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Old 05-07-2012, 02:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
moxieberry
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Port Orchard, WA
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Default Re: is my new hedgie sick?

Baths are fine for hedgehogs, they just don't need them very often. (Unless they anoint and spit gunk on their quills, or they manage to get poop on themselves in imaginative ways, lol.) Typically once a month is good for a not-very-messy hedgehog. Something like Aveeno baby oatmeal bath (or similar) is suggested because it's especially gentle and the oatmeal is great for their skin (hedgehogs are often susceptible to dry skin, particularly in the winter). A lot of hedgehogs aren't very fond of baths, which is another reason to not do them often. Also, frequent baths can contribute to dry skin.

The itching could be caused by a few things. The first thing you'll want to consider is mites, symptoms of which are excessive scratching and quill loss (to the point that there are bald patches). Mites are easy for a vet to treat, and the medication for it is inexpensive, so often if people notice scratching, they'll choose to rule out mites and just get the medication as a precaution. Just make sure it's Revolution, NOT Ivermectin, which might mean asking for that specifically. Ivermectin has caused deaths in hedgehogs, and since Revolution is a completely risk-free treatment that's just as effective, that's the only one that should ever be used.

If there isn't quill loss along with the scratching, it could be dry skin. Depending on how much scratching there is, or if it only happens at certain times, it could be more of a habit. For instance, some hedgehogs will give themselves a good thorough scratch shortly after waking up, as part of their "morning" (read: evening) ritual. Like I said before, dry skin is pretty common. Have you noticed any dandruff-looking flakes of dry skin coming off from the scratching, or just in general? The first thing to dry for dry skin is to put a few drops of flaxseed oil on the back every day, and also a little bit in the food. This sometimes is all that's really necessary. If the dry skin is stubborn, there are also a few topical sprays (designed for cats and dogs) that can moisturize the skin.

What's the diet from the breeder? That might or might not be related to the poop issue. I would suggest calling your vet to ask - I would assume if the meds you're using were going to work, there would be improvement by now.

As for the wheel thing, not all hedgehogs are wheel crazy. Sometimes they take a little while to figure out how to use it, or sometimes they prefer to use it when no one's watching. Babies especially tend to not wheel as much in general, they'd prefer to sleep. My boy Archimedes won't touch the wheel almost at all, and he's perfectly healthy.
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