Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

A common dread among owners is wobbly hedgehog syndrome. Sadly, receiving a WHS diagnosis is not good news. However, what precisely is it? And if your hedgie pet is diagnosed with it, what can you do?

Several owners are not particularly knowledgeable about these things. In addition, there’s a lot of false information about wobbly hedgehog syndrome floating around. You will learn about a wide range of topics, from Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome Symptoms.

When it comes to shaky hedgehog syndrome, this guide will be your only resource. You will discover what WHS is, what symptoms to watch out for, and what to do if your poor hedgie contracts it. 

It’s time to dive into the symptoms now that you have a clearer knowledge of what wobbly hedgehog syndrome is. Even if you don’t think your hedgehog has WHS, being aware of these can be quite beneficial.

It will increase your hedgie’s comfort level by enabling you to identify the illness and take action more quickly.

Understanding of Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome

Hedgehogs are specifically affected by the quite nasty degenerative neurological condition known as “wobbly hedgehog syndrome.” There isn’t a cure as of now.

Fundamentally, WHS is similar to human multiple sclerosis in many ways. It’s unclear, yet, what specifically causes wobbling hedgehog syndrome. Although there are several theories suggesting a genetic connection, no concrete evidence has been found to support them.

A different explanation about the possible etiology of wobbly hedgehog syndrome is the possibility of dietary influences. This is partially because some vitamin supplements can momentarily alleviate Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome Symptoms. Once more, solid proof of this has not yet been discovered. 

Additionally, shaky hedgehog syndrome usually manifests in two- or three-year-old hedgehogs. Although it doesn’t only happen to people in this age range, that is when the great majority do.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many resources available for study and prevention when it comes to pet diseases. The likelihood of a cure is then further delayed when you combine that with the special difficulties that neurological diseases present.

Key Takeaways

  • African pygmy hedgehogs are susceptible to a degenerative neurological condition called Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome.
  • A professional veterinarian can diagnose Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome Symptoms like seizures, tremors, wobbling, and loss of motor control.
  • Although there is no known cure, a hedgehog’s quality of life can be preserved with the right care and attention. 

Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome Symptoms

symptoms of wobbly hedgehog syndrome

Even if you don’t think your hedgehog has WHS, being aware of the symptoms can be quite helpful. It will increase your hedgie’s comfort level by enabling you to identify the illness and take action more quickly.

Falling Over 

A hedgehog’s propensity to lose balance and fall over regularly is one of the first indications of WHS. Although it may begin slowly, this unsteadiness frequently gets worse as the illness worsens.

Muscle Weakness

Muscle weakness is a common symptom of WHS in hedgehogs, which makes it challenging for them to walk, climb, or burrow and maintain normal mobility.

Difficulty Walking

Affected hedgehogs may experience difficulty walking as the disease progresses, displaying an uncoordinated stride and stumbling motions. Their rear legs could deteriorate to the point where the paws dangle or knuckle.

Wobbling While Standing Still

Hedgehogs with WHS may exhibit swaying or wobbling motions even while they are motionless, which may be an indication of underlying neurological dysfunction. 


In extreme circumstances, WHS can develop into paralysis, which prevents impacted hedgehogs from moving their limbs or maintaining proper posture. One or more limbs may be affected by paralysis, which can have a serious effect on the hedgehog’s capacity to take care of itself.


Seizures are abrupt, uncontrollable convulsions or tremors that can occur in certain hedgehogs with WHS. The frequency and intensity of seizures might vary according to how severe the neurological impairment is.

Head Tilt

Hedgehogs with WHS may have a pronounced head tilt, which is indicative of vestibular system dysfunction, which affects balance and spatial orientation.


Neurological dysfunction can cause hedgehogs to repeatedly circle, frequently as a reaction to confusion or loss of balance.

Weight Loss

Because of their weakened general condition and decreased appetite, afflicted hedgehogs may lose weight as WHS worsens.


Hedgehogs with WHS may exhibit behavioral abnormalities, such as increased aggression or irritability. This hostility may be aimed at caregivers, other hedgehogs, or outside objects.

Urine Retention

Urinary retention is a neurological issue linked to WHS that makes it difficult for hedgehogs to effectively empty their bladders. Urinary tract infections, pain, or stones may arise from this.

