5 Diseases That Affect Hedgehogs

A close-up of a hedgehog indoors

Hedgehogs from Africa are more common than you would imagine, and they're more than simply a confined pet. Hedgehogs are susceptible to a variety of illnesses, some of which may be prevented. While there is no official hedgehog health census that tracks every ailment that affects every pet hedgehog, these are the most common disorders we find in our spiky buddies, in no particular order.

Dental Disease

Hedgehogs' small, V-shaped jaws contain up to 44 teeth. These teeth resemble human teeth in size and are susceptible to the same dental problems. In our tiny hedgies, fractured teeth, abscessed teeth, gingivitis, and tartar buildup can all create complications. Preventing dental problems is preferable, but it's not always possible with a pocket pet who prefers to curl up into a prickly, hissing ball. If you're lucky enough to obtain entrance to your spiky friend's mouth, you may be a mealworm. If you can get a Q-tip inside your hedgie's mouth, rinse it out with water and focus on keeping those chompers shining.

If brushing your proves ineffective, expect a dental cleaning and maybe tooth extractions at some time during your hedgehog's short life.


Reproductive Diseases

Female hedgehogs should be spayed for reasons other than population control. Uterine malignancies, (infected uterus), and breast tumors are all possible outcomes of your hedgehog clinging to her reproductive organs. All of these disorders can be avoided if your female hedgehog has an ovariohysterectomy at the age of six to eight months. Neutering male hedgehogs is similarly important for avoiding testicular cancer, and it may be done at the same time as females.


Hedgehogs naturally shed some of their quills, but if your hedgie is itching and scratching and you're finding more quills on the bottom of the cage, your hedgehog may have an ectoparasite. Mites are a frequent sort of seen on hedgehogs, and they will irritate your hog. Quills fall out, skin dries out, and your hedgehog may become more agitated than usual. Mites may be identified via a skin scrape on your hedgehog and then examining for the small mites under a microscope by your exotics vet (find one near you). Because only a small section of your hedgehog will be scraped, this test isn't foolproof, and your doctor may opt to treat for mites even if he doesn't find any under the microscope.

Mites can be introduced to your hedgie's environment through bedding and food. As a result, these objects must always be frozen before being placed in the cage.


Neurological Diseases

Hedgehogs can acquire a neurological illness that causes them to wobble, which is known as " ". Falling over, being unable to right themselves, convulsions, and finally paralysis are all signs of ataxia, with many others in between. It's a tragic sickness that no hedgehog should ever have to deal with, yet it's thought to impact around one out of every ten hedgehogs. There is no known cause, however it is thought to be caused by a hereditary predisposition, and there is no treatment.

Urinary Tract Diseases

The bladder stores urine, which should be clear to yellow in color (a quick anatomy lesson here). However, hedgehogs can have a urinary tract infection or cystitis, which can result in dark or red urine. Urolithiasis (bladder stones) can cause hematuria (bloody pee) and make urination difficult for your hedgehog. Urinalysis, culture, radiography, and a bladder ultrasound will all help to diagnose your hedgehog's urinary tract condition. Kidney infections, bladder cancers, and other urinary system illnesses are very common.

There are several more ailments that your exotics veterinarian can identify. Your hedgehog may develop ear infections, obesity, allergies, enteritis, osteoarthritis, and other diseases. To keep your hog as healthy as possible for as long as possible, a yearly physical examination is suggested.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.