What does irregular hedgehog breathing mean?

Hedgehog breathing rate and depth are accurate markers for general health.

A disturbance in the quality of breathing indicates the hedgehog is experiencing some difficulty.

Irregular breathing is a symptom. A sign that there is a deeper problem somewhere causing the outcome of poor respiratory patterns.

These secondary issues are often associated with breathing difficulties:

  • being found out in the day (remembering they are nocturnal)
  • underweight and thin
  • dehydrated
  • poisoned

As for common causes of breathing problem, the following are cited:

  • nose (snout) injuries
  • dental problems
  • rhinitis (viruses, bacteria, irritants and allergens)

If the unusual breathing noise is heard

  • …upon inhalation, this would indicate a complication in the upper airway i.e. nose, throat
  • …upon exhalation, then the problems probably lie lower down in the chest or lungs.

Shallow or distressed breathing can also be a sign of a heavy lungworm burden, or perhaps pneumonia (caused by bacteria infection by Bordetella Bronchiseptica – the same which causes kennel cough in dog).

For both the emergencies above, seeing a vet is the best advice.

Hedgehog health can quickly deteriorate. Affected breathing is usually an advanced stage of disease progression.

For immediate relief, place a drop of Olbas oil on a tissue nearby – this will grant some comfort by easing breathing.

Never ignore – always seek professional help.

Have you experienced a hedgehog with breathing problems yourself?

Are you a vet with expertise to share?

Join the conversation below.



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