HEDGEHOG NEWSLETTER - NUMBER 52
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. 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 may be heavily involved with the Uist Hedgehog Rescue again this year so there may not be a newsletter in April.
Requests for information
The originators of these questions have already received these comments but I am now sharing them with other readers:
Request 1 - Autumn Juvenile problem
Can anyone help me with Sprout? He arrived with his siblings 20-11-03 weighing 317g one of his sisters died a few days later; she had sloppy, smelly, green poo. Sprout had similar problems. Despite heat, Hartmans for 6 days then hand feeding with hog milk with baby cereal added and offering everything I can think of to tempt (chicken raw egg chocolate etc. etc. and today I received some mealy-worms. He just turned his back on them literally. Also he has had Baytril, Panacur and recently Lavamasol. He now weighs 225g. What do I do? Take him to the Vet to be kind or what? He doesn’t appear to be in any pain. The other two siblings are fine.
Reply 1 - When we get the 'I don't care what it is, I'm not eating it' types, we hand feed them Complan (they love the vanilla). Then gradually re-introduce solids. It's never failed for us yet.
Reply 2 - Sounds like standard wormy autumn juvenile to me!! This is what I would do:
Tribrissen 24% 0.1ml per day until diarrhoea stops even 10 days if necessary.
Fluid as is being given 10% body weight per day. Buscopan 0.1ml max dose is 8hrly ie 3x per day if necessary. This will stop diarrhoea and any pain. Most important are wormers Levamisole as has been given, 2 doses 48hrs apart at 20mg per kg ie dilute to 1.5% and give at 0.133ml per 100g body weight, repeat 2 doses after 5 days and on second day give Droncit 0.2ml for this weight, 0.4ml if over 500g, and go on doing it if hog is active.
If the droppings contain coccidia try Intradine diluted to 10% for 10 days (day 1 initial dose- 0.1ml per 100g and days 2-5- 0.05ml per 100g, then leave a gap of 5 days, when Tribrissen can be given as above, days 11-15 go back to Intradine at the smaller dose) don’t give Intradine and Tribrissen together, use another a/b if necessary not sulphur based - Engemycin 5% 0.2ml per 100g. (Baytril won’t touch the diarrhoea - but that's just my opinion!!)
Also I would cut out all milk and eggs, at 300g+ this is a fully weaned hog, several months old, may even be older than it looks, don’t give it chocolate, keep it alive with sub cut fluids and hand feed glop made from pureed kitten, cat or puppy food with baby rusk or baby cereal and vitamins and probiotic powder, cooked chicken is fine. He must be feeling bad not to eat mealworms, need to get his guts settled first. To be honest at this time of year I don’t have time to hand feed, I tend to do it in the summer when we get much younger hogs in (under 100g weaned or almost)
Reply 3 - I would change anti biotic to Synulox, in case it is E coli as Baytril will not be effective against this. Also maybe treat for coccidia. Might be worth sending a poo sample to the vets’ lab for testing, as maybe this will show something. Has his mouth/teeth/jaw been checked to make sure there is nothing preventing him from eating? If all else fails and he doesn’t improve, or respond to any treatment, it may be kinder to call it a day and have him put to sleep.
Reply 4 - We keep these vulnerable hogs in incubators with a continuous heat supply. We have always given the full worming treatment straight away (your e-mail doesn't mention Droncit which will normally kick-start the appetite – a single dose of 0.05 mls for this size hog - as well as a vitamin B12 injection which we have found successful in the past), then continue hand-feeds of Esbilac (2 or 3 times daily) as well as leaving a bowl of the same in the incubator for as long as needed - you may have to do this for quite a long time. If the hog starts to lap on its own cut down on hand-feeds but make sure there is always a fresh bowl of Esbilac in the incubator. If all goes well you can start to introduce a small dish of supermeat kitten food. In other words we go back to basics on hand rearing, keeping it as simple as possible.
If the meat is not successful try ordinary human baby food (porridge is best). Sometimes they will continue on this for a considerable time but will gradually put on weight - keep introducing the meat on a regular basis, as well as biscuits (kitten or Spikes), and we have found that one day they will suddenly decide this is the preferred option!!!!!
If the carer is that way inclined try using the homoeopathic remedy, nux vomica, twice a day before feeding - this sometimes helps with increasing the appetite.
We have found it is worth persevering, no matter how long it takes, as they invariably revert to type.
Reply 5 - You can try to give to the small hedgehogs Flagil for human babies. Give 0.8 ml per kg for 7 days.
Reply 6 - Green poo normally indicates worm infestation or parasite overload. If the Panacur does not alleviate this then give either sub cut fluids or dioralyte for 48 hours and no solids. This should give the digestive system a rest period. In my experience this usually works for digestive problems. After 48 hours introduce small amounts of solid foods e.g. Hills AD (obtainable from vets only) and feed small and often. This hedgehog is most likely the runt of the litter and therefore its initial chances have been greatly reduced.
Reply 7 - I've pulled hog through with AD Hills watered down and syringe fed.
When I've had a hog with poo like this I've found Caogel has sorted it out. Perhaps have a word with your vet and see what they think, it can't hurt
Reply 8 - Esbilac milk mixed with skimmed milk and egg yolk - all shaken together and if needs must, I use a syringe to gentle trickle this in even between 'gritted' teeth - or fingers over the nostrils makes them open their mouth if only a little (all preferably done with the little hedgehog in palm of hand on their back so the fluid runs back automatically obviously a little & slowly to avoid choking!).
