“How in the hell did this happen?”
Several days later Heavenlyhogs posted a thread entitled “How the Hell did this Happen?”on Hedgehog Central [Click here to see the post] claiming that she had “just this minute” been informed of the ringworm infection and asks for advice. In fact Ian and Julie say she had been informed some six days earlier. It seems obvious that at this stage HeavenlyHogs knows little about ringworm, and mentions at one point that she frequently worms her cats but isn’t sure whether the tablets include a treatment for ringworm giving the impression that she believed ringworm was actually a worm rather than a fungal infection. In her posts she comes over as a very concerned breeder, saying that she will pay the vet fees for Ian and Julie if it is found that the infection originated with her. She seems to only be interested in getting to the bottom of what happened and ensuring that the infection does not spread to her other animals or family.
Several knowledgeable people post on the thread and a lot of information is provided about ringworm and how it is transmitted etc. It is said later that much of the advice given in the thread was later quoted by Heavenlyhogs in subsequent emails as coming from her vet.
What we also learn in this thread is that:
- Before Ian and Julie ever visited Hevenlyhogs’ home,Leo’s brother [more about him later] had a skin scrape for a skin infection which Heavenlyhogs says was treated by her vet with antibiotics, although she never categorically states what kind of infection the hedgehog had. When asked whether it was a staph infection she says “I believe so…”
- Before Ian and Julie visited Hevenlyhogs’ home, Heavenlyhogs herself was suffering from a very bad case of what she says was “infected eczema” and she even posts a photograph (top) to show what it looks like. [See below for further information about this infection]
- Heavenlyhogs is very keen to shift the blame for the infection on to Ian and Julie, suggesting that they might have brought it into her house.
- Heavenlyhogs never did take her hedgehogs to the vet to have them checked for ringworm. She says that her vet advised her over the phone to treat them for ringworm as a precaution. Later in this story it transpires that to date she has only ever taken one of her hedgehogs to the vet to be examined for ringworm.
With regards the first two points it is very difficult to say that Heavenlyhogs is lying without having access to her vet or doctor’s records, and the author doubts very much that this will ever happen. However, so far we have one hedgehog with ringworm, another hedgehog with an ill defined skin infection, a breeder with “infected eczema” and two people [Julie and Kendal] with confirmed ringworm infections after they came into contact with Leo. There is obviously a large amount of circumstantial evidence here that points towards the source of the infection as being Heavenlyhogs.
As for the idea that a vet would ever advise a specific treatment over the telephone without examining the animal concerned, I am left speechless. I cannot imagine it ever happening and when I told this story to my own vet he simply said “no way”. Secondly why put your hedgehogs, your family and the rest of your animals through a fairly traumatic, time consuming and costly treatment without first confirming there was any need to do so?
As mentioned earlier we now have one hedgehog and two people infected with ringworm. These numbers were about to rise.