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
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?
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