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Old 02-01-2009, 09:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Post surgery stress level


I have a one year and about eight month old hedgehog named Oona. She lives in a cube & coroplast type cage with a bucket wheel and a specially made liner with a corduroy exterior and fleece in the middle for padding. Things have been turbulent for as long as I've had her; she's gone through a course of Revolution and even two different Ivermectin injections for a quill loss problem that was chalked up to mites, and was recently spayed in order to remove a uterus that it turns out had a tumor in it; tests were run and confident that the problem hadn't spread beyond the uterus and that the intestines and stomach were fine.

It's been a month since her procedure and she was dropping 1-3 quills for a couple of days. I noticed dry skin and scratching as problems so I put a bit of olive oil in a bath for her. The dry skin problem seems to be tamped down, but the quill loss has been at about 13-15 quills per day for two days straight.

I'm probably going to get in touch with a vet by phone and discuss the possibility of fungus, since I've only ever used a liner for her and everyone figured the mites to have been killed off by all those treatments one year ago.

I suppose my question is whether there is any post-surgery stress that wouldn't have manifested itself immediately that would contribute to quill loss as a stress symptom, or if the bath really was that bad of an experience. Your answer won't change my phone call to the vet, I'm just incredibly frustrated with how frequently poor Oona has been ill even though to my knowledge I've done my best to make things healthy, clean and stress-free for her.

Thank you.
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Old 02-01-2009, 10:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Post surgery stress level

I've read that sometimes stress can show even as long as a month after the source of the stress, in this case the surgery. So I think that would be the most likely culprit of the quill loss. If she continues to keep losing that many for another week or something, though, you might consider getting a fungal test done. But from what I've read, it's probably just stress brought on from that surgery.
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Old 02-02-2009, 09:37 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Post surgery stress level

After she was treated for mites did her quill loss quit? Was she scratching a lot at the time?

I wonder if her quill loss has been hormonal due to the tumour in her uterus. Our Emma had massive continuing quill loss despite being treated for mites twice and had two negative skin scrapes for fungus and bacteria. As a last resort we tried antibiotic and while on the antibiotic she started uterine bleeding. Once her uterus was removed the quill loss ended and after a few months started to grow back. I know how frustrating unexplained quill loss can be. Emma's was combined with simply horrible dry skin that came off in huge flakes.

They certainly can have stress related quill loss. What I've experienced here is typically it happens about a month after the stressful event and they drop quills just as if they were quilling and a couple of mine went obviously thin on their back due to it. I'm betting that is what is happening with your girl now and possibly the initial quill loss was hormonal.

Hopefully this will be the end of her health issues. You are doing great with her.
* * * Nancy * * *

Retired from breeding

Rescue contact for both the Hedgehog Welfare Society and the IHA
Rescued over 70 (and counting) hedgehogs needing a new home
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Post surgery stress level

Thank you both. I'll keep an eye on her for another week before I make the call, depending on if things get better, and given the lack of anything else that appears to be wrong those sound like pretty good explanations!

Her quill loss between the end of the anti-mite treatments and shortly after the surgery was pretty much zero per day, for months. It was spectacular. This is what made it particularly alarming when it suddenly started up again.
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