Hoglet with facial injury
Helping hedgehogs

Hedgehog wound and abscess treatment

Wounded hedgehogs are some of the most common admissions to the hedgehog hospital. Infected wounds, particularly from dog attacks, are becoming more common.

This is Octavia, who was treated for a nasty facial wound. I’m sorry for the graphic nature of these wound pictures but this is the kind of reality that wildlife rescues face on a daily basis.

I wish hedgehogs could talk and that I knew the cause of the wound. This one is possibly a strimmer or bite wound. Sadly, the wound has got infected and the skin underneath is dying (necrotic). She has an abscess in the neck area on the same side that you can’t see in this picture.

Wounded hedgehog with facial injury – Octavia

Upon arrival, hedgehogs are checked to assess the nature of their wounds. They will also go through a range of other checks to assess their size, weight, general health and whether they have internal or external parasites.

Some hedgehogs will immediately be taken to a vet for treatment if the wound is very severe. Many will require x-ray to ascertain the extent of any damage and infection. With any wound, it is possible that an impact may have caused bones to break. Abscesses can also track deep into the bone. Many of these things are beyond the skills of a hedgehog rescue, who must always work closely with a vet. You can read more about abscesses here.

Depending on the nature of the wound, it may also require draining. This is done by a vet using a syringe/scalpel to draw out the infected pus. The hedgehog is usually ‘gassed down’ for this procedure.

Wounded hedgehog after several days of treatment

I clean wounds using a mix of hibiscrub (an antibacterial fluid used in surgery) in a warm saline solution. This softens the scabs and aids their removal. It also cleans and sterilises the wound. Hedgehogs are obviously wild creatures and wounds may have picked up all kinds of dirt and debris.

Hedgehog wound treatments
Hedgehog bathing as part of wound and injury treatment
Hedgehog bathing as part of wound treatment

The treatment for wounds like this takes a long time. This wound is being cleaned regularly to soften the scabs and to keep it sterile. I alternate the application of various different topical treatments to the area beneath the scabs. In this case, I am alternating between a wound gel (Intrasite gel) and veterinary grade manuka honey. These help to clear the infection and to promote healing. I also regularly use an antiseptic spray called Leucillin. This is safe even if it gets into the hedgehog’s eyes so it is great for facial injuries. It can also treat mild cases of ringworm.

Hedgehog bath for a badly infected leg. The warm hibiscrub bath helps to soften scabs and remove dirt embedded in the wound.

Depending on the nature of the injury, pain relief may also be required as well as antibiotics. Octavia received special antibiotic that is very good at treating open wounds and abscesses. This is given for at least 7 days.

I am happy to say that Octavia survived her injuries and was released back to the wild. You can read more about her here. You can also read more about dog attacks, one of the most common causes of injuries, here.

I run a hedgehog rescue in York. My work is entirely self funded. You can read more about me and my work here. You can also find out how to support my work.

I make handmade silver jewellery inspired by nature and wildlife to raise funds for my hedgehog hospital. You can visit my online jewellery shop here.

Paw print pet jewellery by Little Silver HedgehogI am a member of many wild hedgehog rehabilitation forums and I also follow the Vale Wildlife Hospital protocols for treating hedgehogs. I don’t put detailed information on my pages about the treatments I use but, if you are a hedgehog rehabilitator and would like to know more or would like any help please contact me.

11 thoughts on “Hedgehog wound and abscess treatment”

  1. She’s looking so much better Emma. Did the Anti-robe help that Lorraine brought through on the train on Friday? You’ve done a fantastic job with the little one xx

  2. LSH you are amazing. What would our prickly friends do without people like you? Keeping everything crossed that Octavia will survive.

  3. Poor baby,hope she recovers quickly under your care.its sad to see these sorts of injuries.
    We ended up having the hedgehog that turned up in the summer back for release in our garden,when the weather is bad he stays in the box in our greenhouse and then when its dry he sleeps else where not sure where but I think he’s in the front garden somewhere and sometimes he goes under my shed….he can’t make up his mind where he wants to sleep.Any way every night he comes to my greenhouse for dinner ,he stays all night taking naps in the box and then eats a bit more after his naps and then he leaves about 4.45am when I comedown to the kitchen to do breakfast before I go to work.His poops were a bit off so I kept him in the back garden for a couple of days and checked him over…..he was covered in quite a few tics so used my tic removal tools and cleared him of all of them,but that seemed to do the trick and his poops are better now so he’s back to his routine of coming for dinner each night and he’s exploring more of my gardens now as well so he must like them.its a privileged that he chose to come to my garden for help and that he continues to come and partially stay,xx Rachel and Speedy

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