Finding The Right Veterinarian For Your Pet Hedgehog

Finding the right veterinarian is an essential task for all hedgehog owners. It is a good idea to have a veterinarian lined up before you bring your hedgie home so that your veterinarian has a baseline, to know what is normal for your little buddy. Hedgies are generally very robust and may seldom have health concerns, but they are good at masking when they don't feel well. This means that by the time you realize that your hedgehog is having an issue, you need that veterinarian right away. So, how do you find the right veterinarian? Here are some considerations and questions to ask: 

 1) Is the veterinarian experienced with hedgehogs? Not all veterinarians have extensive experience or training with exotic pets like hedgehogs. If the veterinarian does not have extensive experience, are they willing to consult and learn? A veterinarian who is not extensively experienced but is willing to learn can be a good resource for your basic care, as longas they have a resource they can consult with or refer you to if a problem comes up that is beyond their expertise. 

 2) What services does the veterinarian offer for hedgehogs? Hedgehogs have a lot of similarities to dogs and cats, but they also have unique needs. Ask the veterinarian what services they offer, and what they can do to help you find more resources if your hedgehog should have need for a service that they don't offer. 

 3) How does the veterinarian handle hedgehogs during examinations? Hegehogs respond best when handled in a calm, confident, respectful manner. Is the veterinarian patient and gentle? Ask about what they do if the hedgie is not cooperative. You should feel comfortable that the veterinarian will handle your hedgie in a manner that will provide comfort and not unnecessary stress. 

 4) Does the veterinarian provide science based nutritional guidance for hedgehogs? Proper nutrition is crucial for the overall health and wellbeing of your pet hedgehog. It makes the difference between a 1 to 2 year lifespan, and 4+ years. Don't assume that your favorite Internet hedgehog group is right and the veterinarian is wrong, or vice versa. Is the veterinarian able to provide you with research based nutritional guidance? If yes, please listen to the vet! If no, keep looking. 

 5) How does the veterinarian handle emergencies and after-hours care? Problems can go wrong any day of the week or time of the day, so you will need to know how to contact your veterinarian, or an after-hours/crisis care veterinarian that they endorse. Having emergency services contact information before you need it will bring you peace of mind. 

 6) What is the cost of hedgehog veterinary care? The cost of veterinary care can vary widely. Factors that impact cost can include location, specialization, and regional differences. You will want to know the cost of a checkup and of emergency service access before you need it, so that there are no shocked surprises. Be sure to ask questions about payment options, such as if they require payment in full or set up payment plans. If you have pet health insurance, you will want to make sure that the veterinarian you plan to use accepts that healthcare plan, and what is and is not covered. 

 In conclusion, finding a veterinarian who you are comfortable with, who is experienced and has resources appropriate for hedgehog care, who provides routine and emergency coverage, and is affordable, is essential to your peace of mind and your hedgehog's wellbeing.

In Celebration of the Hedgehog

In twilight's embrace, where secrets unfold. A creature awakes, both timid and bold. With quills of enchantment, a spiky disguise. The hedgehog emerges, a wonder in disguise.
In moonlit meadows, it dances with grace. A ballad of quivers, it dances with grace. A solitary poet, in shadows it roams. Whispering tales of ancient woodlands and homes.
Oh hedgehog, thou messenger of the night. With quivering spines, a celestial light. You teach us the lessons of patience and care. In your humble presence, we find solace rare.
As stars twinkle above, your presence brings cheer. A gentle reminder, dispelling all fear. In your tiny form, a warrior you stand. Resilience embodied, in this enchanted land.
So let us celebrate this magical sprite. The hedgehog's charm, a beacon of light. With every gentle rustle and tender sound. A symphony of nature where beauty is found.
poem created by Antigone Means with assists from askAI, photos generated by Bing AI.

Why It's Important to Participate in Hedgehog Shows


Lovely contestant at the Budapest 2023 show.

Hedgehog shows are events where hedgehog owners can showcase their pets, meet other hedgehog enthusiasts, participate in community and educational events, and compete for prizes. There are many benefits to participating in them, for both pet owners and hedgehog breeders. 

1. Socialization: Hedgehogs may be solitary creatures, but we, the people who love them, are not. Hedgehog shows are an opportunity to build community, share information, make new friendships, and catch up with old friends. It is also a chance to talk with newcomers to the hobby and curious folks who wander in. Having a strong community around our hobby helps ensure that it will continue.

A young enthusiast meets a hedgie,

2. Education: Hedgehog shows often include educational seminars and workshops for owners. These sessions cover a variety of topics, such as proper care and handling, health concerns, color identification, and breeding. By attending these events, owners can gain valuable knowledge and skills to take better care of their hedgehogs.

Petting a hedgehog for the very first time.

3. Community: Participating in hedgehog shows can help owners feel like they are part of a larger community. Hedgehog ownership can be a niche interest and it can be hard to find others who share the same passion. By attending shows, owners can connect with like-minded people and build relationships with others who share their love for hedgehogs. Shows are the place for those of us who love to talk hedgehog all day long.

Some of the award ribbons from the Tulsa 2022 show.

4. Recognition: Winning a prize at a hedgehog show can be source of pride for owners. The NAQA show system is based on points ranking and not relative ranking, so all hedgehogs will receive recognition for their points. This allows for recognition of the hard work and dedication that goes into caring for a hedgehog. Winning a competition can be a great way to showcase a hedgehog's special qualities and unique personality.

A proud prize winner.

5. Exposure: Hedgehog shows provide breeders an opportunity to showcase their breeding program and the quality of their animals. It gives hedgehog related business owners a chance to introduce their products to potentially interested customers. This exposure can lead to increased interest in their hedgehogs/business and potentially more sales. It can help establish a breeder's reputation within the hedgehog community by building personal connections, by allowing people to see your hedgehogs in person., and by demonstrating the quality of your hedgehogs on the show table.

Photo of part of a vendor table at the Budapest 2023 show

6. Networking: Hedgehog shows allow breeders and business owners to meet other breeders and enthusiasts. This networking can lead to valuable connections within the hedgehog community. Breeders can also share their own knowledge and experiences. For someone considering beginning a breeding program, shows are a great way to network and connect with a potential mentor.

Katee from Urban Hedgehogs evaluates a participant.

7. Feedback: Hedgehog shows provide an opportunity for hedgehog owners and breeders to receive feedback on their hedgehogs from judges and other breeders. This feedback can help breeders to improve their breeding program and to produce higher quality hedgehogs.

A breeder talks with participants about their hedgehogs.

8. Competition: Hedgehog shows include competition for various categories such as color/pattern, gender, and age. Points are awarded for conformation and personality. NAQA shows include separate categories for pet and pedigreed hedgehogs. Winning these competitions can be a source of pride for breeders and pet owners. For breeders, it also helps to establish and demonstrate the quality of their hedgehogs. 

In conclusion, participating in hedgehog shows provides numerous benefits for hedgehog pet owners and hedgehog breeders. From exposure and networking to feedback and education, there are many reasons to consider attending hedgehog shows. If you're wild about hedgehogs, why not give it a try? 

Finding The Right Veterinarian For Your Pet Hedgehog

Finding the right veterinarian is an essential task for all hedgehog owners. It is a good idea to have a veterinarian lined up before you ...