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Old 10-18-2011, 09:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
Mousie
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 4
Default Quill Loss and Rapid Weight Loss/Gain

I have a 7 1/2 year hedgehog, named simply Hedgie. He's been with me since he was a little hoglet.
About a month ago, he started losing quills. About 10-20 or so a day. At the same time, he started losing weight. I changed his diet, trying out higher protein diets, higher fat diets, supplementing his food with vitamin E, feeding him more food with fish and fish oil. The changes in diet did nothing and he continued losing quills and having erratic weight loss and gains.
Last Friday, I took him to the vet, who said he looked and acted perfectly healthy and friendly and wouldn't have known Hedgie was 7 until he looked in his mouth (he's lost quite a few teeth and have work down the rest). He tested him for mites, which turned out negative, and took a fungal and bacterial culture to see if it's an infection. I'm supposed to hear from him within the week, but I would like to hear other people's suggestions as to what this is.
The vet said Hedgie isn't showing signs of a fungal or bacterial infection, so I'm worried the tests will both come out negative and I'll have a hedgehog who's losing quills, and no idea what's going on with my poor baby.
One clue as to what this might be is this: my apartment was sprayed for bugs about the same time Hedgie started losing quills. The management said the spray was pet friendly and I needn't worry.

Anyway, any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated.

Weight: I don't have a scale small enough for hedgehogs, but my Hedgie's weight loss and gain can be seen just by looking at how sunken/rounded his belly is.

Poop: Poops is brown, can range anywhere between solid and soft. Still pooping in his normal places.

Urine: Normal. Pees in his normal place, next to his wheel.

Nose: Wet nose, licks nose. No sneezing.

Breathing: Normal closed-mouth breathing

Eating: Eats normally. He's not picky at all and enjoys lots of different foods. I have changed his diet since I started seeing quill loss to see if that was the problem (which it wasn't). His normal diet is a small handful of Eukanuba Senior Kibble (crushed up and moistened with hot water), supplemented with one of the following:
Soft cat treats.
Soft/canned cat food.
Baby food.
Tofu.
Scrambled eggs.
Protein drinks.
Yogurt.
Peanut butter.
He also gets Pedialyte electrolights dripped into his food.

He's 7 1/2 and his teeth are either worn down or have fallen out, so he gets an all soft food diet, which he has been enjoying for the last two years.

His water intake is normal.

Skin- No scratching. He has some scaly skin. Not a lot. Has had dry skin his entire life. When I bathe him, I add oatmeal and olive oil to his baths.
He has all-over quill loss though. Quills come out with gentle petting and on their own. The follicles are still attached to the bottom. About 20 quills are lost a day. He is growing them back. He doesn't have any bald spots. You can tell that he's 'balding' a little.

Vomiting: None.

Activity: He's slowed down over the years (he is an old 7 1/2). He'll run on his wheel at night (not as much as he used to). And if I take him out and don't cuddle him (he'll cuddle right up with me and go to sleep) he's active and ready to explore.
He has free range of my apartment. (I have no other pets, save for beta fish) And the entire place is hedgie-proof. He prefers to stay in his cage, but will come out and wander when he wants to.
He also is with me when I cook dinner every night, and I'll give some of what I've cooked to him. (rice, smoothie, vegetarian chicken nuggets, cheese, etc..)
I also let him outside to explore and play. He doesn't eat anything out there, but loves to dig.
Overall, still very active for his age.

Meds: None.
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