Is It Normal For Hedgehogs to Have A Wet Nose?

European hedgehog with wet nose outdoors but Is It Normal For Hedgehogs to Have a Wet Nose?

Running noses can spark fear whether discovered in pet hedgehogs or even wild hedgehogs rescued on your property. Several thoughts could pop up in the mind including seeking veterinary care or letting them be because it is nothing to worry about.

This article answers the question “Is It Normal For Hedgehogs to Have a Wet Nose?” by discussing when wet noses indicate a sign of trouble and when not to panic. We also uncover how to seek treatment for illness-induced running nose.

Is It Normal For Hedgehogs to Have a Wet Nose?

It is normal for water to get into the nose of hedgehogs during bathing resulting in temporary wetness that often clears up shortly. However, the water could be easily aspirated triggering respiratory infections like pneumonia. Upper respiratory infections from exposure to cold drafts could also cause wet noses in hedgehogs.

Spotting water in the nose of hedgehogs should not immediately stimulate fear even though it could be a sign of an infection. The underlying reasons for the nasal wetness should be investigated to determine whether veterinary treatment is necessary.

When A Hedgehog’s Wet Nose is Normal

The probability of water entering the hedgehog’s nose during bathing can be high, especially for those that like to swim. This wetness is a normal occurrence due to the water exposure but should clear up within an hour or two after the bath.

The only downside to water getting into the nose during bathing is that the hedgehog may accidentally inhale the water into the lungs resulting in pneumonia. If the hedgehog is showing no signs of illness like breathing problems, nasal discharge, loss of appetite, and lack of interest in staying hydrated, there’s probably nothing to worry about.

Wet Nose Due To Upper Respiratory Infections

hedgehog suffering from wet nose with stethoscope

Are your hedgehogs showing signs of distress like nasal discharge, sneezing, and labored breathing alongside running nose? That could be evidence of an Upper Respiratory Infections (URIs), a potentially life-threatening condition that requires urgent treatment.

Sneezing alone does not indicate a respiratory infection unless it is accompanied by a couple of the signs outlined earlier. Additional clues associated with upper respiratory infections are listed below:

  • Labored breathing
  • Noisy breathing
  • Sneezing
  • Thick mucous discharge
  • Loss of interest in physical activity
  • Reduced appetite

Causes of Upper Respiratory Infections in Hedgehogs

Here are the main causes of upper respiratory infections in hedgehogs. Taking the appropriate steps to minimize the hedgehog’s exposure to these factors can lower the risk of URIs.

1. Lungworm Infections

Lungworms are a common cause of upper respiratory infections in hedgehogs. These parasitic worms typically lodge in the lungs of affected hedgehogs and start multiplying their population. Upper Respiratory Infections are a secondary condition that may arise from lungworms when treatment is delayed.

This is why hedgehogs should be examined and treated for the deadly parasites at least twice a year to stave off additional health problems.

2. Exposure to Harsh Soaps

Exposure to harsh chemicals like shampoos and soaps during bathing can trigger upper respiratory infections in hedgehogs. The condition arises when hedgehogs accidentally inhale these chemicals into the lungs.

3. Cage Bedding and Other Irritants

wood shavings can cause respiratory infections

Wood shavings are a leading cause of upper respiratory infections thanks to the presence of harmful chemicals like Plicatic Acid and Abietic Acid. Inhaling these toxic chemicals can expose hedgehogs to pathogens that cause upper respiratory infections.

Besides, wood shavings are often filled with dust particles that eventually find their way into the hedgehog’s nose. These particles are a leading cause of URIs in animals including hedgehogs. (Source)

4. Environmental Allergens

Environmental allergens like dust mites are another common cause of hedgehog respiratory infections. Unfortunately, failure to clean the hedgehog’s cages regularly leads to accumulated allergens in the environment.

Even when the cages are cleaned consistently, the immediate surroundings are neglected. The result is an increased risk of respiratory infections and related side effects because the hedgehogs still get exposed to dust particles in their environment.

5. Physical Exposure to Infected Hedgehogs

Physical exposure to a URI-stricken hedgehog can result in quick transmission to infected ones. This is especially true when contact is made with the sick hedgehog’s bodily fluids.

When You Suspect Upper Respiratory Infections In Hedgehogs

meds for hedgehog upper respiratory infections

Seeing a vet as soon as signs of a potential upper respiratory infection become apparent could be apt. Several tests are conducted to confirm the presence of the condition after arrival at the vet’s clinic.

X-rays, ultrasounds, or even testing of the hedgehog’s fecal matter can confirm the presence of URIs for the right treatments to be formulated.

Urine tests for the presence of abnormal cells may also come in handy for diagnosing upper respiratory infections in hedgehogs. Once the tests come out positive, the vet may prescribe a cocktail of medication comprising:

  • Antibiotics (Baytril)
  • Anti-parasites (Ivermectin)
  • Probiotics (Acidophilus)
  • Mucous thinners
  • Specialized diets

Providing The Best Care for Hedgehogs Recovering From Upper Respiratory Infections

The level of care provided for hedgehogs during recovery from URIs can make a huge difference in if and when recovery is achieved. Here are a few best practices for nursing hedgehogs back to good health after an Upper Respiratory Infection diagnosis and treatment.

Clean The Cage Environment

A super clean cage environment is non-negotiable for hedgehogs recovering from upper respiratory infections. The cage and all components should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to remove dust particles and other potential allergens.

Beyond the cage, the immediate surroundings should also be sanitized to remove dust particles and chemical residues from clothing sprays, air fresheners, and deodorants.

Also, avoid using any of these sprays while the hedgehog is in recovery to protect the lungs from exposure to harmful chemicals that may compromise the immune systems of the sick hedgehog making recovery more difficult.

Remove Cage Irritants

Cage irritants should be completely removed and thrown into the dumpster to enhance the hedgehog’s chances of recovering from the serious infection. Most URIs result from the use of wood shavings as cage bedding and one of the most important moves you can make is to switch to hypoallergenic options like fleece.

Make sure all traces of allergens are removed from the cage during cleaning to eliminate the risk of further exposure.

Provide Warm Temperatures

Hedgehogs thrive in warmer temperatures when recovering from illness and raising the temperature in their cages a little can be helpful. Do not go overboard because a few degrees higher than their normal temperatures is all that is required.

Also, warming up only one side of the cage can give hedgehogs the freedom to move to the cooler side when necessary.

Purify The Air

air purifier for ridding the air of irritants

Air purifiers can come in handy to remove pathogens from the air during the hedgehog’s recovery period. Hedgehogs should be protected from situations where physical contact with other animals may be high. These pets could carry potential substances or chemicals that can be inhaled accidentally causing a further escalation of the hedgehog’s respiratory infection.

Remove Exercise Wheels

Hedgehogs need as much rest as possible during recovery from respiratory infections and sometimes, the owner’s intervention is required. We recommend removing the hedgehog’s running wheel from its cage for a few days to promote more sleep.

The lack of strenuous exercises can also eliminate the risk of physical exhaustion which can speed up the hedgehog’s ability to fight the infection.

Conclusion: Is It Normal For Hedgehogs to Have A Wet Nose?

Hedgehogs may experience a wet nose immediately after bathing which should clear up within an hour or so after. However, a running nose may also be a sign of an upper respiratory infection especially when it is accompanied by additional signs like lethargy, nasal discharge, sneezing, and wheezing.

Upper respiratory infections should be treated promptly to prevent the symptoms from escalating which can be life-threatening. Causes of these infections include exposure to toxic chemicals found in wood shavings and other types of cage bedding as well as lungworms and harsh bathing shampoos.

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