We are a bit late getting this bLog post published (about a month behind the report from the CDC) but since I am still getting contacted with concerns about the recent reported outbreak of salmonella infections linked to pet hedgehogs, this needed to go up.
As hedgehog breeders, when our customers come across a report of an "Outbreak of salmonella linked to pet hedgehogs" we instantly get tagged across social media and get sent panicked messages from new adopters.
In case you missed it, let's recap the key points from the official CDC report from January 25, 2019. (Full report here)
What is salmonella?
Salmonella is a nasty bacterium that sometimes turns up in the food supply, including chicken, tomatoes, peanuts, salsa, guacamole, and even pet food. It thrives in the intestinal tracts of animals and humans.
Also pets, including but not limited to, turtles, chickens, and hedgehogs, may carry the salmonella bacteria in their gut without showing any symptoms of the illness, therefore their feces could be cause for concern.
I'd like to take this moment to share some other statistics with you, direct from the CDC website.
So of those estimated 1.2 million cases in the US per year, 200,000 are estimated to NOT be food related, and with this recent outbreak we are talking about 11 cases that could be linked to hedgehogs.
So what do we do now?
We should continue to be just as diligent with hygiene and care as we were before. Literally this changes nothing.
Hedgehogs are an exotic animal. As with any pet or wild animal, care should be taken when handling them and cleaning their habitats.
Wash your hands after holding and socializing with your hedgehog.
Don't play with their poop.
If you have more than one hedgehog you should also be washing your hands between animals to limit any cross contamination.
Don't eat their poop.
Kissing and putting your hedgehogs by your face is "not advised" (so help me I will never stop kissing and loving on my babies. You can't make me!)
Also we don't want our little poop-boot friends running across our countertops while we are preparing our lunch. All of these things should be common place already.
This is a long post to basically tell you all to change nothing. As long as you are being smart about cleaning and washing your hands before and after handling your hedgehogs, and they aren't running around where you prepare your food... you'll be good.
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There is so much information to learn when it comes to owning and breeding hedgehogs! It is far more than a care page can hold!