A hedgehog has been given a new lease of life after a vet successfully performed microsurgery to amputate one of his tiny toes and save his life.
The spiny creature was discovered freezing and struggling to move in a garden – with x-rays later revealing he had sustained a bone fracture.
Vets noticed that the injury had become infected and caused an abscess on the mammal’s foot and when treatment failed to heal the injury, amputation became the only option.
Staff at the RSPCA's Mallydams Woods Wildlife Centre in Hastings, East Sussex, have been caring for the tiny animal and have been nursing him back to health.
Veterinary surgeon Joanna Mihr said: "A hedgehog's toe is very small and so it's quite an intricate surgery to carry out an amputation.
“The surgery was a success and the broken and infected toe was successfully removed and then he was stitched back up and carefully bandaged.
"Although I have carried out surgery after the tip of a toe has come off a hedgehog this is the first time I have done an amputation of this kind on a hedgehog.”
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She revealed the patient’s natural abilities created some issues, saying: “One of the hardest things after was trying to re-bandage his leg – hedgehogs always have a tendency to roll up!”
Vet Mihr is confident the hedgehog will make a full recovery.
She said: ”I’m really pleased it was a success and after a few weeks of rehabilitation he was then successfully released back to the location where he was found.
"When we decide to carry out surgery like this the foremost consideration we have to take is to ensure any wild animal will still be fully functional and able to carry out their natural behaviour in the wild after treatment."
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The hedgehog was discovered in October and is expected to recover from his treatment.
Hedgehogs usually hibernate throughout winter – nesting in piles of leaves or under logs from November to April.
They are nocturnal animals makings sightings of them relatively rare as they scurry around at night.
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