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Hedgehog FAQ [5/7] - Care and Understanding
Section - <9.5> Wobbly Hedgehogs

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Top Document: Hedgehog FAQ [5/7] - Care and Understanding
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This description covers a myriad of different problems, all of which seem to
have very similar symptoms.  Your hedgehog is being wobbly on his feet.
Either just unsteady as it moves around, or even falling over and laying on
its slide.  Obviously this is a pretty scary thing to encounter, and while
the vast majority of these wobbly hedgehogs are due to being too cold (signs
of semi-hibernation -- see section [7.3]), there are some other causes.

Provided that you are absolutely, positively, unquestionably certain (and
that you go check 3 more times) that your hedgehog is not suffering from
signs of semi-hibernation or semi-aestivation, there are a couple of other
things that can cause this kind of behavior.

While there are many conditions that can result in some degree of wobbliness
(beyond the normal waddling gait of a hedgehog), the term ``Wobbly Hedgehog 
Syndrome'' has come to be applied to what is now considered to be a 
neurological disorder.  The one thing that is certain about this condition
is that nothing is really certain.  Please keep this in mind while reading
what follows.

The problem generally appears as a progressive paralysis, usually starting
at the tail end of the spine and working its way toward the nose.  The rate
of progression can vary greatly, sometimes taking only weeks, other times 
spanning a year or longer.  It usually appears in adults over a year old,
but it can occur in even very young hedgehogs.

The cause of this problem is very likely genetic, probably in some ways due
to the very small, and shrinking gene pool from which our little friends are
bred from. 

This problem can be very hard to diagnose, and generally will only be known 
with any certainty after a detailed necropsy.

Other, possibly more common causes of wobbling or paralysis can stem from 
strokes, injuries, or tumors.  In the case of injuries, treatment 
(assuming you or your vet can determine that an injury occurred) will 
depend on just what kind of injury it was.  For strokes, which do happen to 
hedgehogs, there will often be improvement over time.  For tumors, surgery
or steroids may help.

One other factor that may be responsible for some types of wobbly hedgehogs,
especially in cases where multiple unrelated hedgehogs are affected, is from
some sort of dietary deficiency.  Exactly what is lacking, or in excess, is 
not known.  This particular form of wobbly hedgehog syndrome seems to only 
affect hedgehogs which are raised on cat food, and generally unsupplemented 
with vitamins, as opposed to one of the better foods now on the market.
Hedgehogs which have had supplements, or which eat a good, balanced hedgehog
food do not appear to show any signs of this problem.  As yet, there is no
scientific answer as to why, but a change in diet might be worth trying.

Again, I would stress that over 99.9% of cases of wobbly hedgehogs are from 
hedgehogs showing signs of hibernation, or aestivation.  Before you start 
worrying about any other causes, be very, very sure that this is not what 
is affecting your little friend -- especially if it's the late autumn, or 
the temperature has suddenly dipped, or mid-summer and the temperature has
gone way up.

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-- 
Brian MacNamara - macnamara@HedgehogHollow.COM
Hedgehog Hollow:  http://HedgehogHollow.COM/   
e better foods now on the market.
Hedgehogs which have had supplements, or which eat a good, balanced hedgehog
food do not appear to show any signs of this problem.  As yet, there is no
scientific answer as to why, but a change in diet might be worth trying.

Again, I would stress that over 99.9% of cases of wobbly hedgehogs are from 
hedgehogs showing signs of hibernation, or aestivation.  Before you start 
worrying about any other causes, be very, very sure that this is not what 
is affecting your little friend -- especially if it's the late autumn, or 
the temperature has suddenly dipped, or mid-summer and the temperature has
gone way up.

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-- 
Brian MacNamara - macnamara@HedgehogHollow.COM
Hedgehog Hollow:  http://HedgehogHollow.COM/   

User Contributions:

Rio
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 26, 2012 @ 10:22 pm
Hi, my hedgehog started running around her cage squealing so I took her out to see what was wrong. Her genital area was inflamed and she had open sores all around that area. I gave her a bath, but I'm really worried about her. Do you have any idea what this could be?
Thank you!

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Top Document: Hedgehog FAQ [5/7] - Care and Understanding
Previous Document: <9.4> How did I get fleas in my home? How can I get rid of them?

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM