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Hedgehogs/cant walk hedgehog

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Question
hi, my hedehog cant seem to be walking properly, when it does walk it wabbles and drags its back legs. its been sleeping loads and hasnt ate.

Answer
Hi, Katie:

I hate answering letters like yours, because I have to be honest and tell you that there's at least a reasonable likelihood that your hedgehog is suffering from Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome (WHS), a terrible illness most hedgehog fanciers believe occurred as a result of unethical (over)-breeding practices.

WHS is progressive; it gradually paralyzes the hedgehog (usually from back to front) and is eventually fatal. But with a devoted caretaker, a hedgehog can still maintain a pretty good quality of life for some time after the illness manifests.  You need to read up on the topic and join hedgehogwelfaresociety or hedgehog_help (Yahoo groups) or some other online group(s) for info and support.

Perhaps the only good thing about WHS is that, if you are the caretaker, a very close bond often develops between you and your hedgie.  I nursed two WHS hedgies and both were visibly grateful for the care they received.  I became so close to them that I could almost read their minds; and they learned to "talk" (by different types of squeaky noises or by mouth movements) when they needed changing or wanted water or food, etc.

If your hedgehog stops eating for more than a few days, you will probably want to syringe feed him.  Boost is one thing that provides pretty good nutrition and still makes it through a syringe tube.  Give water by syringe if your hedgie goes more than a day without drinking on his own.

If you cannot imagine yourself as a caretaker, there are some very dedicated folks out there who voluntarily care for WHS hedgehogs.

There are certain other illnesses that can minic WHS -- one (brain-cancer) is at least as bad as WHS, and another (inflammation of the inside of the ear) can make the hedgehog unable to walk, but can be cured with medication.

Best wishes to you and your little guy.

Hedgie Blessings,

Laurel

Hedgehogs

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Laurel Sedgwick

Expertise

Can answer care, health, & behavioral questions, as well as basic breeding questions. Can help questioner figure out if a hedgehog is the right pet for them.

Experience

Have had hedgehogs since 2001 - 16 so far. I have no experience with non-weaned babies, and limited experience with breeding and with pregnant hedgehogs. I have had too much experience with WHS (Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome). I would rate myself "expert" at syringe-feeding, and as "advanced" at performing SubQs. Two of my hedgehogs have injured an eye to the point that it had to be surgically removed. I have had a lot of hedgehogs who suffered from cancer, some who had surgery and some who didn't. Some of my quilly kids have had abcessed teeth; one guy lost all of his teeth but one! I have had multiple female hedgehogs who suffered from bleeding, who had to have surgery for uterine cancer, which was in most cases successful. Temperamentally, I have had very timid hedgehogs, persistently grumpy hedgehogs, biting hedgehogs, and very friendly hedgehogs whom I took with me as "ambassadors" for educational presentations.

Organizations
I am a Certified Judge for the IHA, and run a rescue station for the HWS. My application to be a rescue station for the IHA is pending.

Education/Credentials
I read everything I can get my hands on. Have read the best of the books, Dawn Wrobel's THE HEDGEHOG and Tig M-Burleson's THE HEDGEHOG PRIMER. I am a member of the International Hedgehog Association (IHA) and Hedgehog Welfare Society (HWS), and have been a member of various online bulletin board groups since 2002.
I have attended many hedgehog shows and have served as a judge in IHA conformation shows.

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