How to Fix a Hedgehog’s Broken Leg: 3 Smart Ways To Treat Leg Fractures!

hedgehog with a broken leg at the vet as owner wonders How to Fix a Hedgehog's Broken Leg

Hedgehogs can be prone to leg fractures and other physical injuries due to their sharp quills that may cause dropping incidents from accidentally poking their owners during handling. The delicate nature of their bodies means nursing them back to health after an injury is harder than larger animals like dogs.

This article outlines how to fix a hedgehog’s broken leg at home with the help of a veterinarian. We unveil the common signs of leg fractures and the best ways to ensure proper healing within the shortest periods.

Additional care guidelines for injured hedgehogs are also revealed to enable you to become the best hedgehog parent possible. Let’s dive straight in.

How to Fix a Hedgehog’s Broken Leg

A hedgehog limping or dragging one of its legs after a physical accident could be suffering broken legs and should be taken to the vet immediately. Put the injured hedgehog slowly in a box filled with cage litter during transport and make sure he’s adequately hydrated for the trip. Inform the vet of your observations including how long the injury may have occurred.

Attempting to fix a broken leg in your quill baby could result in more pain and discomfort. The vet is the most qualified person to examine and provide the right treatment. Depending on the extent of the injuries, the hedgehog may be treated quickly and released back to you or may have to spend the night at the clinic for further observations and treatment.

Signs of Broken Legs in Hedgehogs

Here are the obvious signs that your hedgehog is battling broken legs and requires urgent medical care before it is too late.

Broken Legs Causes Limping In Hedgehogs

If your hedgehog is limping and refusing to use one leg, there’s a good chance of a broken leg. There could be a myriad of causes but limping slows down his ability to walk and run which are some of their favorite ways to expend their energy.

A Limping hedgehog is less likely to move since it causes more pain and discomfort. Hiding the limp is more common when they attempt to move which is typical because hedgehogs hate appearing weak and would rather conceal their pain.

Feet Dragging In Hedgehogs With Broken Legs

hedgehog with broken legs being examined by vet

Motion can be limited after your hedgehog suffers broken legs and even attempts at moving often result in one or more legs dragging behind them. This can affect their way of walking and slow them down considerably.

Hedgehogs often become weaker as a result since they’re unable to eat and hydrate as much as they need to. While feet dragging may be apparent at the initial stages of the physical injury, delayed treatment could result in complete paralysis.

Outward Piercing Bones In Hedgehogs With Leg Fractures

Have you noticed bones seemingly piercing out of your hedgehog’s legs after an accident or injury? That could be one of the major signs of leg fractures. The sight of a bone poking out of the leg may cause significant fear and panic in many hedgehog parents but know that all hope is not lost.

Avoid attempts at redirecting the poking bone or making physical contact because the pain can be too severe. Be careful not to touch the affected leg when scooping the hedgehog up for the trip to your vet.

Also, care should be taken when landing the hedgehog in the transportation box because mishaps could result in further pain. The last thing you’d want is to exacerbate the little guy’s discomfort during these trying times.

Broken Legs in Hedgehogs Can Trigger Total Paralysis

Total paralysis is another common sign of broken legs in hedgehogs. It may not be as common as the previously discussed conditions but it can still occur when the extent of the injury is serious. If a previously mobile hedgehog is suddenly static and repels physical contact, there’s a good chance of leg injuries.

Hedgehogs often try to move albeit at a slower pace after suffering broken legs so total paralysis should be treated with utmost urgency.

Causes of Broken Legs in Hedgehogs

Broken legs are a common consequence of physical injuries in hedgehogs. Here are the main causes of the condition.

Exercise Wheel Accidents

hedgehog on an exercise wheel

Hedgehogs love to run on exercise wheels because it provides the right avenue for expending their energies. Running takes up the majority of their physical activity at night which makes exercise wheels one of the most vital toys in their cages.

Hedgehogs love to poop and pee when running and this can expose them to slipping accidents from the wet running surface. Leg fractures are common during such accidents and the extent of the injury may be determined by the running speed and the angle of landing.

Dropping Accidents

Dropping accidents are not out of the question in hedgehogs due to the presence of their sharp quills. Even the most experienced owners may lose their grip when a quill accidentally pokes their hands resulting in the reflex dropping of the hedgehog.

Dropping accidents can expose them to leg fractures and other forms of physical injuries that may require treatment. If you’ve accidentally dropped your hedgehog from a considerable height, a trip to the vet should be imminent.

