New Frontiers in Hedgehog Health & Behavior
Speakers Information


Saturday October 2, 2010

Saturday Afternoon Speakers

Dr. John Wertz, DVM, Bluemound Animal Hospital, Brookfield Wisconsin

Dr. Wertz received his Bachelors of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1994.  He received his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001.  He did an externship for 6 weeks at the Milwaukee County Zoo prior to graduation.  He has worked for the Bluemound Animal Hospital in Brookfield, WI since June, 2001. Dr. Wertz really enjoys working with exotic animals and demonstrates a special rapport with our quilled friends. He has been the attending vet for the Milwaukee SuperPogs since 2003. Dr. Wertz has pioneered
the use of routine ultrasounds as part of the SuperPogs program of veterinary care.  Ultrasounds are an effective way of detecting precancerous changes in the uterus, abdominal pelvic tumors, and fatty liver disease in asymptomatic hedgehogs. According to the hedgehog mortality database uterine cancer is one of the major causes of female hedgehog mortality.  One out of ten female hedgehogs will die of uterine cancer.  This figure can be dramatically reduced by routine ultrasound screenings.  In this photo Dr. Wertz is demonstrating proper hedgehog ultrasound technique to veterinary student Heather Stewart.      


Talk Title:   “Hedgehog Health 101”


Cyndy Bennett

Cyndy Bennett has been a hedgehog owner since 2003. She has been involved with hedgehog rescue work since 2004 and has developed a passion for making hedgehogs lives better. Cyndy has been studying, collecting information, and working closely with vets and other hedgehog owners on finding treatment options for Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome (WHS). Learn about the protocol that Cyndy and her Vets developed to extend the quality of Snuggles life.






Talk Title:  "Snuggles Journey with Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome"

Jim Woodring, MPH, CIH, CHO, Argonne National Laboratory

Jim Woodring is manager of industrial hygiene at a large Department of Energy research facility in Illinois, responsible for evaluating chemical and physical agent hazards and providing workplace air monitoring to assure safe working conditions for employees. He has a Master of Public Health in Industrial Hygiene from the University of Michigan and is a Certified Industrial Hygienist by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene and a Certified Chemical Hygiene Officer by the National Registry of Clinical Chemists. He is licensed to practice industrial hygiene in Illinois. Most notably, he is assistant companion to Dudley, Hoover, Payton, Buckminster, Wizard, Baxter, Kenmore and Gromit.  



Talk Title:  "Give ‘em a Breath: Assuring Adequate Air for your Hedgehog"


Jennifer Plombon, RN

Jennifer Plombon was one of the founders of, and the first CVO of, The Hedgehog Welfare Society. (The HWS was formed to help hedgehogs needing help and rescue from unacceptable pet store, selling, and breeding situations.)  She’s been active in hedgehog guardianship and shared her home with them since 1999. Her first hedgehog, Norma, suffered from WHS and this sparked her interest in hedgehog rescue and research into hedgehog diseases.  Jennifer has volunteered with wild animals for over 10 years; first with the South Carolina Center for Birds of Prey near Charleston, SC and currently with The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center; The Raptor Center; and The Wildcat Sanctuary, all in Minnesota. Jennifer feels that volunteering to help wild birds and mammals is not only wonderfully satisfying in its own right, but it keeps her from adopting and bringing home all the animals she falls in love with, as she says she would undoubtedly do if she volunteered with domestic pets!  Jennifer is an Operating Room nurse, and her experience with surgery and anesthesia has come in very handy when helping wild animals, and was extremely useful in TX.  After the Global Exotics Rescue Jennifer spent six weeks caring for the Texas Tumbleweeds at the Texas SPCA. Jennifer currently lives in Minnesota, but she and my husband Steve will eventually be moving to WA State, right near the Canadian border. They share their home with 6 TX Tumbleweeds, all of whom Jennifer cared for in the "hospital" at the TX SPCA; Pip, Herb, Jane Leno, Diana, Michelle, and Suzie Q.

Talk Title: 
"People and Paws: Those that Touched my Heart in Texas"




Saturday Evening Keynote Speaker


Dr. Susan Brown, DVM, Rosehaven Exotic Animal Veterinary Services


Dr. Brown is universally recognized as one of the top Exotic Vets in the country and the nation’s leading expert on Hedgehog Veterinary care. In 1980 she started practicing strictly exotic-animal veterinary medicine and in 1985 founded the Midwest Bird & Exotic Animal Hospital (MB&EAH) in Westchester, Illinois, devoted entirely to the care of exotic pets. This was the first all-exotic animal veterinary hospital in the country. Dr. Brown has numerous professional publications on hedgehogs and other exotic animals, and has published chapters in a number of veterinary texts as well as co-authoring two veterinary books on small mammals. She is also the co author of the book The Hedgehog: An Owner’s Guide to a Happy Healthy Pet". Dr. Brown has lectured extensively to veterinarians and to the general public, both in the United States and in Europe, In 2007 Dr, Brown started the Rosehaven Exotic Animal Veterinary Services, which is a consulting service aimed primarily at helping shelters and animal control facilities manage exotic pets. Dr. Brown has a special interest in helping pet owners with behavioral problems in exotic pets. In 1998 Dr. Brown received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Purdue University Veterinary School.

