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Vet
Vet, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 83
Experience:  I have spent many years in mixed practice, dealing with all the major species.
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I rescue and rehabilitate hedgehogs and I would like to know

Resolved Question:

I rescue and rehabilitate hedgehogs and I would like to know what responsibilities the veterinary profession has towards treating wildlife.
My vet was presented with a poorly hedgehog and asked me to take it in.
When I asked them to vet check it, worm it and give it antibiotics they wanted me to pay for the treatment before I had even agreed to take it.
Aren't vets expected to give the initial first aid?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Vet replied 1 year ago.
Hi there, vet Andrew here.
Nice to see someone looking out for hedgehogs - they get a poor deal in many other respects.
Most vets have an arrangement with the RSCPA or similar charity where treatment is given and bills, etc. are sorted out later. In your case, since I assume you are acting alone, this won't apply. A busy practice does not want to be overwhelmed with wildlife cases brought in by members of the public. Our business is indeed looking after the welfare of animals, but we also have to run the business, and keep the staff paid. In my case, I am happy to provide occasional free treatment to injured wildlife, but the RSPCA takes on the bulk of the other cases.
To answer your question, we are not legally obliged to provide free treatment for emergencies, but as a profession we consider it a moral obligation to do so. In the case of your young hedgehog, a check, worm and antibiotic treatment would probably not qualify as first aid. First aid in animals is defined in exactly the same way as for humans - the temporary action required for critical conditions such as haemorrhage or airway obstruction, or the initial dressing of open wounds and pain relief.
To avoid any future hassle, have you considered becoming a registered hedgehog rescuer with a charity such as the British Hedgehog Preservation Society? Such an affiliation may help smooth out the process of rescuing and treating hedgehogs for you. I wish you all the best.
Vet and other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.
But with a hedgehog it can't be checked very well without anaesthetic so the underside can be looked at.
In this particular case the hoglet had trouble with it's leg and they did find out that it was broken so it was euthanized.
I am registered with the Hedgehog Preservation Society but I get little support from them. All they do is pass out my phone number so people who find them can ring me for assistance. They won't even give me a list of local carers so I can contact them for mutual support.
But that's not your problem and I do understand that any veterinary practice is a business that is there to make money.