This can ensure leg fractures and other forms of physical discomfort are treated promptly for quick relief.

Physical Fights With Each Other

Hedgehogs are best housed in solitary enclosures since they do not get along with cage mates. Putting more than one in the same enclosure may result in physical fights culminating in injuries.

If you’ve witnessed physical altercations between two hedgehogs, both should be checked for signs of leg fractures especially when one or more of the signs outlined above have become apparent.

Treatment Options for Broken Legs in Hedgehogs

Taking your injured hedgehog to the vet is the right course of action after suffering broken legs. Here are the best treatment options available.

Pain Medications and Injections For Broken Legs

Sometimes, the hedgehog’s leg fractures may be nothing serious and just needs time to heal without major interventions from your vet. Prescribed treatments typically focus on managing their pain and discomfort.

Pain medications like Metacam and Prednisolone are usually prescribed with dosage instructions that need to be followed. They both provide anti-inflammatory benefits but Prednisolone is much stronger because it is a steroid offered via injections.

Your injured hedgehog heals over time as the drugs are continuously administered. The limping and feet dragging typically improves with each day until the point where you can barely notice differences in the current versus previous walking patterns.

You’ll have to exercise lots of patience during those trying times and provide the right level of care.

Broken Legs Surgery

Surgery may be another option to correct the fractured bone but not all vets will be interested in putting the little quill baby under local anesthesia to operate on the leg. However, it is worth a shot since many hedgehogs experience full recovery after surgery.

The procedure may last up to an hour but the affected hedgehog faces a long road to recovery once you arrive home. You’ll have to be extra careful during cage cleaning and other activities in his enclosure.

Sometimes, amputating the affected leg may be the vet’s recommendation to eliminate the pain and get him back to good health. While a three-legged hedgehog may suffer obvious limitations, it might be worth pursuing if that is the best option.

Hedgehogs recovering from surgery require cozy environments free from noise and other common stress triggers.


vet with injection to euthanize pet hedgehog

Your vet may suggest euthanasia if the injured hedgehog has little chance of making a full recovery. Euthanasia can put the hedgehog out of its misery but it is your responsibility as an owner to determine whether that is the right way forward or not.

Consider how much pain the hedgehog may be experiencing now and in the near future to decide whether putting him down is the logical thing to do.

Can Hedgehogs Survive on Three Legs?

Hedgehogs can survive on three legs in caged environments as long as the right level of care is provided for them. Their lives may turn upside down due to the loss of the leg but survival is not impossible when they get regular food, water, and other daily necessities.

Three-legged hedgehogs cannot run on wheels but they may be able to move around the cage, hide in tunnels, and engage in other forms of physical activity to expend their energies. If you are unsure if the hedgehog could enjoy a comfortable life on three legs, you may have to opt for euthanasia.

What To Feed An Injured Hedgehog

Wet ground kibble and a mushed diet of canned cat food are recommended for injured hedgehogs. Probiotics can also come in handy to replenish the population of healthy bacteria eliminated by the intake of antibiotics and other medications prescribed by the vet.

A constant supply of electrolyte solution also keeps them hydrated and promotes maintenance of their energy levels. Access to nutritious food and drinking water is critical for speeding up healing and improving their overall wellbeing.

How Much Does Fixing a Hedgehog with Broken Legs Cost?

Fixing broken legs in your hedgehog can cost up to $500 depending on the extent of injury, the prescribed course of treatment, and the vet’s experience and skill level. Veterinarian costs are more expensive in certain cities compared to others so you should factor that into your calculations.

You may have to take the injured hedgehog to the clinic multiple times after the initial visit for checkups and each will come with additional expenses. If you cannot afford the cost of treatments perhaps you may have to give up the injured hedgehog for adoption or even have him put down in a humane manner.

How Long Do Broken Legs Take to Heal?

Full recovery from broken legs can take anywhere from 2 weeks to a couple of months depending on the type of injury and the hedgehog’s response to treatment. Younger hedgehogs typically heal much quicker than elderly hedgehogs because of their stronger immune systems.

Be patient with the injured quill baby and provide the right amount of care throughout the recovery phase. You may have to invest more time in his care than usual but the rewards can be worth it in the end.

Conclusion: How to Fix a Hedgehog’s Broken Leg

Your vet should be the first point of call after your hedgehog suffers a broken leg. Be extremely cautious during attempts at self-examination of the injured hedgehog because you could end up exacerbating its pain levels.

Vets typically examine the legs for signs such as poking bones and fractures to provide the right treatment based on their findings.

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