Neurologic examination of healthy adult African pygmy hedgehogs ( Atelerix albiventris)

J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2021 May 1;258(9):971-976. doi: 10.2460/javma.258.9.971.


Objective: To describe a modified approach to neurologic examination of African pygmy hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris).

Animals: 12 adult hedgehogs (7 males and 5 females).

Procedures: Aspects of the standard neurologic examination of dogs and cats were evaluated for use with awake hedgehogs, and modified approaches to evaluating their normal behavior and mentation, select cranial nerves and refexes, and gait were then identified. Behavioral analysis and gait analysis were performed by using video recordings of hedgehogs in a novel environment. Performability and repeatability of all feasible aspects of the neurologic examination were assessed.

Results: Most aspects of the standard neurologic examination could be successfully performed, with repeatable results. However, certain aspects, especially those evaluating the pelvic limbs, were more difficult to perform successfully or were less repeatable. All hedgehogs lacked a menace response but displayed a contraction of the frontodorsalis muscle. Facial sensation testing was unreliable.

Conclusions and clinical relevance: The entire standard neurologic examination could not be performed in hedgehogs. However, many aspects could be performed, and together they provided baseline data for neurologic examination of this species.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Hedgehogs*
  • Male
  • Neurologic Examination* / veterinary