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A hedgehog story…..

by admin on August 14th, 2013

Category: Pet of the Month, Tags:

A little baby hog was brought in to us at PetCare by one of our long-term clients after he was found out during the day time and struggling to breathe. When he came in, he was clearly in respiratory distress. He was breathing through his mouth, his chest sounded bubbly and wheezy and the poor little hog was struggling to take every breath. We suspected he had a condition called lungworm, which they pick up through eating their usual diet of slugs and snails – this is how dogs can also pick up these worms. As a secondary complication, his fragile lungs were battling pneumonia. This condition is treatable but can take a while before the animal makes a full recovery.

We started the little hedgehog on a treatment regime of antibiotic, steroid, bronchodilator (to open up his airways) and an appropriate wormer to start killing the worms. Eating was a problem for him as he was obviously trying so hard to catch his breath that chewing and swallowing food was a struggle. We started syringe feeding him small amounts of liquidised food throughout the day, knowing that he needed the nutrients to fight this infection and recover. It was touch and go whether he would last the night as he was so poorly, but we wanted to give him the chance.

The next morning, remarkably, little hog was still with us! He was still mouth breathing but seemed stronger as he started stomping around his cage on his little spindly legs, trying to make his escape through the bars. We continued with his treatment regime and syringe feeding, and added in some Olbas oil in his cage to help clear his airways and ease his congestion.

This little fighter was not easily defeated and slowly but surely began to make progress with his recovery. He stopped mouth breathing and finally seemed to be showing some interest in eating by himself. We had been concerned that his appetite would not return, in which case his prognosis was not good, but once he stopped mouth breathing it came back with a vengeance. 

He had dropped weight initially but then gained 100g very quickly after he started eating again. We were very encouraged by this progress and now have high hopes that he will go on to make a full recovery.

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