HEDGEHOG NEWSLETTER - NUMBER 44
Please let me have any tips, comments, ideas, problems or information that I can pass on to other hedgehog rehabilitators by way of this newsletter. Do try to send any information that may be of interest to other carers and if you are a beginner then feel free to ask any questions. If you are anywhere other than in the UK please remember this newsletter is about the European Hedgehog and that drugs and legal implications may be different in other countries.
Please note that I receive comments from other rehabilitators so when I use the word "I" this is not necessarily referring to me personally but rather the original author.
I am also using e-mails to get quick answers and views on carers' problems. Topics can then be included in later newsletters - in this newsletters are views on Frontline, self-mutilation and poisoning. The originator of the query receives comments as they come through.
Pus from eye
Request for Help:
I have a hedgehog with pus coming from the right eye. I found him last May and have done everything to cure him...many visits to the vet...2 operations - one to remove damaged eye and one to try to clear up the infection....6 different antibiotics...wiping the eye every day. Giving him good food with vitamins. Keeping his bed clean etc. But still the eye produces pus each day, .not much it would cover half a 5 pence. Now the vet has done a test to find which antibiotic actually kills this bacteria. He has had a week of the new drug but the eye remains the same. I'm at a loss. In himself he has gone from a poor thin hog to a proper hog - from 500g to750g. He is not stressed. He lives in an 8ft run on grass with a wooden sleeping box.
The bacteria causing the problem are: Bacteriodes sp., Pasteurella multocida and Enterococcus sp.
The only antibiotic that killed the bacteria in sensitivity tests was Stomorgyl but it only comes in tablet form. I gave half a night in food for 3 weeks. So far it has made no difference!
A - One carer came up with the following suggestions
Suggestion 1. An antibiotic mixture of Baytril 5% and Lincocine 5% (have cured many an infected hog with this combination)
Suggestion 2. Diluted Iodine (vets use in ops)
Suggestion 3. Calendula lotion (dries up weepy wounds)
Suggestion 4. Tea Tree antiseptic cream (clears up surface wounds)
B - from a carer in France - I meet a similar problem, and the cause was a teeth, I press on the abscess and the vet take off the teeth, there was many pus since 2 days and I give Baytril since 10 days and inflammatories and the hedgehogs was OK.
C -from a Veterinary Surgeon - It probably needs an x-ray to see if the sinuses are affected and to look for any fractures, sequestra or foreign body. If it is affecting the sinuses it will be near impossible to clear up with drain placement, curettage, flushing on top of culture and sensitivity tests. The wound will need to be fully examined under GA and investigated for possible sinus tracts etc. A difficult case to cure.
D - from a veterinary surgeon - There is only one serious answer - and that is to stick with the same vets and follow their advice. They know what the eye and the socket was like when they operated originally, they would know the likely source of this persisting infection and the likelihood of being able to clear the problem with further surgery. If no joy then ask for a second opinion.
E - from a veterinary nurse - You see this a lot in rabbits and it is usually caused by an abscess in a tooth root, generally a back molar. Since hedgehogs are known to have dental problems it is possible that a dental abscess is causing the discharge. Any possibility of giving the hedgehog a light anaesthetic and having a look around. The solution may be as simple as pulling a tooth.
F - from a carer - In response to the e-mail concerning the Hog with exudate coming from the eye - I'm don't really have any idea, though I did have a Hog which had an ear that continuously oozed despite rigorous treatment and antibiotics and when left untreated for any length of time every facial orifice would weep. After about 4 months the decision was made to put the Hog 'to sleep' and the
exudate was put down to either an abscess deep within the ear canal or even within the skull itself. This cannot be confirmed though as no post mortem was done.
G - from a veterinary surgeon - Has the vet actually checked to see if the pus contains bacteria, a simple smear of the pus on a microscope slide is best (I am happy to do the test for free if no one else will). If there are no bacteria/yeasts etc then the pus is probably dried tears from the tear gland that may have remained after the eye was removed.
Update from the carer -
I am now trying homoeopathy. I don't want to give up because the hedgehog is otherwise doing
Well - eating a variety of food and not showing stress. I have moved him into the 8ft. by 6ft. greenhouse as I have seen flies round the bed box on warm days. They can smell the small amount of pus coming from the eye socket. (I clean the eye every day.) I think the pus is coming from the back of the nose and draining out of the eye. Some comes down the nose as well. He now weighs 725 grams.
Pox Virus in hedgehogs
A couple of months ago I was called to collect 2 approx. 4 - 6 week old Hogs from a local garden. Both were keen to eat though one had an injury to the lip. The following day I was called to collect a 3rd - this one was smaller and had a wound on it's back and a damaged claw. The wounds were treated and it was reunited with its siblings.
The wounds continued to fester despite regular cleaning and antibiotics. A couple of days later all 3 had wounds mainly on the feet so I took the Hoglets to the vet and also 2 adult Hogs from my garden (free range) who had strangely developed foot injuries. I explained the situation and suggest
that one toe on one of the small one may need to be removed.
