First Aid and medical hints and tips


All the information below is basic advice to help you until you can get help. Always seek advice from a vet, experienced hedgehog carer or wildlife rescue centre.You can ask for advice or help at any time via our online help forum An updated list of drugs commonly used in hedgehog treatment and suggested doses is HERE

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Problem Description Advice
General Care Weak, run down, underweight or poorly hedgehogs All need to be Wormed, given  antibiotics and B12 Injection Ask your vet for a subcutaneous  injection of Vitamin B12 (Vitbee 250) give 0.2 to 0.3ml per kg  bodyweight once a week for 3 weeks
Fleas  cartoon Hedgehog with fleas Small brownish-red insects walking or jumping through spines. Dust lightly with  Johnson’s  small  animal insecticidal pump action spray (or other spray, containing pyrethrums specifically for cage  birds) – available at pet shops. Do not use any flea spray or powders for cats  and dogs especially Frontline™  from a vet, these will either kill the hedgehog or make it very ill (read below under ticks for reasons)Hedgehog Fleas only live on hedgehogs, rarely  jump onto cats/dogs or other pets, and almost  never bite humans So DON’T panic. Note: it is almost impossible to get the powder now, the pump action spray works well.
Fly eggs Tiny clumps of  yellow/white eggs like grains of rice, mainly in ears, round skirt, eyes, neck and belly or on
open wounds or sores
Remove as many as possible with  tweezers and a soft toothbrush from open areas. Flush out ears with pet ear drops or warm salt water. Flush  eyes with plain warm water. If a bad infestation  wash hedgehog in a bowl of warm water with Savlon, paying particular attention to the belly  fur and the skirt. Wrap the hedgehog in a towel  and keep warm until dry. Take to the vet for  injection of IVOMECTIN 0.02ml per KG bodyweight. You can spray with F10 Germicidal wound spray, which in many cases will  stop fly eggs hatching
Maggots White or creamy wriggling worm like creatures, seen on hedgehogs with wounds or that are cold and  have grown from the fly eggs Once fly eggs have hatched into  maggots, it is often too late for the hedgehog and it will need  VERY URGENT Veterinary attention. You  can use the same basic treatment as for fly eggs but get to a  VET or Wildlife Rescue centre IMMEDIATELY You can flush the wound out with warm salt water or  spray with F10 Germicidal wound spray, which in many cases will remove maggots and stop fly eggs hatching and can be used as a first aid measure until you can get to the vet or Rescue Centre. Do not use flour, pure salt or any other old wives tale remedy
Ticks White/grey beads with brown legs, head buried in skin sucking  blood.Often found around the ears, Skirt and on the  tail, but can be anywhere on the body. More than  10 or 12 ticks on a hedgehog will cause anaemia  and will weaken a hedgehog severely. More than 30  ticks  and the hedgehog has a poor chance of surviving See  Pictures here of a hedgehog with over 100 ticks on it Be very careful using Frontline™ Flea spray  from vets. Never spray it onto the hedgehog Even though the substance is safe for hedgehogs in very small doses, it is too easy to overdose and kill the hedgehog. The  alcohol in the pump causes severe breathing problems when absorbed through the skin or breathed in and kills  hedgehogs. We find the safest way to use it is:  spray into  a small medicine cup about ½ ml to 1 ml, depending on how many  ticks to remove and then use a pipette or a cotton wool bud to drop  or wipe a tiny drop directly onto each of the ticks avoiding the hedgehogs skin.This prevents the hog inhaling the alcohol from the spray and  reduces the danger of causing problems or killing the hedgehog through overdose of Fipronil ( the substance inside Frontline) . We only use  Frontline in “severe” cases  when there are too many tiny cobblestone ticks  to safely remove using tweezers or a tick remover. They need to  be twisted out carefully in an anticlockwise direction. If you  are not sure don’t try yourself, contact a vet, experienced  carer or wildlife rescue centre for help and advice Do not try to pull  off with tweezers, frequently  the head of the tick is  left behind and causes an infection
Dry  flaky skin Hedgehogs often get dry flaky skin.  A light oiling helps. Use baby oil, cooking oil, mild olive oil,  almond oil ( no oils with strong smells). ONLY on the back,  NEVER on the belly because this is where the sweat glands are.
Apply sparingly and don’t smother them. Check for mites and  ringworm ( see below)This only applies to hedgehogs whilst in care. Any hedgehog found with obviously dry of flake skin will have some sort of illness or disease that will need treatment. Normally either Mites, Ringworm or Mange or any combination of the 3.
Mites Tiny white or brown dots moving on body or fur, they cause MANGE. The  hog’s spines and fur fall out, starting on the  face. Crusty lumps form on the skin, skin flakes,
