Quilling and losing fur on face-4 month old - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 05-03-2014, 12:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Quilling and losing fur on face-4 month old

So I'm a first time hedgie owner and I've been reading the forums like an addict for the past several months trying to do everything I possibly can to take care of him.

He's been quilling on and off for the past 2 months that I've had him, which as far as I understand is normal. There are no bald spots regarding his quills, they've actually come in really well and I haven't had any problems with broken or ingrown quills whatsoever. He sheds a bunch every night, but they fill in just as fast.

What I'm concerned about is that over the past week or two he's lost a lot of the fur around his face. Not his snout, but around his eyes and brow. He has almost no hair on his face until you get past the eyeline, and even then it's pretty sparse. When he was younger, it was fully fluffy and normal so I know it's not typical for him. I haven't been able to get him to sit still for a photo (ever, he really dislikes the camera and I don't even use the flash). I'll try again if requested, but it will likely be blurry.

He still has some fur on his belly and sides, it's not bald (although it may be thinner than I'd like it to be). I'm terrified it might be mites or an infection, but there's no redness or bald spots in the quill areas.

Everything I've been reading points to the only alternative being dry skin or stress. He has had really dry skin and I was doing my best to keep him clean (baby shampoo and using a couple drops of olive oil directly on the skin after previously). Starting tonight I'm doing oatmeal baths with a couple drops of olive oil in the water, and leaving a couple of drops in his food. I've been reading up here and there that the baby shampoo isn't the most sensitive thing for a hedgehog's skin so I'm doing what I can. The last few days there haven't been any skin flakes in his cage, but before a few days ago there were (especially the first couple of days he really starts to shed and regrow quills).

His cage (and the entire room) stays between 75 and 77 degrees, he gets a steady light/dark cycle and he's running, pooping, peeing, eating, has bright eyes, and is always warm to the touch. I use fleece liners and keep his cage clean, wash his food bowls and wheel every night, etc... I use darker colored liners so I can tell how much he's shedding or if he has any dry skin. Aside from the fur loss and the general grumpiness (which he always is during his quilling phases), he appears to be pretty friendly.

Could the fur loss be simply due to dry skin? I haven't done a home skin scraping for mites yet. Everything I've read says that they lose quills as well as fur if it's mites?

I was hoping to wait until after he was done quilling to bring him to get a vet checkup, but I'm thinking maybe this is something I need to get checked out by a pro.

Any insight would be great, I'm a super paranoid new hedgie momma and I just want him healthy.
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Old 05-08-2014, 05:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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So, it's been 6 days and 40-some odd views later, no responses. I figure people are busy, or what I've described isn't super-abnormal for hedgehogs. But I'd still be interested in input.

So here's the update. I took him to a vet, for a wellness check and to see if the hair loss and dry skin is something I should be worrying about like I have been.

I can't say I was particularly impressed with how they handled him, it's the first time I've ever seen him ball up since the first week I had him. And even the first week I had him he didn't stay balled up for more than a few seconds at a time. Needless to say, he was a pretty grumpy hoglet during and after the visit.

Over the past week I have been heeding some of the advice I found around the forum for similar situations, including using a vinegar rinse on his liners and cozies, only using tap water or oatmeal baths for his cleanliness, only using vinegar/water solutions to take care of his cage cleaning/decontamination, and adding a few drops of olive oil to his food to try and mitigate the dry skin.

Like I said, he is quilling and I don't doubt that part of that dry skin is the result. But just in case, we're also treating him for mites. I didn't have him undergo a skin scraping at this point due to how upset he was (I didn't want to have to put him through sedation on top of everything else at this point). So for now, we're treating him with Revolution and if it doesn't improve over the next couple of weeks I'll be taking him back for a skin scraping and to check for a fungal infection.

Any other insight or experience would be helpful.
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Old 05-08-2014, 06:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have no experience with this, but do you have a picture?
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Old 05-08-2014, 08:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I can try to get one soon. He's very camera shy...
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Old 05-09-2014, 01:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Sorry you aren't finding an answer. People tend to not respond if they haven't experienced it or don't know. It helps cut down on bad advice or useless responses.
I haven't experienced the hair loss on the face either. I have one hedgie that seems to go through shedding phases where there seems to be an abnormal amount of belly fur all over everything for a few weeks, then back to normal.
Does the skin look healthy?
Maybe an allergy?

It sounds like you are doing things right with care and research.

A picture will be helpful we all like pictures anyway. Then we can have a better idea of how abnormal it is looking.

And welcome to the forum!

Last edited by AngelaH; 05-09-2014 at 01:55 AM.
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