When I returned later to collect them I was asked by the vet, who told me she was very concerned and had taken every precaution - triple gowned, gloved and face masked, 'Do Hedgehogs get leprosy?' After I'd picked myself up of the floor I confirmed that yes they do, but not in Lytham St.Annes! She explained that the Hoglet with the toe which I had suggested be removed didn't actually have a toe and what looked like the claw was in fact a fragment of protruding bone. Bacterial sensitivity tests were done.
Two days later all 5 Hogs went to have various dressings changed. The vet rang me mid operation and distraughtly exclaimed that she had just removed the dressing from the adult female's front leg to find that she no longer had a foot left! The necessary action was taken and 2 bodies were sent for
The bacterial tests showed gram -ive and gram +ive results and the PMs results basically concluded that the wounds were due to some kind of 'Pox virus'. The remaining 3 Hogs have Know all recover though have various toes and chunks of foot missing. No other Hogs have been infected.
Have you any experience of something similar? I assume the mother of the Hoglets was the point of infection and that she had died thus the young went in search of food.
Treatment use: The treatment that we used on the 'pox' hedgehogs consisted of intensive wound
cleaning, application of peridine soaked dressings and an antibiotic called 'Norodine 24' manufactured by: Norbrook Laboratories Ltd UK, 105 Armagh Road, Newry, Co. Down.
+44(0)2830260200 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The dose we used was 0.1ml/100g s/cut. Initially given daily for one week then the situation was reassessed. The worst affected H/hog was given over 30 day's worth of dosage.
All successfully treated H/hogs have now been released.
A - from a carer - In reply to your above enquiry. I am not sure if my experience is relevant or not. I received 3 juveniles. 1 female, 2 males after a few days the hutch floor was splattered with blood on examination one male had an newly injured foot, so I removed him and treated his injury with dermisol baths and Baytril antibiotics, a few days later the other male had the same injury so he was removed and the treatment repeated. The female was rightly or wrongly accused of biting her sibling's feet. Both injuries went very nasty although they initially were not that bad. One has now been released and one is still having treatment and their injured feet have a 'club foot' appearance.
B - from a veterinary surgeon - The first thought this year is of course foot and mouth. I would have been panicing and sending samples to DEFRA!
We certainly get gangrenous infections in toes and feet resulting in loss of toes. Often also self-mutilation, presumably because of reduced sensation in the feet. Causes seem to be various bacteria, often mixed infections as a complication of dried faeces or mud and vegetation build up around the nailbed - have not had poxvirus that I can remember. Also have considered 'frostbite' type lesions as a result of hypothermia and vasoconstriction causing issue damage in young autumn hoglets, but this is probably too early in the year for that.
C - from a carer - Incidentally regarding your query about poxy hogs -= I had a two week old baby (one of a litter of four) that had a very strange foot - it had a large crusted mass on its back foot. This eventually resolved and the foot was left with one toe missing. No other hogs were affected though and all were normal in every other sense.
At the time the request for information was sent out another carer was having a similar problem. Only the front feet were affected. One of the young hedgehogs died and the post mortem result that came back was inconclusive. " The lesions of the feet may have been of traumatic origin with secondary infection and necrosis in the exposed dermis. No evidence was found for viral infection." The surviving youngsters were treated with Betamox LA (long acting) and dosed with 0.2mls (for hedgehog weighing 250gms). This was given every other day for 8 days (4 doses). The feet were bathed in salt water and treated with wound powder.
A hedgehog with a snotty (green) nose that sometimes caused nosebleeds was found to have a yeast infection. This was treated with Sporodox.
Has anyone had similar symptoms in their hedgehog(s)? It looked like Balloon Syndrome but it was caused by fluid. A wound near a shoulder produced a green coloured fluid while fluid drained from the abdominal cavity was a milky colour.
Private Members' Bills
This article makes no pretence to complete accuracy - it is based on general knowledge gleaned, by the author, from a number of years as a Government Official.
Legislation comes in two basic categories - that proposed by the Government and that proposed by individual MPs.
Government Bills are usually based on electoral commitments and are built into the Parliamentary timetable. Each Government Bill is prepared by Government Lawyers.
All backbench MPs are entitled to enter their names in a ballot for the opportunity to present a Private Members' Bill to Parliament. Those successful MPs towards the top of the ballot will come under pressure from a variety of interest groups each pressing for changes in the law which directly affect their interests eg Environmental interests - Friends of the Earth; Animal Welfare - RSPCA; Law Reforms - the Law Society. These large organisations will often arrange for the legal preparation of the Bill they favour.
There are also Private Bills - these should not be confused with Private Members Bills.
In practice, because only Fridays in each Parliamentary session are allocated for private members' business, only a handful of Private Members' Bills (those towards the top of the ballot), are likely to become law. Pressure of Parliamentary time is the main stumbling block for Private Members' Bills - where discussion is unfinished at the end of a Parliamentary Session the Bill must fall (as indeed must Government Bills).
Therefore it is essential that a Private Member's Bill has significant support from a majority of MPs and that it is not controversial. Some support from the Government is also important, particularly as such support may carry with it assistance from Government Lawyers with detailed drafting.
