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Keeping people safe while caring for pets during the COVID-19 outbreak

To all our valuable clients and their pets, we at the Veterinary Center will continue to stay open to care for ill pets during this difficult time, but to ensure the health and safety of you, your pets, and our staff, we are implementing some new protocols:

  • Our waiting room is very small, and our exam rooms are even smaller, making social distancing impossible. Therefore, for the health and safety of both pet owners and our staff, we will continue to ask pet owners to hand off their pets in carriers to our staff in the parking lot outside the Center. Pet owners will not be allowed inside the Center. Instead, staff members will carefully remove pets from their carriers inside the building and then return carriers to pet owners in the parking lot. No other personal objects (toys, blankets, etc.) will be taken into the building.
  • Pet owners will be asked to provide detailed accounts on the phone to the staff about what is going on with their pets. Owners are welcome to listen on their phones to the appointment in progress as it goes on in the exam room and should feel free to ask questions as the doctor comes up with recommended plans for treatment.
  • Once the staff and the pet owner have agreed on a treatment plan for a pet, owners will be asked to sign permission for treatment online and can either wait in their cars in the parking lot until their pet’s care is complete, or they can return later to the Center at a time they work out with the staff to pick up their pets.

All payment for services will be due at the time of treatment, as usual, and will be processed over the phone. We are sorry if these new policies inconvenience our clients in any way, but in order to keep our staff healthy so that we may be there to treat your pets, we feel that these steps are necessary. We cannot compromise on these new policies and risk the health of our staff. Please be patient during these trying times so that we can all get through this safely and not compromise our health or the health of our beloved pets.

Learn More
  • Monday-Thursday: 9am-6pm
  • Friday: 9am-5pm
  • Saturday: 9am-2pm
  • Sunday: Emergency Phone Consultations Only

Hedgehog Vet Care in Bedford Hills, NY

At Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics, hedgehog vet care is one of many exotic veterinary services we provide at Bedford Hills, NY. Call us and schedule your next appointment.

Behavior

Hedgehogs tend to be shy, solitary creatures that are generally nocturnal (active at night). Many prefer quiet, dim environments and are frightened by loud noise and bright light. They like to hide and dig and have a well-developed sense of smell. They try to “taste” new things in their environment by salivating and spitting onto themselves—a process called “anointing” or “anting.”

Hedgehogs are covered by short, pointy spines. While young hedgehogs usually do not mind being held, adults often roll up into tight balls as a defense. Adults may also make a hissing sound when they are afraid. With quiet stroking of the spines over the back in dim light, a curled up hedgehog may uncurl. The more a hedgehog is handled, the tamer it is likely to become.

Housing Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs can be housed in smooth-walled enclosures (such as aquariums, 20 gallon capacity or greater) with sides high enough to prevent escape. They can also be housed in plastic bottom enclosures with coated wire sides and top, such as those made for rats or guinea pigs. Cages with wire sides and tops have much better ventilation than aquariums and are therefore healthier for a hedgehog’s respiratory system.

Hedgehogs are not good climbers, so ideally they should live in a one level environment. Exercise wheels can be provided, however they should be completely smooth inside to prevent feet and spines from getting caught in wires or holes. Hedgehogs are prone to obesity in captivity, so providing them with a safe method to exercise is essential. Ideal bedding is newspaper or other commercially available recycled paper product. Bedding should be several inches thick to enable digging and should be kept clean and dry.

Wood shavings and soil are not recommended, as they are dusty, indigestible, and may contain parasites. Hedgehogs should be provided with a hide box, a shallow water pan for bathing, and smooth rocks (large enough to not be swallowed) for rubbing and scratching. Logs (to form tunnels and hiding spots) may be used to enrich their environment and provide varied hiding/sleeping places. Hedgehogs should be taken out of their enclosures every day for exercise and social interaction. They should never be left unsupervised, as they may chew on toxic substances or be attached by other predatory pets, such as cats and dogs, or injured by small children.

In the wild, hedgehogs do not hibernate. However, in captivity they may hibernate if their environmental temperature falls below 65 degrees. As hibernating may be detrimental to them in that it can reduce their immune system function and ability to digest food, hedgehogs should be kept at a constant temperature throughout the year, approximately 75-80˚F, and on a 12-hour light cycle.

Hedgehog Nutrition

Hedgehogs are in the insectivore family; however, in the wild their diet includes insects, snails, worms, as well as occasional small vertebrates and plants. They should be fed once daily in the evening from heavy dishes which do not tip over easily. A good quality commercial pelleted hedgehog diet or a pellet made for insectivores makes a good base for their diet. Each day, an adult hedgehog can be fed 2 tablespoons of a hedgehog diet or insectivore food, along with 1-2 tablespoons of fresh vegetables. They also require a few insects (mealworms, crickets, wax worms, snails, and other invertebrates) 3-4 times a week. Since hedgehogs are very prone to obesity, feeding unlimited quantities of food or feeding high fat foods (such as seeds and nuts, or only waxworms) is highly discouraged. Fresh water from a sipper bottle or bowl should be offered every day.

Healthcare For Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs should be examined annually by an exotic animal veterinarian. Diet and environment should be reviewed. Hedgehogs should be weighed at least annually to ensure that they are not becoming obese. They should receive a complete physical examination, including a thorough check of their teeth, as they are prone to dental disease. Dental scaling may be necessary if they have excessive tartar, particularly from consumption of canned diets. Hedgehogs can also be prone to hepatic lipidosis (fatty infiltration of the liver), cancer, respiratory infections, and certain neurological conditions. Proper preventative medicine can help avoid disease development and ensure the lifelong health of your hedgehog.

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