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

Colin C. Berg DVM1, Grayson A. Doss DVM1, and Julien Guevar DVM, MVM2
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  • 1 Department of Surgical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706.
  • | 2 Department of Medical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706.

Abstract

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.

Abstract

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.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Figure S1 (PDF 634 KB)
    • Supplementary Figure S2 (PDF 465 KB)
    • Supplementary Figure S3 (PDF 169 KB)
    • Supplementary Figure S4 (PDF 451 KB)
    • Supplementary Figure S5 (PDF 711 KB)
    • Supplementary Figure S6 (PDF 425 KB)
    • Supplementary Video S1 (MP4 8,472 KB)
    • Supplementary Video S2 (MP4 16,014 KB)
    • Supplementary Video S3 (MP4 28,302 KB)
    • Supplementary Video S4 (MP4 26,360 KB)

Contributor Notes

Dr. Guevar's present address is the Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.

Address correspondence to Dr. Doss (gdoss@wisc.edu).