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-   -   Drastic quill loss and dryness of skin (https://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=26881)

mailiis 08-19-2013 10:12 AM

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 :sad:

So sorry for the long post:sad:

verucacherry 08-19-2013 01:10 PM

it certainly would not hurt to ask for Revolution and a skin scraping! I am currently going through something similar with my hedge. We have done the improved diet, mite treatment, use a humidifier, and spray her with humilac a couple times a week to soothe her skin (oils were not working for us on her food or on her, but humilac helped). She still loses anywhere from 1-10 quills nightly, and is starting to get sparse after two months of this. Hopefully someone else with more knowledge will be along soon!!!

It is so frustrating when you can't figure out how to help your little critters. The only other thing I could think is perhaps you could switch to fleece bedding? It seems like all the loose stuff really can be troublesome and cause extra dryness.

Lussy 09-09-2013 05:36 AM

unfortunately my sweet Unariccia is going thru the same issue :-(
on one spot of her back she's becoming balder and some of her quills show pimples with pus and/or blood crusts
I'm taking her to vet today...in 2 hours I have the appointment.
she has never had such an issue before and I didn't change anything in her diet, habits or household tools. what's wrong with her??
I'm so worried...also taking into consideration that in one week we will have to leave for a long journey by car to Italy from the Netherlands.
bad... bad timing! :'(

Lilysmommy 09-09-2013 08:35 AM

49 Attachment(s)
My first thought is skin infection - a bacterial infection or something. Could your vets (both OP and Lussy) test for that? I know I've seen mentions of hormone-caused quill loss (I think from Nancy), but I believe that case was a female hedgehog. Maybe Nancy will pop over here & have more to add. I'm not sure I have any more ideas, unfortunately. Poor hedgies!

Lussy 09-09-2013 08:59 AM

indeed the vet just prescribed her both oral and topic antibiotics (Stronghold)...hope it will work.
I'll keep you posted.
tnx!

mailiis 01-04-2014 02:48 PM

I am happy to say that Houdini is almost recovered, he has no bald spots, he's quills are still a little bit sparce.

Shortly after I posted here, he's skin got better and he was no longer flaky, also he stopped losing quills. About two months after that, he got he's first new quill, I was so happy to see it. After that new quills started to come in slowly, 2-4 new ones each day. Two weeks ago all of a sudden, I saw hundreds of new quills coming in, now they are all full grown quills. Now he gets a fiew new ones every day, and I am sure that soon my hedgey will have all his quills back.

Turns out, that he did have nutrient deficency, and not mites. I did not ask for Revolution, since he got better after I posted, but if he had gotten worse, I would have asked my vet for Revolution. I did change he's bedding to fleece liner, he likes it and it is more convenient for me too (less cleaning and it does not get stuck in he's quills). I still give him Sunshine Factor, but I am not sure, how long I should continue it, I think I will give it to him untill he's quills are all back, and then ask my vet, what to do next.

Although it is winter and the air is dry (due to electric heater), he's skin is really good, not flakey at all, so I think all the flakeyness he has ever had, was not due to dry air, but the nutrient deficiency.

To all of you out there, having similar problems (and you are sure, that it is not a skin disease or mites), just be patient, because recovery can take a really long time. For my hedgehog, it was nearly a year. I do regret that I did not give him Sunshine Factor right away, when he's skin was just really flakey. Next time I won't make that mistake again. Hope you will learn from my mistakes :)

Annie&Tibbers 01-04-2014 03:41 PM

I am glad you posted a follow-up on what's happened, and I'm absolutely thrilled that your little guy is making such an amazing recovery!


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