Hedgehogs are adorable pets with interesting personalities. However, they are great responsibility too. New hedgehog owners are mostly concerned if these animals need vaccination shots like cats and dogs.
So, do hedgehogs need shots? No. Hedgehogs, unlike cats and dogs, do not need shots. Although they are prone to contagious diseases like Salmonella, they are only possible when exposed to infectious surroundings. But, it is always best to get regular health check-ups for your pet hedgie to be on the safer side.
While hedgehogs are known to be composed pets, it is best to keep an eye on their illnesses and ensuring they don’t go to risky zones.
This post shall tell you about all the vaccinations dos and don’ts for hedgehogs. Then, once you are done going through this blog, you’ll be confident about tackling the general medical challenges of this spiny pet of yours.
Are Vet Visits Necessary for Hedgehogs?
Yes, vet visits are necessary for all pets, irrespective of how safe books or vets claim they might be. First, it ensures your safety, and next, it ensures the good health of your pet.
The same is the case for a pet hedgehog. It would be a bad idea to self-diagnose or assume anything on the note of discomfort or illness of your hedgehog.
Therefore, it is always best to have a veterinarian do routine checks for your hedgie. That ensures better interaction and an amicable relationship between you and your pet hedgehog. Also, early check-ups let your pet get comfortable around your vet.
It helps for the upcoming times whenever you see the vet. Your pet won’t be showing any signs of discomfort around the doctor.
Neutering and spaying your pet hedgehog is also vital to its health. Additionally, ensure to run fecal tests as well. Older hedgehogs are more prone to health issues and should be taken to the vet more frequently.
How Do You Care for a Hedgehog?
For starters, you should build a homely environment for your hedgehog where it can roam about freely without any fear. A large cage meant for guinea pigs would be ideal.
However, ensure that the cage floor is solid and is not made of wire, as the delicate feet of your hedgehog might get caught in the wire. Also, line up the cage with some paper material, ideally a newspaper, and avoid the use of wood or other such types.
Wood shavings are dusty and not digestible if eaten, which can lead to gastrointestinal obstructions. You can even train your pet hedgie in small litter boxes lined with paper litters and place it at the corner of their cage.
It would be best to feed them pelleted food in untippable bowls when it comes to feeding them. You can place a smaller bowl to feed them their favorite food: insects. You can place a bottle hanging up in the cage or place a bowl for clean drinking water for your hedgehog.
Just like guinea pigs, hedgehogs also love to run on wheels. So you can place a smooth-sides wheel for them to run in. Moreover, construct a hiding spot for them to give them the hunting-like environment within their cage. It can be a wooden box with a cut-out door or anything similar.
It is essential to clean your hedgehog’s habitat daily to prevent fecal contamination and leftover food debris. Also, make sure to thoroughly clean its bedding at least once a week and replace it with fresh bedding. Plus, make sure to feed it fresh and healthy food with clean drinking water daily.
Additionally, it is worth mentioning that hedgehogs are prone to obesity. Therefore, daily exercise is crucial for them. Ensure mental stimulation within their cages by providing ramps, ledges, tunnels, and cage furniture to keep them engaged. You can also get PVC pips or toys, balls, bells, and chew toys for your hedgehogs to play with.
How Often to Visit the Vet With Hedgie?
While an annual visit can be inadequate yet safe for your hedgehog, regular vet visits are advisable. Regular vet visits help better diagnose any potential health risks of your pet hedgehog.
Hedgehogs mostly undergo obscure diseases and can be troublesome if not treated on time. However, most small animals like hedgehogs do not show signs of their weakness to avoid falling prey to other animals.
That is why it is important to regularly take your hedgehog to the vet, for only vets can learn what is not visible to the general people like us.
If you want to ensure the best health of your pet hedgehog, visit its veterinarian regularly.
Selecting Your Hedgehog
Being an exotic animal lover, you might feel overwhelmed to get a hedgehog home, especially for the first time. But, not to worry anymore, the following points should help you choose the ideal pet for you to be the new spiny family member.
- While you’re in the store to get a hedgehog, avoid the ones that look listless or appear to be ill and quiet. Generally, healthy ones are quick, smart, and alert.
- Make sure not to choose the ones that may have discharge from their eyes and nose. You should also avoid hedgies with closed eyes. These are the ones who are vulnerable to threats and can be very reactive, curling up into a ball, making it difficult for the vet to inspect them.
- Also, make sure to avoid the ones with red ears or ears with excess wax. These are signs of infection. Select the ones with skins free of any scaliness.
- While you make the purchase, inspect their anal area as well. It will show the signs of moisture or diarrhea if it has any gastrointestinal infections. Additionally, check their mouth for any signs of inflammation, red gums, or broken teeth.
Hedgehogs are available at exotic pet stores where you get to interact with the breeder directly. This way, you get to know more about the hedgehog that you purchase.
So, hedgehogs do not need shots, just like other animals. However, it is always best to let them go through their regular health check-ups to ensure their best conditions.
You can look up established vets specializing in hedgehogs or exotic animals to ensure your hedgehog is in the most experienced hands. You can do that through search engines or personal referrals.
Although spaying and neutering aren’t mandatory, they are beneficial for your hedgehogs. It becomes even more important when the hedgehogs are living in close quarters.
Dental issues, mites, obesity, some forms of cancer are some of the health problems common among hedgehogs.
When you decide upon getting a hedgehog, make sure you have sound knowledge about their health and requirements. Also, once you get one home, always look out for any sudden changes in your hedgehog’s appearance or behavior.