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Old 12-11-2013, 09:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Irritated skin

My daughter's hedgehog has been scratching more the past several days. He has several spots on his back (at base of quills) that are very dry. They look like they have dried blood. I don't know if this is something we can treat or if he needs to see a vet. I haven't found a vet near us that treat hedgehogs.
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Old 12-11-2013, 10:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You need a vet.
Look for 'exotic' animal vet.

That looks like mites to me but could also be a fungal or other skin infection.
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Old 12-11-2013, 11:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It may be dry skin, it may be mites, or it may be a skin infection (fungal or bacterial). I don't have enough experience to visually identify the differences.

For dry skin, you can give oatmeal baths, drizzle some oil (flaxseed, olive oil, or vitamin E are popular. NOT tea tree oil; it's toxic) directly on skin, or on food. Warning: if it's a skin infection, oil can make it worse. :\ This is the only option with home treatment. Dry skin is a chronic hedgehog problem. Bathing too frequently with soaps that include alcohol or other drying agents can aggravate the problem, as can the drop in humidity associated with winter. Some users also sue humilac spray, but I've never used it and don't know anything about it.

For mites, you can try looking for them by rubbing a dark cloth on your hedgehog, then staring at it under bright light. If you see white dots moving, it's mites. However, sometimes they're hard to spot until the outbreak gets work. If you'd characterize the scratching as "frantic," it's probably mites. They're easily treated by a vet using cat-strength Revolution, dosed for their size, and reapplied a few weeks later. It'd be better to find an exotics vet, and this would be a non-emergency way of checking out the vet, but in worst-case scenario we can teach you enough to teach your vet what to do!

If it's a skin infection, a vet would need to take a skin scraping to determine the nature of the infection (fungal or bacterial) and give appropriate treatment.

Welcome to the forum, although I'm sorry it's in unfortunate circumstances. If you haven't encountered it, this book is an excellent resource for hedgehog-care.
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Old 12-12-2013, 05:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you for the advise. I took him to a vet that a local breeder said to take him to and he basically only made Quillber extremely angry... He didn't really know what to do with him. He did give me Revolution and told me to try that, and if it didn't work we would try something else. So I have this tube of Revolution for kittens, but I don't know what the dosage for him is supposed to be because he didn't weigh him or anything... Plus, he said we would only have to give it to him once, which from what I have read, is inaccurate. This is so frustrating. We did do an oatmeal bath lastnight and it make the skin look much better (the white, flaky part). When we are running the oatmeal liquid over his back, are you supposed to rinse him off with water afterwards? We did, but I just wanted to make sure.
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Old 12-12-2013, 05:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Could be mites or just dry skin. Give her a bath with aveeno or something for dry sensitive skin and add a couple drops of vitamin e oil to her skin afterwards. If this doesn't help I would recommend a vet visit.
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Old 12-12-2013, 05:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Dosing:
At the kitten concentration, Revolution dosing is 0.01 mL per 100 g of hedgehog. Get a kitchen scale to weigh your tiny friend. It'll be a good thing to have long-term anyway so you can monitor changes in weight as indicators of health problems.

Frequency:
The medication kills any live mites, but it doesn't impact eggs. I'm not going to look up the numbers at the moment, but I think mite-lifecycle is around 21-28 days, and the medication remains effective for 21-28 days. For very minor cases of mites, one dose is enough, but to make sure the problem is gone, most vets instruct another dose 2 to 4 weeks later. Sometimes a 3rd or 4th dose 2 to 4 weeks later is also recommended.

It seems to be that if the vet rounds up on the dose (324 g hedgehog gets 0.04mL medication), they do the longer frequency (3 weeks apart), and if they round down (324 g hedgehog gets 0.03 mL) they do the shorter frequency (2 weeks apart), but there's a lot of variation. I don't think it's critically important.

Here's the drug label if you want to double-check any of that.

Application:
Because the medication is alcohol based and absorbed through the skin, it is most effective on slightly oily skin. Do not wash your hedgehog the night before dosing, the night of, or the night after so you don't accidentally wash it off.

Use a dropper or syringe to apply the medication to your hedgehog's back -- I usually aim for between the shoulder blades where he can't reach easily. (This also means you can still wash feet & belly, just don't wash his shoulders!)

You'll notice if it helps really quickly. With my little guy, I noticed he started to feel better within a day of medication, with an increase in scratching starting up the days before the next dosage.

Decontaminating:
You also want to keep mites from hopping back on him. Replace any litter or wash liners at high temperature. Wipe down his cage, hut, wheel with a water-vinegar dilution. This is to kill or remove any eggs. You don't need to be too hugely paranoid about everything he's ever come in contact with because hedgehog mites can't live long without a fresh blood source. (For example, I didn't fret about decontaminating my rugs that he runs around on during playtime.)

Storage:
The medication is alcohol-based, so it evaporates quickly once opened. To prevent that, seal it (I put the whole vial in a ziplock bag) and keep it somewhere cool and dark (back of a drawer, in the fridge...) between uses.

Last edited by Annie&Tibbers; 12-12-2013 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:15 AM   #7 (permalink)
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My hedgie ,Hufflepuff, actually had really dry skin and was always itching and i would put a tiny bit of olive oil on the dry areas and that helped as a temperary fix but id have to do that again when it came back. I actually only realized that her skin hasnt been really dry in a while and I think that is because I plugged in my humidifer during the winter, its in the same room as her cage. I use it so that i dnt get sick easily but it must also be helping her dry skin too.
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Old 12-13-2013, 05:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My hedgie does excessive scratching when he is bored in his playpen, I took him to the vet to make sure he didn't have mites (which he doesn't he just likes to scratch a lot lol) ... and the vets get them mad, not on purpose, but when they get all spiked up, it helps them see their skin a little bit..my vet did the same thing, i felt bad for the hedgie, but it needed to be done! ... my guess would be mite if you're seeing black specs, but I'm not a vet so I don't know for sure !
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