HEDGEHOG NEWSLETTER - NUMBER 65
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.
As a hedgehog rehabilitator I am often asked for advice on matters like keeping hedgehogs out of gardens because of a dog that attacks hedgehogs etc. Are there any problems you would like some guidance notes on eg planning applications, keeping hedgehogs out of gardens ect etc. Let me know and I will see what I can come up with.
The BHPS’s latest leaflet is about “I would like a hedgehog for my garden – how do I get one”. It is on their web site www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk on Home page go to FAQs and leaflets then scroll down the list – it is the last one. Hard copies are available to take to any events you attend.
Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome
Several years ago the Gower Bird Hospital reported through the BWRC newsletter “The Rehabilitator” that it had received a number of cases that in pet hedgehogs (African Pigmy) had been described as Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome. Then there was a gap in the cases seen and now this year another has appeared.
If anyone has had hedgehogs that are wobbly (but this is not due to hypothermia) and symptoms have progressed then please do keep a record and let us have details so we can see whether this is a wide spread problem or isolated to South Wales.
Learning more with CCTV
Many people seem to have CCTV and a number have been set up to watch hedgehogs specifically. These videos give an ideal opportunity to spy on the hedgehog in its natural environment and learn more about hedgehog behaviour. I am often asked have you seen hedgehogs doing this or that and often I have not but I don’t have the chance to go out to follow and watch hedgehogs every night. Please let me have any reports of unusual behaviour or indeed any types of natural behaviour.
Leukaemia in hedgehogs
A carer has contacted me to say she has had a hedgehog diagnosed with leukaemia. It was starting to lose weight and was also very pale. Blood tests seemed to confirm that this is the correct diagnosis.
Note; most mammals are much the same as we humans and if we can get leukaemia there is no reason why wildlife should not get it.
I also needed to let you know about the treatment I used for the oral thrush infection in the hoglets. I used Daktarin Oral Gel once a day, anti-fungal cream on their tummies and Merc Sol 30c and Nat Mur 200c homeopathic remedies.
From a previous newsletter - A month or six weeks ago I had a wee hedgehog (around 80g.) come in with a very short snout. He had immense breathing difficulties which did not respond to antibiotic and I eventually had him euthanased. Now I have another, from a different area, but vey much the same. This wee lass has an overshot bottom jaw - her front bottom teeth touch the centre of her nose - and again immense breathing difficulties. I'm sure they're not born like this or they would not have survived and developed at all. My feeling is that it is something which happens as they grow and about this size their airways block and it becomes a problem. Do you have any experience of a similar problem? I'm prepared to keep trying with this little one, but am coming to the opinion that it is a growth thing that cannot be remedied - in fact can only worsen as she continues to grow. I have her in the incubator and have been syringe feeding her a mixture of Royal Canin 'Baby Cat' and some a/d food - a high protein product which is fine enough to go through a syringe when watered down. I'm not sure I'm winning the battle...
Suggestion 1 - The only thing I can think of is Atrophic rhinitis in piglets, due to a bacterial infection, Bordatella if ? I remember my ? large animal lectures from the turn of the century! (this has been suggested by 2 veterinary surgeons).
Suggestion 2 - We had a small hedgehog with an overshot jaw and as a result spent ages syringe feeding with ad, as it grew it's jaw re-contoured and we released it as it eventually coped with normal food.
All I can say is stick with it as there is a chance with a decent diet that things may improve for the hog in question, though in fairness the hog we had did not appear to be as malformed as the New Zealand one.
Suggestion 3 - Hi. I have heard of something similar in other animals. It could be a
calcium deficiency either caused by a lack in the diet or essential vitamins
needed to make use of calcium in the diet.
Suggestion 4 - If they see any more it would be very interesting to see radiographs
This could be a congenital problem that the animal "grows into"
Similarly it could be caused by bone distortion due to an infection - radiographs would help a lot in at least "typing" the disease process
The little hedgehog died and the carer’s vet carried out a post mortem (he was also provided with another dead hedgehog of about the same size for comparison) here are his findings:
I had 2 hedgehogs of similar age. 1 affected, one normal to compare.
The affected hog had a more broad nasal area. The bite of both hedgehogs were the same with dentition similar. The nasal pad of the affected hog was slightly shorter. Giving it an appearance of having a shorter nose.
