5 Symptoms of Lungworm in Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs are not fussy eaters and will eat whatever food is available to them. In the wild, hedgehogs consume all sorts of things, from insects to plant matter. Therefore, there is a high chance that wild hedgehogs will contract lungworm.

One of the animals which hedgehogs consume is slugs.

Unfortunately, slugs are carriers of lungworm and, therefore, can pass it to hedgehogs when they consume it. If you feed wild hedgehogs, it is important to know about the symptoms of this disease so you can help them in some way. Here are some symptoms of lungworm in hedgehogs that can help you infer if a hedgehog suffers from the lungworm parasite. 

Abnormal Behavior

One important indication that a hedgehog is suffering from lungworm is if it displays abnormal behaviour. For instance, it is common knowledge that hedgehogs are nocturnal and come out during the night. However, a sick hedgehog with the lungworm parasite will come out during the day. If you spot any hedgehogs during the day, it can be because of lungworm. 

Lack of Appetite

Hedgehogs suffering from lungworm will not show interest in food. As a result, these hedgehogs can become weak and anorexic. 

Coughing and Wheezing 

A more specific symptom of the lungworm parasite is coughing and wheezing. Hedgehogs who have the lungworm parasite can be seen coughing consistently, accompanied by wheezing. 

Respiratory Distress

Along with coughing, hedgehogs with the lungworm parasite face respiratory distress. Affected hedgehogs may face difficulty breathing. 

Hedgehog Poop

The poo of a healthy hedgehog will be different from that of a sick one. Usually, the poo should be firm and of a dark brown or black colour. However, a hedgehog suffering from internal parasites will have a green or yellow poo.

How Do You Treat Lungworm in Hedgehogs?

It is usually common for hedgehogs to have a few worms as they develop immunity against them. However, sick hedgehogs have low immunity, making them vulnerable to parasites like lungworms. Hence, hedgehogs facing a greater parasite burden will stop them from getting the essential nutrients they require from food. 

The internal parasite can be identified by looking at hedgehog poop under a microscope. While there are symptoms related to the lungworm parasite, it is still essential to check the poop. The vet will treat the internal parasites with a deworming medication. Moreover, there will also be the inclusion of antibiotics for the hedgehog’s breathing issues. 

Does Lungworm Kill Hedgehogs?

A hedgehog that is already sick is vulnerable to diseases and parasitic attacks. A sick hedgehog already has low immunity, which makes it easy for the parasites to take over. 

Therefore, if a healthy hedgehog contracts the lungworm parasite, it will manage it. However, the lungworm parasite takes over when a hedgehog is sick, and its immunity is compromised, whether it is because of injury, disease or weight loss. Hence, if the parasite gets out of control or left untreated, it can be fatal for hedgehogs.

What Diseases Can Hedgehogs Have?

Hedgehogs are prone to getting sick and contracting various diseases. Moreover, hedgehogs tend to hide their disease, which makes it difficult to find out about them beforehand. If you plan on getting a pet hedgehog or have one, it can be good to know about these diseases so you can monitor your hedgehog. 

One of the most common diseases your hedgehog can have is dental disease. The most common issues include getting a fractured tooth, gingivitis or tarter. Most hedgehogs are fussy about getting their teeth brushed, and therefore, you cannot always avoid this disease. You can still try getting your hedgehog’s teeth with a Q-tip. 

Unfortunately, in the course of their life, female hedgehogs can suffer from reproductive diseases. Uterine cancers and mammary tumours are common. Hence, it would help if you got your female hedgehog sprayed to avoid all these problems.  In addition, male hedgehogs should also be neutered to avoid testicular cancer. 

Hedgehogs normally shed quills only to be replaced later. However, if you find your hedgehog scratching excessively and losing quills, there can be something wrong. Your hedgehog may suffer from mites which can cause it to be itchy. As a result, the skin becomes dry, the quills fall out, and your hedgehog will become irritable. Your hedgehog may contract the mites from bedding or food if you have newly brought them. 

Sometimes hedgehogs can also develop urinary tract infections.  As a result of these diseases, your hedgehog’s pee may appear bloody or brown. Moreover, bladder stones can also cause your hedgehog to have bloody urine. In addition, your hedgehog may also face difficulty when urinating. 

A dangerous disease that hedgehogs can develop is known as the wobbly hedgehog syndrome. This disease is a neurological disease that affects the way they walk. Some of the wobbly hedgehog syndrome symptoms include seizures, which lead to paralysis. Unfortunately, one in ten hedgehogs suffers from the wobbly hedgehog syndrome. 

Many other diseases can affect your hedgehog. Some of these diseases include ear infections, allergies, or obesity. Therefore, it is best to get your hedgehog checked annually to ensure that it is healthy. 

Summary 

Hedgehogs are known to consume all sorts of things in the wild. One of the creepy crawlies which hedgehogs eat is slugs. Unfortunately, slugs are carriers of the lungworm parasite, which hedgehogs can contract as they eat it.

There are some symptoms of the lungworm parasite, which include abnormal activity, loss of appetite, coughing, respiratory distress and changed hedgehog poop. Hedgehogs suffering from the lungworm parasite can be seen in the daylight and may appear week. 

A healthy hedgehog who contracts the lungworm parasite can manage it. However, a sick hedgehog may be unable to counter it as it is already vulnerable. Therefore, the lungworm parasite can be fatal for already sick hedgehogs. There are other diseases that hedgehogs can suffer from, like mites, urinary tract infections, dental diseases and more. It is best to visit your vet annually to ensure that your hedgehog is in good shape. 

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Hey, I'm Brian and I love hedgehogs. They're curious little animals that fascinate me. Over the years, I've become extremely knowledgeable about hedgehogs so have decided to share that knowledge here

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