What To Do With A 1 Week-Old Baby When Awake Jumping To Conclusions: Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome in African Pygmy Hedgehogs

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Jumping To Conclusions: Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome in African Pygmy Hedgehogs

When researching African Pygmy Hedgehogs I came across information about the dreaded ‘Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome’ that can eventually affect 1 in 10 hedgehogs! This disorder is similar to MS in humans in that it involves an adult hedgehog becoming very shaky and unsteady on his feet. The poor animal will often fall to one side and find it increasingly difficult to get up on its own. Its legs will eventually become paralysed and the hedgehog will need to be euthanised.

How horrendous! It won’t happen to my hog…

I got Clark at 8 weeks old and for the first few days he was very lively when he was awake, but he did spend about 22 hours a day sleeping! It took a few days for him to learn to trust me and when he began to run around during his waking hours I noticed that he was very shaky. He fell over quite a bit and as I was unsure whether this was an illness, an injury or just because he was still a baby. I got straight on to Google!

All the results showed this awful illness and although it said it is very uncommon in young hedgehogs, it is still possible.

I was devastated

My poor Clark! I monitored him closely for another week. His balance didn’t improve or deteriourate. I took a video of him running around his cage and uploaded it to a fanpage with over 5000 followers. I asked if this is normal for a 9 week old hedgehog. Everybody said ‘no’! I was upset that I had been in denial and hadn’t taken him to the vets sooner. Everyone was commenting on the video telling me it was definitely Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome.

A Veterinary Visit

I got an appointment at the vets the following day and took Clark there while I wondered if he was going to have to be put to sleep there and then. The vet was surprised Clark unballed so quickly and was so friendly. He didn’t do much walking on the vet’s table so he didn’t fall over but he was very shaky and when trying to pick up a biscuit left by the vet, he wasn’t a very good aim. The vet ruled out and injury on his legs and said he’s sure there’s something wrong in Clark’s brain, like a cyst or some fluid pressing against the part that helps him balance. He said he’d never heard of a case of WHS being reported in the UK and it’s linked to the parasytes that have in America. The vet suggested Clark be monitored and that he predicted Clark wouldn’t deteriourate and if anything would improve with ages as he learns to balance. It’s not safe for him to use his exercise wheel, so he now has a ball pond to climb about in.

Relief

Taking Clark home that evening I felt so relieved that it wasn’t Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome. I’ve learned not to jump to conclusions and listen to what other hedgehog owners suggest. There are plenty of health problems a hedgehog ca suffer with, without it being WHS.

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