Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Story of Cyclops

Yesterday morning (Wednesday 30th May) I received a call from Marta (the head clinician) at a Medivet surgery based in the lovely village of Stansted Abbots, Herts. Marta had operated on a male hedgehog the day before and wanted to know if we could take him. It is very rare we are unable to take a hedgehog so on my way home I took a small detour to pick him up.

Cyclops enjoying his tea

Poor Cyclops had been found lying in the full sun in the middle of some grass. Because he had been spotted by Magpies they had attacked him, leaving nasty peck marks on his face and a badly damaged right eye. Marta was unable to save the eye so removed it. The operation went well and there is no infection however Cyclops is now circling. We are keeping fingers crossed this is his way of coming to terms with losing the sight of his right eye rather than another problem (neurological). Should he make it I doubt we will be able to release him, but he is young enough to adapt to a life in an enclosed garden.

If there is a lesson to be learned here it is if you see birds (namely rooks, ravens and magpies) circling and landing on a small brown lump in the middle of the grass it could be a hedgehog in dire need of assistance. The lady who picked Cyclops up most definitely saved his life and thankfully she found a sympathetic vet in Marta, who was willing to help any way she could. 

It is early days but we will keep you updated on his progress!

P.S. If you are wondering about Harry-ette she is doing extremely well. The infection appears to have completely cleared and she is putting on weight. If you missed Harry-ettes story simply scroll down.  

30th May 2012
You can still see the bite mark but she much improved 

Friday, 25 May 2012

An Update On Harry-ette

Harry-ette has been with us for just over a week (see previous post) and unfortunately in that time the wound on her face has shown no signs of healing. So our fab vet Helen and her team at the A120 surgery spent time today trying to solve the mystery.

She discovered that unfortunately when Harry-ette was bitten she also fractured a bone in her face. This can clearly be seen on the x-ray Helen took on her dental x-ray machine.

You can clearly see the break

Once the x-ray was taken Helen removed any dead skin tissue and thoroughly washed out the wound with a saline solution. The wound was then closed and Harry-ette was left to recover.

Harry-ette understandably looking very sorry for herself

We are hoping this procedure has worked and with a change of drugs the infection will be beaten. However our worry is the infection has gone into the bone. If this is the case then sadly there is nothing else we can do. So over the weekend it's a case of waiting with fingers tightly crossed to see what happens. 

We'll keep you up-dated. 


Thursday, 17 May 2012

Harry-ette's Story

I'd like to introduce Harry-ette, who is the latest hedgehog to stay with us. As you can see she looked very sorry for herself when I picked her up from our vets.

Harry-ette waiting to be picked up

It's little wonder. If you look closely you can see a small red area under her eye. This is matched by another on the other side of her face. It would appear she has been bitten, as these are puncture marks. Both are infected (she is now on anti-biotics) and one has caused an issue with her third eye lid - something I never knew hedgehogs had!

Whilst under sedation (so her wounds could be cleaned) it was noted one of her back legs was not 100%. So Helen (our vet) having discovered her new dental x-ray machine could be used to x-ray exotics (which daft as it sounds hedgehogs are treated as) decided to check for broken bones. Although the image below is a little dark I'm hoping you can see poor Harry-ette has suffered a broken fibula (that's the smaller of the two leg bones - another thing I've learned). This break is obviously an old one and has healed.

X-ray showing the old break in Harry-ette's back leg

When I picked her up I was told by Sophie (the nurse) she was very disappointed by the number of ticks she had to pick off (just three) and apart from a single red mite Harry-ette had no other 'lodgers.' 

A little side note: Sophie finds removing such nasties highly satisfying and it's not a job I'm going to fight her for!  

Harry-ette is making slow but steady progress and this morning huffed at me as I picked her up, always a good sign. She is eating well, putting on weight and I have also been able to take her off the heat pad. 

And if you're wondering I didn't name Harry-ette. She had been named by the lady who found her Harry and when it was discovered Harry was a she Sophie added the 'ette.'        

Friday, 4 May 2012

Hairbands Trip To The Vets

Some of you will have read how poor Hairband not only had a hairband wrapped around his waist but also how he was found caught on a nail. If you didn't read then simply scroll down.

Well this is his up-date.

On the 3rd May off we went to see Rebecca at our wonderful vets (the A120 surgery). As is typical with hedgehogs they have to be sedated a little so they can be checked. Otherwise they simply roll up and refuse to cooperate.

Sweet dreams are made of this!

Once asleep (hedgehogs are very suborn when it comes to this) Rebecca was able to look at the damage the nail had done. Luckily the antibiotics appear to have worked and although Hairband is very swollen there is no infection. After cleaning the area Rebecca decided to take the opportunity to check him over fully.

No broken bones or other injuries 

Thankfully no broken bones were found. However a few ticks were found hidden away in the fur so these were removed. Rebecca then turned Hairband over to check the condition of his spines, skin and check for parasites.

Checking for fleas, ticks and skin condition

As she checked we discussed the problem he might be having passing urine as the nail had caught his mmm how can I put this politely? Well... his boy parts. So she felt his bladder and decided that it might be wise to slightly empty it. 

Just a 'wee' test!

Once she'd managed to gently coax his bladder to work she decided to carry out a quick urine test. Thankfully although a very few spots of blood were found to be present everything else was clear.

Pleased with the results Hairband was then allowed to slowly come to before I placed him, still on his heat pad back into the carry case. 

Hairband appears to be doing well and we think it's just a case of waiting for his body to repair itself. 

I will however keep you up-to-date on his progress.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Little Things Create BIG Problems

On 30th April I picked up a hedgehog from our local vet which I didn't think would still be here on the 2nd May. A large male who was named 300412 (also known as Hair Band) was in a pretty bad way. If he hadn't been found when he had he most certainly would have died.

Hairband was so unwell he was allowed to eat tea whilst still in bed!

He had been discovered caught on a nail on a fence (thankfully it had not penetrated too deeply) and had a hair band wrapped around his middle. He had endured the downpours we have experienced without shelter and was covered in mud.  He was very cold and in a great deal of distress and was having problems standing. Thankfully he appears to be on the mend, although I think it may take a few weeks before he sees grass again.

The sad thing is if that nail had not been sticking out and someone had picked up that hairband he may never have needed to come in to us.

So next time you're out in the garden try to think small things create big problems. Look around and ask yourself is there anything in your garden that could cause a problem to wildlife. For example an empty flower pot can be a death trap for a fledging if it becomes trapped and cannot escape. Also when out and about if you see an elastic band, hair band or one of the plastic can holders please pick it up, pop in your pocket and pop into the bin (once you've cut it up).

That small act can make a big difference!