Help! Endless Quilling stage for 11 month hedgie?? (photo attached)
My hedgehog is nearing 10 - 11 months old and ever since I had him he has been loosing quills. I have had him since June.. I know there is a "1 year quilling stage", but it really does feel endless... :(
here are some facts:
1) He loses between 7-10 quills a day (attached photo), some days 4-6
2) I can see new quills poking through, all the time.
3) he has dry skin and I have used olive oil/coconut oil to help
4)He has been treated with Revolution for mites in June, I recently I talked with my vet and he was prescribed 3 doses, 14 days apart again. I started the 1st dose last week
5) There are no obvious bald spots
Here are my questions:
1) how long does this last??
2) the quills lost all have "balls" at the end, and also some dry skin, is this normal?
3) is there such thing as quilling forever ...??
4) my vet said to stop using any oils for dry skin... so the skin can be "natural" and "balanced"..does anyone agree with this..ever since i stopped oils, the dry skin is so flaky
5) is the size of these quills BABY QUILLS?? they are huge... (see ruler for scale) is is losing adult quills???
Getting a bit worried that this stage is so long..it's been 5 months of quilling
It'd probably be a good idea to ask your vet about doing a skin scrape to check for skin infections. Quilling doesn't last this long and usually normal quill loss isn't quite that many.
I'd also stop with the oils, as if it is a skin infection they can aggravate the skin and make it worse (oils prevent the skin from breathing). How often do you bathe him? My boy used to have dry skin (lots of flakes and some bald patches) and I limited the amount of baths I gave him and it significantly improved. There were other factors with him though, it was during cold dry months here, he had a heat lamp as opposed to a che and he was also on crappy hedgehog food so these could all have contributed to his skin issues at the time. I made necessary changes and he's now on high quality cat food, eats insects as part of his diet and his skin is much healthier and no more bald patches!
Definitely get his skin checked as Kelsey suggests to rule out a skin infection.
Thanks for the reply Lilysmommy and Yukidama's mama!
Hezzie gets a full bath once every 2 weeks, and foot bath rarely. When I was using oil, his skin did look a lot better. No flakes at least.
I agree with a skin scraping. Unfortunately, it seems that the vet I go to isnt too knowledgeable?? (On the forums, I heard many great things about Dr. Munn in Toronto, but I went to that clinic and he had left, I ended up seeing a vet there though)
Can any vets do a skin scrape for a diagnosis? or best to be hedgie experienced?
Looking for recommendations for vets in Toronto!
Also, what do you guys think about the size of the quills lost? :S
Any vet can do a skin scraping. It's the same procedure with any animal. The quills he's losing seem to be adult quills.
Thanks for the reply everyone!
Good news - I have booked in Hezzie for a skin scraping this Thursday with a new vet. Hopefully, we are able to figure out what's wrong.
The receptionist explained that he would need to scrape the skin until it bleeds?!?! This seems a bit concerning -- but I am sure some medication will be applied to reduce pain.
My hedgie's skin is very flaky and dry -- Should I bring him to the scraping as is? If i give him a bath before hand -- it will be easier to access...
What do you guys think?
I would leave as is - giving a bath may make it harder to pick up anything useful in the skin scraping to help diagnose what's going on.
Got back from the vet today where he did an examination and a skin scraping.
I have attached 2 photos, one before the scrape and one after (WARNING slightly bleeding).
The good news is - he did not see anything under the microscope. It doesn't look bacterial. The bad news is - it still seems a bit vague about why the adult quill loss...
Today i treated with another dose of revolution. Also later in the week, I was suggested to add OMEGA 3 and VIT C to diet into food/water (over the counter at drug store)...???didnt do much research on this diet change.
Did he check for fungal infections? Those are a possibility too...
Both of those sound like good steps. Omega 3 fatty acids are good for skin & hair (& quills). I don't remember details, but I feel like I remember vitamin C also being good for skin issues - it was something I was looking into for an old cocker spaniel with skin problems.
Thanks for the reply Kelsey!
Mites is ruled out for sure, but I will finish the last dose of revolution in 2 weeks to be safe.
Unfortunately, he did not send off the skin scrape for a fungal test. It took a long time to retrieve the scrape ... :( and with no pain reliever..
I am to implement the diet changes and continue with bath + oil to see if any improvement in 2 - 3 weeks time. If not, then more $$$ for another visit and sending off fresh results to the lab.
Feeling quite sad with this happening. Hope Hezzie gets better on his own soon
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