Lungworm in hedgehogs

13, June, 2019

What is lungworm?

Lungworm occurs when there is an infestation of the lungs with parasitic worms. Slugs are carriers of lungworm and as a hedgehog’s natural diet contains slugs, this is where part of the problem lies. A hedgehog can become very ill due to the amount of slugs it consumes within its diet.

How is lungworm diagnosed?

Some tell-tale signs of lungworm which you can look out for in hedgehogs are wheezing, coughing, gurgling, snuffling, respiratory distress and loss of weight and appetite in hedgehogs.
Diagnosis of lungworm can be achieved by microscopic examination of hedgehog faeces to look for Crenosoma larvae or Capillaria eggs, with help from a medical professional.

Hedgehogs which appear in your garden are wild and there is no known control for lungworm in free-living wild hedgehogs at this moment in time. This being said, you can do your bit to help with trying to prevent it.

How can I reduce the risk of lungworm?

If you feed wild hedgehogs in your garden, make sure that you are consistently and thoroughly cleaning feeding sites to prevent accumulation of faeces. If you rotate the hedgehog feeding site,
you will also be helping to reduce accumulation of faeces.

If you are handling a hedgehog, always make sure that you are wearing thick gardening or rubber
gloves and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.

You can also reduce the amount of slugs that our spiky friends consume by offering an alternative
food source. We suggest providing daily hedgehog food and to also build a wild corner or log pile
which will encourage insects and bugs to thrive in your garden. Both of these methods will make our
hogs extremely happy.

With reference to:

Lungworm in hedgehogs

Care and Treatment of Sick and Injured Hedgehogs by The British Hedgehog Preservation Society

Lungworm kills hedgehogs

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