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This unfortunate hedgehog blew up like a balloon

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Emily Reynolds
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I know this really does sound like fake news, but a hedgehog who the RSPCA said had "blown up like a beach ball" has been diagnosed with...balloon syndrome. 

The spiky lil’ guy was found wandering round Doncaster by a member of the public, who handed it in to the RSPCA. We don’t know if it was rolled or carried.

It was so big that they suspected it might be pregnant. 

A normal, non-ballooning hedgehog

In actual fact, it was suffering from the aforementioned balloon syndrome, which occurs when gas collects under the skin of the hedgehog.

“It's the worst case of balloon syndrome I've seen,” said RSPCA inspector Sandra Dransfield. “This poor chap was almost twice its natural size, literally blown up like a beach ball with incredibly taut skin.”

And there’s a happy ending: after treatment, which involved X-raying him, pricking his skin to release some of the air, before he was administered with antibiotics and pain relief, he’s been released back into the wild.

(Images: Rex/RSPCA)

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Emily Reynolds

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