Sick hedgehog with disease
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Common Hedgehog Diseases and Ailments to Look Out For

Sadly our little hogs can get sick from time to time. We can do everything right and still, something happens. But you can prevent their sickness from becoming life-threatening if you get them to the vet in time. That is why it is important to know a few key signs to look out for. Below is a list of common hedgehog diseases and ailments to look out for in hedgehogs.

If you suspect anything is wrong with your hedgehog, it is best to see a vet as soon as possible. Diseases are more treatable when treated early. Although, some issues can be treated at home, such as dry skin. Regardless, if you have any concerns, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Wobbly leg syndrome

First up is wobbly leg syndrome. It is also known as Demyelinating paralysis and will cause your hedgehog to become paralyzed after 9 months followed by death. It happens in 10% of hedgehogs.

Symptoms: falling, tremors, exophthalmos, scoliosis, seizures, muscle atrophy, self-mutilation, severe weight loss, and the inability to close the hood.

Reproductive Diseases

Posthitis, uterine neoplasia, pyometra, metritis, and dystocia are among the more common types. Agalactia can happen in premature births without a suckling reflex. neonates can lose the condition within 72 hr after birth. 

Symptoms: malnutrition, stress, vulvar discharge, lack of oxytocin, inadequate mammary development in young females, and mastitis

Dilated Cardiomyopathy

The cause of this heart failure is not yet known. But it is suggested to come from genetics and diet components. It is good to have your hedgehog receive a radiograph and a vet visit if you suspect heart problems.

Symptoms: dyspnea, decreased activity, weight loss, an auscultable murmur, ascites.

Hepatic Diseases

Hepatic lipidosis is relatively common and may be a sequela of cardiomyopathy, neoplasia, starvation, obesity, toxicosis, pregnancy, or infectious disease. This is mainly dealing with excessive fat in the liver. Preventing obesity can avoid this in most cases. Hepatic necrosis is another disease hedgehogs can get. It is caused by the human herpes simplex virus.

Symptoms: lethargy, inappetence, icterus, diarrhea, and signs of hepatic encephalopathy

Urinary tract Diseases

Cystitis and urolithiasis and Renal disease are common. It can come from Genetic or dietary factors. But can cause serious issues for your hog.

Symptoms: urine color, stranguria, pollakiuria, inappetence, and lethargy.

Respiratory diseases

Respiratory tract infection is common due to environmental temperature and aromatic, dusty, or unsanitary bedding. So be sure you get the right bedding for your hedgehog and don’t use strong detergents. Lungworm is also common. It is a parasitic worm that enters through infected food.

Symptoms: nasal discharge, wheezes, increased respiratory noise, cough, dyspnea, lethargy, inappetence.

Ringworm

If a fungal skin disease that spreads through contact. Fungal spores can last up to a year on contaminated surfaces. So heavily clean the area if your hedgehog gets this.

Symptoms: spin loss, hair loss, crusty skin, scabs.

GI Obstructions:

This when the intestines are blocked by something that is usually ingested. Exams of what could have been ingested are rubber, hair, bedding, toy pieces, or carpet fibers. That is why it is important to keep an eye on your hedgehog and put them in a safe environment.

Symptoms: acute anorexia, lethargy, vomiting, and collapse.

Diarrhea

This can be caused by the changing of daily food, the consumption of inappropriate foods, and the stress from new environments. It also can be a sign of gastrointestinal disease.

Symptoms: liquid-like poop, discolored poop, and appetite change.

Mites

Mites are treatable. They will usually do a lot of scratching and rubbing to show their discomfort. Bedding and cage will have to be cleaned out along with medication.

Symptoms: lethargy, decreased appetite, flaky skin, hyperkeratosis, seborrhea, quill loss, lose quills, and white or brownish crusts at the base of the quills and around the eyes.

Dry Skin

Dry skin is very common in hedgehogs. We have products and an article showing how to fix this! But it is due to hedgehogs naturally having very dry skin. The skin needs to be taken care of just like other diseases. It can cause future trouble.

Symptoms: Flaky skin, scratching, chalky skin, and quill shedding.

Teeth fractures and Abscesses

Hedgehogs can break their teeth on a number of things. They can also receive abscesses that require a closure inspection. It is noticeable by looking at their teeth and gums. It is important to pay attention to their eating habits to know their health.

Symptoms: weight loss, broken teeth, anorexia, and increased salivation.

Dental Diseases

Calculus, gingivitis, and periodontitis are some of the common dental diseases. It is good to give your hedgehog abrasive items in the diet (eg, hard kibble, charcoal, or bone) and antibiotics. This aids in prevention and treatment. If your hedgehog has advanced dental diseases and is elderly, feed it a soft food diet.

Symptoms: weight loss, lack of appetite, mouth oddities, and increased salivation.

Cancer

It is common for hedgehogs to receive all types of cancer. A popular area is in the mouth and lungs, but it can happen everywhere. So keep a lookout for weird lumps and symptoms.

Symptoms: tumors, weight loss, lethargy, vomiting, and more.

Salmonella

You might relate salmonella to eggs. But it also relates to your little hog. They can get it and transmit it. Salmonella can be silent but can also have the below symptoms.

Symptoms: diarrhea, weight loss, decreased appetite, dehydration, lethargy

Obesity

This happens when a hedgehog is overweight. It can lead to serious health risks. Make sure you are not overfeeding your hedgie with its daily food. Keep snacks in moderation. Check out our proper food guide. To help your hedgie, gradually get them on a proper diet and exercise plan. This includes a wheel and toys to encourage activity. There should not be extra fat hanging out when a hedgehog is rolled in a ball. For more tips and guidelines check out our obesity guide.

Symptoms: Not rolling up, inactivity, excess fat deposits (armpits, legs, etc…)

Overall, our sweet pets can get sick just like you! It is important to have an exotic vet nearby that can provide care for your little angel. If you have any concerns or see any symptoms make sure to see a vet right away. They know your pet’s history and can make the best recommendations based on their professional knowledge.

Sometimes having the proper diet can prevent and help with common hedgehog diseases and ailments. So check out our article here to give your pet the ultimate care.

Let us know in the comments if your hedgie has had to deal with one of these before? Our poor hog has had dry skin.

Some information was gathered from https://www.merckvetmanual.com/exotic-and-laboratory-animals/hedgehogs/diseases-of-hedgehogs you can also go there for more information.

common illnesses, ailments, and diseases to look out for in hedgehogs.

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