Wobbly hedgehog syndrome

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wobbly hedgehog syndrome (WHS) is a progressive, degenerative, neurological disease of the African pygmy hedgehog.[1][2] The cause is believed to be genetic.[3] Nearly 10 percent of pet African pygmy hedgehogs are affected,[2] due to their limited bloodlines.[4]

Symptoms and signs[edit]

The disease slowly degrades the hedgehog's muscle control. This first appears as a wobble while the hedgehog is attempting to stand still. Over time, the hedgehog will lose control of all muscles from the rear of its body to the front. A tentative diagnosis can be based purely on the clinical signs, but definitive diagnosis is only possible from post-mortem examination of spinal cord and brain tissues.[1]

The hedgehog's health will deteriorate over the course of weeks or months, and in the advanced stages of this disease, they become completely immobilized, making euthanasia a recommended consideration.[1] Most animals die within two years of diagnosis.[5]

Symptoms usually begin in hedgehogs before they reach two years old, but can occur at any age.[6]



There is no known cure for WHS, which has been compared to human multiple sclerosis.[5] Various vitamin supplements, antibiotic and steroid treatments have been used; some appear to temporarily improve the signs or slow the progression of the disease, but as signs of WHS wax and wane, it is difficult to assess the benefit of treatments.[2] No treatment has been shown to prevent the progression of paralysis.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Axelson, Rick. "Wobbly hedgehog syndrome". VCA Animal Hospitals. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Graesser, Donnasue; Spraker, Terry R.; Dressen, Priscilla; Garner, Michael M.; Raymond, James T.; Terwilliger, Gordon; Kim, Jung; Madri, Joseph A. (January 2006). "Wobbly hedgehog syndrome in African pygmy hedgehogs. (Atelerix spp.)". Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine. 15 (1): 59–65. doi:10.1053/j.jepm.2005.11.010.
  3. ^ Storm, Pat; Graesser, Donnasue (July 2007). "Wobbly hedgehog syndrome: A genetic disease?" (PDF). The Hedgehog Welfare Society Newsletter. Vol. 28. p. 2–4.
  4. ^ Warwick, Hugh (11 December 2009). "The craze for pet hedgehogs will be a disaster". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  5. ^ a b Inglis, Joe (16 May 2012). "What helps with wobbly hedgehog syndrome? Joe Inglis explains". Metro. London. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  6. ^ McLaughlin, Alicia; Strunk, Anneliese (May 2016). "Common emergencies in small rodents, hedgehogs, and sugar gliders". Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice. 19 (2): 465–499. doi:10.1016/j.cvex.2016.01.008. PMID 27131160.