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Chris Perkins

Igor the Hedgehog

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3 days ago we found a hedgehog over the road during the day on the pavement looking a bit dazed and confused. He was dangerously near to the road. I went over and 'shoed' him into a basket thing and took him into the garden.

He didn't seem properly awake somehow, almost as if he was drunk. He ate plenty of cat food, part of an apple and an egg and drank some water and then went to sleep. He stayed asleep (very deeply, a sort of quick hibernation because the nights have been very cold here) and finally woke up today. He still behaved drunk and couldn't stand up properly. We thought he'd perhaps broken a leg or something as he spends most of his time on one side and when he tries to walk he almost rolls over, either sideways or forwards.

So, earlier we took him to a vet, half expecting him to say that "his leg is broken, we'll have to have him put down"! He checked his legs (inbetween him being rolled up tightly!) and all 4 seem to work ok. He seems to have a big co-ordination problem and the doc said he may have had a bump on the head or a stroke (less likely because he's very young). He said it's a very good sign that he's lived 3 days and that whatever it is may get better on its own. He got 2 injections of antibiotics against infections and had some drops applied under his spikes to kill of all the parasites that seem to plague hedgehogs.

We have instructions to keep him fed and watered over the weekend to see how he goes. We'll take him to the doc again next week for a check up. Just now he ate and drank well, and as long as he's breathing, eating and drinking he may recover. I named him Igor because it's the closest name to the German word for hedgehog, which is "Igel" (pronounced just like Eagle actually).

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3 days ago we found a hedgehog over the road during the day on the pavement looking a bit dazed and confused. He was dangerously near to the road. I went over and 'shoed' him into a basket thing and took him into the garden.

He didn't seem properly awake somehow, almost as if he was drunk. He ate plenty of cat food, part of an apple and an egg and drank some water and then went to sleep. He stayed asleep (very deeply, a sort of quick hibernation because the nights have been very cold here) and finally woke up today. He still behaved drunk and couldn't stand up properly. We thought he'd perhaps broken a leg or something as he spends most of his time on one side and when he tries to walk he almost rolls over, either sideways or forwards.

So, earlier we took him to a vet, half expecting him to say that "his leg is broken, we'll have to have him put down"! He checked his legs (inbetween him being rolled up tightly!) and all 4 seem to work ok. He seems to have a big co-ordination problem and the doc said he may have had a bump on the head or a stroke (less likely because he's very young). He said it's a very good sign that he's lived 3 days and that whatever it is may get better on its own. He got 2 injections of antibiotics against infections and had some drops applied under his spikes to kill of all the parasites that seem to plague hedgehogs.

We have instructions to keep him fed and watered over the weekend to see how he goes. We'll take him to the doc again next week for a check up. Just now he ate and drank well, and as long as he's breathing, eating and drinking he may recover. I named him Igor because it's the closest name to the German word for hedgehog, which is "Igel" (pronounced just like Eagle actually).

Let's hope the little fellow gets better.

Did you have to pay for the veterinary care ?

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No, I was expecting to, especially after the 2 injections, the drops and of course the doc's time! I went and asked the nice Fraeulein how much I owed and she said if the dr didn't send me out with a bill, then nothing.

Perhaps we'll end up paying something next week. I really don't mind as I feel responsible for the little fella now.

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Cool I like hedgehogs. Come to think of it I like most animals. I hope he makes a good recovery Chris.

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It always gives me a happy feeling :D to know there are still plenty of genuinely nice people left in the world, to offset all the nutters!!

Good on ya Chris!!

Lets hope Igor makes a speedy recovery!!

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Seen some documentary others are saving then and thier counterpart is killing the hegdehog in same place, cant recall which country is that.

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Hmmm, I've read about this thing called 'Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome' or WHS (who also buy my books!) that is similar to multiple sclerosis in humans. A problem with the nervous system that seems to start with the back legs and spread until the poor thing can't move at all :-(

His back legs do often get tangled, and if you don't hold him when he eats he just falls over or sort of hobbles/rocks around in circles. There are other things that can cause hedgehogs to act a bit drunk, but from what I've read and compared with his symptoms, it doesn't really look good. WHS is not curable.

He also seems to have trouble swallowing and eats bits of meat but then they fall out of the left side of his mouth. Also, his left eye never opens and his head is always curled round to the right.

If the antibiotics don't do fix Igor, then I don't think he'll ever be able to fend for himself.

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He's alive and breathing, as you are Peter. He eats, drinks and shits, as you do Peter. But as he would never wish any harm on another mammal that makes him a better creature than you!

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Hmmm, I've read about this thing called 'Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome' or WHS (who also buy my books!) that is similar to multiple sclerosis in humans. A problem with the nervous system that seems to start with the back legs and spread until the poor thing can't move at all :-(

His back legs do often get tangled, and if you don't hold him when he eats he just falls over or sort of hobbles/rocks around in circles. There are other things that can cause hedgehogs to act a bit drunk, but from what I've read and compared with his symptoms, it doesn't really look good. WHS is not curable.

