption from the previous night and has the hedgehog gained or lost a significant amount of weight.
- The hedgehog’s bowl movements should be similar in color to the hedgehog’s food. Green droppings or diarrhea are signs of illness and stress.
- Your hedgehog should move freely without limping, wobbling, or dragging its feet. A hedgehog’s normal gait will create a “pitter-patter” sound.
- We encourage our customers to visit a veterinarian for a new-pet visit. The purpose of this visit is to establish a relationship with your vet and to monitor the transition from our home to your home.
- Annual well-pet visits are as important to hedgehogs as they are to other pets and even for our own personal physical well-being.
- A trained professional may be able to detect or recognize slight changes in your hedgehog that could indicate a potential problem.
- Do not attempt veterinary care yourself.
- If you have to see the veterinarian it is suggested that you have someone go with you so they can hold the box on the way there to help prevent some of the bumping and vibrations. The last thing you want is a car sick hedgehog that they vet can’t treat.
- Records of your pet’s growth, health, and habits are invaluable tools to monitor changes in your pet.
- The first important details in your record keeping are when and where you purchased your hedgehog, as well as the parent and birth information if available. Most people think they will remember such pertinent facts, but within a short amount of time details are forgotten.
- Many hedgehog owners routinely weigh their pets on a small kitchen scale. Most find that weighing their hedgehog in grams is easier to track rather than in ounces and pounds. Weight can fluctuate with bowl movements and eating so it is important to weigh your pet at approximately the same time each weighing session. Sudden increases or decreases in weight are a clue to your pet’s health status.
- Tracking your hedgehog’s eating and treat habits may also be quite beneficial. Record when you purchased your food, what kind, and how your hedgehog responded to any changes.
When to Seek Emergency Care for Your Pet
The easiest answer as to whether you should seek emergency care for a pet is when you feel his or her medical condition is serious and cannot wait. However, the following general situations should help you determine if you need to seek out emergency care for your pet:
- Difficulty breathing
- Acute abdominal swelling
- Electric shock
- Excessive vomiting or diarrhea
- Excessive bleeding
- Exhibits symptoms of heat stroke
- Repetitive and prolonged seizures
- Snake bites
- High or low temperature (more than 104 or less than 100 degrees)
- Unable to urinate or defecate