A sweet little hedgehog came to see us for evaluation of a large scab near his eye. It had been there for at least a week and did not seem to bother him but he had been sneezing and was due for an exam anyway. He was gentle and shy and after looking at the area, we decided it was best to take a small sample from the wound and look at it under the microscope. It turned out to be a cancerous growth.
Squamous cell carcinoma is a common finding in older hedgehogs. They usually present as non-healing wounds on the face or as swelling and loose teeth in the mouth but they can present anywhere on the patient. Other than mites, cancers are one of the more common problems seen in these guys. This boy will be kept comfortable as the tumor is not in a location allowing for its removal. He seems happy and is not in any pain. Over time, the growth will spread and when it becomes a quality of life issue, we will face that problem in a gentle, dignified way for him and his family.