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Old 08-19-2013, 10:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Drastic quill loss and dryness of skin

I got my hedgehog in december, he was 7 weeks old at that time. I noticed a week later, that he had a bit dry skin and since the vet told me that it was , s nothing out of the ordinary, so I did not worry about it. In couple of weeks his skin got worse, but everything else was normal, so I thought it was due to dry air (I was using an electric radiator as an extra heat source for him, because the winter here is very cold) and gave him oatmeal baths, which seemed to help, and I also put some wheat sprout oil on him. He had his quilling at 11 weeks old.

In march he's skin got really bad (LARGE flakes) and he started to lose quills rapidly (up to 50 in one playtime), some new ones were growing in as well, but he still got a bit bald. At the end of the month I took him to the vet and he said it was nutritional deficiency, so he gave me some food supplements (omega3 and omega6 fatty acids, later sunshine factor). He also recommended using oil to moisturize the skin with, which I did. At first, the supplements seemed to be helping, his skin wasn't that bad anymore, he didn't lose that many quills, and new ones were growing in.

After two months on supplements, he still had dry skin and he still had some bald spots.I went to the vet with a different problem (my hedgy had developed a head tilt, which turned out to be a result of a weird trauma, he recovered completely), and he told me to keep giving him the supplements and putting oil on his skin. I was still hoping that he had only nutritional deficiency (I read that in some cases it can take even years before the animal gets their skin and hair back to normal) and that he'd be getting better eventually.

To this day, still has dry skin and is still loosing some quills (about 5-10 during playtime), but what concerns me most, is that I see no new quills growing in. He is getting balder and balder every day (he really doesen't have many quills left, soon he might have none), and it's so frustrating.

Lately he started to get a lot of pimples at base of the quills (quills with pimples fall off and then the puss comes out), so I stopped using the oil (but continued with sunshine factor) and bought aloe spray to help with the pimples and sooth his skin. I use it twice a day and now he has no pimples.

Most of the quills he lost have some buildup at the base and all of them have the small white bulb. At this point, his back is almost bald and the quills on his head and sides are getting thinner as well. Otherwise he is happy, chirps a lot, eats normally and runs on his wheel, scratches sometimes, but not often, he doesn't smell weird or anything. I use Cat's Best cat litter (very small granules made from natural fibers, it's quite soft) as his bedding, since it is the most odorless and dust free bedding I have found yet. I changed his food two weeks ago (in hopes that his symptoms were due allergy to his food, but it didn't change anything) to Royal Canin Light 40 and I also Royal Canin Intense Beauty soft food. He occasionally gets dried mealworms, boiled chicken, banana, boiled peas, carrots, broccoli etc.

I am taking him to the vet again as soon as possible, but my vet is not very hedgy-experienced (hedgehogs are not popular pets around here, so there are no hedgehog experienced vets available). I am really afraid that he doesn't understand either, what's wrong with him. Should I ask for Revolution? What kind of tests should I let him run? Does this sound like mites or skin infection or could it be something else?

It feels like he has had this problem fer ever now and I fell really sorry for my little friend. His situation looks so bad

So sorry for the long post
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