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Old 07-21-2019, 02:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Coconut oil for dry skin?

My hedgie has had dry skin since I got her about 7 months ago and I've been trying to help her stop scratching. I took her to the vet a few weeks after I got her and he said he didn't see any evidence of mites, but he gave her a shot just in case to kill any possible parasites. This didn't help much, so I don't think her itching has anything to do with mites or other parasites. After that I started putting flax seed oil on her food twice a week. I think this has helped a lot, but she still does a decent amount of scratching. Especially when I take her out of her cage to play. I was thinking of rubbing coconut oil on her back to help with her itching, but I'm not sure how much to apply or how often. I've seen a lot of different opinions on this site, but no clear amount or frequency. Could someone please advise me on this? Thanks!
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Old 07-21-2019, 02:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Coconut oil should be washed off so its not good for using a lot.
Hypocare spray is great if you can get it.
Or leucillin spray does the same thing.

The sprays can be used twice a week just get them to ball up and spay on the back. It doesnt need washing off.
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Old 07-22-2019, 12:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Okay, thanks Ria! I'll look into the sprays. Hopefully that will help.
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Old 07-22-2019, 09:57 AM   #4 (permalink)
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How does her skin look? Is there any redness? Only dry skin? Is the dry skin all over, or localized? Any quill loss? Did the vet do a skin scraping? What bedding are you using with your hedgehog? How often do you bathe the hedgehog?

While mites were a possibility, how much have you explored into other potential causes of dry skin?

Fungal or bacterial infections can present as bad dry skin. I had one a few years ago who would lose a quill or two every so often and had mild dandruff, after a while the mild dandruff turned into wicked dry skin and his quill loss increased a little. Skin scraping showed bacteria on his skin and he was treated with antibiotics. Fixed the problem. He had no redness or pustules, mostly just really dry skin.

Another possibility is an allergy to the bedding or detergent (if you use cloth bedding) you are using is causing the dry skin reaction.

Dietary issues can also present as dry skin. Whether its an allergy to some ingredient or a deficiency. I've changed foods before and seen improvement. This one can be harder to track down.

As for topicals, I use vitamin e oil or flaxseed oil dropped onto their skin occasionally to help provide immediate relief. Vitamin E oil is really sticky so use it sparingly, a drop on the shoulders, back and rump is enough. It seems to have the longest lasting effect. My biggest concern with coconut oil is that if it has any scent at all it could cause a scent related reaction. Before putting anything on the hedgehog, do a scent test with them. Put some on something else and see how the hedgehog reacts. No need to deal with a hedgehog who is freaking out because there is a scent on them that they cannot get away from.

Be careful using topicals though, as you can cause more harm than good should it be a fungal or bacterial infection, and quite often its just a treatment that covers up the underlying problem.
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Old 07-22-2019, 04:02 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalandra View Post
How does her skin look? Is there any redness? Only dry skin? Is the dry skin all over, or localized? Any quill loss? Did the vet do a skin scraping? What bedding are you using with your hedgehog? How often do you bathe the hedgehog?

While mites were a possibility, how much have you explored into other potential causes of dry skin?

Fungal or bacterial infections can present as bad dry skin. I had one a few years ago who would lose a quill or two every so often and had mild dandruff, after a while the mild dandruff turned into wicked dry skin and his quill loss increased a little. Skin scraping showed bacteria on his skin and he was treated with antibiotics. Fixed the problem. He had no redness or pustules, mostly just really dry skin.

Another possibility is an allergy to the bedding or detergent (if you use cloth bedding) you are using is causing the dry skin reaction.

Dietary issues can also present as dry skin. Whether its an allergy to some ingredient or a deficiency. I've changed foods before and seen improvement. This one can be harder to track down.

As for topicals, I use vitamin e oil or flaxseed oil dropped onto their skin occasionally to help provide immediate relief. Vitamin E oil is really sticky so use it sparingly, a drop on the shoulders, back and rump is enough. It seems to have the longest lasting effect. My biggest concern with coconut oil is that if it has any scent at all it could cause a scent related reaction. Before putting anything on the hedgehog, do a scent test with them. Put some on something else and see how the hedgehog reacts. No need to deal with a hedgehog who is freaking out because there is a scent on them that they cannot get away from.

Be careful using topicals though, as you can cause more harm than good should it be a fungal or bacterial infection, and quite often its just a treatment that covers up the underlying problem.


Hi Kalandra, It might be a little red, but as her skin is naturally pink it's a little hard to tell. I think it is dry all over. I've only noticed one lost quill recently. No, the vet did not do a skin scraping. I am using the Care Fresh small pet bedding. Just the plain one with no scents or dyes. I've been using this for a couple months and was using the Kaytee brand before. I have not noticed any difference when switching brands. I've only bathed her twice in the six months I've had her (she's almost 2 years old, but I bought here from a friend of a friend when he couldn't keep her).

I have not looked into other causes, but it might be dietary. I feed her Rachael Ray Nutrish super premium cat food, but have been struggling to find insects she will eat to supplement her diet. She does not like worms or crickets. I am thinking of trying veggies to see if she likes those more. Many people have suggested roaches, but I live with my parents at the moment and my mom doesn't want any roaches in the house, even if they are already dead. I would appreciate any other insect or dietary supplement recommendations, though.

I bought some Bodhi Dog all natural anti-itch oatmeal spray and it should get here tomorrow. The company says it is safe for hedgehogs. When I get it I'll introduce it to her sprayed on something else to make sure she is okay with the scent and if she is I'll try putting it on her back. But I'll also look into dietary issues and infections, especially if this treatment doesn't work.
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Old 07-22-2019, 04:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Kalandra, I forgot to mention it in my first reply, but your Snuffle is very cute!
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Old 07-22-2019, 06:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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One of the things often overlooked is the humidity in the room where they are kept. Heating in the winter and ac in the summer can dry out the air causing dry skin. We use a small room humidifier in the room ours lives in and it seems to help her a lot.
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Old 07-24-2019, 10:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HaineTheHedgie View Post
Kalandra, I forgot to mention it in my first reply, but your Snuffle is very cute!
Ah thanks. That is Ollie. There is a long story there, but the TLDR is that is the first night we saw his nose.... 6 months after he came to my home as an extremely unsocialized rescue. I like the image as its a reminder that sometimes good things (noses) come to those who are patient.

Anyway back on topic: As belties mentioned, humidity can cause a problem, I tend to not think of it as summer usually isnt as drying as winter for us, but AC can be an issue. You could put a gauge in your room to see where it is.

For foods, if you are only feeding 1 brand/variety, Id add another high quality brand of a different protein source to her diet. 1. It may provide some nutrient she is needing. 2. Should Rachael Ray recall or change their formula you have a variety she is used to to fall back on.

I have one now that refuses to eat anything but kibble, and have had plenty over the years that were like that. Sometimes its just a battle you will not win. I try to continue to offer new foods to them for at least 30 days. Oddly Ive had some that after a month decided it might be worth looking at, and others continued to ignore.

Sometimes substrate beddings can cause dry skin too. If your mom will tolerate it, you might try fleece liners for a couple of weeks to see if there is improvement. Or permanently change (my preference is to use clothe only). A cloth liner would allow you to try to rule out bedding allergy.
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