spines look pussy at base and bent, may have  bleeding scabs.
The traditional  treatment is to take to the vet for three or four  IVOMECTIN injections, one week apart. They need  0.02ml per KG bodyweight. You can now buy  Ivermectin drops that are safe and easy to use. Brush off loose skin with toothbrush and oil lightly as above.We find that in mild to medium cases Tea Tree  cream from a good health food shop or chemist  works as well, if not better than traditional  veterinary remedies. (see  Hedgehog Research Pages  for details)
Ringworm Very similar  symptoms to Mange. The hog’s spines and fur fall  out, starting on the face. Crusty lumps form on
the skin, skin flakes, spines look pussy at base  and bent, may have bleeding scabs
This is a quick  rundown of the basic treatment.  Soften scabs with oil, use almond oil, baby oil, cooking oil, mild  olive oil ( No oils with strong smells). Brush off loose skin with  toothbrush. Bathe in IMAVEROL solution every 3 or  4 days, for 4 baths.Also use one of the following over the counter  anti fungals on the affected areas daily,  Daktarin, Canestan, Tinaderm or Scholl athletes foot cream. We find that in many cases Tea Tree cream from a  good health food shop or chemist works as well,  if not better than traditional veterinary remedies. (see  Hedgehog Research Pages  for  details)Using TEA TREE CREAM or an antifungal cream on  face and ears is better for the hog than trying  to wash it with Imaverol.We have found that using tea tree cream on the  ears and face on alternate days, then dripping  Imaverol onto the infected sites works as well  as a full bath.Almost all hogs with severe mite infestation will  have ringworm. It is always wise to treat for  both.
Dehydration Animal lying on its  side in hot weather, sunken eyes, grey to white  gums, panting, pads pale, when skin is pinched it  ‘tents’. If walking sometimes wobbles violently,
has ‘neck’ that looks thin with narrow  hindquarters, sits hunched with dull eyes.
Give LECTADE (from  vet) or rehydrating fluid immediately, 6-15 ml  every hour until recovery. Give Hartmanns by  sub-cutaneous injection every 12 hours (from  Vet). DO NOT GIVE HARTMANNS TO COLD HEDGEHOGS.
Keep quiet and warm. This is the main cause of  death to hedgehogs in summer when little water is  available. Give Lectade to any hedgehog suffering  from shock, enteritis or diarrhoea.
Hypothermia Hog lies uncurled in  cold weather, pads pale, eyes closed, barely  breathing, stomach very cold, gums pale. Put on heat source  immediately. Hot water bottle or heat pad (a warm room or near a radiator is NOT ENOUGH). Let it  warm up for half an hour then give Lectade until  it shows an interest. KEEP WARM and quiet. Feed  light diet as soon as awake and recovering, keep  on Lectade for two days.
Pneumonia Hog breathes heavily  with wheezing and bubbly cough, runny nose, may  lie on side or flat on stomach. Keep warm with  direct heat source. Do not let air around the hog  get too hot or dry (i.e. don’t keep the hog in a
hot kitchen). Take to the vet immediately for  antibiotic treatment. We normally use Baytril given for a  minimum of 10 days at a dose of 0.8ml per KG body weight twice  daily either orally or by subcutaneous injection. If no
improvement after the first couple of days then change to Synulox.Give BISOLVON expectorate  on food, if eating, or in fluids if not eating.Give Lectade as above if not eating but do not  give too much at once as it may choke, let it  breathe between sips. A drop of OLBAS oil  (chemist) on a cloth near the nose may help  breathing, do not rub on the hog.One of the primary causes of Pneumonia is  Lungworms (see below)
Lungworm Hog develops  ‘smokers cough’ often heard at night or when hog  is sleeping. Fails to put on weight despite
eating well. Cough sometimes starts after a few  days in the warmth.
Some species  of internal worms are resistant to Panacur. We find Telmin (Mebendazole)  is an efficient safe wormer for lungworms and we give Telmin  daily for 5 days. break for 14 days and repeat for a further 5  days. The hedgehog also needs Antibiotics at the same time and  that is normally Baytril 2.5% given for a minimum of 10 days at  a dose of 0.8ml per KG body weight twice daily either oral or by  subcutaneous injection

Warning: Many vets  suggest using Levamisole injection for lungworms.  We have found that in many cases this extremely  strong substance kills the hedgehog at the same time (It kills  all the worms so quickly that a weak or poorly hedgehog cannot  cope with the toxins resulting from the dead worms). Levamisole is used very safely by
many vets & rescue centres on stronger hogs, be cautious with weak ones. Quite a few Rescue centres are now going back to Telmin, because several species of internal parasites appear to becoming resistant to Levamisole. Quite often it we need to give a course of Levamisole, followed by a course of Telmin to clear up all the worms.

