Hedgehog Health

A healthy pet is a good pet. Understanding how to monitor the health of your hedgehog is important. The following are a few things to look for. If you are concerned about your hedgehog's health, please visit a veterinarian.

Green Poops
A common sign of hedgehog discomfort is commonly referred to as the "green poops." There are multiple causes of this well-known problem. Dairy products and general stress are two common causes. If this condition does not clear up quickly, you need to have a veterinarian check for other causes such as infection, injury, or cancer.
While dairy products often lead to digestive problems, low-fat plain yogurt has been noted as a dietary aid for hedgehog digestive systems. Many hedgehog owners feed their hedgehog yogurt daily to avoid problems.
Average hedgehogs run about three miles each night. If your hedgehog isn't running around, it has a problem. It could be sick or simply depressed. If it is sick, you should visit a veterinarian to diagnose and treat the hedgehog. If it is depressed, try to cheer up your hedgehog. They like to roam, forage, and hunt. Hide some treats around. Give it a new toy to play with. Take it out for a stroll around a park (just keep a close eye on it in case it darts off at super-hedgie speed).
If your hedgehog is suddenly lethargic and has a cold belly, it is probably attempting to hibernate. Immediately warm the hedgehog. Then, look for the source of coldness that triggered the hibernation: a cold spot on the floor or an air conditioner vent will probably be the cause.
Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome
If your hedgehog appears to wobble when it stands and walks, it is very likely that your hedgehog is experiencing Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome. This is a well-documented disease that currently cannot be cured. More information is here.
Hedgehogs can have a stroke or heart attack. Similar to humans, a hedgehog will become wobbly and sometimes paralyzed on one side. The hedgehog should be rushed to an animal hospital quickly.
Red-Itchy Skin
Hedgehogs have allergies just like humans. Many are allergic to plant oils. If your hedgehog has red skin (and especially if it appears swollen), your hedgehog is likely allergic to something it is touching. It is highly likely that the allergin is an oil, but it could be a food item, a blanket, or even the soap you are using to wash your hands. Find the cause of the allergy and remove it. In extreme allergic reactions, a hedgehog must be rushed to a veterinarian to be treated.
There is a non-allergic issue that can also cause red skin. If your hedghehog has fleas, it will try to scratch and bite at them. Over time, this leads to red skin. You must ensure that your hedgehog is free of fleas and similar pests using standard insect repellent for pets, such as cat flea bath.
Losing Quills
All hedgehogs lose some quills throughout their life. At one point (around their first year), they lose most of their baby quills as they are replaced by adult quills. If your adult hedghehog is continuing to lose a lot of quills, there is a problem. Stress is a common cause of depression which can lead to a hedgehog purposely scratching off its quills. Malnutrition causes quills to fall out. Cancer causes quill loss around the tumors. Mite infections will eventually lead to quill loss. There are more causes for quill loss, but all must be diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian.
Yellowing Under Armpits
This is a common result of obesity and may lead to fatty liver disease, which is serious if not treated. If your hedgehog is having difficuly rolling into a tight ball, it is likely obese. You should increase your hedgehog's exercise through increased playtime. Also, decrease your hedgehog's caloric intake by slowly switching to a more appropriate food.
Lumps Under Skin
Hedgehogs are prone to cancer. However, there are situations that will cause a benign lump, such as an allergic reaction. All lumps should be inspected by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Tattered Ears
Dry skin will often lead to cracked and tattered ears. Apply cocoa butter to your hedgehog's ears on a daily basis until the ears appear to have healed. Then, continue once or twice a week just to ensure they don't get too dry again.

See Also

Further Reading