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Hedgehogs/Possible WHS


My hedgehog has very quickly lost the ability to use her legs, she has not been eating or drinking and does not want me to feed her at all and Ive noticed some heavier breathing. Ive tried syringe feeding her and watering her but its a struggle.

Ive taken her to the vet and shes been given antibiotics in case of an infection. When I took her in she could still walk and over night she has lost the ability to but she tries really really hard to get around.

She refuses to use the heating pad I got and wont sit still long enough for me to swaddle her to warm her up. She cant roll into a ball either.

I am scared she is passing away and am hoping this isn't the case. Are there certain things I can do or look for in my little girl?

Hi, Danielle:

How old is your hedgehog?  WHS tends to strike hoggies at 1-2 years of age.  

The swift onset of your girl's symptoms is not characteristic of WHS.  I'm not a vet, but I'm guessing ear, intestinal, or respiratory infection.  I think you need to be more insistent with your vet.  Perhaps he or she would consider a consult with another vet who specializes in exotics.  My hedgie vet is Kim Burks:
Dr. P Dressen is an expert hedgehog vet:

There is a ton of info available online.  There are also forums, which I think would be good places to ask for info from other hedgehog fanciers:

Of the hedgehogs I've had, most will move so they are facing into a corner of their habitat, outside their usual bed, when they are really ill.  This is not an automatic death sentence, but it is a bad sign.

Please let me know how things are going. I hope and pray your girlie will make a full recovery.

Hedgie Blessings,



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Laurel Sedgwick


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.


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.

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.

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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