Hedgehog with rat trap injury

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This poor boy was found out in daylight with horrendous injuries. He was missing an entire front toe right down to the bone. His nose is also damaged. He smelt terribly of infection.

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Hedgehog with an injured nose and paw, likely caused by a rat ‘snap trap’

This injury is typical of a hedgehog caught in a rat snap trap. The ‘snap’ catches noses and paws.

Although these kind of rat traps are perfectly legal, it is not legal to catch anything but rats in them. Small hedgehogs can, however, get inside the traps if they are not sited above ground.

Although they do not injure hedgehogs, bait box rat traps can also be lethal to hedgehogs. Hedgehogs can also get inside these traps and will eat any poison left out and be poisoned themselves. Small hedgehogs are around the same size as a rat. This is why it is difficult to keep rats out of hedgehog feeding stations.

It is vital to locate traps correctly to avoid catching small hedgehogs. Please watch this video to see how the boxes should be located above ground, out of the reach of hedgehogs.

This poor hedgehog was sadly euthanized. When starting to clean the injury, I found it was absolutely full of maggots. Too much damage had been done to save the leg and hedgehogs cannot survive in the wild or captivity with a missing front leg. He was also very weak and emaciated.

If he had not had the maggot damage and if he was strong enough for an operation, it might have been possible to stitch the remaining skin around the exposed bone of the toe.

It is likely that he was a late Autumn baby who had struggled through winter and was already starving. He may have ventured into a trap looking for food.

It is vital to rescue any hedgehog as soon as it is seen out in the day. In the summer, particularly, flies will lay eggs on any open wounds or hedgehogs lying motionless. I then have the problem of maggots to deal with on top of the injuries. It takes many many hours to remove fly eggs and maggots and often you don’t know if, even after all that hard work, the hedgehog will survive.

I run a hedgehog rescue in York, England. You can read more about my work here and also how you can support it.

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

Handmade silver nature jewellery by little silver hedgehog

Handmade silver nature jewellery by little silver hedgehog

I 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.

 

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Octavia’s story – a hedgehog miracle!

Hedgehog ringworm mange treatment
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I wanted to share this video with you all – Octavia’s story. She came into my hedgehog hospital as a tiny hoglet only 153g. She had a terrible infected bite wound. It took weeks to treat the injury. Then she lost all her fur and most of her spines due to ringworm. This is common when a hedgehog is run down or sick. It has been a long journey to recovery but she is now over 650g and ready for hibernation.

 

You can read more about Octavia’s injury was treated here.

UPDATE MAY 2018.

I am so proud to say that Octavia was released back to the wild on 6 May 2018. Stay safe miracle girl!

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Octavia upon her release in May 2018

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Octavia on release evening. See how well this side of her face (which was injured) has healed

I run a hedgehog hospital in York, England. My work is entirely self-funded. You can find out more about how to support my work here.

Hedgehog wound and abscess treatment

Hoglet with facial injury
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Octavia is being treated for a nasty facial wound that has sadly become infected. I’m sorry for the graphic nature of these 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.

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Octavia when she arrived and prior to any treatment

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.

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Octavia after 5 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.

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Some of the wound treatments I use

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 and veterinary grade manuka honey. These help to clear the infection and to promote healing.

Depending on the nature of the injury, pain relief may also be required as well as antibiotics. Octavia is receiving a special antibiotic that is very good at treating open wounds and abscesses. She will receive this for at least 7 days.

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.

I 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.

 

Dogs attacking hedgehogs – how to prevent a dog attack

Wild hedgehog abscess
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I love dogs and I love hedgehogs but sadly I am seeing an increasing number of hedgehogs coming into rescue after being attacked by dogs.

Many hedgehogs are injured by dogs in private gardens and in parks and countryside when out on walks. A number of hedgehogs I have admitted with bite wounds have been from gardens on the edge of city parks. Hedgehogs love to live in the piles of leaves that dogs love sniffing through.

