What is Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome (WHS)?

whsIf you are looking into buying a pet hedgehog then you have probably come across this disease in your search.

What is it?

Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome or WHS is a debilitating disease which is compared to Multiple Sclerosis. It is a progressive, neurological disease usually showing first symptoms in the hind legs with paralysis then spreading to the front legs and upwards Paralysis could affect one side of the body more causing the hedgehog to fall over. Age of onset of symptoms is usually around 18 months and death usually occurs between 2 to 18 months after onset.


Up to 10% of pet hedgehogs are reported to carry this disease. Some people believe that the disease is diet-related. While I do not agree with that, I know that diet is important for the health of the hedgehog in general. A high quality diet should always be provided for your hedgehog.

I feel that WHS is a genetic disease, although there is no proof as of yet. The cases that I have heard of always seem to run in certain lines. Given this theory, I will not breed any hedgehogs with any known cases of WHS in their ancestry. Until the cause is proven, it is important for breeders to be cautious. This is another reason to buy from a reputable breeder and not a pet store. Pet stores often sell heavily inbred hedgehogs with a greater likelihood of genetic diseases/conditions.


Unfortunately, there is no cure for WHS. But, with treatment and care you can heighten the quality of life of an afflicted hedgehog.

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