Intestinal Stasis

This syndrome, which is characterized by decreased gastrointestinal motility and digestion, can occur in hedgehogs with WHS. Bloating, pain in the abdomen, and decreased appetite may result from this. 

Difficulty Swallowing

As WHS worsens, hedgehogs may find it difficult to swallow food or liquids because of weakness in their muscles or issues with their coordination, which increases their risk of aspiration or choking.


Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome is a depressingly progressive and incurable illness, and afflicted hedgehogs may finally pass away from problems brought on by advanced neurological dysfunction or unrelated medical conditions.

Over time, hedgehogs may experience worsening symptoms that make it harder for them to carry out their everyday tasks.

Causes of Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome

what causes wobbly hedgehog syndrome

Unfortunately, no one knows what causes wobbling hedgehog syndrome; nevertheless, there are numerous theories, including:


Genetics are thought to have a crucial impact on the development of Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome. It is thought that WHS may be inherited, with some genetic variations predisposing hedgehogs to the disorder

However, the precise genes involved in WHS remain unknown, and more research is needed to understand the genetic basis of this condition.

2. Diet

In hedgehogs, dietary variables have also been proposed as possible causes of WHS. Hedgehogs’ neurological health may be compromised by nutritional shortages or imbalances in their food, according to some theories, which could make them more vulnerable to WHS. 

Further research is necessary to investigate this theory further because there is currently insufficient empirical data connecting dietary factors to the start or progression of WHS.

3. Myelinopathy with Involvement of the Central Nervous System

It has been suggested that myelinopathy, a disorder marked by damage to the sheath that surrounds nerve fibers, is the cause behind WHS.

According to theory, WHS may be caused by a breakdown in the myelin sheath surrounding the central nervous system, which would hamper nerve communication and decrease hedgehogs’ ability to coordinate their movements. 

However, the exact processes by which myelinopathy causes WHS are yet unknown and need to be explored further.

4. Renal Disease

Anecdotal evidence has suggested a possible link between renal disease and hedgehog WHS. Renal failure may make neurological symptoms worse or make hedgehogs more susceptible to WHS, according to certain theories. 

However, the exact nature of this supposed connection is still unknown, and more thorough research is required to determine whether kidney illness and WHS are causally related.

5. Liver illness

There is also speculation of a potential link between liver illness and WHS in hedgehogs. Hepatic dysfunction has been suggested to negatively impact neurological function, which may aid in the onset or progression of WHS.

However, there isn’t much empirical data to back up this theory, therefore more investigation is needed to clarify how liver health and WHS interact.

6. Obesity

It has been suggested that obesity increases the likelihood of developing several illnesses in hedgehogs, including WHS. Some argue that being overweight may worsen musculoskeletal strain and impair neurological function, which would raise the risk of developing WHS. 

However, solid proof of a connection between obesity and WHS in hedgehogs is still lacking, and more research is required to examine this possibility.

Treatment of Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome

wobbly hedgehog syndrome treatment

Wobbly hedgehog syndrome has no viable treatment options, so a hedgehog with the ailment can only get supportive care. It is critical for the hedgehog’s quality of life to ensure that it has access to food and water while remaining clean. Euthanasia is recommended when a hedgehog has degraded considerably.

Veterinary Examination

For an accurate diagnosis, it’s crucial to speak with a veterinarian if a hedgehog exhibits any of the aforementioned symptoms. In a typical veterinary checkup for WHS, the following procedures are involved:

Physical Examination: To detect any indications of muscular atrophy or loss of motor control, the veterinarian will closely monitor the hedgehog’s movements and muscle strength.

X-rays and radiographs: These diagnostic procedures assist in identifying any anomalies in the bone structure or spinal cord that might be causing the symptoms.

hedgehog getting an x ray

Blood testing: Blood testing can assist in ruling out infections or other conditions that might be the source of the symptoms being reported. 

Biopsy: In certain situations, a veterinarian may take a sample of the afflicted hedgehog’s muscles to look for indications of degeneration or atrophy.

Although prompt diagnosis can make WHS easier to handle, it’s important to keep in mind that WHS is a progressive illness and that the affected hedgehog should always receive the right care and support measures.