He also seems to have trouble swallowing and eats bits of meat but then they fall out of the left side of his mouth. Also, his left eye never opens and his head is always curled round to the right.

If the antibiotics don't do fix Igor, then I don't think he'll ever be able to fend for himself.

Chris, the symptoms you describe do sound very "stroke" like, which could may have been caused by a bang to the head causing a bleed. Generally this affects one side, and the fact that his left eye does not open and he has no control over the left side of his mouth may indicate this.

I must stop watching these medical documentaries, they convince us all we could be doctors :lol:

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Yes, I'd thought of that too, in which case he may make a bit of a recovery by himself if he's properly nurished etc, just like humans do. Mind you, if he did have an injury there is no external sign of one. If it's WHSmith disease then he won't make a recovery and it'll get slowly worse! We hope for the best. He's sleeping now, which is of course normal for hedgehogs during the day.

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I know you've all been aching to see a little picture of Igor! Here's one, taken today at about 11.30GMT. He's asleep in his little nest-like pile of hay that he made.

He still can't walk properly and keeps falling over but less than before, because I think he has learned to walk a little better with his disability. We think he may also be deaf as you can bang things and click your fingers behind his back and he never looks or responds in any way. The deafness made me think that perhaps he has a problem with hs ears that affects his sense of balance. He sleeps a lot, sometimes including nights for 2 days in a row. When he does wake in the night he's usually hungry and eats well when he props himself up on the side of his enclosure to stop him falling on his side. It's difficult to get him to drink because he usually ends up bathing in the suacer of water before he gets a chance to drink much! So instead we make sure his food is well drenched in water (mineral water of course, I wouldn't give Igor tap water!)

post-1-1178707073_thumb.jpg

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You might need this: http://www.sttiggywinkles.org.uk/. This is quite near me; they started off dealing with injured hedgehogs (hence the name) and now seem to have branched out into general wildlife care. There is however, no organisation with more experience in looking after hedgehogs.

Back to my photographs...

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I've been asked by a forum member about how little Igor is getting on, so here's an update:

We had him in a pen in the garden with an upturned box and some foliage as shelter (until he was ok to go it alone). We used straw as bedding but changed that after he kept walking in circles and getting it twisted around his legs. In fact one evening he was in a right tangle and had cut off the circulation to one of his legs and it was very swollen. After that the leg never really worked properly again! He was always active at night and always ate all his cat food and cat biscuits, which was encouraging. He still had big problems navigating but was able to move about quite quickly when he wanted to.

One evening we went out to feed him and were amazed to see him with his nose poking through the chicken wire, very eager to escape his enclosure. The reason for this sudden lust for freedom scampered under a bush on the 'free' side of the fence! It was another hedgehog (about the same size), but a less tame one. We retreated and the other hedgehog came to the fence again and they rubbed noses some more. We left some food and the free hedgehog scampered off again. This time Igor really really wanted to join his new friend and was hyperactively trying to get under the wire, over the wire, through the wire, anything to limp off into the dusk with his own kind. At one stage he got himself stuck between the wire and a tree which was used as a fence post (having spikes that grow in one direction make it difficult to reverse in tight spaces). So, I got some pliers, cut the wire and let him free.

He caught up with his friend under some wood and in torch light we could see them together, sort of sniffing each others arses and walking around in circles together with plenty of mutual nose rubbing. He looked happy, in fact he looked like a she in comparison to the other one who had a much more masculine face. I went back to remove any sharp bits of wire and Igor ventured out from under the planks of wood and allowed me to stroke his/her nose for the last time before returning to his/her cautious friend. We watched them for a little while but then they went further under the wood and we never saw them again.

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I don't quite know if he was really recovered, his leg hung around without doing much and he couldn't navigate. I'm not entirely sure if he was fit for the wild. However I think it was morally more correct that he had a friend/partner and that even if only for a short time, he was able to be with his own kin instead of fenced off.

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At least now he might get some... :D

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I think that's basically what I was saying!

And if Igor was male then perhaps he has small sons and daughters in the garden now, even though they may have already out-lived him.

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I would guess that they are rather like domestic cats, with microscopic family jewels. :o

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I would guess that they are rather like domestic cats, with microscopic family jewels. :o

:lol:

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He could have been hung like a donkey for all I know! With all those dastedly spikes and the ability to roll up into a ball it was impossible for even the vet to tell us what he was.

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I would guess that they are rather like domestic cats, with microscopic family jewels. :o

Apparently not. I read somewhere that the average hedgehog is actually hung like a donkey and then some. Something to do with spines apparently, so perhaps we should be saying 'hung like a hedgehog', but I doubt it'll catch on.

Who started this subject anyway?

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