What is WHS (Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome) - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 11-17-2013, 11:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
Hooked on Hogs
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Kingston, Ontario
Posts: 8,950
Default What is WHS (Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome)

Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome (WHS) is a progressive degenerative neurological disease similar to MS in humans. It causes progressive paralysis accompanied by weight loss as the muscles atrophy.

It most commonly begins with hind end paralysis or stiffness but it can start anywhere.

Symptoms include:
- consistently falling to one side
- muscle atrophy (muscle wasting)
- slight or partial paralysis
- paralysis in all four limbs
- seizures
- tremors
- trouble swallowing
- abnormal spine curvature
- exopthalmos (bulging eye)
- self-mutilation (rare)

WHS can strike at any age although the most common seems to be between 18 & 24 months. There have been 8 week old babies with a positive WHS necropsy. There is no "too young" or "too old" age for WHS to occur.

Although not yet proven, all research so far points to it being hereditary. It has been shown it follows family lines so hedgehogs with a WHS ancestor should never be bred.

WHS is a slow progressing disease with many hedgehogs surviving 18 months from onset. Speed of progression depends on the individual hedgehog.

WHS can only be proven after death through necropsy and histopathology.

Unfortunately too many owners and even veterinarians are quick to label any mobility issue in a hedgehog as being WHS. Many other diseases, illnesses and injuries can mimic WHS and must be ruled out before a tentative WHS diagnoses can be given. Tumours, injuries, ear infections, malnutrition, temperature, stroke and any illness can cause a hedgehog to be wobbly or unsteady on his/her feet.

Herisson, LarryT, abbys and 2 others like this.
* * * Nancy * * *

Retired from breeding

Rescue contact for both the Hedgehog Welfare Society and the IHA
Rescued over 70 (and counting) hedgehogs needing a new home

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