While hedgehogs have become common pets in recent times, there have been speculations about diseases that these small mammals may carry and spread. Hedgehogs are known to be carriers of viruses and bacteria, which makes them dangerous to have around. One such disease is aids. But do hedgehogs have aids or not?
No, hedgehogs do not have aids; however, they carry zoonotic infections which can transfer to humans.
Some of the zoonotic infections can cause immune deficiency in humans and eventually lead to aids. It is a common misconception that hedgehogs carry aids themselves.
What Can You Catch from a Hedgehog?
Hedgehogs carry various diseases that they can transmit to humans upon contact. Diseases that animals can pass to humans are called zoonotic diseases. However, while hedgehogs can transmit diseases, it does not mean that they have them from the beginning.
Hedgehogs can carry parasitic, fungal, bacterial, and viral diseases.
Parasites in Hedgehogs
Cryptosporidium is a parasite found in soil and can transfer through mediums like water. The parasite can live on surfaces for a long time and is quite hardy. Therefore, it is important to keep the water source clean to avoid getting sick.
The symptoms of contracting this parasite are diarrhoea and consistent cough. If someone already has a comprised immune system, this parasite can be deadly. The best thing to do is to use preventative methods such as using clean water.
For example, you can use boiled water or get a water filter.
Bacterial Diseases in Hedgehogs
Apart from parasites, hedgehogs also carry bacterial diseases such as salmonella. Salmonella is a food-borne disease that hedgehogs can contract if only they encounter it. Therefore, it is important to keep their food and water source clean. If your hedgehog contracts salmonella, it is likely to pass it on to you.
If you give your hedgehog human food like boiled chicken, please ensure that you cook it properly and not expose it to salmonella.
Hedgehogs can carry salmonella without showing any symptoms. Therefore, it is important to wash your hands after each time you handle your hedgehog and refrain from kissing it. The symptoms of salmonella include diarrhoea and vomiting.
Therefore, you must keep yourself hydrated if you suspect you have salmonella.
Viral Diseases in Hedgehogs
Rabies is a viral disease that hedgehogs have and can pass to humans. However, this disease should be of no concern if your hedgehog has no exposure to the wild.
Do Hedgehogs Carry Any Diseases?
Hedgehogs will not carry diseases if they are not exposed to them. However, if you get your hedgehog from a shelter or a breeder and are kept with other hedgehogs, it is likely to carry diseases like salmonella.
In addition, hedgehogs can also carry internal parasites as well as external such as fungus and ringworm. Therefore, it is important to maintain hygiene and always wash your hands after dealing with your hedgehog.
How to Keep Yourself Safe From Hedgehog Diseases
Whether your hedgehog has a disease or not, you can never be too sure as they do not show immediate symptoms. Therefore, it is important to take measures from your side to stay safe and avoid contracting any diseases from your hedgehog.
The first and foremost important thing to do is to ensure your hedgehogs receives any shots that they require from the vet.
As a pet owner, you are bound by duties that will have you encounter your hedgehog. Therefore, instead of performing your duties at different times in a day, it is best to do them at once so you can wash your hands.
When washing your hands, you must use an anti-bacterial soap to kill all the germs.
Most often, there are air-borne germs that can enter your body and harm you. Therefore, it is best to wear a mask to avoid breathing in any germs that could get you sick.
You can also use latex gloves, a fresh pair each time you handle your hedgehog or its belongings. You must also avoid your hedgehog and quarantine, and if you have any symptoms of diseases, you feel like you have contracted from it.
It is important to consult a doctor if you feel quite sick. Moreover, if you have an already compromised immune system, it is best not to keep a hedgehog; otherwise, you may put your life at risk.
Can Humans Pass Diseases to Hedgehogs?
Like hedgehogs, humans can also pass diseases to hedgehogs. Zoonotic diseases are those that hedgehogs can pass to humans and vice versa. Therefore, if you are sick and you do not know if it’s safe to be around your hedgehog, it is best to consult your vet immediately.
However, if you cannot pay a visit to your doctor right away, it is important to maintain a safe distance from your hedgehog so you do not infect it.
Many people dislike the idea of keeping hedgehogs as pets due to their sharp spines. However, for some people, the spines are the least of their concerns; rather, they are the dangerous diseases they carry. Most people assume that hedgehogs have aids.
However, they do not. On the other hand, hedgehogs carry various zoonotic diseases that can lead to compromised immune systems. Therefore, it is important to take precautionary measures before you get sick.
Hedgehogs are carriers of parasites and bacteria and can make you fall sick if you encounter them. However, hedgehogs are not always ridden with these diseases. Rather, they get them from another source. For example, salmonella is a common disease that hedgehogs carry.
However, hedgehogs can get salmonella from human foods if they are raw. Therefore, you must boil whatever food you decide to give your hedgehog. It is also essential to keep the food and water source clean. Moreover, it would help to wash your hands each time you handle your hedgehog or its belongings.