A hedgehog suffering from “balloon syndrome” was rescued after it had swollen to twice its normal size.
The animal was diagnosed after a member of the public saw it wandering round in circles in Toll Bar, Doncaster.
RSPCA inspector Sandra Dransfield said it was clear the animal was suffering from the syndrome, which is caused by gas collecting under the skin.
“It’s the worst case of balloon syndrome I’ve seen,” she told BBC News.
“This poor chap was almost twice its natural size, literally blown up like a beach ball with incredibly taut skin.
“I took the stricken animal straight to Peak Vets in Sheffield, where he was X-rayed and they released some of the air from under his skin.
”The vet then started him on a course of antibiotics and pain relief. We found him in the nick of time, and I really do hope he pulls through.
The animal is being treated at an RSPCA centre in the Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre in Nantwich, Cheshire.
The most controversial animal killings
The most controversial animal killings
1/6 Cincinnati Zoo worker shots and kills Harambe, the 17-year-old gorilla
Harambe, a 17-year-old gorilla was shot and killed by a Cincinnati Zoo worker after a three-year-old boy climbed into a gorilla enclosure and was grabbed and dragged by Harambe. The incident was recorded on video and received broad international coverage and commentary, including controversy over the choice to kill Harambe. A number of primatologists and conservationists wrote later that the zoo had no other choice under the circumstances, and that it highlighted the danger of zoo animals in close proximity to humans and the need for better standards of care
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
2/6 Walt Palmer (left), from Minnesota, who killed Cecil, the Zimbabwean lion (pictured here with another lion shot in Africa)
Walter James Palmer has been named by Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force as the shooter of Cecil, a 13-year-old prized lion. He is now wanted by Zimbabwe officials on poaching charges. The lion was protected and the subject of a decade long study by the Wildlife Unit of Oxford University in the UK. He was outfitted with a GPS collar and was killed in Hwange National Park. The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority and the Safari Operators Association said that two men were charged with poaching in connection to Mr Palmer
3/6 Kendall Jones hunting images
Kendall Jones, a 19-year-old Texas Tech university student, has provoked worldwide fury after posting pictures of herself smiling next to animals she hunted, including a lion, rhinoceros, antelope, leopard, elephant, zebra and hippopotamus
4/6 Rebecca Francis hunting images
Rebecca Francis, a huntress who has killed dozens of wild animals has been sent death wishes by furious social media users after a picture showing her lying down next to a dead giraffe was circulated. Rebecca Francis has a website and Facebook page dedicated to the animals she has killed in hunts across Africa and America. Francis, a prolific hunter who has also co-hosted the television show Eye of the Hunter, regularly posts pictures of herself posing next to dead bears, giraffes, buffaloes and zebras, among other animals. She uses a bow and arrow to kill her prey
5/6 The slaughter of Marius, an 18-month-old healthy giraffe in Copenhagen Zoo
Copenhagen Zoo made the controversial decision to euthanise a healthy giraffe named Marius, which was later dissected and fed to lions as visitors watched. The slaughter sparked a furious backlash from social media users and zoo staff have received death threats by phone and email. Soon after the incident, Copenhagen Zoo faced an international outcry once again after four healthy lions were put down
6/6 Swiss Dählhölzli zoo kills healthy brown bear cub
A Switzerland zoo faced heavy criticism from animal rights groups, after keepers put down a healthy brown bear cub to spare it from being bullied by its dominant male father. The 360 kg male bear Misha had already killed one of his 11-week old cubs in public and was bullying the second, staff at the zoo said, because he was jealous of the attention the cubs were receiving from their mother, Masha. Both adult brown bears had been donated to Bern’s Dählhölzli zoo in 2009. Campaigners condemned staff there for not separating the cubs, who are being referred to as Baby Bear Two and Baby Bear Three, and their mother from Misha after their birth in January
If the animal had continued to swell, its skin could have ruptured.
Pressure from the gas on internal organs could also eventually cause it to suffocate or starve to death.
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society said there was no single cause for the syndrome.
It can be triggered by an injury or infection, which releases gas underneath the skin. Treatment involves puncturing the skin’s underlying cavity to release the gas, and a course of medication.
The male hedgehog in Cheshire will be thoroughly examined under general anaesthetic. It will be cared for until it is ready to return to the wild.Reuse content