Inflated Hedgehog Treated for Severe Case of Balloon Syndrome

Posted on June 11, 2017

Hedgehog with balloon syndrome

A hedgehog suffering from balloon syndrome has been rescued and treated. The BBC News reports that the small animal had "blown up like a beach ball." It was rescued in Toll Bar, Doncaster by a person who saw the inflated hedgehog wandering around in circles. It was taken to an RSPCA center for treatment.

The unfortunate condition can occur in hedgehogs following trauma, such as getting hit by a car. Bacteria can get into a wound which gives off a gas that causes the hedgehog to swell. A story in the The Scotsman about a similar incident several years ago says it is a rare condition.

RSPCA inspector Sandra Dransfield says this was the worst case of balloon syndrome she has ever seen. She says, "This poor chap was almost twice its natural size, literally blown up like a beach ball with incredibly taut skin. I took the stricken animal straight to Peak Vets in Sheffield, where he was X-rayed and they released some of the air from under his skin. The vet then started him on a course of antibiotics and pain relief. We found him in the nick of time, and I really do hope he pulls through."

The hedgehog has been moved to the RSPCA Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre in Nantwich, Cheshire. There it will be examined more closely under general anesthesia and more air will be removed. After recovering the hedgehog will be returned to the wild. This x-ray shows the degree to which the poor hedgehog had inflated.

X-ray of a Hedgehog with balloon syndrome

Image: RSPCA