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Old 11-29-2013, 10:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Hedgie mites contagious?

Hey all, I'm new to this forum. I recently adopted a hedgehog from a friend who didn't want to take care of it anymore. Apparently his poor care lead to worse things including mites. His skin when I first got him was flakey but I didn't see anything moving. Now today when I checked him it was indeed mites. My friend owns her own hedgehog and has mite stuff so I will be starting his treatment tomorrow which is good but I am curious if these mites are contagious to other animals, more specifically rats, reptiles and dogs. I don't think they are reptile contagious. I can't see any on my rat or dog but they are a lot harder to find on hairy animals. The mites on the hedgie are white specks, I assuming from his bedding since my friend kept him on aspen shavings since he got him. I have read that these mites are similar to the mites that cause mange in dogs which is why I'm concerned, especially since my dog sleeps next to my hedgehogs cage. Advice please.
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Old 11-30-2013, 12:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Yes, some of the mite spicies that infest hedgehogs can also live on dogs and other animals. Lice are species specific, mites not necessarily (although I've seen lots of people say they are). They may have preferred hosts, depends on the specific mite.

You are going to need to see a vet for the Hedgehog treatment for sure, talk to the vet about the other animals. Your Rats may be of concern. Mites can be transferred by animals that are not infested themselves (a healthy animal can have a few mites that don't ever become a full infestation).

Hedgehogs can easily be poisoned by mite treatments used for other animals like the bird sprays. The advice I've seen is you want Reveloution not Invermectin, and may need to let the vet know this is your preference.

I think you are correct that reptiles would not be effected by the same kind of mite, but I'm not sure.
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Old 11-30-2013, 01:54 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Also be careful as mite eggs could survive and stay dormant virtually anywhere in or outside the cage. Safest way to rid a cage or enclosure of mites is too wash it thoroughly with bleach and tap water. As for your hedgie there are available anti-mite shampoos in your area, i'd reckon.

Reptile mites are adapted to feed on specific reptile blood. I'd believe they're not contagious to hedgies too. But mammalian mites are different as they could cross species like to dogs or cats.
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Old 11-30-2013, 04:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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If you're in North America, get Revolution. If you're in Europe, get Stronghold. For either one, get the lowest concentration dosage (kitten/cat). A vet has to prescribe it, and will calculate a dosage intensity and frequency based on your hedgehog's weight and the severity of the infestation. The medication is alcohol-based topical, which means you don't want to bathe your hedgehog's shoulders the day before, during, or after treatment. It also means you'll need to store the unused medication in a cool, dark, place, or it will evaporate between treatments.

If you live elsewhere in the world, those two medications may not be available. If you list a country, the users from that region may have better advice for you.

You'll want to wash everything (using a bit of vinegar in the rinse is a deodorant and disinfectant) to decontaminate it.

The common experience on the board is that hedgehog mites are them-specific and don't seem to contaminate other pets. They certainly don't go on cats, dogs, or humans. I don't know about other small furry mammals, though -- it may depend on which of the particular mite species your hedgehog has, and it may be easier to just treat the rats as a precautionary measure. As the vet while you're in for your hedgehog.

If you haven't seen it yet, the West Coast Hedgehogs book is an excellent resource for new owners.

And, to combat the shame, mites do not necessarily imply a poor standard of care. It's easy to get infestations from unbaked wood (some wood shavings, wood cages or accessories...), from playing outdoors, or from other hedgehogs. There's also been cases of no apparent infestation vector, they just ... show up. It happens to every hedgehog sooner or later, but luckily it's a fast fix!

The reason this board is so anti-Invermectin is that it's a lot easier to overdose than Revolution, and has a lot harsher negative side-effects during an overdose. Even worse, hedgehogs can develop negative reactions over the course of treatment (being ok for the first one, but having bad or even fatal reactions to the second). Do not allow an Invermectin injection. If it's the only available treatment option, have the vet apply it topically instead. In contrast Revolution/Stronghold is harder to overdose, is less likely to provoke negative reactions, and those negative reactions tend to be much more mild (hives, itchiness, swelling, but not fatal).

If you're set on using your friend's medication, keep in mind that it'd still be a good idea to go to a vet and get the dosing and frequency set out for your individual hedgehog (it will be different than it was for hers). It'd also be a good chance to do a general wellness-exam to check for any other problems that your new pet is suffering from, and to establish a positive relationship with a local vet BEFORE a serious emergency happens and you're scrambling.
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Old 12-01-2013, 04:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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This is a very good article about mites, not much specific hedgehog info but it does give the information on mites that are not host specific.

http://www.cfsph.iastate.edu/Factshe.../acariasis.pdf

It is somewhat difficult to read and long so I'll do a book report. I am a research junkie, and studied biology in school (focused on micro bio and genetics), and I am currently Hedgehog obsessed. I will mix in some info from other sources, sorry, I didn't save the links.

I think the most important information is that many types of common mites are not very host specific and can be carried by humans. Most can not reproduce on us, or won't unless we are immuno comprimised, so the worry isn't human infestations but rather unintentional transmission from one pet to another. Wash your hands!

Many types of mites are tolerated or without symptoms in small numbers. This is important for two reasons. First, it means an animal that has no symptoms of mites can still have them and transfer them to your pet. Second, it means that your hedgehog could have a small mite population without you knowing it and stress, poor nutrition, or anything that lowers immunity can cause those mites to multiply quickly and cause symptoms.

Some mites survive well in the environment for as long as three weeks and feed on a variety of species. Some mites live off the host and can only be found on the host when feeding. This is why some vets will treat for mites even if the skin scrape is negative, when other symptoms are there.

There are a few less obvious symptoms to look out for. One type of mite that hedgehogs can have results in what looks like small pimples or raised dots, most often on the face, legs, or areas with thinner skin. Another causes skin to look greasy or wet and hair/spines/quills may come out in clumps with yellow puss or crusts attached if not caught early. Another non typical symptom is skin discoloration from loss of pigment.

Treating mites as early as possible reduces the need for repeat treatments and reduces the risk of secondary bacterial infections like ringworm. It is the secondary infections that can cause death.

And intresting to me was the fact that mites are more active at warmer temperatures but it is during the colder months that vets see the most cases. So I guess if you are doing the home screening of looking on black paper/cloth for movement warm it up some.

10/10 cleaning for hard surfaces is fairly effective against mites and lots of other things. 10% bleach left for ten minutes before wiping off (air drying is also fine), surface needs to stay wet for ten minutes. For fabric machine wash in hot water, machine dry on high. Dry cleaning is also effective.
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:49 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Haley, that was the best book-report moment ever. Thank you! I'm an obsessive researcher, but I'm a disasters/physics/math person, and find myself lost in the world of things that smell funny or move independently (chemistry/biology).
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Old 12-02-2013, 05:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie&Tibbers View Post
Haley, that was the best book-report moment ever. Thank you! I'm an obsessive researcher, but I'm a disasters/physics/math person, and find myself lost in the world of things that smell funny or move independently (chemistry/biology).
I used to trade homework help with physics/math people. I have a special talent in physics, my intuition about what will happen is always wrong
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