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Old 03-13-2018, 12:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy self biting and self mutilation

ciao to everyone.

I know the thread title looks horrible and believe him yesterday night I felt indeed dreadful.

For the 3rd time in a little more than a year I found myself dealing with my sweet Marty biting and chewing at himself. Terrible because this time it took me more than 6 hours to have him calmed down.

I stayed up till almost 2:00 AM when finally after the umpteenth soothing bath (the only thing that calms him down right away) and one hour holding him in his towel to keep him warm and to prevent him from chewing again at himself, back to his den, he finally lied down on the wood chips (no the fleece side) and stopped biting and finally fell asleep.

I have pictures I can send you later on since I do not have them with me but they can show you all what he is able to do when he turned to Mr Hyde

He would just bite and pull and chew like crazy at one spot right under his mouth (I'd call it neck although do hedgehogs have a neck??) till it gets all red and swollen and eventually it would turn into an open wound.

Last 2 times I managed to avoid the last stage but it's so stressful and really I am trying to understand what the trigger is. I thought allergy to some fabric or some washing product (already checked thoroughly with a vet that it's no mites no any other parasite...he's super clean and his skin and quills look perfect). But last evening made me doubt that maybe it's some kind or reaction to stress...or just his behavior...but why not always when a certain pattern or handling is going?

I am just going crazy since I need to know what triggers it and the best solution to calm him down quicker.

Has anybody else any experience and suggestions for this poor worried and sleepless girl?

Has anyone any experience with hedgehogs going gaga because of loud noises like music? something like not being able to sleep even if it's late afternoon?
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Old 03-13-2018, 07:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't own my hedgehog yet, but I was just looking into WHS (wobbly hedgehog syndrome) and it said that in some cases it could cause self mutilation, I don't know if your hedgie has any of the other symptoms but I would definitely look into it ASAPhttp://blog.critterconnection.cc/wob...og-syndrome-2/
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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What bedding do you use wood chips or fleece. If wood chips what type are they? And have you tried changing the bedding to something else yet?

Is there any abnormalities to the skin he always chews? Could you ask the vet to do a skin culture, perhaps there's some skin infection irritating that area/even under the skin? The fact that it's always the same area he chews makes me think its irritating him in some way (could the skin not be fully healing so the same thing happens again?) but perhaps it could be psychological ~ I don't know too much about this though...

I don't understand the last part of your message but if he is in a loud room during the day then perhaps could you try moving him to a quieter place and see if this makes a difference?
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Old 03-14-2018, 05:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Has anything in his husbandry changed recently?

How much does he weigh/is he overweight?

How are his teeth? Does he have trouble eating/chewing?

Self-mutilation often has an underlying cause such as excess weight (skin can get itchy between rolls of fat) or tooth issues, which are common in hedgehogs. Some males self-mutilate when they try to chew off sticky sperm from boy time (which tends to stick to their fur when they masturbate and can get itchy).
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Old 03-14-2018, 06:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
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thank you all for your answers.

I adopted Marty Last August 2015 and his first episode was in November 2016 (on his upper chest left side...open wounds for 2 times with blood). 2nd episode 1-2 months ago. 3rd episode 2 days ago (both on his upper chest right side...no open wound, only reddening and small swelling)

I had him thoroughly checked by the vet after the first time and they really could not find any infection or issue with his skin. Really he looks perfect. Some months ago we also checked his teeth and the vet said that they are super good as well (there was only a tiny gum bulge that the vet removed in 2 second time) but for the rest no problems at all.

He is slightly overweight (560 -580 grams)

all day he sleeps in his den in a room upstairs and it's always very quiet. fleece and wood chips are always the same and he never had any issues with that.

very often, once we are back from work we place Marty in a very comfy cushion (see picture attached) and one of his preferred towels and we take him downstairs to stay with us. we let him sleep and sometimes roam on the couch or on the kitchen top, or cuddle in our arms.

Once I thought that washing that cushions and some of his towels with a different product (neutral, no smell) could have caused the reaction but after that I always wash all his things with the same product and he is ok with that.

anyway, these episodes happen randomly and I am going crazy to figure out the common trigger. They do not happen every time we take him with us...every time that we put on the TV or some music in the living room....or same period of the year/month....

that's why I was wondering whether anybody has experience with maybe a hedgehog that does not want to be disturbed much...or all the contrary that is bored/depressed

but most importantly, has anybody any suggestions on how to calm down hedgehogs with such fits apart from giving warm soothing oat baths?

I also put aloe vera gel to reduce the itchiness, 2nd time it helped. 3rd time instead he kept on biting despite the aloe vera.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Marty ^ Lino.jpg (238.7 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg 20881972_10155045133939385_7541824992260409985_n.jpg (103.8 KB, 20 views)
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Old 03-14-2018, 06:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
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@ Draenog....I also thought of that option but Marty has never chewed or bitten his genital area. Always right under his chin....:-\
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Old 03-14-2018, 07:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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and here I attach some pictures of the 1st time (open wound + following scab) that occurred last November 2016.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg open wound.jpg (142.8 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg scab 1.jpg (170.9 KB, 29 views)
File Type: jpg scab 2.jpg (218.5 KB, 27 views)
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Old 03-15-2018, 02:19 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Does it happen only when he's out of his cage or also when he's in his cage?
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Old 03-15-2018, 05:34 AM   #9 (permalink)
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@ Nikki let's say that 3 times out of 4 happened out of his den. the only time I found him with the open wound in his den was because one time already happened and he was having the scab from the former one that was healing and maybe it was itchy and he chew on him again. that was the very first time and I was not so much accustomed to this behavior.
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Old 03-15-2018, 11:04 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm wondering if being out so much is stressing him and that the biting is a stress reaction. Try not having him out for as long at a time and see if that helps stop it from happening again.
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