Hedgehog in nebuliser chamber treating pneumonia
Helping hedgehogs

Treating hedgehog pneumonia

Using a nebuliser to treat a hedgehog with pneumonia

Like humans, hedgehogs can contract pneumonia. Often it is linked to having a high lungworm burden. As the name suggests, this parasite lives in the lungs and can cause severe breathing problems and secondary infections.

Pneumonia can be incredibly challenging to treat. Not all hedgehogs that are treated will make a full recovery. Pneumonia can leave hedgehogs with short or long term scarring of the lungs. Some will always be weaker as a result and more prone to future infections.

Last year I was kindly donated a nebuliser. It helps to treat breathing problems, including those linked to pneumonia. It is an ordinary human nebuliser but I have built a plastic tank to hold the hedgehog and into which the nebuliser tubes are inserted.

The nebuliser (right) and plastic chamber (left). It is a bird food container into which a hole has been cut for the nebuliser tube and a couple of small holes for the vapour to escape

The hedgehog will spend a few minutes receiving the nebuliser treatment, several times each day. I use an antiseptic treatment in the nebuliser called F10.

Hedgehog inside the nebuliser chamber

Alongside the nebuliser treatment, the hedgehog will also receive a number of other medications and treatments depending upon the nature of its breathing problems. If it has a high burden of lung parasites, those will be treated. A long course of antibiotics may be required for pneumonia and other infections. Decongestant/expectorant drugs may also be used to help the hedgehog breathe more easily, along with pain relief.

A few drops of olbas oil on bedding can also help hedgehogs with minor breathing problems.

Sadly the hedgehog in this video did not survive but I have successfully rehabilitated another hedgehog with pneumonia. Following a very long course of treatment, she was eventually released to a secure garden (due to having suffered a number of other issues and therefore being very vulnerable if released fully to the wild) where she has thrived.

If you find a hedgehog that is having breathing problems, it is vital to get it to a vet or hedgehog rescue urgently. Breathing problems can be caused by a range of things including lungworm, pneumonia and also injuries, such as punctured/collapsed lungs. Urgent medication and pain relief is vital along with x-rays to check for injuries.

I run a hedgehog hospital in York. Equipment like this nebuliser is vital to help sick and injured hedgehogs but can be very costly. You can find out more about what running a hedgehog rescue involves and how to support my work here.

I also make silver jewellery inspired by nature and wildlife. You can visit my online jewellery shop here.

Handmade silver nature jewellery by little silver hedgehog
Handmade silver nature jewellery by little silver hedgehog

7 thoughts on “Treating hedgehog pneumonia”

  1. Found young hedgehog with breathing difficulties out of its habitat. In the vets overnight with pneumonia. The poor little mite was in a bad way but hopefully will recover!

  2. Hi Simone, the tube came with the nebuliser that I bought – should be with yours? Do let me know if I can help further. There is a ‘contact me’ section on my website and I can email you from there x

  3. I like your site. I have a hedgehog hospital in France and have just bought the nebuliser you have because it is silent. I also didn’t know about F10 so I have learnt something useful today. Did the pipe you use come with it or did you get it separately and if so where did you get it?

  4. It makes sense, but I haven’t thought of animals using nebulizers. If I get a new one, maybe I can donate my old one to a rescue organization. Thank you for the idea!

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