A Retrospective Study of the Medical Status on 63 African Hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris) at the Taipei Zoo From 2003 to 2011

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Inbreeding of African hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris) is considered a problem as breeders try to meet the demands of the pet trade. Most studies of African hedgehogs are concentrated in the USA. This study investigates and compares the life span and medical conditions of captive African hedgehogs at the Taipei Zoo, Taiwan. The medical records of 63 African hedgehogs at the Taipei Zoo from 2003 to 2011 were collected and analyzed statistically for this retrospective study. The mean life span of the 39 deceased hedgehogs in the study was 3.4 ± 1.1 years. The average weight was 401 ± 98 g. Female hedgehogs were heavier than males. The primary cause of death in this group of animals was neoplasia (35.9%). Oral squamous cell carcinoma was the most common form of neoplasia diagnosed (35.7%). Hematologic and serum biochemical tests from 9 healthy adults revealed increased alanine aminotransaminase, aspartate aminotransferase, total bilirubin, and albumin values compared with references. Decreased values for alkaline phosphatase, amylase, and creatinine levels were also found. The results of this study may provide a better understanding of African hedgehog health and may help to determine potential management problems.

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