Worms Fails to put on  weight despite eating. No external signs of worms  but general debility; hog looks thin and rangy,
sometimes blood in droppings.
We always worm all hedgehogs as  soon as they come in with PANACUR ( Fenbendazole). Our regular  regime is to give Panacur for 5 days. Nothing for 2 days,  Then give Telmin(Mebendazole) for 5 days  2 weeks later  repeat the entire course.We are at present trying a slightly different routine with  Panacur on day 1, Telmin on day 2 and continue to alternate for  10 days. Repeat in 2 weeksAlways give Antibiotics when initially worming hedgehogs. The  usual antibiotic is Baytril 2.5% at a dose of  0.8ml per KG  bodyweight given twice daily. (oral or by subcutaneous  injection)Worms in Hedgehogs are a direct result of its  diet. They are transmitted to the  hedgehog from earthworms, slugs and snails. You  can cut down on the risk by supplementing its food in your garden (see Feeding page.) Some Vets suggest Ivermectin by injection for worms.  This doesn’t work on all of the species of worms that normally infest hedgehogs
Diarrhoea Droppings become  jellified or very loose, greenish, putty coloured  or dark sometimes with streaks of blood. Rehydrate  immediately with Lectade 6-15ml. Keep warm, give  light diet; scrambled egg or chicken. NEVER GIVE  COWS MILK TO HOGS. May be caused by incorrect diet or infection, or  by worms. If change of diet or de-worming doesn’t  clear it up quickly, then get to vet as soon as  possible for treatment. Antibiotics can sometimes  make diarrhoea worse, but also can help  tremendously.We always use a probiotic supplement in the hog’s  food or water, to replenish the hog’s natural  intestinal flora, which helps it digest food  properly.
Injuries If animal is  screaming or crying – get it to the vet
IMMEDIATELY without treating it yourself.Otherwise you may want to start treatment yourself if they are  very minor injuries

WARNING: ALL INJURIES must go to a vet for  antibiotic treatment and full examination.

 First get your equipment ready. A  clean sheet to place the hog on, a good light, a  bowl of water with antiseptic in, a bowl of plain  water for eyes, cotton wool balls, cotton buds,  tweezers, nail scissors, wound powder and  antiseptic cream.

We find that brushing a hog on the back with a  soft toothbrush frequently encourages them to  uncurl enough to be examined and treated.

If these methods don’t work, then you have no  alternative apart from going to the vet where he  can be given a light anaesthetic. It is impossible to fully examine a hedgehog without anaesthetising it. We have seen so many hedgehogs over the years that have suffered and often died in agony because they were not examined properly & thoroughly in the first place.

Swab with antiseptic any wounds, breaks or  fractures as gently as possible. Only cut any  spines or hair to expose wounds on the body if  absolutely necessary. Spines take a long time to  regrow and the hog is very vulnerable during this  time.

Swab with cotton wool balls and flush out if  necessary with a syringe. Remove all maggots and  fly eggs at this stage. Try to pick off any grass, dirt etc that has entered the wound. Once you think the wound is  completely clean,  spray with Veterycin Wound care spray .

If there are any injuries to the eyes (e.g. by strimmers) use only plain warm water and syringe  gently.

Injured hogs are nearly always suffering from  shock and a course of Lectade is advisable for a  couple of days. Some may need Hartmanns solution  injected.

If in any doubt please phone for help  immediately..

Antibiotics Antibiotics frequently used for hedgehogs are:Baytril 2.5% at  a dose of  0.8ml per KG bodyweight given twice daily. (oral or  by subcutaneous injection)Synulox drops orally daily at a dose of 2ml per KG bodyweightBy injection once daily, 0.7ml per KG bodyweight.  ( A hedgehog of 500 grams weight will need 0.4ml of Synulox  injection)Cindamycin ( Antirobe) can be  used on infected open wounds to speed healing. Break open a  capsule & sprinkle a small amount  into the wound  daily. Be careful with Antirobe as it is absorbed into the  system and should be used very sparingly as it suppresses the  appetite.