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Old 08-04-2011, 08:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Worried about my hog - vet visit necessary?

Hi all,

I'm pretty worried about my hog's health, and unfortunately, my family isn't supporting my desire to visit the vet, and have allowed her symptoms to prolong. I'm hoping that through this post either someone can inform me if I'm overreacting, or help me prove to my parents that we need to seek vet care for her.

We've had my hedgie for over a year now. The family we bought her from seemed slightly inexperienced, so I've had to learn how to care for my hedgie from Internet guides and forums. I've had to change her food, bedding, etc. to better her health because the care items we received when we purchased her were inadequate (e.g. her food's main ingredient was corn).

She has always had dry skin. I've tried oatmeal baths, oils, etc. but it still seems flaky and dry. I assumed that, after trying a bunch of different methods to cure her dry skin, it was just the norm for her. She wasn't scratching more than I would say is unusual or uncomfortable, except when she was quilling, nor was she losing any quills or balding. I allowed my family to reassure me when they told me I was overreacting.

Now, the issue that is starting to worry me most is that a few new symptoms have popped up and seem to be making her slightly uncomfortable. Lately, she has been sniffling and sneezing on occasion. My house is under renovation, so I thought it might be the dust; but after a thorough cleaning, she still seems to be sniffling. Also, I noticed that she seems to have some red scabs on her skin. At first, I thought they might be ingrown quills, but there is no infection or puss evident. It is just red. There is no quill sprouting from it. Lastly, her fur has been thinning a bit around her sides and a bit under her belly.

My first thought was that she has mites or she's under some sort of stress. If it is mites, I'd really like to go to the vet's to get a skin scrape and proper treatment. Does anyone have any knowledge of a similar experience with their hog? Thanks for any replies, I'm really worried about her and I want to make sure that she is both happy and healthy.

(I apologize for writing a novel here.)
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Worried about my hog - vet visit necessary?

What did you use to clean her cage? Sounds like it could be a bad reaction to something
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Worried about my hog - vet visit necessary?

I usually use just water and soap if needed, but my mother just told me that she has used spray cleaners on the wheel before. I had no idea about this! Perhaps this could be the problem?
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Worried about my hog - vet visit necessary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erica
I usually use just water and soap if needed, but my mother just told me that she has used spray cleaners on the wheel before. I had no idea about this! Perhaps this could be the problem?
Any chemical residue leftover could have a bad reaction on the skin/fur of any animal, the sneezing is hard to say but if there's a lot of remodeling going on it could have been due to that especially if overall your hedgie's activity and habits were the same (eating, pooping, wheeling).

Its possible if the remodeling is loud its stressing your hedgehog which has been known to cause some loss of quill and fur I think, but no skin issue.

Even a soap could be dangerous depending on the ingredients, it is sometimes more difficult but a vinegar/water cleaning solution is able to eliminate most smells and clean up messes.

If the fur/skin issue started after the cleaning it is a possibility and I would say a check up may be in order because if the skin condition is fungal or bacterial flax seed and vitamin e oils will only block the pores and make it worse albeit moisturize the skin.

I am no expert but that my opinion
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Worried about my hog - vet visit necessary?

If this was my hedgehog, I would take her in.

"She wasn't scratching more than I would say is unusual or uncomfortable,"

I am most definitely not an expert... but aside from quilling, I have never seen my hedgehog scratch at herself. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but aside from the occasional just-waking-up scratch, is scratching normal hedgehog behavior?

It's obvious that something is going on with her skin, whether it's mites, fungal, bacterial... no clue. To test for a bacterial or fungal infection, you need to have a "culture and sensitivity test" done in addition to the skin scraping to check for mites. I'm not sure what a culture and sensitivity test is, lol, but Kalandra (a well known, knowledgeable member on HHC) told me to do this for my hedgehog, as I'm suspicious that she may have some sort of fungus... Anyway, I have read a lot about mites, especially lately, and I don't remember reading anything about mites causing scabs? I suppose it could be mites, and the scabs are from scratching herself...

Is the room she's in blocked off from the renovation? If not, you should get her in a closed-off room, where you can at least shut the door to keep the sound/dust from her.

A lot of people on HHC use something called Sunshine Factor for their hedgehog's dry skin. It costs about $10 for a small bottle. If you do a search, you will find lots of threads about it. I am actually about to buy some myself, as a preventative measure for my hedgie.

Have you ever taken your hog to an exotic vet?
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Worried about my hog - vet visit necessary?

TWCOGAR, thanks for your input. My first order of business will be to clean the cage thoroughly with a vinegar solution and perhaps bathe my hog to make sure the cleaner my mother used isn't harming her.

Hanhan, I have isolated my hog so that she is away from the reno. Alas, the entire house has been pretty dusty anyways, and as much as I seem to clean, it still seems like an issue. I think it's likely contributing to her sniffling, but I don't want to just write that symptom off in case it is related to something else.

She only occasionally scratches (e.g. if she's running, she might stop once to scratch and then resume; it's nothing that seems to be bothering her), but again, I don't want to write off any symptoms.

I haven't taken her to the vet myself, and it really irks me. The breeder took her to the vet before we purchased her, and she was apparently okay, even with the dry skin. I haven't been able to find one close enough to me that I can walk/take public transit to (I don't have my license) and like I said in the first thread, my family doesn't seem to think she needs vet care. I'm going to search for one today and hopefully take her in.

I'm going to research the Sunshine Factor and read more about some bacterial, fungal, and mite issues on hedgies while I'm waiting to find a vet.

Thank you both for your input!
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Old 08-05-2011, 03:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Worried about my hog - vet visit necessary?

Good luck! I hope you're able to find a vet.

You should tell your family that it isn't going to hurt anything to take her in, and that it's better to be safe than sorry! Hedgehogs are animals of prey, and because of this they are VERY good at hiding symptoms of illness, since they are weaknesses in the wild.

It might sound a bit harsh, but you could ask them how they would feel if your hedgie passed away because she was sick and wasn't taken to the vet?

I only suggest this because my mom has been poo pooing me for wanting to take my hedgie to the vet, and she quieted down after I pointed out to her that my dog Annie had to be put down last year because she had cancer and it had progressed very rapidly while my mom put off taking her in. (Not that it was my mom's fault that she died, but Annie may have had a chance if we had caught it sooner)
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