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Old 08-13-2012, 10:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hands are breaking out with rash/sores

My hands are getting rather ugly looking from holding Sparty. Is this an allergic reaction? It does NOT itch at all, but I have "holes" all over from where his quills poke through the top layer of skin and then that peels and there's red, unhappy looking skin underneath. I haven't given Sparty a full bath yet in the 2 weeks I've had him other than just putting him in water to clean off poopy boots. I'm wondering if this is bacteria from his quills poking me and irritating my skin. I do make sure to wash my hands thoroughly after handling him every time and last night I started using hand sanitizer as well.





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Old 08-13-2012, 10:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hands are breaking out with rash/sores

That is quite a common reaction with first time owners. Usually it goes away after a week or two, but for some people it continues on to be an allergy. For some, keeping hedgie clean helps. What type of bedding do you use? Sometimes it is a reaction from hedgie being in shavings or carefresh so switching to liners helps. Some people have found that bathing hedgie with Aveeno or some other body wash will create a reaction but plain water won't.

Hopefully it will stop happening as your hands get used to his quills.
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hands are breaking out with rash/sores

I use fleece liners as his bedding. I hope it's just from being a new owner and not being used to it, and hopefully getting a good bath with the aveeno will help. Thanks, Nancy!
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hands are breaking out with rash/sores

is the hedgie scratching at all? i break out a lot more when the boys get mites and just had a bad reaction that has lessened dramatically after 2 doses of revolution over a couple weeks time. of course i'm also allergic to the hedgies in general so i'm usually breaking out anyway

just something that i noticed helped my break outs so might be something to look into
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hands are breaking out with rash/sores

No, I don't ever see him scratch (and I watch him all day via live camera. His skin looks really great. Thanks for bringing it up though so I can cross that off my list of possibilities.
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Old 08-13-2012, 02:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hands are breaking out with rash/sores

Hm... looks like you might be allergic. I'm allergic to Poggles quite a bit. They told me the allergies might disappear after a while, but mine just got more intense. If I get poked on my arm now, I get huge welts. On my hands, it's about the same as you. I have to pop an antihistamine for them to go away.

I'm pretty sure it's something that he has on his quills. After a bath, it doesn't matter if I get poked. I won't get welts. But give him a little bit of time running on his wheel, annointing, etc, then getting poked is bad again. I think it's similar to allergy tests where they lightly nick your skin and add an allergen. I'm clearly allergic to something on him.

Anyhow, I'm not about to give Poggles away so I found work-arounds. I only pick him up when he has calmed down a little and I always scoop up from both sides underneath him, being very wary of needle pokes from above. At first, Poggles would still manage to poke me, but after a while he got the hang of it, and I got better at not being poked too.

When it comes to petting, I found areas on his body where I can get poked less (ex. under his chin, along the sides, the lower sides of his body, etc). He jumps up to try and poke me, so petting areas that don't have quills that face up (ex. his sides towards the back) makes it so that I can still pet him when he's being hissy. When he calms down and doesn't jump then I can pet the rest of him.

When he's just an angry ball of quills, I have to resort to using something else to pick him up (ex. blanket, fleece pouch). Then I tip him onto my hand so that he opens up.

Unfortunately, when some owners get really allergic they give their hedgie away. I like to find workarounds.

Since your red spots tend to be in the palm of your hand rather than the finger tips, maybe you could get a pair of fleece gloves and cut the tips off (or sew something like that since you can sew). You would just have to be careful of getting poked on your fingertips then. I know they don't recommend wearing gloves, but when you're allergic you have to make your own options.

Hopefully your spots will go away and you can enjoy your hedgie in peace
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Old 08-13-2012, 04:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hands are breaking out with rash/sores

Working around the allergy doesn't always work because frequently the allergy continues to get worse and turns into more than a skin rash. Once it goes to respiratory issues and asthma it becomes much more difficult if not impossible to continue to keep the hedgehog. From what I've seen and hedgehogs I've taken in over the years, if a skin reaction continues after a few months to the point of needing an antihistamine, chances are high that respiratory is more than likely going to be the next step. I'm not in any way saying that all skin allergies go on to respiratory, but frequently it does.

Very often people get guilt trips laid on them when they are allergic to a pet and end up rehoming it. Some people feel the owner didn't try hard enough. Living with constant allergies is very difficult and most of the joy of the pet disappears when someone's eyes are swollen, itchy, runny stuffed nose or suffering an asthma attack every time they go near the pet. I've had people here in tears giving up their very much loved hedgehog because they could no longer be in the same room with it.

Babies have very strong urine and often it is the urine that causes the issues. With luck as hedgie ages the urine will become less strong and the reaction will stop. Unfortunately some hedgehogs continue to have strong urine. My Smokey used to trigger an asthma attack if I didn't clean his litter box daily. Smokey was a clean boy otherwise so I didn't have the concern of urine on his quills.

I know of one person who was allergic to grain products and ended up being allergic to her hedgehog until she switched to a grain free food for it.

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Old 08-13-2012, 04:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hands are breaking out with rash/sores

Yup, it can become a respiratory issue. I agree with that and I'm glad you mentioned it. With my rabbit, I got asthma every time I played with him so I eventually had no choice but to give him away. I missed him, but it wasn't something I could find a work around for.

To be truthful, living with allergies sucks. So, if you can avoid it, then do. That might mean giving your hedgehog away. You shouldn't feel guilty about it if it happens.

For me, I'm mildly obsessed with having a hedgehog. So as long as I can find a work around, I do. If Poggles starts giving me asthma, however, I would have to give him away.

My boyfriend has discussed with me, however, about how he thinks Poggles should be my last hedgehog. He thinks that Poggles is great for me while I'm in school because Poggles helps me to stay focused when I'm studying and helps decrease my stress level. However, he's upset by the fact that I get welts if I get poked. So... we'll see how things go.

Nancy, in your experience, are some hedgehogs more allergenic than others? Like, do some hedgehogs cause allergies, and others don't? You mentioned the strong urine being a problem. Also, with the grain allergy, did she have asthma or just rashes?
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Old 08-13-2012, 04:42 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hands are breaking out with rash/sores

Well I'm hoping and praying I won't get the respiratory reactions like some get. I really don't want to rehome my baby. I am very hopeful that that won't happen since I do not suffer from allergies at all. I did give Sparty a full bath today and trimmed his nails...and made one bleed. He didn't seem to notice, but I felt horrible. SIgh, I knew it would happen at least once. Anyway, with him being clean and me using a fleece blanket to hold him instead of my hands for a few days..we'll see if things improve.
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Old 08-13-2012, 04:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hands are breaking out with rash/sores

I hope you don't the respiratory reactions too!

I have tons of allergies to everything under the sun so I'm super prone to them That's why I have to find work-arounds for everything! (and why popping an antihistamine seems so normal to me).

Good job on trimming his nails. Sorry to hear that one bled, but now you have experience and it probably won't happen to you again! For me, I just trim the see-through parts at the end of his nails. I stay away from anything that looks pink or less see-through. That has always worked for me and Poggles has never had a bleed so far.

I hope things get better soon for you!
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