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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi! First of all, I need to mention that vets in my country (Greece) have no idea about hedgehogs and won't be able to help, so please don't tell me to take her to the vet. :( I have asked several; some say they don't want to treat hedgehogs and some other that they have no experience but could research it.
So, my female APH caught her foot in a thread 4 nights ago. She had just finished nursing her babies a couple days before that (she was already pregnant when I got her from a pet shop where they thought it was a male) - I am mentioning this because I was expecting her behavior to change anyways in the next few days as she wants to be more alone (I separated the males first but she didn't even want to keep the girls with her).
I saw it the same morning. Now I've made sure that no fabric that can cause damage is left with her (only fleece from now on). The circulation was cut in half of her foot and it was very swollen. I immediately calmed her down and cut the thread (so she must not have been caught in it more than 8 hours in total). I immediately got her antiseptic spray and antibiotic cream from the pharmacy, disinfected the foot and massaged the antibiotic into it. It got slightly better BUT she keep scratching her back with that foot! I'm pretty sure she doesn't have flees and I did put a little oil in her bath, but she always scratched (not all the time but a bit - although it feels like she's doing it more since she got her foot injured). As a result, the foot in question is becoming bloody, and she leaves blood stains on the spikes of her back. :( I think the scratching is stress related - I kind of "rescued" her from that horrible pet shop, then she got comfortable with me but immediately went through pregnancy and child birth and now this...
Amputation isn't an option because vets in the country where I live have no experience with hedgehogs and would most probably kill her if I let them try their hand on her. It doesn't look the foot is "dead" yet but it's gonna be if I don't find a way to stop the scratching.
Has this happened to any of you? What did the vet do? If it were a bigger animal I'd bandage the foot to keep the antibiotic cream on and avoid the skin getting ripped when scratching but I feel like bandaging her foot might be even worse (the problem originated because of a thread after all!).
I just don't know what to do.
Last night I made her chicken (her fav food), she ate, but she pooped inside her house, which she normally never would do. At least the poop looked healthy (first healthy looking poop since the incident, since before that she almost ate nothing and almost didn't poop at all. She's ignoring her kibble, even if I soak it (but if she eats chicken it's fine, as long as she gets better!!). What isn't reassuring is that with all the scratching and stress, she started stepping in poop too, which she doesn't do usually so we normally don't do too many feet baths and she hates them... So it makes the situation worse for the risks of infection and the added stress for her.

The main question is: How to I stop her from scratching her back with her injured foot, making it worse?
I'm applying antibiotic cream to it every evening and morning.
Any help would be welcome!
 

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Honestly, I would recommend going to the vet about this. While they may not have experience with hedgehog-specific issues, I can't imagine an amputation is that complicated for them. Go to one experienced with small animals. Gangrene can spread and cause far worse issues than just an itchy foot.
 

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A vet would also be able to ensure that all the hair is removed. Going to the vet while it isn't a major thing is better than waiting for it to become major. If it is still as swollen you can safely assume there is still hair or string blocking circulation.
 

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Unfortunately, we can't tell you much other than what people are telling you, which isn't what you want to hear. There honestly isn't a great replacement for vet care - it's something that should be available when you get the pet.

I would really recommend going to one of the vets that is willing to see hedgehogs & do research. Yes, it's ideal for the vet to have experience. But when you have a situation where a vet is necessary, then you work with what you have. A vet that is willing to research, collaborate and network with more experienced vets, and do their best for your little one is better than no vet at all. In some cases, it can be even better than a vet that has experience, but hasn't bothered to keep up with current research or believes they know best even when they don't.

Can you post pictures of what the foot looks like so we can see how bad it is?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi guys! Thanks for answering. In the meantime I did ask the two vets who were willing to do research if they would do an amputation if needed and they said no. They would just examine and give advice. So I decided to take care of her myself instead of give her the added stress of a long car trip to a vet examination. I knew I had removed all the thread because I did it very carefully and really paid attention to that. I've done a two months internship at a vet clinic when I was younger so I'm not a vet at all but I trust myself with basic things.
Fortunately I don't have pictures to show because it actually got way better!!!
Foot bath twice a day, chicken twice a day too, lots of quiet time (only approaching her for foot care and letting her be the rest of the time which I can she she is grateful for because she's a very shy girl).
Antiseptic spray after each foot bath. Then drying it because it wouldn't be great to lick it. And then antibiotic cream. It did take about a week in total but the swelling and unhealthy purple color are gone and now there's just a small scar where the thread had been but no blood at all. Normal poop all in the litter box. :)
But I do agree we should have vet access when we buy a pet. Hedgehogs are legal here and easily available, so when I bought her it didn't occur to me that I wouldn't find qualified vets! (I had to teach the pet store people that hedgehogs aren't rodents and that they shouldn't give them stones to sharpen their teeth, that they should stop using pine shavings for their bedding and lot of stuff like that, so there's generally a lot of work to do in this country still).
I really appreciate all the answers and hope this post can be useful if someone is in the same situation in the future (although I hope they will find a vet!).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
PS: vets have explained that by small animals they mean cats and dogs. They don't treat guinea pigs, chinchillas or hamsters either. Or birds.
I saw on a local forum that some chinchilla owners had to go to the zoo for vet care!!
Just praying that my little Gaïa never needs surgery!
 

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I'm glad her foot is doing so much better. :) The most likely serious medical care that I could see Gaia needing (based on the most common problems for hedgehogs) is antibiotics for a URI, extraction/antibiotics/examination for tooth issues, and spaying as hedgehogs can be prone to cancer in general, and uterine cancer for females. So it wouldn't be a bad idea to keep checking in with vets and see if you can eventually find one who would be willing to give it a shot with research/advice from experienced vets from other countries, just in case. Considering all of the health issues I mentioned are deadly without medical treatment, her chances would still be better if the vet is at least willing to try. You could possibly convince them by pointing out how common hedgies are becoming in the country & that they could become one of the only vets to have experience working with them, and therefore get more customers from other hedgie owners.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you! Yes, will definitely keep checking with vets and try to convince them that they should open their practice to more small animals (not only hedgies, but also rabbits and chinchillas that are very common here). My other mission is try to make pet shops more aware of the animal needs. Still haven't managed but trying to make them import a bulk of wheels and stuff like that. Unfortunately I found several hedgehogs owners who told me it's no use to buy a wheel for their pet because they play with them half an hour a day outside the cage. :/ Shops are also convinced hedgehogs don't need wheels - it's crazy because they could make money selling them!
All that... Doing what I can with the little means I have. I also took in a rescue chinchilla that someone was considering releasing in the forest. Hm. So I'll definitely need a proper vet.
In the meanwhile I'm glad the pharmacist is very nice and understanding and ready to help me find the right antibiotics for the weight of my pets if need be.
 

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I'm glad you're trying so hard to change minds & educate people! That's fantastic. :) I know how frustrating it can be to advocate for animals with pet stores & other businesses that aren't interested in listening. I wish you lots of luck & hope that you'll be able to make some headway, especially with the vets. Your animals are lucky to have you. :)
 
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