Hedgie with scabbing/swelling at corners of the mouth - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hedgie with scabbing/swelling at corners of the mouth

Hello, first time posting here. I have lurked over the last year and finally registered. I knew I would at some point, but I didn't think it would be when seeking health questions!

We got our hedgie Oscar in late October. He was born September 8th so he's almost three months old.

About five days ago we noticed he had some crusty stuff in the corners of his mouth, one side a little more than the other. It didn't look like blood, it looked more brown like maybe it was residual throw up (we traveled with him back to my hometown for Thanksgiving) or some dried food - it just wasn't very dark. We tried to get it off but he struggled and decided to wait it out and see if it would go away and we would clean it the next night when we got home.

We came back home and cleaned it off a good amount and it appears to be sores or maybe the corners of his mouth are really raw? We haven't been able to get him to open his mouth and take a look inside to see if it is tooth/gum related. One night it was relatively swollen on one side, we cleaned it off and he didn't seem bothered by it.

He has been eating well up until the last couple nights where he has ate relatively less, roughly about .75-1 tbs of food, when he normally eats about 1-1.5 tbs. His poops seem to be normal, he's not lethargic.

I have looked around his cage, fleece, wheel, everything I can think of and nothing looks like it's been chewed on...

At this point, I don't know whether to continue waiting to see if it will naturally heal or take him to a vet. I'm going to monitor his food and water consumption and everything. We'll see what it looks like in the morning.
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:22 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I have no idea, and good luck.

One trick I've read for doing mouth-inspections is to offer a q-tip (either plain or with something tasty on it) to see if they'll bite down on it and give you a better view.

Try to watch him eat, see if he shows any indications of pain. Maybe offer him pre-crushed kibble or soft foods to see if he's eating less kibble due to pain? (Or it could be growth-spurt related; he could be nearing the end of a growth cycle and eating a bit less.)

I hope he heals up fast! And that someone with actual knowledge & experience comes by to offer ideas.
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Old 12-06-2013, 05:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input.

It didn't seem to get much better over night after my original post. We took a q-tip with some banana on it and he licked it, never bit it, but we were able to run it around his mouth and took a look at his gums and teeth. They seem to be great, which is somewhat of a relief for me.

What I think I've narrowed it down to would be the equivalent of chapped lips/cracked lips in the corners of his mouth. As it is now winter and it's gotten really dry around here lately, I think he's suffering from something similar to dry skin/chapped lips. He seems to be plenty active, eating well, pooping well, etc.

The partner and I took a q-tip with some coconut oil on it and rubbed it on the corners of his mouth. He seemed to do fine with it, didn't really care to lick at them.

This morning it definitely looked better than it did last night and yesterday. We put some more coconut oil on him this morning and I bought some flaxseed oil caplets to drip onto some of his food and possibly use when bathing him.

I'll try to keep this updated. If it doesn't seem better by Sunday night, I will DEFINITELY be taking him to the vet on Monday. I just don't want these sores/cracks to get infected. Seems ok so far, though.
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Old 12-06-2013, 05:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Nice! I hope that your solution works out. Along with coconut oil and flaxseed, olive oil is also hedgehog-safe, as is vitamin E (which you can sometimes get as gel capsules)

If it does turn out to be dry extreme dryness, maybe you could get a humidifier to help him? I live in a temperate rainforest (yay PNW!) so have this "too dry" thing is a myth of far-off places, so I'm not the best to give advice about it. Maybe someone with northeastern hedgehog experience (Nancy?) could comment on if this seems winter-dry related?
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yeah, here in Bellingham it's usually not quite as dry as it has been this week.

Last week when we went home for the holidays it was to Wenatchee, WA, which is a lot more dry than on the west side here.

I will be watching over his mouth and skin situation pretty closely for the next few days. If his skin shows that it is still too dry, I will probably look into getting a humidifier. Thanks for the tips!
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