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Old 09-29-2019, 03:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: San Francisco, CA
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Default Please help! My Hedgie is scratching a lot!

Hi Everyone,

Hope everyone's enjoying their weekend.

I have a few questions about my baby Hedgie, whose name is Spike. He's the first hedgehog I've owned, so I'm still inexperienced. Here are some fast facts about Spike and what I've observed:

Spike Details
---------------
1) Age: 16 weeks
2) He's been living with me for 4 weeks
3) Weighs 344 grams (Weighed 300 grams when I got him)
4) Sweet behavior; outgoing and fun to play with


Housing & Care Details
--------------------------
1) Cage: Critter Nation, with custom-made clear sides to prevent climbing.
2) Bedding: high quality fleece
3) Cage items: 2 hideouts, toys (fleece pompoms), Carolina Storm Running Wheel, Dig Box
4) Food: See photos, high quality cat food and meal worms for treats
5) Always has 2 water bowls filled in his cage
6) I use a gentle wash to clean him (see photos) and I add some oil to his back and food to help with the dry skin
7) I also have a humidifier in my bedroom to keep humidity between 50-60%
8) Temperature set to 78 degrees, with CHE Heating Lamp set up to turn on if temperature drops below 77 degrees


Behavior
----------
1) Exercises normal every night
2) Eats all of his food every night
3) Poop is very healthy; always medium firm, dark brown


Scratching Summary
-----------------------
1) Started his first week here
2) Scratches a lot at night, mostly his back
3) No concentrated quill loss (see photos). The back is a bit sparse but you can only see his skin if he balls up when he's upset. The dish of the quills is for 1 week. He loses this amount about every week.


Vet Summary
---------------
1) Tested negative for Mites during each of his 3 visits
2) Poop sample analyzed and everything seemed fine
3) No other symptoms besides heavy scratching
4) First exotic vet treated him with 2 shots of ivermectin and that didn't do anything
5) I hated his first vet, so I took him to a new vet that gave me Revolution to use but asked me to wait a few more days to see if his scratching improved. She also couldn't see anything under the microscope.


Since Spike is my first hedgehog, I don't know if this is normal because he's losing his first set of quills or not. The scratching is consistent and heavy at times, and it breaks my heart. I worry about him so much. I will spare no expense to make sure he's healthy and loved.


My questions are these
--------------------------
1) Am I being crazy and worrying too much?
2) If it's not Mites, what else could it be?
3) Should I use the Revolution on him now? What side effects could there be if he has no Mites?

I'm attaching a bunch of pictures that I hope will be helpful.

I'm sorry for the long post I just want to make sure I can do everything I can for this little guy. Thank you all in advance for your help!

-Martin
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Cage.jpg (264.7 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg Food-1.jpg (210.7 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg Food-2.jpg (151.3 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg Quills.jpg (214.4 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg Shampoo.jpg (131.6 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg Spike-1.jpg (97.3 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg Spike-2.jpg (206.1 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg Spike-3.jpg (225.1 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg Spike-4.jpg (252.1 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg Spike-5.jpg (238.5 KB, 17 views)
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Old 09-29-2019, 03:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
Ria
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As he is 6 weeks, and your vet has tested for.mites and all other information you have given I think its might just be quilling, they loose LOADS of baby quills in this period and it is perfectly normal.

Although I have a couple questions just to be sure.
1. If you look closely at his back between can you see new quills growing (they look smaller then the others as they are just coming in)
2. The oil do you rinse it off or not
3. How much you bath him
4. The scratching would you say is excessive scratching, odd scratching or in the middle
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Old 09-29-2019, 04:47 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi there,

Thanks for the response. He's actually 12 weeks; he was 8 weeks when I adopted him and I've had him for about 4 weeks. I mistyped 16 in my original post. To answer your questions:

1) I'm honestly not sure; I will check in the morning. It's still around 2 a.m. in California.

2) The oil I leave on. The instructions don't say to wash it.

3) I've only bathed him twice; when I first got him, and when I took him to the vet the first time.

4) Scratching seems excessive to me. He eats, drinks, runs a bit and then scratches for 5 minutes straight, then runs a bit more, and goes back to scratching again. He does this all night.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ria View Post
As he is 6 weeks, and your vet has tested for.mites and all other information you have given I think its might just be quilling, they loose LOADS of baby quills in this period and it is perfectly normal.