Medical Treatment

As of right now, Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome (WHS) has no known cure. A veterinarian’s supportive treatment can still be beneficial for a hedgehog with this illness, though. Regular veterinary examinations are essential for keeping an eye on the hedgehog’s general health and possibly treating any secondary problems like obesity, tumors, or kidney illness. 

Even while drugs like steroids have been used to treat symptoms, more research is necessary because of their dubious long-term efficacy.

Dietary and At-Home Modifications

A hedgehog’s movement is mostly impacted by WHS, thus it’s critical to create a pleasant environment and way of life for them. Here are a few actions to do:

Food and Water: Put food and water in shallow bowls or dishes to ensure easy access. The hedgehog may require hand feeding as their illness worsens.

hedgehog eating

Bedding: To make your hedgehog’s mobility more comfortable, choose bedding made of soft, low-pile fabrics.

Heat: Because hedgehogs are sensitive to temperature fluctuations, keep their surroundings consistently warm to prevent stress and seizures.

Exercise: To assist in preserving muscle function for as long as feasible, encourage little exercise, but take care not to overstress the hedgehog.

Environment: Maintain a clean and toxin-free home for your pet, as unsatisfactory living circumstances can worsen the hedgehog’s health.


A healthy diet is crucial for a hedgehog suffering from white blood cell syndrome (WHS), as it can mitigate the disease’s advancement and enhance the animal’s overall well-being. Add the following foods to their diet:

Supplements: To address possible nutritional deficits, give vitamin supplements, particularly vitamin E.

Dietary Considerations: Make sure the hedgehog eats a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, high-quality proteins, and specialty hedgehog food

Make Their Environment Extra Comfortable

Because shaky hedgehog syndrome causes your hedgehog to spend more time immobile in their cage, you should do everything you can to make it as pleasant as possible.

Get the greatest bedding you can find, and upgrade any liners you’re currently using. Maximise comfort and softness as much as possible to ensure they have a comfortable spot to rest when they lack the energy or capacity to move around. 

When The Time Comes

hedgehogs diseases

There is no known treatment for wobbly hedgehog syndrome, therefore you will probably have to put it to sleep when the time comes. Though it’s terrible to have to consider this, this is the reality.

When the time comes, you should be ready to make this choice since you don’t want your hedgehog to suffer needlessly in their final moments. Your veterinarian will probably mention this as well.

You should make every effort to ensure their comfort and happiness. It’s time when things reach a point where they are just awful and cannot be helped any longer.

Even though reading about it is unpleasant, the correct information regarding wobbling hedgehog syndrome must be available, and we hope that this guide has helped to achieve that.

You ought to be well-informed on WHS by this point, as well as the symptoms and actions to take upon diagnosis. We sincerely hope you never have to deal with this. But in our opinion, you should be ready in case that moment ever arrives. 


Q1. What is Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome (WHS)?

WHS is a degenerative neurological condition affecting hedgehogs, characterized by symptoms such as loss of balance, muscle weakness, and paralysis. It is similar to multiple sclerosis in humans.

Q2. What are the possible causes of WHS?

While the exact cause is unknown, potential factors include genetics, dietary influences, myelinopathy, renal disease, liver disease, and obesity. Further research is needed to establish definitive causative factors.

Q3. Can Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome be treated?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for WHS. However, supportive care and management strategies can help maintain the hedgehog’s quality of life, including dietary modifications, environmental adjustments, and veterinary support.

Q4. How can I tell if my hedgehog has WHS?

Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome Symptoms include falling over, muscle weakness, difficulty walking, seizures, and weight loss. If you notice any of these signs, it’s crucial to seek veterinary attention for a proper diagnosis and guidance on care.

Q5. How can I provide supportive care for a hedgehog with WHS?

Providing a comfortable environment with easy access to food and water, regular veterinary check-ups, and addressing any secondary health issues are essential components of supportive care for hedgehogs with WHS.


In the conclusion of wobbly hedgehog syndrome symptoms & treatment, your veterinarian can provide you with guidance on whether euthanasia is a suitable and compassionate course of action for hedgehogs experiencing this degenerative illness. Although losing a hedgehog to WHS can be very painful, making end-of-life decisions can be a little less stressful if you have a thorough understanding of the illness and its prognosis.