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Old 05-15-2019, 12:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Deformed quills... Segmented/pinched/flat quills

Hello all!

I've been scouring the internet for 2 months on this issue and I'm at a loss. My hedgehog seems to have segmented quills. I have attached pictures. They seem segmented or pinched and after the "squeeze" they seem to become deformed and flatish... Not cylindrical like quills should be. In addition, some of her quills seem to be simply blunted with no sharp tip. She has been losing a lot of quills lately and I thought she already went through her quilling. She is about 7ish months old. The line of quills I collected is from 2 days of fresh fleece liner. Again, I've looked at hundreds of posts here in quills, health, nutrition etc. I highly doubt its mites as her skin looks great and she doesn't itch but I suppose anything is possible.

Has anyone run into this issue or seen this somewhere before? I feed her blue buffalo indoor hairball and weight control below is guranteed analysis info:
Crude protein: 30% min
Crude fat: 10% min
Crude fiber: 9% max

First 6 ingredients: deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, oatmeal, pea protein

She also gets about 5 meal worms a day.
Should she have more? Less?

I can take her to a vet, I live in Phoenix Arizona but I'm concerned a vet will not be familiar with this as I havent been able to find ANY information (and I am quite a thorough researcher). I wanted to check with you all first. I can provide more pictures as well.

So, what are your thoughts? My gut says its food related, but I thoroughly researched food and thought the food o provided would be perfect. Maybe I missed something? The food she came with when she was 2 months or so was a hedgehog food called pretty pets with the first two ingredients being corn.

Let me know your thoughts, follow up questions or if you have any requests for different pictures.

Thank you!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20190514_203218_1557891784304.jpg (89.0 KB, 29 views)
File Type: jpg 20190514_203751_1557891914025.jpg (114.7 KB, 24 views)
File Type: jpg 20190514_203457_1557892433929.jpg (71.9 KB, 31 views)
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Old 05-15-2019, 12:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Interesting! I’ve not seen quills like this before. But I will say, quilling can last up to 12 months of age in some hedgehogs. That could quite easily explain the active quill loss and blunt quills. As far as the neck in the middle of each quill, I highly doubt it would have any negative effects and might even just be the way his quills are growing! Hopefully some more members can comment but I don’t see or hear of any problems. Diet seems perfectly fine to me. How much is he drinking? Out of a bowl or bottle? If it’s a bottle I’d recommend switching to a bowl; some hedgies drink more and have a hard time getting enough out of bottles!
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Old 05-15-2019, 12:13 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the quick reply! 🙂 she drinks out of a large ceramic bowl.
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Old 05-15-2019, 01:52 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi there. I have never seen quills that look like that before 🤔. And apparently the internet hasn't seen that before either - hardly any info.

I would think that it's just the way the quills are growing. If it's not causing any profound problems I wouldn't overly worry about it. In the picture, most of the quills look completely normal. Don't worry to much, it seems like you have a special hedgie with rare quills! 🤭
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Old 05-15-2019, 11:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I've seen quills like that several times over the years. However, it is usually in hedgehogs who have lived in low quality living conditions or were being fed a cheap grocery store diet. Once with me for a couple of months the quills usually fell out and replacements were perfect.

If its only in old quills, I'd continue to monitor for now. Could be something happened as those were growing in that damaged them. If you are only feeding one type of kibble, you may want to look into adding a second brand. Pick one that helps diversify the diet. Having a second brand is also helpful should the one you currently feed do a recall or changes its recipe and the hedgehog rejects it. It gives you a fall back plan.
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Old 05-15-2019, 12:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Can you define low quality living conditions? I have a c+c cage into a corner with chlorplast and fleece lining, a wheel, felt scraps, an igloo, water bowl and food bowl. I spot clean the cage daily and have paper bag cut outs underneath the wheel to catch poop and absorb urine. She only poops and pees on the paper or on her wheel. Paper is replaced daily and fleece is changed every 5-7 days. She has 4 square feet. Should I increase the size? I heard hedgehogs can get stressed if their cage is too large. I can make it bigger no problem, just looking for advice.
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Old 05-15-2019, 02:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Low quality as in the hedgehog typically smelled and was dirty. Often those were being fed a poor quality food as well.

I didn't mean to indicate your cage was less than ideal, just that I when I've seen it in any quantity it usually is with a hedgehog that came from less than ideal living situations with rescues I take in. Which is why I was wondering if it was only in older quills, nothing new, thinking maybe something in the cage damaged them when the quills were young. If there was a health episode during that time, it could have caused some to become damaged as well. Lots of ideas.

I have seen a couple on other hedgehogs, but never more than a couple. So odd quills (bent, flat, pinched, etc) can and do happen in just normal hedgehogs too.

If you have the ability to expand the cage, do so. Hedgehogs can and probably should have a much larger floor space than 4 sq feet, they like to roam around. They may be stressed initially by change, but they usually get over it as they get familiar with the new environment. I would never say a large space scares them, a large open space maybe is less than desirable, but you can add blankets, tubes etc to provide hiding spots to make it feel less scary while yet providing plenty of roaming around space.
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Old 05-15-2019, 05:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Got it! No I didn't think you were accusing, just wanted to clarify what poor living conditions were and see if you have any tips for my set up. 🙂 I've been thinking about increasing the size anyway and am more daunted by the fact I will have to get MORE fleece to fit as well as cut another sheet of cloroplast! I think my boyfriend is starting to think I'm a fleece hoarder. Hahaha maybe I'll tightly sew together some of my existing fleece... Project for the weekend! 🙂
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