African pygmy hedgehogs

image of African pygmy hedgehogs
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This chapter provides the need-to-know information on African pygmy hedgehogs:

  • Biology
  • Husbandry
  • Handling and restraint
  • Diagnostic approach
  • Common conditions
  • Supportive care
  • Anaesthesia and analgesia
  • Common surgical procedures
  • Euthanasia.
  • Drug formulary.

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7.1 Hedgehogs ‘self-anoint’, spreading thick, frothy saliva on to their spines with their tongue, when they encounter a new object or scent.
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7.3 Hedgehog teeth are sharply cuspidate, an adaptation for prehending and consuming insects and other prey. Hedgehogs are susceptible to tartar and periodontal disease (as shown here), and should receive dental prophylaxis.
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7.4 Solid-sided exercise wheel suitable for a hedgehog.
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7.6 Leather gloves are sometimes required to handle hedgehogs. This coloration is called ‘snowflake’ and may have either dark or albino eyes. Well socialized hedgehogs can be examined while cupped in the hands.
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7.7 Hedgehogs can be encouraged to unroll for examination by placing them in 1–2 cm of water and/or by gently extending the hindlegs into a ‘wheelbarrow’ posture.
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7.8 A wire terrarium lid allows visual examination of a hedgehog and nail trimming.
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7.9 Normal radiographs: ventrodorsal view; lateral view, with the mantle pulled dorsally.
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7.10 Fibrous foreign bodies often become entwined on hedgehogs’ feet or toes, leading to strangulation injury. Rope, hair, string and frayed linens should be strictly avoided as bedding for hedgehogs.
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7.11 Mites are most easily found on the face, around the eyes and behind the ears. Serious infestations can lead to dandruff and spine loss.
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7.12 Oral neoplasia is very common in African hedgehogs and can closely resemble periodontal disease.
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7.13 Obesity can become so severe that the hedgehog cannot roll up completely.
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