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Old 07-13-2013, 10:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hello everyone,

I'm new around these parts, so I'm sorry if this made it into the wrong sub forum.

Anywho, I came here because I need advice with a hedgehog that I feel like I have that might have a potentially dangerous problem.

I have a female hedgehog who is roughly two years old. I love her to death! And about two days ago, I noticed something pretty odd. When I focused on her environment, I had noticed that she had shed several quills. But what scared me was that it wasn't just one or two, it was about a dozen of them! That seems far from normal to me. I figured that maybe the cause was that she had dry skin so I decided to give her an extra bath. I paid careful attention while handling her during bath time to see if any quills were falling out, especially when apply her toothbrush to her back. What I was trying to determine was if the quills were just blatantly falling out or if maybe she was pulling them out. Thankfully though, after much examination, they weren't just "falling out." They stayed intact regardless of how much I shifted through her quills.

This then led me to the other possibility that I had mentioned earlier. Perhaps they were being ripped/pulled out. This sounds kind of odd, but Iv'e seen weirder things in this world. So I decided I would wait for her to start scratching again and carefully observe. When she decided to do so again the next day, I noticed yet another dozen quills that were coming out. It disturbed me and I thought to myself about all of the possibilities that could cause this. Loosing one or two? Who cares. But roughly ten to twelve at a time? that's not normal! The only plausible thing I can come out with that perhaps I had (unintentionally) have let her nails grow to long. When I looked at them, they were quite long. And it's something that will definitely have to be taken care of.

So I am wondering.. has anyone else had this problem? Could my deduction be right? Or is there something bigger at play here? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I don't want to see her lose anymore quills!

Also, on a side note: the ball ends on her quills are still intact. Just thought I'd go ahead and mention that for anyone wondering.

Thanks!
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Old 07-14-2013, 01:23 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Has anything in your routine/her environment changed? Has she had a stressful incident happen? I'd say go to the vet just in case...I am going through something similar with my hedgie. She was treated for mites, even though the vet didn't think she had them, and then treated again for fungus, again, even though he didn't think she had it.

I have stopped using her old litter in her pan, and changed from flannel to fleece bedding. Not sure which helped, but she is now down from losing 10-20 quills a night to 2-5. What kind of material do you use for bedding? She may have developed an allergy to something in her environment. You can also try adding some flaxseed oil to
her food to ease the dry skin issue. Oatmeal baths will also help, as will a humidifier if you live in a dry climate.
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Old 07-14-2013, 01:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The only thing that has changed (within the last couple weeks) is that I haven't been able to put new bedding (Carefresh) into her cage as of yet due to my rather busy schedule. I put a thick towel in to line the bottom of her cage for now. I really didn't think much about it to be honest. Could something that simple really cause mass quill loss?
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Old 07-14-2013, 03:36 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Well Carefresh is known to cause URI, so you may want to look into that, and switching her off of Carefresh. Also, towels are not ideal for hedgehogs. Their nails/toes can get caught in the loops and be a potential danger to them.

It would probably be a good idea to clean her cage ASAP.
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Old 07-14-2013, 03:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Really? I have had several people tell me that Carefresh was one of the more safer options for hedgehogs. I'll have look into that! And the cage was recently cleaned. It got a pretty solid cleaning when the same day she got her extra bath. I went out of my way to make sure that her cage was extra clean to help eliminate anything harmful.
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:16 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Any bedding that is dusty creates a risk for a URI, but Carefresh is no better or worse than any other loose type bedding in that respect.

More of a concern is the potential risk of impaction if hedgie ingests the Carefresh. This can be done accidentally as it gets into hedgies food dish and they eat it by accident.

Carefresh like any loose type of commercial bedding can harbour mites so any quill loss or excess scratching there is always the possibility of mites.

Because Carefresh is dusty and absorbent, it tends to dry out their skin.

If you do choose Carefresh, use the white as it shows any off coloured urine or feces.

Has there been a stressful event in the last month? Surgery, car trip, being cared for by someone else, vet visit etc? If so, this could be a stress related quill loss.

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Old 07-14-2013, 11:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
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None of what you have listed has occurred. She has living in a normal and safe environment the entire time.
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Old 07-14-2013, 01:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'd check in with the vet then, just in case it is mites. Hope she gets better soon!
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