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Old 09-19-2014, 06:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dry, flaky skin and quill loss

I know there are tons of threads on this topic already but I thought I'd post about my specific situation to see if anyone has any advice.

I have a 2 1/2 year old hedgehog who's had issues with severe dry skin and some quill loss for the last few weeks. I started noticing the dry skin about a month ago and was trying different things to control it (oatmeal bath, olive oil on food/skin, even started using Humilac for a few days, though that seemed to make it worse). I took him to the vet earlier this week, and though there weren't any visible signs of mites the vet prescribed 3 doses of Advantage Multi, as well as an antibiotic to prevent infection in any spots that he might be scratching.

He got the first dose of Advantage on Monday and has also been getting the antibiotics twice a day ever since, as well as starting him on a daily dose of Sunshine Factor, but I'm not seeing any improvement at all -- if anything things are just getting worse. He went from losing about 4 to 5 quills a day over the last few weeks to about 15-20 a couple of nights ago. He's also been scratching like crazy, which is so hard to watch because I feel like I can't do anything to help him.

The vet also sent off a few quills to be checked for ringworm, but we won't get the results for at least another week. In the meantime his skin is super flaky and crusty in some places, and he's got a bald spot developing behind his ear -- that spot was the worst last night so I decided to give Humilac another shot on that spot, but this morning it looked really red and even kind of swollen. I've currently got him in aspen shavings, but have ordered a bunch of fleece so I should hopefully get that next week to be able to make the switch in case the shavings are part of the problem.

I'm not sure if I even have a question, since I feel like I know what the possible causes are and at this point it's just a waiting game, but just wanted to see if anyone has any advice for giving him some more immediate relief in the meantime. He's generally acting normal (maybe a little less active in his wheel), but I just hate to see him so uncomfortable! Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 09-19-2014, 06:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Do you have a pillow case or some other fabric you can switch him to until the fleece arrives? Just check whatever you use for loose threads before putting it in there. If the adorn bedding is the problem or part of it, better to switch off of it sooner rather than later. I hope your baby feels better soon!
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Old 09-19-2014, 06:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Bah, aspen! This is why I don't normally post on my phone!
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Old 09-22-2014, 05:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yeah I went ahead and put a blanket on one side of his cage for now while I wait for the fleece to arrive. I'm a little worried about switching him over all at once just because he won't be used to it at all -- in fact right now he's still preferring to sleep in the shavings even though his usual igloo is on the blanket. Any advice as far as switching him over gradually? I want to get rid of the shavings in case they're part of the problem, but also don't want to stress him out by completely changing his environment.

His skin seems a little bit better in the last few days -- still very flaky and still losing quills every night, but I'm not seeing any more red sore spots and no additional bald spots... so hopefully the antibiotic is helping a bit with that. I also just ordered a humidifier to see if maybe dry air is the problem. Although in the last week or so every time I used olive oil or Humilac that part of his skin seemed to get worse, so that makes me think it might actually be some kind of infection that gets worse whenever I clog up his skin with oil.

It's so frustrating not to know for sure what's wrong! I feel like I'm trying to hit it from every angle so it's really hard to know what's helping and what's making things worse... hopefully the ringworm test results will come back soon so we can either rule it out or know what it is to start treating it...
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Old 12-08-2014, 06:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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So I wanted to post an update here to see if anyone has any thoughts. Here's what's happened since the last post: Cilantro got 3 doses of Advantage Multi, 10 days apart -- the first one seemed to help a bit, but after that he continued to get worse: crusty, flaky skin and tons of quill loss. After the third dose I went back to the vet, who had managed to find some Revolution, so he got 3 doses of that, also 10 days apart. Meanwhile, I completely switched him over to fleece liners, which I change out at least every other day and wash in hot water with scent free detergent and a bit of vinegar. I've also disinfected everything in his cage and playpen multiple times -- once every time he got a new dose of Revolution, and several times between doses, and I've thrown out everything with wood/cardboard.

