Rectal Prolapse in Hedgehogs

There has been quite a lot phone calls this year reporting very young hedgehogs with injuries to their body and what looks like intestines hanging out. When told to have another look it usually turns out to be a Rectal Prolapse

Summary Information

Disease Agents
• Associate with excessive straining, for example in individuals with diarrhoea due to a heavy burden of gastro-intestinal worms or with bacterial enteritis.
• Associated with road traffic accidents (RTA).

Physical Agent(s) • Non-specific physical trauma

General Description
• The rectum may be seen protruding out from the hedgehog.
• The protruded portion may become infected or traumatised.

Further Information
If the rectum has become infected or been chewed before the hedgehog is presented for treatment then a poor prognosis must be given.

• A lubricated cotton bud may be used to gently push the prolapsed portion of the rectum back into position. Repositioning may require general anaesthesia.
• A temporary purse string suture may be required to keep the rectum in place.
o This must be placed carefully to allow the hedgehog to defecate normally.

Techniques linked to this disease
• General Anaesthesia (Gaseous and Injectable) Techniques of Hedgehogs
• Physical Examination of Mammals
• Necropsy of Mammals

Host taxa groups /species
Erinaceus europaeus – West European Hedgehog

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