Posted: January 27, 2009, 5:00 a.m. EST
Q: My hedgehog has a golf ball-sized knot under her neck, but she behaves normally. She was adopted from a pet store, so I don’t know how old she is. None of the veterinarians in my area have ever dealt with hedgehogs before. What is this knot, and what can I do about it?
A: Unfortunately, hedgehogs appear to have higher rates of cancer than other animals. Because you do not know the age of your hedgehog, I would be worried that this could be a type of cancer. Not all cancers are malignant. If this is a benign tumor, once it is removed, your hedgehog will be fine.
This could also be an infection. An abscess would feel like a knot.
Finally, this could be an enlarged lymph node. Both infection and cancer can cause a lymph node to enlarge. The best thing to do is to take your hedgehog to the veterinarian and let your doctor do some testing on this knot. If veterinarians in your area are unfamiliar with hedgehogs, find a doctor that will consult with a veterinarian who routinely treats hedgehogs.