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Common Hedgehog Diseases to Be Aware Of

Common Hedgehog Diseases to Be Aware Of

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The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Buying a hedgehog as a pet might be an appealing idea. It’s easy to see just how adorable they are by looking at videos of them interacting with their owners.

You might want to purchase one of your own sometime soon. As a responsible individual, you want to do the necessary research to get ready to take a new pet into your home.

Learning about potential hedgehog diseases will help you to know what to expect when caring for these pets.

Continue reading to learn all that you need to know about hedgehog diseases. This should help you to feel much more confident when you’re buying your first pet hedgehog.

Hedgehogs Can Carry Foot and Mouth Disease

Before going further, it’s important to note that hedgehogs are potential carriers of foot and mouth disease. This is a condition that can impact humans.

Since hedgehogs have the potential to carry this disease, some places have made these pets illegal. For instance, the state of California has made owning pet hedgehogs illegal.

So if you want to own a hedgehog, it’ll be important to look up whether it’s legal to do so in your area. Owning hedgehogs as pets is legal in most of the United States, but there are even some cities that have rules against them.

Foot and mouth disease is a highly contagious condition that can cause you to get sick. It’s treatable, but it’s certainly a nuisance.

The fact that hedgehogs can carry foot and mouth disease doesn’t mean that all of them do. It’s simply true that some hedgehogs are carriers of the disease.

Do Hedgehogs Carry Diseases Harmful to Dogs?

It is possible that dogs might get sick due to being exposed to certain diseases by making contact with hedgehogs. Hedgehogs can carry many types of infections that can transfer to your dogs.

These pets also have the potential to pass certain infections on to humans. As mentioned above, hedgehogs are potential carriers of foot and mouth disease.

So your dogs and cats might get sick due to the presence of the hedgehog if it’s carrying some type of bacteria or parasite. There are many examples of this happening.

Hedgehogs can pass fleas and mites to other animals. They can also pass ringworm to other animals.

It’s wise to have your pet hedgehog examined by an exotic veterinarian. The vet can give the hedgehog a clean bill of health and let you know if it’s safe to bring it home.

Do Hedgehogs Carry Salmonella?

Sadly, hedgehogs can also carry salmonella. It’s possible that you might be exposed to salmonella because of your pet hedgehog.

Hedgehogs can carry salmonella through their droppings. So when you’re cleaning the hedgehog’s cage, you might get salmonella poisoning if you’re not careful.

This is why it’s best to wear gloves when cleaning the cage. Some people go so far as to wear gloves when handling pet hedgehogs, but not everyone takes it to this extreme.

You should also wash your hands thoroughly after handling the hedgehog or cleaning its enclosure. This helps to keep you safe from salmonella.

Note that a hedgehog doesn’t need to appear sick to be a carrier of salmonella. A perfectly healthy hedgehog can still expose you to salmonella, so it’s important to take the necessary precautions.

How Do Hedgehogs Get Mites?

Typically, hedgehogs will get mites due to being exposed to them through other animals. For example, your hedgehog might have come from a breeder.

Another hedgehog at the breeder’s location might have exposed your hedgehog to mites. It’s also possible for hedgehogs to get mites by sleeping on contaminated bedding.

These little animals can be exposed to mites in various places. They might come into contact with mites at pet stores, veterinary facilities, animal shelters, and other locations.

A vet can help you to deal with hedgehog mites properly. You can get rid of them by giving the hedgehog the right treatments.

Can Hedgehog Mites Affect Humans?

Most types of mites that hedgehogs will attract will not negatively affect humans. However, sarcoptic mites can be problematic.

If your hedgehog has these types of mites, they could cause problems for you. These mites can cause scabies in humans as well as general skin irritation.

These mites are rather small, but they’re not the most common type of mites. Even so, it’s worth keeping in mind that some mites can be a problem for you.

The most common mites, such as chorioptic mites, aren’t transmissible to humans. Some mites, such as demodectic mites, are completely harmless, and there’s a chance that you have some of these mites on your body without knowing.

Can Mites Kill a Hedgehog?

Technically, it’s possible that mites could kill a hedgehog. However, this is only going to occur in extreme situations.

If you were to leave mites untreated for a long time, the infestation could cause the hedgehog to lose all of its quills. This would lead to the eventual death of the hedgehog.

Thankfully, mites can be treated using a variety of medications. You need to talk to a vet to get this medication and determine the best treatment path.

Can Hedgehogs Get Fleas?

Hedgehogs can certainly get fleas. It’s not unusual for hedgehogs to become infested with fleas if there’s a heavy infestation in your home.

For example, your dogs might track fleas in from outside, and this will cause your home to become infested. Eventually, the fleas will make their way to the hedgehog’s cage.

