African Pygmy Hedgehogs – Emergencies

Emergencies and your hedgehog

Be prepared

Photo by Michelleness via Flickr

A variety of issues may well arise with your hedgehog. The very first step you should take is to prepare in advance. It is not only vital to have a trusted regular vet, but in addition you need one that is accessible for out of hours and weekend emergency situations.

Remember that when dealing with a seriously injured or possibly unwell hedgehog, the less it’s handled the better. Don’t let your hedgehog get cold particularly when transporting it to the vet. In cooler weather conditions, heat your car up in advance. To help keep your pet warm put a hot water bottle, or something similar under a towel . Very carefully put the hedgehog inside a travel cage or some other suitable carrier and also cover the container using a towel or blanket.


If your hedgehog has an injury that is bleeding, apply pressure to the wound using a clean towel or gauze.

Vomiting and diarrhoea

Take away all food from the cage and provide small quantities of water or an oral electrolyte solution. Should the vomiting and diarrhoea persist seek out veterinary treatment without delay.


If hedgehogs experience low temperature conditions they could become hypothermic. You should try warming up the hedgehog using the methods mentioned above, however if it doesn’t resume normal activity in one or two hours get veterinarian help.

Signs that all might not be well

Outlined below are several typical situations you may find yourself in, when you will have to make a decision whether to take your hedgehog to the veterinarian or not. Often hedgies do not show any symptoms of sickness until they eventually become pretty ill, therefore a rapid response can very often  make a significant difference.

Watch out for the following indicators:

Behavioural changes: If your hedgie starts behaving differently from usual, for example he suddenly becomes unfriendly or overly passive, this could be a symptom that something isn’t right. Book an appointment with your vet within 24 hours.

Collapsed and inert: This, clearly, is most certainly not a very good sign. Take your hedgehog to the veterinarian as quickly as you can. Make sure that you always keep him adequately warm.

Doesn’t eat for for 24 hours: This does not always indicate that there is a problem. Occasionally hedgehogs stop eating for up to 3 days, and then start again as if nothing had happened. In the event that it continues longer than 3 days or there has been a significant decline in your hedgie’s weight, you should take him to the vet as soon as you can. Furthermore, if your hedgehog has not drunk any water for 24 hours, you should again take him to the vet as water is very important.

Hedgie eats any household products,  or any other potentially toxic substances: Take him to the vet immediately. The ingestion of many poisonous products  can be treated successfully if dealt with without delay. The same substances can be lethal should you wait. It is much better to be safe than sorry.

Seizures: Take your pet to the veterinarian immediately. You might want to get the veterinarian check out his blood sugar levels to make sure he hasn’t got diabetes.

Unresponsive and cold: This could be a sign that your hedgehog is going into hibernation. The very first thing to do is attempt to heat  your hedgehog up.  Put him beneath your shirt or on a heating pad, making sure there is a towel or a blanket between the pad and your hedgehog. If your hedgehog hasn’t responded after an hour, take him to the vet.

Walking stiffly: There could be a number of reasons for this, injury,  WHS (Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome) and  arthritis to name a few.  You should seek advice from your vet as soon as you can to find out how to treat it.

Skin problems: If your hedgehog has dry flaky skin and is losing a lot of his quills, he probably has a mite infestation or maybe a fungal infection.  These problems can easily be diagnosed and treated by a vet.

Broken limb: If it looks like your hedgehog may have broken a limb take him to the vet immediately. An untreated fracture will probably heal badly and cause your hedgehog a lot of discomfort.

Upper respiratory infection: A runny nose or discharge from the eyes could be a sign that your pet hedgehog has an upper respiratory infection. This can be quite easily dealt with by your vet, but could kill your hedgehog if left untreated.

Lumps and bumps: Unfortunately hedgehogs are quite prone to cancer. They may also develop cysts. You should take your hedgehog to a vet as soon as possible.

Green poop: If the poop is sticky, take your hedgehog to the vet immediately.  Green poop is frequently an indicator of serious internal problems. Loose stools could be caused by a mild gastrointestinal problem due to change in diet etc. However if it continues for more than a couple of days you need to get your vet to check your pet’s stools.  Green stool is often a general symptom of a very wide range of problems, some that may be quite benign and some can be very serious.