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Old 01-31-2010, 02:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Lily's heading towards baldness... *update

I know there's several recent topics out there of hedgies quilling, but...I'm really starting to get worried about Lily. She's now starting to get several bald spots on her back from losing so many quills. Here's her situation so far...
Age: 1 year, 7 months
Vet/health: Had a hibernation attempt back in September, started losing more quills in November/December. Took her to the vet 10 days ago, and got Revolution for mites. She got one dose then, I'm to give her a dose per month for 3-4 months. She only had one small bald spot when I took her in then. She's got a couple now.
Environment: Kept warm by space heater. My humidifier broke a few days ago, and the room humidity dropped to about 29% (as opposed to the usual 35-36%). I got a new filter for it today and am getting the humidity back up.

Last night I put flaxseed oil on her back, hoping to help with the very dry skin. It looks so uncomfortable, and she doesn't want me petting her back at all. I just finished counting the quills she dropped last night, and it was a whopping 71, the most it's been in one night so far. At this point, I'm almost at a loss for how to help her...I don't know what else to do to help with her dry skin, but the flaxseed oil makes her lose so many quills that it makes me cringe. Should I take her back to the vet and have tests done? If so, which tests? Should I put oil on her back more often? Less often, not at all? I just want to help her feel better and I don't know what to do.
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Old 01-31-2010, 02:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lily's heading towards baldness...

I cannot tell you how badly I feel for you and your angel, Miss Lilly. I know Nancy and/or HedgeMom will be along with valuable responses for you. Poor little baby hedgie.
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Old 01-31-2010, 02:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lily's heading towards baldness...

Could it be an allergic reaction to something? Has it gotten worse since you started putting flaxseed oil on her back? Perhaps you could try vitamin e oil. It would make sense that she is losing more and more quills if you are using the flaxseed oil more frequently for the dry skin and she's actually allergic to it.
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Old 01-31-2010, 03:06 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lily's heading towards baldness...

Thank you, Shetland, for your thoughts.

I had the same thought, Bengall, but I've given her flaxseed oil on her food for at least a year now, and used it on her back before. She usually loses a few more quills the night after I use it on her, but never this many...

Also, I forgot to mention that she lost 58 more quills tonight while I had her out for cuddletime.

(On a brighter note...I also discovered she really likes the song Lily's Eyes from Secret Garden. )
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Old 01-31-2010, 04:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lily's heading towards baldness...

I am so sorry to hear this Kelsey. I wish I could offer any help (as you probably know, my boy is going through a very minor quill loss compared to your numbers) but this topic is so general and it could be so many things, I would feel wrong in advising anything.

I am sure someone that is more knowledgeable will come along.


I am sending all my positive thoughts and energy to Lily.
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Old 01-31-2010, 06:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lily's heading towards baldness...

That sounds exactly like Beck. Hibernation attempt a few months ago, followed by mites (that were treated) and with continuing quill loss. I'm treating him again with Revolution, and I'm waiting on lab results for a fungal scrape. He's losing about as many quills and going bald like Lily. Maybe try the fungal test as well? (Be warned, they take like.. 2 weeks to do!)

Sorry you guys are going through the same thing.
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Old 01-31-2010, 09:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lily's heading towards baldness...

Other than quill loss and dry skin, is she scratching? Can you see any brown or orangish crust or dust around the base of the quills? Mites usually cause frantic scratching or continual scratching. Giving a dose of Revolution will end the scratching within a day or two.

Many vets are now recommending that for a mite outbreak, Revolution be administered 3 times, 2 or 3 weeks apart. I've spoken with numerous hedgie owners who had no luck with it given at a month but mites left when given again at 3 weeks. We found this ourselves a couple of years ago when a new kitten complete with fleas moved in and gave fleas to the other cats and ferrets. I did the recommended Revolution time frame and cats and ferrets started scratching again after 3 weeks. Once I switched to the next dose at 3 weeks, fleas were gone. Once a month seems to be fine for a maintenance preventative dose, but not when there are existing mites.

Until you figure out what this is, don't use anything oil based and especially not Vit E. Oil based products will clog the pores and seal in any bacteria or fungal infections and make it worse. Flax seed oil is not as bad as vit e and will wash off fairly easy.

If she has not shown any signs of scratching, I'd have a skin scrap done and take in any lost quills that have gobs of skin on them. Perhaps she has a fungal infection.
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:23 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lily's heading towards baldness...

Im so sorry to hear about lily, and understand your worry and frustration.

I had problems with Henry losing quills and major dry skin/ flaking (though not as much as 58/71 in a night). I kept taking him to the vets for tests, mite treatment, used all the different oils and changed his food. In the end i took his food back down to the first one i put him on (as he wasn't losing quills on it) and stopped using anything. I also moved his cage away from a wall. All this for some reason has helped. I think a lot of it was stress and that he doesn't like feeling boxed in (hence moving him away from the wall).

He's started losing a few more again in the last week because im moving his cage/living area around due to a rodent problem. Im also slowly gonna try adding different food back into his diet once he's settled again. Maybe going back to the basics again will help lily?

Hope this gets better soon xx
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lily's heading towards baldness...

Thank you, everyone, for your comments/advice.

Nancy - I checked her over tonight and don't see any brown/orange crust or anything around the quills. I'm not entirely sure if she's been scratching a lot because when I get her out at night, she generally sleeps instead of moving around, so she hasn't scratched then at all. If she scratches at night, I don't see it. However, when I had her in at the vet's, she scratched two or three times during the visit. It wasn't frantic, just a regular scratch.

I'll make sure I don't put any more oil on her back, I had doubts about doing it in the first place, but she just seemed so uncomfortable with her skin so dry... I'm going to call my vet tomorrow afternoon and let him know what's been going on the last few days, and ask him what his thoughts are on the situation, and if we should do a fungal test. I've been trying to decide if we should go ahead and have it done now, or if I should wait until after I give the second dose of Revolution and see how she does then...I'll probably ask him about that too. I'll let you guys know what happens.
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Old 02-01-2010, 01:41 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lily's heading towards baldness...

From my experience, flaxseed and olive oil doesn't help with dry skin. Vitamin E oil worked perfect for my hedgehog's dry skin. He had the same quill loss problem but not as severe. His skin is now smooth as ever, he's regrown all his quills, and he barely scratches.

If this isn't a fungal or bacterial infection, try dropping vitamin e oil on the dry spots everyday. Try not to bathe him. If you must, then u gotta make sure u oil his back after he's dry and continue to do so daily. The max consecutive days I dropped oil was 3. Maybe someone can confirm how safe it is for non-oral repeated vitamin e treatment). I used 3 or 4 capsules everytime.
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