Full Guide On How To Treat Hedgehog Bloated Stomach
Your hedgehog bloated stomach can be the result of a condition known as balloon syndrome. However, there are other causes such as constipation, allergies, pregnancy or cancer.
This article will help you establish what’s causing your hedgehog bloated stomach and decide what’s the best treatment.
Hedgehog Bloated Stomach – Causes
When looking at the possible causes for hedgehog bloated symptoms, it’s important to also consider any other symptoms that might be present. For instance, if your hedgehog bloated stomach is accompanied with quill loss, it can be skin mites.
The most common causes for bloated stomach in hedgehogs include:
- Balloon syndrome
- Allergic reaction
Although, balloon syndrome is a common cause for hedgehog bloated stomach, it’s also a very rare condition. Balloon syndrome occurs when air gets trapped under the hedgehog’s skin and as a result the hedgehog’s body inflates.
Before treating hedgehog bloated stomach caused by balloon syndrome, first you would need to take your pet to the vet for an X-ray. If your hedgehog is suffering with this condition, the X-ray will show a giant air pocket.
Once properly diagnosed, the air can be removed by making an incision in the skin, over the back. After the procedure, the vet will prescribe antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs for your hedgehog’s treatment.
Although, in most cases the hedgehog will recover just fine, they might suffer with lung/chest wall damage or externals wounds. It’s important to keep observing your hedgehog and ensure you’re giving them the prescribed antibiotics.
Furthermore, it’s important to ensure that the incisions remain open until after the lungs have healed to prevent the balloon syndrome from coming back. That would also mean taking extra care of the open wounds, so they don’t get infected.
Another common cause for hedgehog bloated stomach is constipation. The same as people, hedgehogs can also become constipated. If you suspect that your hedgehog is suffering with this condition, you should keep an eye on the following symptoms:
- Not eating or drinking. A constipated hedgehog won’t be eating as they are already full and can’t get a relief
- No poop in the cage
- Bloated. If your hedgehog’s belly appear bloated and round, it can be because of constipation
- Your hedgehog straining and even crying when trying to poop
- Lethargy. If your hedgehog appears lazier than usual, it can be because they can’t relive themselves
Once you’ve established that your hedgehog is constipated, the next step is finding out why. The most important thing is to correct whatever is making your hedgehog constipated instead of just treating the symptoms.
Constipation – Causes
With that said, the most common causes for a constipated hedgehog include:
- Diet/digestive issues – if you’re feeding them cat food, you should change it for specialised hedgehog food. Another thing that can help is skipping any mealworms and adding fiber to their diet instead
- Stress – a new environment or any changes can cause your little guy stress. Ensure their environment is relaxing and there are no loud noises surrounding their cage
- Dehydration – if your hedgehog’s water bowl is inaccessible, they might struggle to use it and become dehydrated as a result
- Impaction by dry mealworm – these treats can easily get stuck in your hedgehog and cause a blockage
- Temperature is too cold – if hedgehogs are not kept at the right temperature, especially if they are too cold, they won’t eat their food. Ensure their enclosure is always kept between 74° and 76°F
- Intestinal blockage – it’s important to only feed your hedgehogs foods that are no bigger than the distance between their eyes as bigger foods can cause blockages that in some extreme cases would need to be surgically removed by a vet
On the other hand, to treat the symptoms and get your hedgehog pooping again, you can try any of the following tricks:
- Warm bath can relax your hedgehog’s bowels and help with the digestion of any food that’s stuck
- Massage will be especially helpful if your hedgehog has overeaten. A massage will help digest the food easier
- Feed them pumpkin. If you have a constipated hedgehog, feeding them unseasoned, unsweetened, cooked pumpkin mixed with some water will help relieve the constipation. It’s recommended to feed a ½ a teaspoon for an adult and ¼ of a teaspoon for a baby. The pumpkin has a laxative effect. You can use a syringe
- Feed them applesauce and sweet potato puree
- Soak the mealworms in water
- Feed them boiled egg and add some water to it
To find out more about constipation in hedgehogs, read the full guide here Constipated Hedgehog – Causes And Treatment
Like people, hedgehogs also suffer with allergies. One of the symptoms of an allergic reaction is hedgehog bloated stomach. Other symptoms to look out for include:
- Redness of the skin
The first thing that you need to do is find out what’s causing your hedgehog’s allergic reaction and remove it from their environment. Once the allergy trigger has been removed, next you want to treat the symptoms. That can be done by trying home remedies such as oat bath which can relive the itchiness and skin redness.