Dr. Brown has demonstrated a life time of commitment to assuring that the veterinary profession provides quality care to hedgehogs and other exotic animals so it was not surprising that she was one of the first vets on the scene at the Global Exotics seizure in Texas. Dr. Brown was the lead vet for all of the Exotic Mammals (including over 700 hedgehogs) rescued from Global Exotics. The Global Exotics rescue involved over 27,000 animals and was the largest Animal Cruelty Seizure/Rescue in U.S. history.

Talk Title:  "Hedgehogs in Hell: the Story Behind the Global Exotics Raid" 




Sunday October 3rd, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Panel Presenters


“Treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Rescue Hedgehogs”





Dawn Wrobel, Animal Communicator and Reiki Master Teacher

Although Dawn Wrobel has shared her life with a variety of "creatures great and small", her hedgehogs have had a strong hold on her heart for almost two decades.  She is author of the book, "
The Hedgehog: An Owner’s Guide to a Happy Healthy Pet" and numerous articles on hedgehogs, has trained veterinarians and veterinary technicians on hedgehog handling and care, developed and sponsored the IHOG agility program, and serves as a hedgehog judge.  While operating Ain't No Creek Ranch, she sponsored Go Hog Wild!! Hedgehog seminars and shows.  She now divides her time between her animal communication practice, teaching and work on a Ph.D. in Holistic Health--and, of course, her hedgehogs. 

Learn more about Dawn at:

Presentation Topics:  “Animal Communication, Reiki, & Herbal Treatment”





Vicki McLean, Licensed Massage Therapist, and Reiki Master


Vicki McLean is a licensed massage therapist in the State of Oregon.  She specializes in injury and accidents sustained by humans.  She was licensed in 2006.  She has used massage therapy to assist disabled hedgehogs retain muscle tone.  She is also a Reiki Master and uses this energy modality to calm and heal hedgehogs not ready for the level of contact needed to do a hands-on massage.  As part of the panel, she will be presenting the advantages, disadvantages and difficulties in using massage as a way to help maintain physical and mental well-being of hedgehogs.   

Vicki has been a rescue site for Hedgehog Welfare Society since 2001 after she purchased Hawgy Goldbutt, Poog and Lillie.  Since that time she has had nearly 100 hedgehogs in or placed from her rescue.  She is a member of the Board of Directors of Hedgehog Welfare Society and was active in the care and placement of the tiny Texans.  She says, “It is so fun to hear 60 little active squeak boxes coming from the maternity ward after their moms were rescued from deplorable conditions.” 


Learn more about Vicki at: http://www.indigomedicalmassage


Presentation Topic:  “Massage Therapy”




Carol Michalski, RN, HNC, HTCP, Certified Healing Touch for Animals Practitioner


Carol Michalski, a practicing RN for 48 years, began studying energy medicine 15 years ago. She became certified in Holistic nursing as well as in Healing Touch for people. Her subsequent study and certification in Healing Touch for Animals has helped her to support the animals that she loves and respects. Carol is a student of shamanic healing and continues to learn from both this and many other advanced energy courses, animal related studies, and from the animals. Some of the tools that she uses are aromatherapy, essential oils, tuning forks, communication, as well as her heart centered energy therapy. She works energetically with the animals in person or from a distance to support their own natural self healing.

Learn more about Healing Touch for Animals at:


Presentation Topic:  “Healing Touch For Animals”




Dr. Dean Beyerinck, DVM--Chief of Staff, Silver Spring Animal Wellness Center in Glendale Wisconsin

Dr. Beyerinck has been the
Chief of Staff at Silver Spring Animal Wellness Center, Glendale Wisconsin since 2005. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and currently resides in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Dr. Beyerinck received both his undergraduate and DVM degrees from the University of California, Davis.  After graduating from veterinary school in 1995, Dr. Beyerinck undertook an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital in Santa Cruz, California. He then spent several years practicing in Northern California and, most recently, at East Towne Veterinary Clinic in Mequon, Wisconsin.


Dr. Beyerinck’s medical interests include holistic veterinary medicine, acupuncture and surgery. He truly believes in delivering the best possible care for his clients and their pets. Outside of work Dr. Beyerinck enjoys surfing, cycling, woodworking and fixing up his old home! He also likes spending his free time with his family and pets, which include a dog (Rory) and a cat (Smitty).


Presentation Topic:  "Traditional and Holistic Veterinary Treatment, including Composure (Vitamin B1, Colostrum Calming Complex, L-Theanine), Herbal Treatments, and Antidepressant Medications 



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