Irritable hedgehog, repeatidly shaking head ~ mites or ear issue? - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 01-02-2018, 11:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Irritable hedgehog, repeatidly shaking head ~ mites or ear issue?

So the last few nights my boy seems a bit huffier than his usual huffy self but tonight he seems really irritable in his sleeping sack on my lap, jumping in circles and has shook his head (like a dog does when it's wet) about 8 times, which seems a bit concerning and it definitely seems like something is irritating him. At the same time he tried to scratch the side of his head a couples times and did a chewing action with his mouth. Normally he likes to be massaged or stroked through the bag but if I try to touch him he starts jumping about again (he's not hissing at me though).

Does it sound like a mites issue? His ears are in quite a bad condition ~ they are tattered and he's lost hair all behind them (I read this can happen so wasn't too concerned before but now I'm thinking could it be mites?). For the past two weeks I've been putting coconut oil on his ears every other night or so but he hates me touching his ears so maybe it's painful for him ~ I put this down as the reason for his latest huffiness but seeing him just now shake his ear makes me think it's more than that. Also tonight I haven't put any oil on his ears (I last did, the night before).

Other habits seem normal. His poops are really healthy now after I decided to give him Baytril (sorry I've been meaning to post an update about his previous poop and eye issues which have both cleared up). Any thoughts? I tried searching on the net but just got WHS posts when searching under shaking head issues ><. Thank you
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Old 01-02-2018, 11:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Also the only other difference is that I'm wearing nail polish which I don't normally wear (painted them this afternoon and it's now the late evening here). Could this have bothered him? I just put him back in his cage and he didn't want to be held which is also unusual for him most the time. My boyfriend said he did the same behaviour a couple nights ago, shaking his head so maybe the nail polish isn't related but he seemed more agitated tonight so thought best to mention it.
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Old 01-02-2018, 01:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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He could have an ear infection or mites. The only way to know for sure is to take him to a vet. Both of those issues need to be treated by a vet.
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Old 01-02-2018, 10:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Ok thanks for the reply. The vets I've have taken him into before for different reasons both either didn't have much experience or confidence (although they both advertise they treat hedgehogs). Yuki also had the tattered ears when he was at the vets both times and neither vet really said anything about them. They looked more scabby/dried, like calliflower ears back then but now they look worse as I think some of the dried scabs have finally started to come off with the coconut oil, which is making them look more jaggered ~ But I think I can see the natural rim of his ear in some parts now though. I was told by the first vet that all hedgehogs have mites but if they started to get out of control and were causing issues, we'd be able to see some on his forehead and if he starts to lose a lot of quills all of a sudden (which he hasn't but he does lose quite a lot of hair all around his ear line) ~ this vet said he had treated many hedgehogs with mites before, so maybe we will take him back to this one. Although this same vet wanted to give him ivermectin until I insisted on only revolution, which he was fine about but insisted both were ok so I am a little weary of his advice ><. Yuki didn't have the treatment though since he couldn't find any signs of mites at that time and it would be given as just a precauction (back in May).

So is there anything else I should be asking them to do/not do? Should/can they take a scraping from his ear? He barely lets me touch his ears so is it usual for them to be sedated to do this? Any other medicines to avoid or to ask for, in case it is a fungal/ear infection? Or is ivermectin the only one to avoid? Maybe his ears are itching/sore and causing him to act crazy, has anyone ever been prescribed medicine to soothe them as well?

Shall I stop with the coconut oil in the meantime? I was thinking maybe his sleeping sack inside smells like coconut oil and still bothering him? (I always let him sniff the oil on my fingers first and he didn't seem bothered by it, think he more wanted to eat it haha!) Or maybe it is the skabby ear skin is bothering him and causing him to shake his head so often? He was completely calm when I first got him out of his cage last night and only started acting agitated when he went in his sleeping bag, which he loves and always can't wait to get into its his 'safe place'

I took some photos last night so will try uploading them now, if it helps. But any guidance for going to the vets so I can be more knowledgable when I go, would be really helpful, thank you!

[photo attached shows his left ear which is more jaggered but I think I can see the natural ear rim on this one? This ear wasn't as badly scabby as his right ear]
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Old 01-02-2018, 10:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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[this photo shows Yuki's right ear, which is more scabby still and he's lost nearly all the hair behind this year which also looks worse than Ive seen it before]

This seems the side which is bothering him more, when he was jumping around in circles in his bag and tried to scratch this side of his head.
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Old 01-03-2018, 09:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Any more advice on this please? How do his ears look in the photos? I'd like to take him to the vet tomorrow.

A quick update ~ last night he didn't shake his head at all. We didn't put him in his bonding bag, instead just had him on my lap on a fleece blanket which I pulled over him so he could relax under it (so perhaps there is a coconut smell inside his bonding bad which was irritating him the night before?) He did twitch his right ear and scratched it just once though. He also was less huffy and didn't mind being stroked as he slept on me. I still think I should go and get them looked at but as I mentioned the vets don't seem that experienced with hedgehogs here so if there's a known medication for badly tattered ears/fungal infection (in case it isn't mites) then that would be good to know about so I can just ask for it, thanks!
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Old 01-03-2018, 10:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Poor baby! ): The ears look tattered. I don't know any known medications specifically, but hopefully the trip to the vet will resolve this!
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Old 01-04-2018, 03:18 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thank you for the reply squirtlesquirt

Yeh they don't look good do they I just went through old photos, they've always been tattered since we got him last April but they've definitely gotten worse since I've tried to rub different creams/oil on them recently (I can't tell if it's working and the old buildup is coming away and making them look worse in parts or he's actually starting to lose his ears! ><). I'm going to try find some baby Vaseline at the drug store now but I'm hesitate to keep putting things on them in case it is making it worse?

Vet was closed today so couldn't make an appointment but I think they do walk ins anways so will go tomorrow!
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Old 01-04-2018, 04:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I think it would be best to try to leave it alone for now. Maybe applying things could actually be making things worse.
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Old 01-04-2018, 05:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yuki, the hair loss is exactly what I experienced with Quilly recently, and the vet very specifically said it was mites... if that helps. The Revolution they gave him is helping tremendously, in fact, today is the second application for 2 weeks later!
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