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Old 07-21-2019, 11:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 2 year old dropping quills

My 2 year old hedgehog is on the tail end of a 2 month treatment on enerofloxacin for a rather aggressive tooth abscess. She is doing wonderfully at this point: the abscess has cleared, she is eating more than ever, and she is generally happy to be handled. This week, though, she has started dropping quills. There are no patches of missing quills at this point, and I’m finding somewhere between 2-4 quills a day all with the bulbs intact. She isn’t acting agitated or like her skin is irritating her. Is it possible that the medicine is causing the periodic quilling? Her poop has been intermittently green throughout the duration of her medication, which is what I have expected, but the quills are a mystery to me.
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Old 07-22-2019, 10:22 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Are you seeing new quills poking through? Any redness or dry skin?

I don't know that I've ever seen fur loss as a potential side effect of enrofloxacin. But its always a possibility that an individual will react differently than others to any drug. You can always call your veterinarian's office to inquire if hair loss is a possible side effect of long term use.

However, stress can cause quill loss and it can be quite a large amount. I had a girl who nearly bit a portion of her tongue off. After her recovery, she started dropping quills for about 6-8 weeks and there were times where I found 100 in a day. Her quill coat got thin, but there were always new quills poking through.
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Old 07-23-2019, 09:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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She does have some little quills poking through! She was very cooperative tonight and let me have a more thorough look at her. Her skin is flaking everywhere, but appears to be a normal color. I went ahead and brushed a little olive oil into her quills. I’m going to call the vet tomorrow and plan on giving her a good oatmeal bath with some coconut oil this weekend. I don’t particularly want to put her under anesthesia again so soon after the last visit to do a skin scraping for mites if we can help it.
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Old 07-24-2019, 09:49 AM   #4 (permalink)
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New quills is good news! Sounds like a stress related quilling could very well be the issues.

I'm in agreement with you regarding skin scraping. If she starts to have additional symptoms of mites or a bacterial infection, then yes, get her in ASAP. Otherwise I'd delay it too, no need for that extra stress so long as it looks like she's just having a stress related quilling.

If it is stress related quilling, you may see the quill loss go from 2-4 a day to handfuls and it may last for a while. You may have mornings where you think its impossible for her to have any left on her body, as you find so many in her cage.

Also, be careful with giving bathes too often, it can be drying to the skin as it can wash off the natural oils. With mine, to help keep skin supple in cases like this I add a couple of drops of vitamin E oil to their back and rump area. E is very sticky and thick so be careful with how much you put on, but it spreads out nicely and lasts a long time.
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Old 07-24-2019, 08:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I typically only bathe her when I absolutely have to (every couple of months, usually), but she did get a bath midway through the medicine since she ended up wearing a good bit of her emeraid that I was syringe feeding. Her skin actually looks a lot better today with the olive oil! I added a bit more tonight in the problem areas, and saw quite a bit new quill growth. I think you’re probably right about the stress! I have some vitamin E oil that I can try, but it definitely is a heavier oil and my bottle tends to leak. Thank you for your advice!
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Old 07-24-2019, 11:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Oh I’m sorry to hear about your baby girl but glad she is recovering from the nasty abscess. It sounds like that alone could be the cause of the quill loss as I’m sure it put her under a lot of stress and pain.

My boy is 2.5 years old and previously had a diagnosis of gingivitis. He is also losing quills ever since this all started last fall. We’ve been back to the vets several times since and the vet thinks his gums look much better than before but he’s still having same problems just not as bad. The quill loss is the only thing getting worse.

Can I ask how the abscess was diagnosed? Was it just obvious from the outside of the mouth or did your girl display symptoms, if so what were they? I’m worried my boy’s problem hasn’t been properly treated and something else is going on. His mouth looks a bit lumpy from the outside but the vet has never been concerned by it and he also has quite smelly breath. Other symptoms are periodically vomiting or foaming and the quill loss.

Hope your girl fully recovers soon. Go easy on using any oils on the skin, perhaps just use a drop in the rinse water would be sufficient. That’s what I previously did to treat dry skin. Oil can clog the pores not allowing the skin to breath and if it’s not due to stress and is a skin infection it could make it worse. Hopefully after she’s finished her medication it will calm down.
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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She actually formed a massive lump on her neck overnight. We aren’t entirely sure if the abscess was a tooth (I think it might have been a superworm bite, and the vet noticed a red mark on the inside of her mouth that could have been the point of origin). She was acting abnormally during the day, so I checked on her and voila! massive lump. Her eye was bulging and she spun towards the lump when she tried to walk. I was actually about to call her vet the next week because she had been picking at her dry food. We went to the emergency hospital that day (Sunday) and admitted her on Tuesday when she started vomiting uncontrollably. That Wednesday they did a CT and an ultrasound guided biopsy. We started enrofloxacin and meloxicam (an NSAID) at the hospital the first day and added in a GI protectant after the vomiting episode. Her teeth and gums have looked great the whole time, so I really think we’re lucky that the abscess presented as it did. A CT is a better option than an X-ray for a potential abscess, but the cost is a bit extreme. It was very scary towards the beginning, but honestly once I got her back on Wednesday and they had drained some of the abscess, her behavior improved immensely. 2 months later, she’s up a solid 30 grams in weight and is gobbling food down (no more superworms!!) like a champ. (I added some photos of her during the process. The first is day 2 I believe. The second is after the fine needle aspirate (never thought I’d have a shaved hedgie!). The third is recent and mostly just adorable). We went to NC State University’s veterinary school for her care. They were fantastic and so knowledgeable about exotics. I called a bunch of emergency vets around me in tears after I found the lump, and they gently guided me there. If you have a good vet school nearby, they may be a good place to reach out to!
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Old 07-26-2019, 09:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
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That was a pretty nasty infection, no wonder her body was stressed.

I have had a couple who had really nasty tumor looking wounds show up like that now. One had it in the part of his mouth under his tongue (he quit eating, running, gave up on life over night), and one of my current kids had a large swelling show up in her lower jaw. Both were firm but the FNA showed infection. Both hedgehogs were marathon runners, and tended to be slobs requiring extra attention to keep their cages clean.

Never really knew what caused the issues, neither of those hedgehogs ate anything but kibble, but I have often wondered or thought maybe they poked themselves with a dirty quill and an infection set in due to it. But man are those swellings scary when they pop up like that, my heart just sinks since I've seen way too much cancer over the years with these little ones. Always happy for an infection diagnosis.
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Old 07-26-2019, 07:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The vet was pretty certain it was going to be cancer when we went in for the CT. Her discharge papers from the initial emergency visit said abscess once (under the differential diagnosis) and cancer five times. I started crying on the phone when they told me there were fluid pockets out of sheer relief. She has also been amazing with her medicine, which has been a miracle on its own. Now we just have to get through this quilling!
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Old 07-31-2019, 10:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Update: my optimism was mostly just denial I guess. I just found mites in her roaches, so I’m certain that’s where she got them. I’m super freaked out about it and just threw all her feeder insects away. She has a bowl of worms for tonight, but everything will be replaced once we are on revolution. I’m calling her vet in the morning.
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