A lady brought me a small male hedgehog. She had arrived back home and noticed her dog sitting by the patio doors, staring out. She opened the door whereupon the dog rushed straight over to the pond and rescued a small hedgehog. On arrival I could see that he had something wrong with his front leg and the opposite rear leg, his tail was also pushed to one side and he was unable to roll up. He weighed a mere 267 grammes from which I estimated that he was about ten weeks old. The following day I took him to Emscote Veterinary Practice where, under anaesthetic, it was found that he had two fractures that had happened some time previously. The fractures were healing and fortunately were not infected.
His treatment was a course of pain relief for at least two weeks and observation (because he was too young to have any other treatment). I had heard about hydrotherapy helping a lot of animals with tendon or muscle injuries and thought I would try it out. After ten days, despite being in a large hutch, I could see he was not too happy being enclosed. The swimming had certainly helped improve his leg-muscle strength then, to reduce his stress levels, I put him in one of my outside runs, which is planted with lots of shrubs and has a hutch on legs with four shallow steps up to it. The move was a huge success. His wellbeing improved and two weeks later I watched him walk round the lawn (see video), both legs were considerably improved, his weight was good and I could see that the more exercise he had the better the legs would be.
The ending to this tale is a happy one. We are fortunate to have supporters who have a large, predator-proof area, once used for rearing pheasants. The area is a perfect for hedgehogs, having plenty of trees and shrubs and a natural water supply. Our Hydrotherapy Hog was released onto this Hedgehog Haven to roam freely.