1887

Hedgehogs

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Abstract

Hedgehogs are easily recognized by their distinctive spines and are familiar to most people as they often inhabit parks and gardens near to human habitation. Their popularity, relative abundance and easy capture make them one of the most common wildlife patients presented for veterinary attention, with thousands taken into care annually. This chapter covers: ecology and biology; anatomy and physiology; capture, handling and transportation; clinical assessment; first aid and hospitalization; anaesthesia and analgesia; specific conditions; therapeutics; husbandry; rearing of hoglets; rehabilitation and release; and legal considerations.

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Figures

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12.2 Leucistic hedgehog.
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12.3 (a) Male and (b) female hedgehogs showing difference in external genitalia including anogenital distance. (c) Enlarged internal accessory sex glands during the breeding season in male hedgehogs are usually obvious on post-mortem examination or exploratory laparotomy. (c, Courtesy of S Cowen)
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12.5 Visual assessment of body condition is possible. (a) Thin hedgehogs have sunken flanks, a prominent ridged spine and a bony pelvis. (b) Animals in good body condition have a rounded appearance.
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12.6 (a) The hedgehog can be encouraged to uncurl by gently bouncing between cupped hands or by stroking the spines along the back. (b) Once uncurled, the hindlimbs are grasped by sliding the fingers underneath. (c–d) The hindquarters are then elevated, with the forelimbs resting on the surface (‘wheelbarrow’ restraint). Drawn by S.J. Elmhurst BA Hons (www.livingart.org.uk) and are printed with her permission.
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12.7 Gross faecal appearance suggestive of certain diseases. (a) Soft green faeces streaked with mucus typical of endoparasitism. (b) Green diarrhoea with fresh blood is typical of salmonellosis. (c) Cestode proglottids in faeces. Laboratory tests should be carried out to further investigate the causal agents.
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12.10 Netting entanglement in a hedgehog with secondary myiasis.
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12.11 Strimmer laceration in a hedgehog.
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12.12 Spinal cord injury showing demarcation of panniculus (indicated by flattened spines caudally) and hindlimb paralysis.
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12.13 (a) Subcutaneous emphysema (‘balloon syndrome’) in a hedgehog. (b) Radiographic appearance.
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12.14 Charred spines from fire damage.
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12.15 Dermatophytosis: (a) dorsal spine loss and crusting, (b) facial hair loss and crusting, (c) alopecia of the ventrum.
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12.16 (a) Capariniosis of the face. (b) mite seen on microscopy of a skin scrape. Magnification X40.
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12.17 Trombiculid mites appearing as tiny orange clusters on the face of a hedgehog.
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12.18 Post-mortem appearance of haemorrhages and acanthocephalae in the omentum of a hedgehog.
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12.19 Tartar aggregations in an aged hedgehog.

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