Although I have a couple questions just to be sure.
1. If you look closely at his back between can you see new quills growing (they look smaller then the others as they are just coming in)
2. The oil do you rinse it off or not
3. How much you bath him
4. The scratching would you say is excessive scratching, odd scratching or in the middle
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Old 09-29-2019, 06:14 AM   #4 (permalink)
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12 weeks is still the time they can be quilling.

Yea thats fine when ever you can check just let us know.

I've always been advised to rinse off oil that goes on their backs otherwise it can cause irritation, but I'm not sure if its the same with this coconut oil. I know when put on ears for helping ears its not washed off.
How many times have you put the oil on his back?

Try not to fully bath more than once a month less if possible. Use damp cloths wipe stuff off quills when needed.

Definitely sounds excessive, I cant remember what else other than dry skin, irritated skin and mites cause this sort of scratching. Quilling can cause a small amount of scratching depending on the hog but this is too much for just quilling.
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Old 09-29-2019, 11:09 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Bacterial and fungal infections can also cause quill loss and scratching. With those additional symptoms could be thinning of the quill coat, flaky skin, pustules around quills, crusty build up (slight or extreme) in fur or on quills. However I have seen it just be quill loss.

Most likely you are dealing with quilling which can be irritating to them but is a normal process.

You mentioned using oil for dry skin, how dry is his skin? How flaky? Large flakes?

I'd cut with the oil treatments until you get a better idea of what is happening. Oil treatments can hide symptoms, or cause conditions to become worse (for example bacterial infections).

Also, think about his scratching, does it sound frantic or a long slow scratch? Frantic (get it off me!) type sound is a problem. A long slow scratch could be a hedgehog that is just rearranging their quills.
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Old 09-29-2019, 12:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you for the response!

The oil is made by "Hedgehog and Friends" ... I put a picture of it above. Here's a link to the product:

https://hedgehogsandfriends.com/coll...=8003616800798

There isn't any significant skin flakes from what I can see honestly. If there are, they're very tiny.

I'll definitely stop with the oil and see what happens.

The scratching is both frantic at times, and others very slow and deliberate. It's a mix honestly.

Thanks for your note on the fungal infections - He doesn't have any other symptoms honestly besides the persistent scratching. His nose is always moist, and he doesn't show any other obvious signs of illness. Still eats and drinks more than ever. Urine and poop both seem normal. I can definitely tell he's not happy though; he doesn't like to play as much and always prefers to be cuddled under his igloo with the fleece strips.

I called an exotic specialist hospital this morning. Those guys are very expensive; they charge $170 per visit because they're all board certified specialists. They told me the best option is to probably use the Revolution and see what happens.

In your experience, how fast does revolution take to work? I don't care as much about how fast the quills grow back as much as about seeing him comfortable and not scratching so much. Thank you for your help!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalandra View Post
Bacterial and fungal infections can also cause quill loss and scratching. With those additional symptoms could be thinning of the quill coat, flaky skin, pustules around quills, crusty build up (slight or extreme) in fur or on quills. However I have seen it just be quill loss.

Most likely you are dealing with quilling which can be irritating to them but is a normal process.

You mentioned using oil for dry skin, how dry is his skin? How flaky? Large flakes?

I'd cut with the oil treatments until you get a better idea of what is happening. Oil treatments can hide symptoms, or cause conditions to become worse (for example bacterial infections).

Also, think about his scratching, does it sound frantic or a long slow scratch? Frantic (get it off me!) type sound is a problem. A long slow scratch could be a hedgehog that is just rearranging their quills.
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Old 09-29-2019, 02:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Revolution works very quickly usually, so if he has had a treatment or two, its unlikely to still be mites. As mentioned before check for new quill growth. If you see what looks like a quill thats been cut in half and glued to their skin, thats a quill half grown in.

Looking at your pictures his quill coat looks thick and even. I'd continue to monitor for new quills poking through. If he is quilling you should see new quills.

Monitor for thinning or bald areas. A normal quilling will not cause bald spots.

Quilling can cause flakey skin, but most things that irritate their skin does.

Look at the base of quills closely for build up or pustules.

And yes, exotic vets are expensive. If I come out with a bill under $100 I usually ask what they forgot. These little ones are fairly healthy. But when they do get sick its expensive. Its something we have to be prepared for when we adopt them.

If you do go to the vet again. Get a skin scraping done. Have them check for mites again, and if you start to see other symptoms have them culture the skin scraping.
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