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What is Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome?

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Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome (WHS) is a degenerative disease of African and European hedgehogs that affects their ability to stand. This progressive disease typically appears when the animal is between two and three years of age and begins by causing muscle weakness in the hind legs. WHS has been compared to multiple sclerosis in humans.

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Full Answer

The cause of WHS is unknown, although scientists believe it is genetic, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. Symptoms of this disease become apparent when the hedgehog develops tremors while trying to stand still. The disease slowly moves from the back legs toward the front of the body, causing partial or complete paralysis of all four limbs. This then causes the hedgehog’s muscles to atrophy, and the animal becomes increasingly weaker. Death usually occurs within 18 to 24 months of the onset of symptoms. A veterinarian can give a tentative diagnosis of the disease, but a definitive diagnosis cannot be determined until death has occurred and the hedgehog’s spinal cord and brain tissues are examined. There is no known cure for this disease. Care for a hedgehog with WHS includes bracing rolled towels on either side of the animal to help it balance and making food and water easily accessible.

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