Vet’s rare surgery on pygmy pet

Ellie Whitehead, with nurse Fiona Devine and African pygmy hedgehog spike.
Ellie Whitehead, with nurse Fiona Devine and African pygmy hedgehog spike.

A quick thinking vet had to draw on her knowledge of Guinea pigs when she was faced with an unusual exotic patient.

Spike - a young African Pygmy Hedgehog- was taken into Alfreton Park Veterinary Hospital when her Ripley owner noticed she was passing blood in her urine.

Vets at the King Street practice initially gave the tiny pet a six week antibiotic course - but the problems persisted.

Although the risks were high, the only way to help Spike was to operate and remove her womb which had become full of fluid.

But as vet Ellie Whitehead had never come across such a rare pet before - she was forced to rely on her knowledge of the Guinea pigs - due to their similar size.

Ellie said: “What she had was similar to a ‘pyometra’, a uterine infection, which is very common in dogs, cats and rabbits.

“But I had never seen this with a hedgehog before.

“She was certainly the most unusual animal I had performed surgery on.But I have done a lot of Guinea pig surgery and they are relatively similar I thought.”

The operation was a great success, and Spike is now back with owner Tracey Marsden of the Lons Estate Ripley.

Clothing Alteration business owner Tracey, 32, who has also owned chipmunks and bearded dragons as pets before said: “She’s a lot better now - she’s still a bit grumpy she likes to have a run round the garden.”

An African Pygmy Hedgehog is a hybrid of the Algerian and Four Toed Hedgehog’s found in the wild and the only breed of hedhog permitted to be kept as a pet in the UK.