A SWOLLEN hedgehog with a rare “balloon syndrome” has been deflated by vets after expanding to the size of a beachball.
Zeppelin was so round he resembled a beach ball when he was discovered by a passerby in Shotts, North Lanarkshire on Sunday.
The adorable hog was handed into vets at the Scottish SPCA who said he was likely to have been clipped by a car which punctured his lung – causing air to be trapped under his skin.
Kind vets managed to deflate Zeppelin after giving him an X ray and even attached an oxygen mask around his little face.
He is now back to half the size when he was found and will be released back into the wild when he’s fully recovered.
Centre Manager Colin Seddon said, “Zeppelin, as he’s now been named by staff, is currently being looked after at our National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fishcross.
“Zeppelin is suffering from ‘balloon syndrome’. It’s likely that he’s been clipped by a car, puncturing a lung and causing air to become trapped under his skin.
“Our Animal Rescue Officer Louise Hume got a bit of a shock when she went to pick him up. He’s certainly one of the largest hedgehogs we’ve taken into our care.
“He’s been seen by our vet Romain, who is hopeful that Zeppelin – now deflated- will make a full recovery.
“He’ll be closely monitored at our centre to make sure infection doesn’t set in before being released back into the wild once he’s fully recovered.
“Anyone who discovers an injured or distressed wild animal should call our animal helpline on 03000 999 999.”
Balloon syndrome is caused by gas collecting underneath the skin, often as the result of a traumatic event or infection.
Vets often have to pop the animal’s skin with a needle to return them back to their normal size.
A spokeswoman at the SSPCA today said the Zeppelin was one of the largest hedgehogs they have ever seen.
She added: “Our officer actually thought he was a pregnant female when she went to pick him up.
“Then when she brought him in the vet said, ‘No that’s a male. We need to get him seen immediately.’
“We’ve seen quite a few hedgehogs with balloon syndrome but never one as big as this
“They often get like that if they experience trauma and as they exhale and inhale, gas builds up.”