The sad tale of Matilda the Mother.
The next day, after all the excitement of being catapulted into hedgehog fostering by the arrival of the hoglets, we found Matilda (again the name just appeared in my mind) looking very flat in the middle of our drive. We presumed she was the Mum of the hoglet trio already rescued.
Matilda was obviously very sick. She had no aversion to being picked up and put into a washing up bowl for transfer to somewhere safer. She was limp and indifferent to any stimuli around her. No defensive reactions at all.
Jill came back immediately after we phoned to explain what had happened and how ill Matilda appeared to be. On first looking at her, her extensive experience and training in Hedgehog rehab told her that Matilda was very dehydrated and underweight and needed immediate resuscitation. She took her home for emergency care.
The most urgent requirement was rehydration -we were in the middle of a very long dry spell, and it’s likely that there was a severe shortage of puddles to drink from. Jill’s professional background is Nursing, so she is very properly skilled to use subcutaneous fluids to rehydrate. Her training from the Vale Wildlife Hospital equips her with the skills to translate this to care of hedgehogs rather than humans. On Matilda she used Hartmann’s solution, an intravenous fluid preparation of electrolytes and bicarbonate, particularly useful to not only rehydrate but also combat the build-up of acid in the body that accompanies severe dehydration.
Matilda in fact shows up on two security camera shots. Here are two clips. They have been enlarged and cropped, as on the original she is just a dot, so a lot of definition is lost. However, you can still see that she is moving extremely slowly and with enormous difficulty. It looks almost as though she is dragging herself along the ground, instead of the usual walk on four legs that is normal for hedgehogs. It’s really a pitiful sight.
Jill contacted us to let us know the sad news that after an initial rally with treatment, Matilda declined and passed away in her arms. RIP poor Matilda, you did well to raise your hoglets and bring them to a safe place.
More to follow…..
…. Come back soon.