With the skin removed the nasal bone pathology was apparent with mild osseous bulging of the nasal and maxilla bones.
I then cut in a transverse plane the nasal area just rostral to the eye to expose the interior of the nasal cavities. In the affected hog the soft tissue of the conchae (nasal turbinates) were very inflamed and swollen. Thus reducing the free space of nasal cavity significantly. There seemed to be no loss of turbinate detail.
Histology would be the next step. As the hog has been dead for a while culture/cytology is probably going to be unrewarding. Or if you get another similar case a sample collected could be checked by cytology first then possible culture.
Thought you might appreciate some feedback on the Mycozole. I gave two hogs treatment twice a day (dosed by weight) for the full 7 days - one is now practically completely recovered (yay!) and actually showed an instant improvement. The other...well, he's not so good. He was much balder to start with and has horribly curled, distorted, sparse spines and thickened yellow claws, so while the Mycozole has soothed him and improved him a fair bit, he's certainly not regrowing healthy spines or anything.
I guess he's probably suffering from some mange-type thing, so if you have any suggestions for what would be effective treatment for that, I'd be really interested!
Thanks for the mycozole tip though - I was getting really worried that nothing would ever work on either!
I am a hedgehog carer working within Leicestershire.
On 10th July 2009 a female hedgehog weighing 765 grams was brought to me having been found ‘out in the day.’ Upon inspection of the hedgehog it appeared that it had possibly been injured around its skirt area (only the prickles appeared to be affected where it joined the fur of the skirt). Apart from the usual covering of fly strike there was a distinct aroma coming from the hog together with a black necrotic type of pus.
The following day I took the hedgehog to the vets who, after a general anaesthetic cleaned the area at the skirt circumference of the hedgehog to the shoulder area on both sides of the body.
This revealed that the prickles touching the skirt, for a width of about one inch was infected around the whole circumference up to the front legs. The area at the base of the back had become necrotic with no obvious sign of injury. All of the hedgehog’s fur was in good condition with no evidence of it having been burnt or otherwise. There were small signs of new skin growth which the vet felt this unknown condition might be treatable with a course of antibiotics.
Despite having tried all types of food this hedgehog didn’t want to eat, nibbling the bare minimum and over the following week lost 100 grams in weight. The course of antibiotics was having no effect. The hedgehog was able to walk and didn’t appear to have any of the usual hedgehog conditions – lungworm etc.
I returned the hedgehog to the vets where it was agreed that this hedgehog needed to be put to sleep. Upon further inspection it could be clearly seen that this hedgehog had deteriorated and had a deep pus infection around the circumference of its body at the join between the prickles and fur to an approximate width of one inch with the exception of the area from the front legs around the head being normal and healthy.
No amount of antibiotics or surgery would have successfully tackled this condition. I suggested a post mortem however the vet said it would not reveal the cause. The vet who has numerous years experience in hedgehog veterinary work also said that he has never come across anything like this before in hedgehogs.
In view of all the above circumstances I would like to know if ever you have come across a hedgehog with such a condition and if so what the cause is?
If not, do you have a considered opinion as to what the cause may be?
If not, could you publicise this article in the hope that I may have a response.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
My contact telephone number is: 07970 177 437
A following was received from the above rehabilitator in Leicester:
On 23/09/08 I took in a young female hedgehog weighing 130 grams having been found out in the day wandering across Kibworth Golf Course, Leicestershire. ‘Tee’ as I named her looked well with no apparent injuries.
She ate a small amount of Puppy Chum, gaining weight overnight to 145 grams and producing dark green stringy faeces so I started her off on a course of Baytril treatment for five days.
Because of her size on 25/09/08 I took a faeces sample to the vet which resulted in no apparent parasites being found under the microscope.
Lungworm treatment was then commenced together with a Droncit and Depo-Med and a course of Ivomec treatment.
Weight gain was steady with improvement being seen almost immediately in the faeces being brown and finger formed.
By 01/10/08 Tee was transferred into shredded newspaper and into the large grey box that we use. She still was on a heat pad. Puppy and Adult chum were mixed together & she slowly put on weight with faeces being brown and well formed.
On 21/10/08 Tee started to lose her appetite. She weighed 378 grams and then a couple of days later, her faeces appeared to be a little runny in consistency.
She then started to eat the Iams kitten biscuits only. Her faeces were good and she reached 520 grams by 06/11/08. It was at this point that her weight started to deteriorate dropping down to 500 grams by 13/11/08.