Procedurally, a Private Member's Bill follows the same stages as a Government Bill. These are:
a formal first reading,
a second reading (debate on principles),
a committee stage (small number of MPs meet to go through the Bill in detail and to agree amendments as necessary),
a report and third reading (usually taken together).
If passed the Bill will become law (an Act).
There may well be a considerable time lapse between these stages given that Private Members have only Fridays for discussion of their Bills.
Support for, or opposition to, a Private Members Bill is voiced in the same way as a Government Bill, by letters or deputations to a constituency MP or to the MP who is sponsoring the particular Bill.
A Private Members Bill is usually published before its set date for a second reading and copies are then available for purchase from The Stationery Office Limited (formerly HMSO). Details may also be found on http://www.parliament.uk/
If members of the public wish to object to particular details the time to do this is probably after the second reading. Letters can be sent to the MPs who make up the committee. Members of the committee should be available on the House of Commons web site. www.parliament.uk It will not be posted there until after the second reading. If objecting before the second reading it is advisable to get a copy of the Bill as many rumours can be spread giving false information. Objections can be made at the first reading but often the public does not know about the Bill at that time.
Note:- I did not find the web sites very easy to use - it might be better to contact your local Stationery Office outlet
Check the Stationery Office retail outlets (formerly HMSO) web site to see when the document is available www.thestationeryoffice.com - this was under construction at the time of writing. Or contact the House of Commons on 020 7219 4272, fax 020 7219 5839 or e-mail email@example.com
Although I requested information about fostering I have not had any replies so thought I would put forward a few suggestions.
The Hedgehog Helpline has fostered youngsters with other litters successfully but there is always a risk that the mother may turn on the new babies and perhaps also her own. When we foster we try to use a little common sense when deciding whether to or not. For example if a mum was flighty and hyperactive with her litter, if she had been considerably traumatized or her move was prolonged then we would not foster. Small mothers would probably not make suitable fosters mums as they are more likely to be first time mums, big females have probably done it all before and therefore are more suitable. We would probably only put 1 or 2 foster hoglets in with a foster mum. They have 10 teats but it may be better to limit the number of hoglets to about 6. Only put in those of about the same age and size. Some of the female's bedding can be wrapped around the foster hoglets so they get her scent on them. Keep an eye on what is going on so you can intervene if you think the hoglets are being attacked. Do not foster if you think the new hoglets may have an infection (this might be passed on) or they have been injured and need treatment (the nest needs to be disturbed every time treatment and medication is given).
One carer had a litter of newborn hoglets (I mentioned this in a previous newsletter) and she took a female's hoglets (aged about 4 weeks) away from her and replaced them with the newborn ones. The carer finished rearing the original hoglets and the mum successfully reared the new ones. The carer had the female in care for a while and knew her to be placid.
However there is always a risk and we have had natural mums that have been traumatised attack their own young when they were reintroduced after a move.
Flea and Tick Treatment
Mitex-R has been suggested as a treatment for fleas, ticks, mites (visible ones) and lice. It is a natural remedy made by Medichem in Seven Oaks.
I have been asked for addresses of companies that supply fund raising items and the following are some suggestions. They may require you to have a minimum order of around £100-£150 if you want free postage- orders under this amount may be charged postage of around £3
Blackhouse Industrial estate
They also do lots of personalised items.
Bristol BS2 0UL
Freephone 0800 458 9658
A R Brown
223. Derby Road.
Derby DE73 ISF.
Tel: (01332) 700531.
Fax: (01332) 690235.
Sell pewter pins 70p + VAT (at time of writing). Have hedgehogs and mother with 2 hoglets. Pewter Key rings are also available. Usually send a piece of cover display board for the pins to be mounted on.
Perky Pet Foods
1 & 2 Moorland Way
Lincoln LN6 7JW
01 522 696467 Fax 697462
Spikes Hogline 01522 688300
Web site www.spikesite.co.uk
Makes Spikes Dinner, supplies fund raising items, supply Esbilac
If you are organising a course or know of one please let me know and I can include it in the next newsletter, the next issue will be out towards the end of January 2002.
"Lower Moss Wood Wildlife Hospital Conference 9-10 November 2001.
We are holding our 7th symposium for wildlife rehabilitators. The venue as always is Pettypool Outdoor Centre (Mid-Cheshire Sheltered Workshops) Pool Lane, Sandiway, Northwich, Cheshire.
Saturday only: including buffet lunch 25.00
Saturday only: including lunch and supper 32.00
Friday and Saturday: dinner, lunch and supper 45.00
Overnight accommodation is available at Petty Pool in the form of chalets (four bunk beds, shower room and WC)
Friday night @ 20.00 including Saturday breakfast
Saturday night @ 16.00 including tea /coffee Sunday morning
The topics include Messing About on the River - Paul Heaton RSPCA (Inspector), Wound Management - Dick Best, an open forum, Legal Aspects - Dick Best. There are also some short talks from people with information "services" for wildlife carers.
For further enquiries contact Ray tel. 01565 755082 or email:
Please send any comments or contributions for the next newsletter to:
Kay Bullen, 5 Foreland Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff CF14 7AR tel 029 20623985.
web site at: http://www.hedgehg.dircon.co.uk/hedgehogs
mon adresse email