Hedgehog inflates to twice its size due to rare illness

Clementine the hedgehog. Picture: Linda Hewett
Clementine the hedgehog. Picture: Linda Hewett
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SUFFERING from a rare condition, a hedgehog inflated to double her size and had to be ‘popped’ by vets.

Clementine was found in Fareham by Sue Hare who was worried about the hedgehog’s size and took her to Companion Care Vets in Segensworth.

Clementine the hedgehog

Clementine the hedgehog

Sue also rang Linda Hewett who runs Berts Hedgehog Retreat in Portsmouth.

Linda said: ‘I was contacted by Sue who had found Clementine and she sent me the image and I immediately knew what was wrong.

‘Clementine had a rare condition called Balloon Syndrome and it is quite alarming.’

The syndrome means the hedgehog is grossly inflated and the skin can stretches so the animal may appear twice its normal size.

Linda said: ‘The belly may be dragging on the ground and the hedgehog's legs may be unable to reach the ground.

‘It was possibly due to respiratory tract damage and we presume she was hit by a car’

The vets in Segensworth had to ‘pop’ Clementine using a sterile needle to remove the excess air which had to be carried out twice as she re-inflated on her second day of care.

Linda said: ‘Clementine has recovered from her Balloon Syndrome, but has a residual head tilt, has one eye sunken into the socket and is blind in the other eye.

However, despite this she is a beautiful girl with a good fighting spirit, and I am lucky to have had the chance to support her recovery.’ 

The 53-year-old added: ‘To say I am delighted is an understatement.’

Clementine will now live with the 17 other hedgehogs Linda has at her sanctuary that she has run for seven years.

Linda said: ‘Clementine would not survive in the wild.

‘She doesn't put her quills up to defend herself, nor does she curl into a ball.

‘She will go to a walled garden for her own safety where she will be cared for and loved for the rest of her life.’

Linda added: ‘Hedgehogs are under severe threat of extinction in the UK  and they face so many issues just to survive.

So I just do my bit and try and help as many back to the wild as I can.’