The problem is that dog canines bite deep into the hedgehog. The wound then quickly seals over and can then be hard to spot. Many people let the hedgehog go again thinking that it is okay. Then, up to several weeks later, abscesses appear when the deep wounds get infected.

A hedgehog with an abscess will struggle due to the infection and then often succumb to other problems, such as an increased parasite burden and it is a downward spiral, ending up with the hedgehog struggling and then being seen in daylight (when they are nocturnal).

There is also usually more than one infected wound – all four canines will normally puncture the hedgehog.

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Hedgehog with an infected abscess on its face caused by a bite wound

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Hedgehog with a burst abscess. This hedgehog had 8 abscesses caused by individual puncture wounds from teeth.

Treating abscesses requires a lot of TLC. The abscesses will have to be cleaned daily. Deep abscesses may also have to be drained by a vet. The hedgehog will have to be put on a strong antibiotic.

Although dogs are a major cause of bite wounds, there are also other animals that can attack them, including foxes and rats, although rat attacks are rare. Cats don’t tend to cause problems for hedgehogs.

The best way to prevent dog attacks and dog bite wounds in your garden is to ideally keep the dog out of the garden at night. If you do need to let it out, then keep it on a lead. Always check for hedgehogs first. Turn an outside light on before you go out, which will also help to encourage any hedgehogs to move away.

You need to be particularly vigilant if your dog has attacked a hedgehog before. It will likely do so again.

If your dog does pick up a hedgehog when you are out on a walk, it is always best to get the hedgehog checked over by a rescue, particularly if you see any blood on the dog or hedgehog.

As well as attacking adult hedgehogs, dogs can also disturb hedgehog nests so it is particularly important to be vigilant around the breeding season from May to September. You may have a hedgehog nest in the garden that may be disturbed by a dog even during the daytime….

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A hedgehog nest in a pile of leaves – vulnerable to being disturbed by a dog. This nest has sadly been disturbed – the hedgehog and hoglets should not be out in the open.

If you have an injured hedgehog, there is information about what to do here

I run a hedgehog hospital in York, England. My work is entirely self-funded. You can support my work by making a donation or purchasing my handmade silver jewellery that raises funds for my hedgehog work.

I am pleased to say that both the hedgehogs featured in these images have made a good recovery.

Silver wildlife jewellery

Silver wildlife jewellery

Hedgehog with foot and limb injuries

Hedgehog with foot injuries
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Meet Legolas. He looks gorgeous and bright eyed but this was not the case when he arrived into my hedgehog rescue.

Sadly, I am seeing an increasing number of hedgehogs coming into rescue with foot and leg injuries. If only hedgehogs could talk and then I would know for sure what had caused them. I do know that they face many dangers out there in the wild. They can get attacked by foxes or dogs. They can get their feet trapped in things including the log edging that is popular for use around borders. Road traffic accidents can cause broken legs and also getting caught in rat traps.

 

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Legolas arrived with both feet badly swollen and infected. He also had a large wound on his left hand side. He smelt strongly of infection.

Legolas injured feet on arrival

On arrival, I washed his wounds with antibacterial agent (Hibiscrub) mixed with saline solution. Legolas was then treated over many weeks with antibiotics, pain relief (with added anti-infammatory ingredient) and daily topical would treatments.

Legolas with feet almost healed

It took months but you will see above that his feet eventually started to fully heal. He lost a few nails during the treatment but most eventually regrew. On release, he was only missing one nail – where the nail bed had been destroyed.

Legolas was lucky and he managed to keep his legs. Others are not so lucky. This is Rupert. He arrived with half a rear leg missing and just a stump left behind. He could not be left like this. The stump would drag on the ground and keep opening up the wound. He would be at risk of constant pain and infection. The only option for Rupert was amputation of the remainder of the stump.