Some hedgehogs don’t seem to be impacted by fleas, though. Hedgehogs with low body temperatures, such as the African Pygmy hedgehog, aren’t bothered by fleas.

They have quills covering their entire bodies as well. But other hedgehogs can become infested with fleas in your home.

Do Hedgehog Fleas Go On Dogs?

Yes, fleas can jump from dogs to hedgehogs and vice versa. If you have a flea infestation in your home, it’s wise to take steps to eradicate the fleas as soon as you can.

Do Hedgehogs Carry Rabies?

It’s technically possible for hedgehogs to carry rabies. This isn’t a common condition, though.

Wild hedgehogs can potentially be exposed to rabies and become carriers. A pet hedgehog would have no chance of being exposed to rabies, though.

Can You Get Rabies From a Hedgehog?

Theoretically, you could get rabies from a hedgehog. If a wild hedgehog has rabies and you’re exposed to it by being bitten or some other method, you could contract rabies.

It’s highly unlikely that you will ever get rabies from a hedgehog, though. You don’t need to worry about getting rabies from a pet hedgehog.

Can Hedgehogs Get Worms?

It’s certainly possible for hedgehogs to get various types of worms. Wild hedgehogs might get worms by eating something that has worms.

For example, they could get worms by eating snails and slugs. Pet hedgehogs might get worms, too.

Sometimes hedgehogs are known to get ringworm. Ringworm is something that hedgehogs get by coming into contact with fungal spores.

All types of worms can be treated with medication, but you’ll need to talk with a veterinarian. The vet can give you the right medication, and they will help to determine the specific types of worm that the hedgehog is dealing with.


When hedgehogs are three years old or older, they will be at risk of having cancer. The most common types of cancer that hedgehogs get are stomach cancer, intestinal tract cancer, and mouth cancer.

It’s possible for these pets to get various other types of cancer as well. When a hedgehog gets cancer, you might notice that it will lose a lot of weight and stop eating as much.

General lethargy is a symptom of cancer. If you suspect that your pet has cancer, it’s best to contact your vet.

The vet can tell you how to proceed. There isn’t much you can do about a cancer diagnosis, but you can at least know to cherish the time that you have left with your pet.


Pneumonia is more common in hedgehogs than many people realize. These pets are prone to respiratory problems, and pneumonia is among the worst issues that they can deal with.

When a hedgehog gets pneumonia, it’ll have a very tough time breathing. You might notice that the hedgehog has a nasal discharge, and it’ll sneeze quite often.

Sometimes hedgehogs will stop eating when they get pneumonia. You might need the assistance of a vet to treat the hedgehog and nurse it back to health.

Take pneumonia seriously because it can kill hedgehogs in severe cases. Your hedgehog can recover if all goes well, though.

Gastrointestinal Disease

There are many ways that gastrointestinal issues can negatively impact hedgehogs. A salmonella infection can potentially dehydrate a hedgehog so much that it will die.

Fatty liver disease is another thing to look out for. This is usually caused by malnutrition or exposure to toxins.

Make sure that you feed your pet a healthy diet to give it the best chance of staying healthy. You want to give hedgehogs high-quality food without overfeeding them.

Remember that certain foods are bad for hedgies, such as starch-based veggies. If your hedgehog ever gets diarrhea and you’re not sure what’s wrong, it’s likely wise to reach out to a vet just in case.

Sometimes diarrhea issues are the first sign of gastrointestinal problems. These issues aren’t always a death sentence, but they can be tough for the poor little hedgehog to deal with.


Many pet hedgehogs wind up becoming obese due to not exercising enough. When hedgehogs are given too much food, it’s easy for them to gain a lot of weight.

These pets are only meant to consume between 70 and 100 calories daily. People often give their pets too many snacks, and this will cause them to pack on the pounds.

Issues such as this can be mitigated by ensuring that the hedgehog gets lots of exercise. However, many people don’t give their hedgehogs enough toys or room to move around.

To make your hedgehog exercise, you can buy it lots of toys for it to use. Also, there should be ramps and tunnels for the hedgehog to use in the cage.

Be sure to avoid overfeeding your pet hedgehog, too. You don’t want to overfeed these animals since obesity can lead to severe cardiovascular issues, and it might even cause the pet to die much earlier than it should.

Final Thoughts

You know much more about hedgehogs and the types of diseases they get now. Look out for these problems, and you can help to keep your hedgehog safe.

If you don’t own a hedgehog yet, you can use this information to help you decide if buying one is right for you. These pets aren’t dangerous to own, even if you’re a bit concerned about the potential of salmonella exposure.

As long as you handle the pets properly and wash your hands, it’s not anything you need to be overly worried about. Many people love hedgehogs, and you’ll enjoy your new pet if you choose to get one.

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