As a licensed breeder I must follow all care guidelines as mentioned in the ANIMAL WELFARE ACT. These guidelines ensure that All animals within my care are treated humanely. I must also keep records on all of my animals and log where they end up (this is why I ask your full name and address on the transfer of ownership form when you adopt), and provide medical care to all animals within my care.
As a licensed breeder I also have to report all licensing related costs and income.
Being a licensed breeder carries a lot of responsibility, but it certainly is worth it.
I have been licensed for 3 years with no citations (incidents of breaking the rules).
Many breeders require those who adopt hedgehogs from them to provide the animals with a level of care HIGHER than it received while at the breeder.
To me this just doesn't make any sense and is why I have decided to share my documentation regarding the care I provide to my animals.
Most veterinary care plans are vague and contain very little details regarding the care the animals being bred actually receive. Federal guidelines only require the following be out lined in a vet care plan for hedgehogs;
The name of the species being kept and bred ( African Pygmy Hedgehog)
Any vaccinations given ( which there are none for hedgehogs)
Any parasite control or meds given
Where Emergency medical care will be provided (a vet center)
How ill animals will be euthanized (injection ect) and Who will do it (vet or breeder)
Details involving the herd's diet and keeping don't need to be outlined in a vet care plan.
This can be both good and bad, depending on the breeders ethics and honesty.
The few details required in an official vet care plan leave open the possibility of a breeder to not care for their animals appropriately. It also leaves them likely to practice a "do as I say not as I do" mentality in which they provide their animals with the bare minimums while requiring others to provide above regulation care. They may even say that they provide above standard care that they sadly do not in real life.
The few details required by the USDA is also a GOOD THING in the sense that it allows a breeder to be creative and cutting edge in the care they provide their animals. As long as the above mentioned minimums are included in the Vet Care Plan, many other aspects of care MAY BE ADDED BY THE BREEDER AND THEIR ATTENDING VETERINARIAN.
How can you know if your breeder is a minimum care provider or a dedicated above standard care provider?
Ask to see their Veterinary Care Plan!
A breeder who has a detailed vet care plan is a breeder who is open and dedicated to holding themselves to a higher standard. A breeder must follow their vet care program, so what it includes truly shows their ethics.
Some breeders say they do not feel comfortable sharing their vet care program. They say it's "putting their vet's personal info out in public". However as you can see in viewing my Program of Veterinary Care, my vet's information had been blacked out. A simple swipe of my finger was all that was needed to make my vet care plan ready to be viewed.
I know that sharing my Vet care plan will upset some other breeders, which is why I've made the statements above saying why I've decided to share it. Sharing the information on this page was a long made decision and I firmly believe it will benefit animals in the long run.
A "Facility visit" is when a Veterinarian physically visits a breeder in the place where their animals are located. For me, this is in my home. For others it may be a pet shop or a warehouse type building where the animal breeding activities happen. For large scale breeders there may be multiple locations in which animals are bred and the vet needs to visit.
The minimum a vet is required to visit a breeder's facility is once per year. During this visit, the Vet will sign a sheet called "Program of veterinary care instructions". This sheet logs the number of times (and dates) when a veterinarian visits a breeder and ensures their program of veterinary care is followed.
AS mentioned above, the regulations required that a vet visit the breeder AND sign this form AT LEAST once yearly.
As you can see by my "Program of veterinary care instructions" sheet below, I provide above regulation veterinary oversight to my animals and have my veterinarian visit on a more frequent basis.
The visit sheet below shows the 2 occasions, 6 months apart, in which my NEW vet has visited my animals here. Prior to this sheet, I had a different veterinarian for two consecutive years. But as you see on the sheet it states you must change your PVC paperwork each time you get a new vet.
Yes, Health certificates and exams are an extra cost that is not required, however I provide them anyway to my breeding animals. I would much rather be sure that my animals who will be having babies are healthy themselves.
I have my animals examined and issued health certificates each time my vet visits and occasionally when I add a new hedgehog to my breeding program.
Knowing that the animals who will be creating the next generation of pet hedgehogs is healthy is very important to me.
See some recent health certificate examples below from January & February 2020.
Please note that if there are hoglets here when my vet visits, I do have an exam health certificate issued to them too. If your hoglet was here during a visit and has a health certificate, I pay for that & do not charge the adopting family.
This letter was regarding an investigation involving a salmonella outbreak due to pet hedgehogs.
The CDC RECOMMENDED that breeders consult with their veterinarian regarding husbandry practices and routine testing to help reduce salmonella within their hedgehogs.
All hedgehogs carry salmonella, as do dogs, cats and humans, but an outbreak is very different.
Upon receiving this letter from the CDC, I immediately took action. I decided to consult with my veterinarian and had salmonella outbreak testing done on my breeding animals on October 19th 2019.
The conclusion of my animal's salmonella testing is seen below.
Even with the best care an highest levels f precautions, sometimes an animal gets sick.
I do not treat any animals at home. I also do not practice any home remedies on my animals. All animals with suspected illness are seen by and treated by a licensed veterinarian.
A recent example can be seen below. This vet documentation describes a hedgehog who has an infection. The animal was treated.
I hope that by providing you with my veterinary care plan and other hedgehog care info, you know a little better about me as a breeder.
I absolutely adore each and every hedgehog within my care and I certainly appreciate every single HogParent who adopts one of my animals.