Stump leg

I have also recently admitted this hedgehog with a swollen front leg. Unfortunately hedgehogs cannot survive with an amputated front leg. It is also virtually impossible for a vet to pin these kind of leg breaks due to the way the hedgehog curls and particularly if the fracture is not fresh. The first thing required for any hedgehog with a swollen limb like this is an x-ray. It is vital to know whether the leg is broken and infected or just infected. Luckily for this hedgehog, there is no break. I am treating him with pain relief and anti-inflammatory drugs, along with an antibiotic that is good for wounds.

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Hedgehog with swollen and infected front leg and foot – around 4 times normal size. He has been x-rayed to make sure it is not broken.

It is hard to prevent these injuries but you can do your bit by keeping your dog under control in areas where there are hedgehogs and not letting them out at night. Take a close look at your garden and check for potential hazards, such as gaps between log roll edging or holes that a hedgehog could fall into and get injured.

If you do spot a limping hedgehog, seek urgent help. Fresh injuries are easier to treat before they become infected. Not all leg problems mean the legs are broken or infected. Neurological damage (e.g. from being hit by a car) can also cause a hedgehog to drag their rear legs, as can some internal parasites. Like humans, hedgehogs can also tear and strain ligaments. Whatever the cause, it is vital to get the hedgehog to a specialist rescue straight away.

Leg injuries are also amongst the most expensive things for a hedgehog rescue to treat. They require many weeks of drugs and wound treatment. If the infection has got deep into the bone, special antibiotics for osteomyelitis (bone infection) will be needed but it is not always possible to save the leg. I have also had some success combining antibiotics for osteomyelitis with Arnica pills. Amputations also have to be paid for, along with antibiotics to prevent infection. You can find out more about my work here and can also support my work here.

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

Please join me in wishing Legolas a safe return to the wild.

Thank you for reading!

I 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.

 

Treating a hedgehog with a strimmer injury

Hedgehog with strimmer injury
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The sound of people people using a strimmer sets my teeth on edge. I hate them! They do so much damage to wildlife including hedgehogs, frogs and toads.

This is the story of Holly and her journey to recovery from a terrible strimmer wound. She was found at the end of July with her head sliced open, underneath a Holly bush. You can see from the pictures where the strimmer blade has cut deep into her head.

Holly is lucky – a few mm closer and the blade would have entered her skull.

When Holly was found, it was Summer and flies had laid eggs in the wound and hatched into maggots. These had to be painstakingly removed one by one and then the wound washed out with antimicrobial wound treatment and saline.

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You can see where the blade has cut across Holly’s head

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Flies had laid eggs in the open wound, which had hatched into maggots

Holly was put on a course of antibiotics and pain relief. The wound was cleaned daily to stop infection and a special wound gel was added to aid healing.

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Holly’s wound after around 10 days of treatment. It has scabbed over but needs cleaning daily to prevent infection.

Eventually, the wound healed and new spines started to grow through where the wound was.

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New spines starting to grow though – around a month after treatment started

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Holly fit and well and ready to go back to the wild.

Holly is incredibly lucky. Sadly, injuries like Holly’s are far from uncommon. Many hedgehogs are not so fortunate and strimmer and mowing injuries are a major cause of suffering and death. It also took me 6 weeks of intensive care to nurse her back to health. To help prevent injuries and suffering please:

  • Check all areas of long grass carefully before mowing or strimming. Hedgehogs nest in long grass.
  • Ideally keep areas of grass long for wildlife and don’t strim at all.
  • Encourage everyone you know to check before they mow – a simple check can save hedgehogs as well as frogs, toads and other wildlife that loves to nest or forage in long grass.

I run a hedgehog rescue in York, England and have nursed hundreds of hedgehogs back to health. You can find out more about my work here and also how to support it.

I 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.

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

My blog is full of tips and advice on helping wild hedgehogs – please take a look around my other blog posts and see what you can do to help our spiky friends.

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