After the 3rd dose of Revolution he started looking basically cured -- his skin looked great, and he was only losing 2 or 3 quills a day, so I figured we were on the road to recovery. Unfortunately I had to take him to my parents house over Thanksgiving, and ever since then the symptoms are back. He's actually not losing many more quills (still something like 2-4 a day), but his skin is back to being dry and flaky and I can see flaky buildup at the base of his quills. I'm just completely at a loss as far as what to do... I feel like I've done everything I can think of, and the fact that it's still recurring is so frustrating. I'm wondering if it was something at my parents house that is causing it, since that's where he was when I first started noticing symptoms at the very beginning -- but it seems weird considering everything has been disinfected and he's pretty much doing the same things as when he's at my apartment. Is it possible for mites to survive in carpet? Couches? My car? I've read that doesn't really happen, but I'm not sure how else this could be continuing.

As far as the Revolution, I've given him yet another dose about 5 days ago, still no improvement. I know it's hard to overdose on Revolution, but what about long-term use? I don't know what to do besides continue to give it to him every 10-14 days, but I'm worried about it possibly building up toxicity over time... is that a thing? Also the vet suggested doing some blood tests the next time we go in to make sure there aren't any underlying conditions that might be making it hard for him to get over it.

Has anyone else had experience with a mite infestation going on this long? I feel like I'm going crazy trying to fix this!!
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Old 05-08-2015, 03:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi Tobikater,

Are you still having the issues with the quill loss and skin problems? We had/have a similar problem with ours. Large bald patches with flakey, crusty skin. We were told it was too much bathing (she was getting bathed about every 6 to 8 weeks), not enough bathing, mites, the bedding, etc etc.

We treated for mites, changed the bedding multiple times, went longer with baths, went shorter with baths, tried olive oil, adjusting the humidity and temperature, etc etc etc. Everything you're going through.

Well, I think we finally found the cause, and although its only been a couple weeks, we're seeing slow but definite improvement.

The source of the problem? Diet. Plain and simple. (Are you 100% sure he has mites? We treated for them, but when the doc examined the flakes under a microscope, there were NO little critters present)

Anyway, as far as diet, we had her on Eukanuba cat food. I don't remember which particular style... the same exact stuff the breeder gives to all of her hedgehogs and was one recommended for hedgies. None of the breeders (adults or babies) hogs have any problems, BUT, once ours hit adulthood, it seems that some sort of allergy or deficiency popped up, and we've been fighting it for 6 months with no positive results.

We just switched to a hedgehog specific food we found at the pet store (Again, I dont remember the name, I'm sorry, but it was like a 14oz plastic bag that looks like uncooked pastina. Tiny little white-ish granules). I only thought about it because I had heard that certain fish oils were bad for hedgies (maybe thats in the cat food?), and this food listed "Omega3s and essential oils for quill and skin health", etc.

Hey, for $11 (its expensive, I know) I figured why not take a shot? We're just starting week 3, and her back is now "blotchy" with quills.. no longer one big bald spot, and while she's still a little flakey, its not nearly as bad as it once was.

Again, I cant say for sure that this is a "cure-all" or that diet is the reason so many of us see this problem in our pets, but for us...so far... it seems like its a solution, so I figured I'd share.

I'll get the name of the food tonight if you'd like?
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Old 05-23-2015, 04:15 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Since you don't know her exact age it's possible it's quilling. Some hedgies have a second quilling around 6 months, so that could be what's going on. If it's not quilling, I don't really have any advice. Maybe someone more experienced will chime in here.
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Old 03-27-2018, 03:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The same thing is happening with my Howie! Can't figure it out. Assuming it's his diet. I found a recipe online that's supposed to soothe their skin and the person said it's a natural cure to their issue:

For the first 3 days, give them a bath in about an inch of warm water with the following ingredients:
Oatmeal (put*oats*into a sock and smash around in the water until milky white)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 drops*vitamin*E*oil
1 tsp*apple*cider*vinegar*

On the 4th night I do a lighter bath with the following ingredients:
Oatmeal (same sock method)
1 tsp coconut oil
2 drops*vitamin*E*oil
This night, rinse with water
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Please check the date on a thread before posting, this one is 4 years old. Please do not post on old threads.
Retired breeder and active HWS rescue station

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