Mites – Mite infestation is a commonly seen in young or newly acquired hedgehogs. Signs include dry, flaky skin, quill loss and white or brown crusts at the base of the quills or around the eyes. This condition is easily treated with the administration of anti-parasitic medications. Obesity –
Food must be rationed to prevent obesity. Overweight hedgehogs have large fat deposits under the legs and can not roll up completely. Treatment involves elimination of high fat diets and exercise to encourage gradual weight loss. Weight loss may be monitored using an accurate gram scale. Fatty liver syndrome –
This syndrome may be caused by a number of factors including stress, poor diet, anorexia, obesity, and pregnancy. Signs may include lethargy, yellow discoloration of the gums and skin under the arms, and diarrhea. Treatment consists of correcting the underlying cause and assist feeding. Dental disease –
Hedgehogs can develop a number of dental disorders. Signs include red or swollen gums, tartar accumulation on the teeth, and gingival recession. In cases of severe dental disease, tooth extraction may be required. Tumors –
Oral tumors are common in captive African pygmy hedgehogs.
These masses may be locally invasive and cause considerable discomfort and impede eating. Mammary gland and uterine cancer are also commonly seen in female hedgehogs. Nutritional Disorders –
Hedgehogs primarily on a diet of insects may develop calcium related disorders. Signs may include generalized weakness, tremors and may progress to musculoskeletal disorders. Salmonellosis –
Several strains of salmonella have been isolated from hedgehogs and transmission to humans has been documented. When handling any hedgehog, we recommend to wash hands immediately after handling or coming into contact with any fecal material.