Friday, 28 March 2014

The highs and lows of hedgehog care

The last few weeks have really had their highs and lows.

Low one: 

We've received lots of calls about hedgehogs and sadly many of them were just too poorly for us to save. Our first two hogs of 2014 have sadly not won the fight. But at least someone took the time to pick them up and find help (so I suppose this counts as a high).

Low two:

Shirley on the day she arrived at Elaine's
I received an email about one of our disabled hogs, Shirley. Shirley had been found lying on her side in the middle of a playing field, close to death. Unfortunately she had also been attacked by a rook, raven or a magpie which had so badly damaged her eye that it had to be removed. Shirley had been living with one of our fab full time fosterers, Elaine. Shirley had full run of the garden which she shared with one of our other disabled hedgehogs, Vince. Sadly at the end of last week Shirley's body was discovered. We don't know why she passed but at least we can say she had a little extra time to enjoy being a hog. I'd also like to thank Elaine for taking such great care of her. Without full time fosterers like Elaine we'd not be able to do the work we do.    

High one:

Colin Woodward
We've had some fantastic news in that we've received a fabulous donation from County Councillor Colin Woodward (Bishop's Stortford, West Division). It will be used towards our running costs for the next few months. The money comes from the Locality Budget Scheme. When we applied we didn't think that being such a small organisaiton we'd receive anything. The money is a much needed boost and we have already used some of it to cover the cost of a series of lung worm treatments for one of our 2013 hoglets. Thankfully she has responded so well that she has been relocated to one of our carers. She is undergoing a 'soft' release and should be released back into the wild by the end of this month.

High two:

Helen of the A120 surgery
Our second high has really come from one of our lows. We picked up a hedgehog from the A120 surgery which we believe may have been Bubble Boy. He had been given the full treatment and we kept our fingers crossed he'd pull through, sadly he didn't make it. I called Helen (our award winning vet) to tell her the sad news. Helen being Helen asked me to take his body in so she could do an autopsy (typically she did this in her own precious time and made no charge). What she found was very interesting and she has offered to autopsy all our hedgehogs (that are suitable) over the next few months. She is hopeful she can come up with a method of screening hedgehogs that will allow us to determine much sooner if treatment is going to work or if this treatment is just delaying the inevitable. We also plan to share her findings with The British Hedgehog Preservation Society, so they can be shared with other hedgehog carers. So if you find a hedgehog that has died within the last 48 hours (at the most) and is not badly mutilated (e.g. road kill) then please help Helen with her research by contacting the A120 surgery (just outside Little Hadham) and dropping off the body. Hopefully Helen's research will help us save more hedgehogs by improving the care they receive from the moment they come into us.