Hedgehogs often wander from the forest on the threshold of country or village houses. Since childhood, we have been accustomed to treat these cute little animals with great sympathy. However, close acquaintance with hedgehogs and other forest dwellers is not so safe.
Our expert – traumatologist-orthopedist of the Moscow Regional Hospital. Professor V. N. Rozanov Artyom Arkhipov.
They are so cute, these hedgehogs! How I want to feed them as soon as possible, take them in my arms and … cuddle, if not for the thorns. But for one of the patients of the Moscow Regional Hospital, a recent meeting with a charming eared boy turned into a hospitalization.
The acquaintance did not take place on a forest path and not even on the territory of a summer cottage. Careless hedgehog was right on the roadway. Seeing him on the road, a sympathetic worker of one of the car services near Moscow decided to help the little one by moving the animal to the grass. Taking the hedgehog with his bare hands, the man carried him to a safe place. But the animal did not appreciate the care. Dodging, he pricked his savior in the thumb of his left hand. Good thing you didn’t get bitten!
The man released the hedgehog, treated his finger with an antiseptic and, just in case, went to the emergency department of the hospital to make sure everything was in order. And from there he was sent straight to the hospital.
When doctors see a wound in a patient after contact with a wild animal, they always suggest hospitalization in order to prevent the development of rabies, administer immunoglobulin and respond in a timely manner to possible complications after the drug and vaccine.
In the hospital, the patient was treated and instructed. Now everything is fine with him, he is already at home, but he is no longer suitable for hedgehogs.
However, such a case is far from isolated. Many careless citizens, especially children who see animals only on TV or in zoos, try to contact not only street animals, but also forest animals. It would seem, how can a cute hedgehog be dangerous? Unless it pricks a little. Anointed with green – and you’re done! Alas, new friendship is not always limited to this. If you prick yourself on a hedgehog needle, you can get ringworm, a fungal infection, or salmonellosis. Among the needles of hedgehogs, ticks often live – carriers of tick-borne encephalitis, borreliosis and ehrlichiosis, so even gently stroking or picking up forest animals is dangerous.
Not only hedgehogs, but also foxes, raccoons, squirrels can be carriers of rabies and other dangerous diseases. So why then torture yourself with a series of anti-rabies vaccinations when you can simply be careful? If you want to remove the animal from the roadway, move it away with what is at hand. Then your good deed will go unpunished. Even wearing gloves, you do not need to take the animal. The animal can also bite through dense tissue.
You should not think that if a hedgehog, a fox, or any other cute animal that seems like a cartoon character looks at you with cute beady eyes, it is safe. It is not at all necessary that an animal infected with rabies should have a crazy look, grin and drip with saliva. On the contrary, one of the signs of a deadly infectious disease is an atypical affection, a loss of alertness to a person.
Without examining the potential carrier of the disease, it is impossible to find out whether a person has contracted rabies after being bitten. So you have to get vaccinated. After all, when infected without vaccination, rabies in 100% of cases leads to death. And although for prevention today, instead of 40 injections, only 6 are injected into the stomach (on the 1st, 3rd, 7th, 14th day, and then after 1 and 3 months), it is better to avoid such “entertainment”.
A bite or even a simple contact with the saliva of an animal, if your skin has abrasions or scratches, is fraught with deadly rabies.
Teeth like a razor
The bite of even a wild animal not infected with rabies can be fraught with dangerous consequences. For example, from a hedgehog bite, you can become infected with leptospirosis, which affects the kidneys, liver, and nervous system. In addition, a cute prickly eared can be a carrier of salmonellosis, tick-borne infections (encephalitis, tularemia, borreliosis), lichen, fungal and parasitic infections (pyroplasmosis, toxoplasmosis), yellow fever and other diseases.
And even if the hedgehog turned out to be absolutely healthy, it’s still better not to touch it with your hands. Razor-sharp teeth of animals leave lacerations that do not heal well. And if clostridial bacteria enter the bloodstream through the place damaged by the bite, the case may result in the development of tetanus. This disease has a high mortality and a lot of complications. If there is no appropriate vaccination (or its period has expired), an anti-tetanus vaccine must be urgently administered. Dangerous symptoms of infection: the sore spot is very reddened and swollen, it hurts, the lymph nodes have increased, the body temperature has risen. Do not wait for trouble – immediately consult a doctor.
Hedgehogs are omnivorous animals that feed on food of animal and vegetable origin. They eat worms, snails, wood lice, spiders, grasshoppers and beetles. If you want to feed a forest guest who has looked into your summer cottage, offer him meat, fish or eggs. The hedgehog will not refuse peaches, melons, apricots, pears, apples, any berries and vegetables. But don’t give him milk! The hedgehog’s body does not digest lactose (milk sugar) – the animal will become ill.