If home remedies don’t relieve your hedgehog’s symptoms, you will need to take them to the vet where they can get antibiotics and possibly an antihistamine or steroid injection.
The most worrying cause for hedgehog bloated stomach is cancer. Hedgehogs are prone to cancerous tumors that can grow internally or externally.
Hedgehog cancers that involve bloated/enlarged stomach are genital tumors and digestive tract cancer.
Genital cancer in hedgehogs can affect the uterine, ovarian, or penis. Signs of this cancer include abnormal secretions or an enlarged swollen stomach.
On the other hand, digestive tract cancer often presents with diarrhea, stool with mucus and red, black, or green color, inability or refusal to eat.
Often hedgehogs can live long with cancer without you even knowing. However, once a tumor ruptures, there will be internal bleeding which appears as hedgehog bloated stomach on the outside.
Once properly diagnosed, the vet will give you the prognosis. In some cases, the cancerous tumors can be removed. On the other hand, some cancers are untreatable, and the most humane thing is to euthanise your hedgehog.
In terms of prevention, vets recommend spaying young females due to the high risk of reproductive cancer. Once this is done, even if a tumor develops, it can often be removed without complications.
Read here to learn more about hedgehog tumors and cancer Hedgehog Tumors – Symptoms, Treatment And Cost
If your hedgehog is female and you notice her stomach starting to grow and appearing bloated, she might be pregnant.
Although, it is very difficult to tell if a hedgehog is pregnant, some signs to look out for include:
- Weight (gain)
- Eating habits
- Energy levels
- The most telling signs of pregnancy in hedgehogs is when the mother starts building a nursery nest
Read more about hedgehog pregnancy here Hedgehog Labor Signs And Pregnancy Signs
Hedgehog Bloated Stomach – Prevention
If your hedgehog bloated stomach is the result of constipation, infection or allergy, there are steps that can be taken to prevent this from happening such as:
- Making sure your hedgehog is always hydrated
- Feeding them a balanced and nutritious diet
- Not feeding them foods that are too big or too hard to digest
- Providing bedding material that doesn’t cause allergies
- Cleaning their cage only with warm water and vinegar to avoid an allergic reaction
- Avoiding stressful situations such as loud noises and sudden movements
- Always maintaining temperatures between 74° and 76°F in their cage
On the other hand, if your hedgehog bloated stomach is the result of cancer growth, there is only so much an owner can do. If your hedgehog develops cancer, it’s mostly to do with their genes.
The only thing that you can do is make sure that you get your hedgehog from a reputable breeder who has the hedgehog’s medical history.
Many hedgehog owners come across the condition hedgehog bloated stomach. Although, there can be various causes for this condition, the ones that are most worrying and need immediate medical intervention are hedgehog balloon syndrome and cancer.
On the other hand, causes such as allergic reaction, constipation and even some mild infections can be treated at home with good husbandry and home remedies.
If your hedgehog is unwell or acting out of the ordinary, it’s important to never ignore it and always try to get to the bottom of the problem.
We always recommend taking your hedgehog to the vet for a correct diagnosis and treatment.
Related Topics Q&A
What Are Common Hedgehog Tumors?
Unfortunately, cancer is a common occurrence in hedgehogs. Normally, hedgehog cancer occurs in following body parts:
- Mammary gland
- Reproductive system
- Intestinal tract
However, it’s important to remember that all body parts are at risk. Furthermore, you’re your hedgehog develops one type of cancer, they are also prone to developing another.
What Is Normal vs Abnormal Hedgehog Poop?
Poop in any animal is a good indicator of good or bad health. The same goes for hedgehogs.
Healthy hedgehog poop is:
- Black to dark brown in colour
- Around 1.5 to 5 centimetres long
- Sausage shape
- Often, the hedgehog poop looks almost shiny because to the beetle exo-skeleton particles it contains
On the other hand, unhealthy hedgehog poop can be any of the following:
- No poop
- Mushy and loose
- Unusually bad odor