HELP! New hedgie, foot injury - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 12-31-2013, 07:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default HELP! New hedgie, foot injury

I just got my hedgie Saturday (3 days ago) an I noticed last night he was walking funny. I got him out today to inspect his foot and the pad of his back foot is scraped and some skin is hanging off. I rinsed his foot in some warm water and put a tiny bit of ointment on it and have been sitting here observing him. He has been biting his injured foot causing it to bleed so I don't want to put anymore ointment on it and I'm freaking out and in tears I have no idea where the injury came from. He has been in his wheel once and i haven't had him in a ball yet. I uses suggested aspen shavings and have him in a large plastic tote instead of a normal cage. I called the lady I got him from and she has never had this issue before. Help please should I try to call a vet tomorrow, can I wrap his foot so he won't bite it and it can heal? I have no idea what to so
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Old 12-31-2013, 07:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I haven't had to directly deal with a wounded hedgehog yet, so if you get contradictory advice, I yield to more experienced forum members!

1. Calm, breathe, and welcome to the forum. I'm sorry it's under stressful circumstances.

2. Clean his foot. Keep it clean. Water-only; soaps can have all sorts of extra additives that can be problematic.

3. If you think he won't get into more mischief by trying to escape, take his wheel out tonight. Clean and evaluate his foot tomorrow to see if it's healing. Hedgehog feet typically heal incredibly quickly.

4. Yes, you probably want to go to a vet. I'm not sure if it's worth doing the emergency-access of New Year's Day or latenight (these little guys have the most awesome timing...); you'll probably need to make that judgement call yourself. Posting photos might help someone with more experience decide how serious it is, though. Click the "Go Advanced" button, then click the "Manage Attachments" button to upload a photo.

5. Do you have a bit of fleece or a pillowcase you could temporarily use as bedding instead of the shavings? I can't help but think wood shaving could stick to an open wound really easily, and make it harder for you to see little bloody footprints. (I haven't used shavings, and I don't know from your description if it's sticky-big, or more like a hidden-papercut, or what, so this could be totally off-base.)

5. Your instincts are right to not put on an ointment if it's encouraging him to lick or chew at the wound. For future reference, although polysporin regular strength is fine, the extra-strength or pain-relief ones contain ingredients toxic to hedgehogs. You can always dab a bit on your finger and offer it to your hedgehog to see if he finds it interesting (anointing, licking, whatever) before risking it on him.

6. Time to play detective! Try to look everywhere he's possibly been for anything that could be sharp that he could've scraped himself on. Look at his foot in bright light under a magnifying glass if you can (no problem, right? Not like he'll ball up and hide his foot from you!). Any chance it's a hair or a thread wrapped around his foot and cutting into the flesh? If so, you need to untangle it as soon as possible. (And if you can't, that's a vet-NOW moment; cut off circulation can get very bad quickly.)

7. Later (once all this is resolved), if you haven't seen it, this book is an amazing care guide.
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Last edited by Annie&Tibbers; 12-31-2013 at 07:25 PM.
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Old 12-31-2013, 07:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have already taken all shavings out, wheel out and cleaned the container and placed a pillow case in there so at least you have confirmed that my instincts are correct. I know he is new to me but he has let me rinse and inspect it already and I didn't see a thread or hair. He isn't acting strange, he is still eating and drinking and interacting with me. He just walks tenderly on his foot and a piece of skin is hanging off where it is cut. The big concern right now is that it won't heal because he is biting it. I'm going to continue to watch it, clean it and see how he is doing tomorrow I guess. Thanks for the reassurance! Any idea how to find a vet to contact? As long as he isn't worse tomorrow I will call around Thursday.
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Old 12-31-2013, 08:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Look for local vets who advertise they work on exotics. Most who work with small animals (rats, gerbils, guinea pigs...) will also work on hedgehogs.

That doesn't sound like it's too bad. Again, confirming your instincts; if it isn't worse in the morning, it can probably wait until a regular business day.

I'm actually wondering if it would help to carefully snip off the cut skin fold so he stops worrying at it, or if he'd then just chew at the open wounded skin. Don't do it unless someone with more experience (Nancy, are you out celebrating NYE? Bah, humbug!) comes along to advise, because I really have no experience with this. If it's skinned-lose like a hangnail, that'd make sense, but if it's more sliced like a papercut, or protective like a popped-blister, it might be serving a protective function. Not enough experience or information!

You can check the forum vet listings to see if anyone has had a particularly pleasant experience with a vet near you, but make sure to check the dates on postings (vets can change jobs!), and be aware that it isn't a comprehensive list of every vet in the area.
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Old 01-01-2014, 02:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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How does his foot look this morning?
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Old 04-04-2015, 02:35 AM   #6 (permalink)
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So sorry I never replied to this. I was so torn up when all this happened I forgot I posted this after I was done dealing with it. After a midnight trip all over the world I finally found a vet at a pet hospital who had two exotic animal vets there that night. By that time I was literally holding his little chin away from his foot because he was chewing at it so bad. He literally chewed off three of his toes and only has one little toe on that foot. I was at the vet until after 10am while they sedated him, cleaned his foot, gave him pain medication etc. I had literally gotten him a day or two prior to this happening. The vet thought the breader may have gotten a chemical on his foot which was burning or itching and caused ziggy to bite at it. Because he was new to me I hadn't had him out much so he could get used to his new home. I told the vet everything the new home consisted of etc. I didn't research the breeder as much as I should have before going to get my baby hedgie and when I got there the situation at her house was not ideal. As of today his foot is completely healed and he has one little toe that he lets me clip the nail on. He has a normal hedgie life! He enjoys his wheel, digging in his container and running around outside. Every once in a while he will bother his foot but it's not very often at all!
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