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Old 09-18-2013, 03:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dry, flaky skin, losing quills and dry feet

My hedgie has been grumpy lately, and especially since yesterday my cat knocked over the cat grass pot on her, she balled up and was clicking for the first time ever. I handled her, she went back into ball mode and was clicking for 10 mins. Today, I took out her hut, she balled up (which she doesn't normally do, maybe she's suddenly scared of me) So I got her to calm down, I picked her up and she balled up again. I looked close at her skin, it's dry and flaky.. flakes at the root of her quills, too.

I have been putting vitamin E oil on her, I only so far did it twice last week. But she's also losing quills! She gradually loses them. Like every time I pick her up, she loses a couple, and there are always a couple in her cage. I'm realllly not sure if she's quilling or not, and I don't really see any new quills? There are no bald spots or anything like that.

Also - another concern of mine. Dry feet? Is this normal?
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Old 09-18-2013, 03:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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How old is she? If she's not around quilling age, it could be mites. When the quills fall out can you see the follicle bulb at the end? If not, that could be a sign of mites. Are there any little red dots or crustiness around where the quill falls out?
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Old 09-18-2013, 05:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yes, there are bulbs on every quill. And no, no red dots. No crustiness. And I think she's 5 to 6 months? the pet store was unsure.. they're never reliable!
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Old 09-18-2013, 05:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Since you don't know her exact age it's possible it's quilling. Some hedgies have a second quilling around 6 months, so that could be what's going on. If it's not quilling, I don't really have any advice. Maybe someone more experienced will chime in here.
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Old 09-18-2013, 06:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The bulb-thing is a myth -- quills having a bulb could still be mites. It could also be a skin infection? (That's based entirely on Lillysmommy's usual response to this type of post!)
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Old 09-18-2013, 06:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Agreed on the bulb-thing, but it doesn't sound like mites to me...you'd see a lot of quill loss, as well as bald patches starting to form once it gets really bad, and frantic scratching. With it only being a few quills, and with no abnormal signs on the skin (like red spots, crustiness, pus, etc.), I'd place my bet on dry skin and/or a minor 6-month quilling (unless you do start noticing bald spots appearing). I do like to suggest skin infections as a possibility because they never seem to get considered with bad quill loss. But there's usually more signs besides just quill loss, or at least there was in the experiences I had with Lily.

There's a couple more things you can try to see if it helps with the flakiness or with her attitude (though she might take a couple more days to calm down from the cat experience). Oatmeal baths can help with dry skin and with quilling pain/grumpiness. Oil on the food and on the hedgie does help too, though that's usually a long-term/slower method. There's a product for cats/dogs called Humilac that's gotten more popular lately, and most reports I've seen say that it works very well and quickly.

Even though it does sound like dry skin/quilling to me at first glance...do keep an eye out for any other signs such as frantic scratching, bald spots appearing, red spots, crustiness, other odd colors, or pus. Any of those might point to something more serious, like mites or an infection. If you do start suspecting an infection at some point, stop oil on the skin right away, since that can seal up the skin pores and make an infection worse.
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilysmommy View Post
Agreed on the bulb-thing, but it doesn't sound like mites to me...you'd see a lot of quill loss, as well as bald patches starting to form once it gets really bad, and frantic scratching. With it only being a few quills, and with no abnormal signs on the skin (like red spots, crustiness, pus, etc.), I'd place my bet on dry skin and/or a minor 6-month quilling (unless you do start noticing bald spots appearing). I do like to suggest skin infections as a possibility because they never seem to get considered with bad quill loss. But there's usually more signs besides just quill loss, or at least there was in the experiences I had with Lily.

There's a couple more things you can try to see if it helps with the flakiness or with her attitude (though she might take a couple more days to calm down from the cat experience). Oatmeal baths can help with dry skin and with quilling pain/grumpiness. Oil on the food and on the hedgie does help too, though that's usually a long-term/slower method. There's a product for cats/dogs called Humilac that's gotten more popular lately, and most reports I've seen say that it works very well and quickly.

Even though it does sound like dry skin/quilling to me at first glance...do keep an eye out for any other signs such as frantic scratching, bald spots appearing, red spots, crustiness, other odd colors, or pus. Any of those might point to something more serious, like mites or an infection. If you do start suspecting an infection at some point, stop oil on the skin right away, since that can seal up the skin pores and make an infection worse.
Very helpful reply, thank you!
I was thinking of purchasing the Aveeno oatmeal bath formula for her certainly. I think it will surely help. And I'll also look into Humilac.

Oh! and, also as of late my hedgie has been having a habit of biting my fingers.. She bit me at least 4 times! And my grandmother, too. Today when I handled her, she was approaching my fingers and was about to give me a little nibble, I quickly pulled away. I wonder why! I have no odd scent on my skin
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:20 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Aveeno is perfect for when you need soap! It may help with the skin as well, but what I was talking about (and I should've specified more, sorry) was just getting old-fashioned whole oatmeal, and put some in a sock or nylon, then squish it in the water until it gets cloudy. Nice & simple! But like I said, the soap might help as well, and is definitely a better choice for when they're dirty & need a good cleaning.

Do you ever hand feed any treats, or have you ever? I wonder if she's started associating fingers with food. I'm not sure other than that...I'm pretty inexperienced with nibbly animals, any time Lily bit me, there was a pretty clear reason. I know I've seen people mention that some hedgies are just mouthy and the best way to deal with it is to keep whatever they like to bite (like fingers) away from their mouth as best as you can.
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