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Old 02-10-2014, 07:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation severe spine loss

Hello.

Batman is now 5 months old. We recently started renovating the kitchen and I have noticed that he has been losing quills at a fast rate (13+ quills a night). I don't know if it could possibly be stress or quilling (even though he is 5 months now). It isn't mites. He gets revolution monthly as a preventative since there is a dog in the house.
The vets in my area aren't greatly familiar with hedgehogs. He took a look at batman (didn't do a skin scrapping or anything) and said he looks healthy and baby hedgehogs tend to lose their quills. He is currently eating purina one cat food and I've been trying to switch him over yo blue buffalo for a little over a month now but too much doesn't agree with his stomach. I give him flax seed oil as well and the vet keeps telling me to switch to sunshine factor. What can I do? Does anyone know what this may be?
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Also, batman has severely flakey dry skin
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Sounds like quilling to me. I did a lot of research when my little guy (Slick) started losing his quills. It turned out to be mites in my case, but everything I read said they can quill as late as a year old, though that is rare (Slick is 1 1/2). As far as the dry skin, oatmeal baths (use a sock as a kind of tea bag to infuse the water without getting oats on Batman), and also a few drops of olive oil, vitamin e oil, or flaxseed oil in his rinse water when you bathe him, will help. From my reading, it's supposed to help when they're quilling too, but handle him carefully, since growing that many new quills at once can make them tender. Good luck hope I helped.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Where is his cage in relation to the kitchen? Is there just a lot of noise or are there new materials that could potentially be giving off strong or toxic odors (like glue, new wallpaper, etc.)? Even just the noise could definitely be disturbing and stressing him since I'm assuming work is going on during the day, when he needs to be sleeping. Do you have a friend or family member that might be able to let him stay at their place for a few days & see if he does better in a quieter environment?

5 months is a pretty weird time for quilling. Usually the last baby quilling is at 12 weeks, and sometimes there's a small 6 month quilling, but it's not usually very big, as far as I know. I'd be hesitant to write it off as quilling unless you rule out stress or a skin infection. If the vets are unfamiliar with hedgehogs, you may have to be an advocate for him and explain that he's losing an unusual number of quills and that you'd like a skin scraping done to rule out bacterial and fungal infections. But moving him to a quieter environment (if possible) might be a good first step.

Sunshine Factor isn't bad, though it's possible the vet is just trying to sell it to you for the money. But it was popular on the forum a few years ago as a supplement to the food for dry skin. It does help, but tends to take a while to actually notice the helpful effects.

If he doesn't agree with the Blue Buffalo, might be a good idea to look around for another brand to try. There's lots of other good ones out there that he (and his stomach) might like better! I would suggest also avoiding Wellness though - it tends to be too rich for some hedgies and is known for causing loose, stinky poops.
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Old 02-10-2014, 07:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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He is in the living room. We have an open floor plan between the kitchen and living room. I had him in the basement for the first week of renovations when the smells were strong but I noticed that he started freaking out to every little sound and even tried hibernating even with his che and 77 degrees in his cage. So once the harsh smells were gone I moved him back upstairs. The noise is between 5-8 pm daily and weeekends.
What do you recommend feeding him? I know there's a list of good dey cat foods but I want something recommended and not just something I pick from a list. I gavw him an oatmeal bath last night and he lost nearly 25 quills in the sink alone. His skin doesn't seem red or irritated, just flakey. 1 more week until renovations end.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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A lot of people like Chicken Soup, though Lily never ate it. She loved her Solid Gold kibble, but I seem to recall people mentioning recently that it's changed a bit...I can't remember for sure. Natural Balance is another good brand, Lily liked the Green Pea & Duck formula, but that one's not always popular with all hedgies. Food's kind of tricky to recommend since different people have different things available to them & every hedgie has different tastes. If you have a Petco near you, they allow you to return opened bags of food with the receipt as long as there's half of the bag or more left. So that'd be a great place to go looking, just in case he has issues with the next one you try, or if he doesn't want to try it. Other stores may do the same, just ask one of the employees.
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:40 AM   #7 (permalink)
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That's great. Thank you for the information. It really helped. The reason I think batman is quilling is because there appear ti be a lot of new quills growing on him while old ones are falling out at an alarming rate. Do you think it is ok to continue using flax seed oil on his skin while he eats aunshine factor?
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Old 02-11-2014, 01:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You should really only need one oil source at a time, so either feed or putting on his skin one of: flaxseed oil, olive oil, palm oil (sunshine factor), coconut oil, or vitamin E oil. I don't know if more than one would actually be harmful, aside from maybe getting him chubby...

Hedgehogs do regrow lost quills, so he could be regrowing them because he's loosing so many. ie, he's losing them because there's a problem, and he's regrowing them because he's loosing them, but without solving the problem, he'll lose them, too.
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