My greatest success comes with muffins/ fairy cakes, which, as yet not one has refused and although not great for a permanent diet does seem to get the appetite going again - the favourite ones are Tesco mixed fairy cakes, containing both chocolate and vanilla ones - their favourite one being chocolate.
Request 2 - I have a request from a veterinary surgeon who wants to use Epiphen (pentobarbitone) on a fitting hedgehog. Has anyone used this and what dose is suggested?
Reply 1 - Phenobarbital is the standard drug of treatment for seizures of unknown origin. (Idiopathic epilepsy) Epiphen is the trade name. In the epiphen format, the drug comes in 30mg and 60 mg tablets. Both of these doses are far too high for a hedgehog, with the correct dosage being 1-8mg/kg once daily in dogs and 30mg/kg once daily in cats. (BSAVA Small Animal Formulary, 4th edition, page 203)
There is a phenobarbitol elixir that is 15mg/5ml. This is a paediatric human formulation that is available through chemists, on prescription. The veterinary surgeon can write a scrip for the hog and allowing the carer to give a much more accurate dose. I would think an elixir would also be a lot easier to give than a tablet.
Start with 1mg twice daily (12 hours apart) and increase by 1mg increments until you get less than 1 seizure per month. Phenobarb does have toxic effects on the liver. In dogs and cats we do blood tests every six months to assess the liver damage.
Reply 2 - I have not used it but probably using the elixir at a dose of 1-2mg/kg bid would do, possibly increasing to 3-4mg /kg.
Reply 3 – B1 injections were suggested.
Conclusion – a dose rate of 0.3mls twice daily for 4 days and then increased to 0.6ml twice daily of the 15mg/5ml elixir was used. The hedgehog had originally been having 3-4 fits a day and as soon as the fit was over it seemed to regain its balance and resume normal behaviour. Following treatment the fits went up to 15-20 a day. When treatment was stopped they reverted to 3-4 a day but he was not able to regain his balance immediately following the fit. The decision to put to sleep was taken. It is not know whether this was epilepsy or a tumour or another problem.
Request 3 - Has anyone used an antibiotic called Ibaflin 3% gel?
Its active ingredient is Ibafloxacin. It is to be used on a hedgehog weighing approx 600gms (20-22oz). What dosages have been used successfully? A dose of 0.5ml has been suggested.
Reply 1 - Ibaflin gel contains Ibafloxacin as an effective component. Ibafloxacin is a synthetic broad spectrum antibiotic of the Fluorochinolon group with bactericidal effect. Suggested against E coli
Staphylococcus spp., Proteus mirabilis, Pasteurella spp. Klebsiella spp. and Salmonella spp..
The safety of Ibaflin gel with pregnant cats was not proven.
Reply 2 - This is a new antibiotic by Intervet. It is active against staphylococci, E. coli and Proteus mirabilis. It is advised for use in soft tissue infections, uncomplicated urinary tract infections and upper respiratory tract infections. The dose rate is 15-25mg/kg, once daily. So, a 600gm hedgehog should get between 7.5 and 12.5mg. You will need to look at the package insert to see how many mg/ml and calculate from those figures. Treatment of 10 days should be sufficient. If not, the bacteria need a different sort of antibiotic.
Reply 3 –“Ibaflin Gel is a new highly palatable and easy-to-administer once-a-day broad-spectrum antibiotic for treating skin and soft tissue infections in cats. The active ingredient is Ibafloxacin, the first and only fluoroquinolone antibiotic available as a gel. These antibiotics show excellent activity against many Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Ibaflin Gel can be administered in the animal's food or dispensed straight into the side of the mouth. “
Comment from originator of request - The Ibaflin had been given to me by my local vet to try and using it carefully in the doses stated (0.5ml daily on food) I got some quite good improvements. Cases included a suspected E coli intestinal problem and a severe secondary infection associated with ringworm. No adverse reactions were observed.
This drug has a similar spectrum to enrofloxacin (ie Baytril). The only real advantage appears to be in its formulation.
Try to keep groups of over wintering autumn juveniles in groups of the same sex to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
If the weather is mild and you have a hedgehog that is trying to escape it may be better to release it than to continue with the stress of captivity. This is subject to it being a good hibernation weight. The males seem to be more prone to this than the females.
Hedgehog Awareness Week
Hedgehog Awareness Week is now the responsibility of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. It will run the same as before but any information packs etc will be distributed by the BHPS. The 2004 week runs from 2nd-8th May.
European Hedgehog Research Group (EHRG) 6th International Hedgehog Workshop
3rd – 4th April 2004, Münster, Germany. Venue: The meeting will take place in a conference room at the Hotel
Wersetürmken on the outskirts of Münster. Travel details will be circulated by post or e-mail with the final programme to all EHRG members and to those offering papers.
Cost: The conference registration fee will be 30 EUR, 20 EUR for students. The price will include each day morning and afternoon coffee/tea, and a hot dish lunch. No evening meals will be included. A list of places offering accommodation near to the “Wersetürmken” will be send out with the final programme.
Contact Ulli Seewald (email@example.com) subject “EHRG 2004” for more information.
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 April 2004.
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
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