Following consultation with the vet a second Droncit treatment was given which didn’t appear to have any effect. Nutri-Gel was used on the food to try and stimulate the appetite. Various foods were tried and for a few days she would only eat bird seeds!
By 17/11/08 Tee’s weight had dropped to 492 grams with her faeces being dark green colour. On 19/11/08 I tried Tee on scrambled egg (made with a spoonful of goats yogurt) which she ate most of it. Despite her weight gradually beginning to gain again, her faeces had deteriorated so much it varied in colour from being pale beige or a mustard colour to it being dark green and of a jelly like consistency. Adult Chum, Iams biscuits were also put out each night however she always only ever ate the scrambled egg. Tee wasn’t even tempted by the fresh chicken. On 26/11/08 I was advised to give 10 days of Baytril treatment. It had no effect.
On 01/12/08 Tee (570 grams) was admitted to the vets for further assessment whilst anesthetised. Nothing untoward was found.
A week of Tee being drug free was required before a further and more detailed examination of her faeces could be made which took us up until 11/12/08 however in the mean time Tee started to eat less and less.
On 05/12/08 I began giving Tee orally by syringe ‘Pro-Kolin’ a pro-biotic paste twice a day. She took this easily which was an absolute pleasure and by this time I was getting anxious to find out what exactly was wrong. Tee was eating less and less of the scrambled egg however on 09/12/08 I gave her a little bowl of live mealworms which were no more in the morning!
Still other foods were put out but live meal worms and the scrambled egg became her daily diet.
Her faeces now varied to include black in colour (I expect as a result of the meal worms)
And then finally on 15/12/08 Tee’s results came back from the laboratories and she was diagnosed as having the parasite ‘Gardia Lamblia’ within her which is treatable with the antibiotic ‘Flagyl’ given orally once a day for five days.
Tee was now weighing 590 grams and within a couple of days there was a notable difference in her faeces. They were brown and finger formed! It was an absolute delight to see. The antibiotics finished on 23/12/08. Tee was still only eating scrambled egg and live meal worms but her faeces were brown and finger formed. Within a couple of days of her finishing her antibiotics on 25/12/08 Tee started her hibernation period taking over seven days to go down properly.
On 26/01/09 I checked Tee in her box and she was still alive and in hibernation. I really hoped that Tee was strong enough to make it through this period and she wakes up and resumes a normal hedgehog in care diet - not scrambled eggs and live mealworms!
On 03/04/09 Tee awoke for a snack overnight resuming hibernation until 10/04/09 when she awoke properly and started eating Iams kitten biscuits. Tee’s weight dropped to 498 during hibernation however she has made it through her first winter. It has been an anxious time awaiting the outcome but the reward feels immense.
I have written this article for the benefit of other hedgehog carers in the hope that they too may consider this condition when treating a sick hedgehog. Giardiasis (also known as Beaver Fever) is a one celled parasite known as Gardia Lamblia and in the main is transported via water. It can lie dormant within the intestinal tracts of warm blooded animals before activating and causing abdominal pains, diarrhoea, weight loss and nausea for weeks. It is treatable with antibiotics as mentioned above. Further information about Giardiasis is available on the Internet.
At the time of writing this article Tee is weighing 622 grams and is outside in a nest box eating and is doing just as she should be.
The knowledge that she has given me and in turn I share with you all, together with the pleasure of seeing her make it into the big wide world out there is all that hedgehog rescue work is about. I very much want her to have a long and happy life because she deserves it!
I pass on the following observations, and would be interested to have your feed back.
We have regular nightly visitors for whom we put out food and water. On our patio we have clumps of the plant "flea-bane" growing. There is an old wives tale that the smoke from burnt flea-bans helps to dispel fleas.
Twice in the last month I have seen a hedgehog that has been desperately scratching itself, suddenly burrow into a clump of flea-bane and then remain there motionless for about 10 to 15 minutes. despite moments before having been frantically scratching itself.
Have you come across this before? Do hedgehogs know something we do not?
The BWRC is organising a symposium at Writtle College, Chelmsford on Saturday 21st November 2009. To see a provisional programme and other details go to the Home page of their web site www.bwrc.org.uk
If you are organising a course or know of one please let either myself or the BHPS know so we can publicise it.
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