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Old 02-11-2016, 01:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Itchy Hedgehog!

I've had Edna since October of 2015 (I don't remember exactly how old she was, but I think she was about 15 weeks), so now I think she's about 6 months old. I've never noticed any scratching before, but last night at about 4 am I woke up to what sounded like her scratching. I use aspen chips for her bedding, but have never had issues with it before. Could it be that her skin is just getting dry due to the weather, or should I be worried that it's something else? I try not to give her baths all that often to prevent drying her skin out, but maybe she's dirty and that's why she's scratching? She's too young to be quilling yet, I think.
(When I get home tonight I can take pictures of her quills to see if they're too thin. She looks fine to me but since she's my first hedgie I'm not 100% sure)
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Old 02-11-2016, 04:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Get a good look at her skin. Look for any crusty buildup, flaky or ashy skin, check for any scratches or abrasions.
Are you applying anything to her skin? Is it a new bag of bedding, and are you putting it in the freezer for at least 24 hours before it goes in the cage?
When was the last time she had a bath? Any new foods in her diet?

Yes depending on how your cage and house is heated the air could just be drier, and it could be drying out her skin a bit and making her on the itchy side. But any of the things I listed at the top could be indicative of some bigger issue than dry air.
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Old 02-11-2016, 04:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My hedgehog was very itchy when he was dirty. He was on Yesterday's News bedding and it was clearly dusty for him over many months (this was before he came to me) and I thought his skin looked kinda funny, a little bit white-dust coated. I gave him a pretty thorough bath for the first time in his life and noticed his skin changed colour entirely (became a nice dark grey, as it should be) and he stopped itching!

Sometimes I feel if it's been like 6-8 months without a bath, they can get dust and urine bits in their skin due to how they run on the wheel and just need a nice warm bath with some Aveeno.

However, definitely check for mites and quill loss!
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Old 02-11-2016, 09:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think it is just dry skin, because her aspen stuff has never given her a problem before. As you can see, she has plenty of quills in most places, but there are a few thin patches with very dry skin.

I'll give her a nice oatmeal bath tonight.
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Old 02-11-2016, 10:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Okay, I just gave her an oatmeal bath and rinsed her with water with a little bit of olive oil in it (as this post recommends: http://hedgehogheadquarters.com/secure/bathing.htm).
Her skin looks a little better already from what I can tell, although when I look through her quills it still looks a little ashy. Maybe I need to bathe her more frequently?
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Old 02-11-2016, 10:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twobytwopets View Post
Get a good look at her skin. Look for any crusty buildup, flaky or ashy skin, check for any scratches or abrasions.
Are you applying anything to her skin? Is it a new bag of bedding, and are you putting it in the freezer for at least 24 hours before it goes in the cage?
When was the last time she had a bath? Any new foods in her diet?

Yes depending on how your cage and house is heated the air could just be drier, and it could be drying out her skin a bit and making her on the itchy side. But any of the things I listed at the top could be indicative of some bigger issue than dry air.

Her skin does look a little ashy, but less so than it did before her bath (check photos)
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Her quills are thin, sparse quills in spots.
So let's go back. You are using aspen bedding, are you freezing it for at least 24 hours prior to putting in the cage?
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Old 02-12-2016, 12:46 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twobytwopets View Post
Her quills are thin, sparse quills in spots.
So let's go back. You are using aspen bedding, are you freezing it for at least 24 hours prior to putting in the cage?
No, I've never heard of doing that. Is that to cleanse it?
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Old 02-12-2016, 01:06 AM   #9 (permalink)
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It's to kill off mites that may be living in it.
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Old 02-12-2016, 02:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Bathing is a temporary solution. You can bathe, or add a topical to her back and it will provide nearly immediate relief, but its mostly just masking whatever is causing the underlying problem and could potentially make it worse. Lots of things can cause dry skin like this, anything from something simple like her bedding is drying out her skin, to a parasite infestation or a bacterial infection.

You talk about scratching. Is it a frantic, quick scratch or does it sound more lazy, drawn out?

There are a couple of spots I would call small bald spots in those images. Her quills shouldn't have patches where you can see so easily through them. Its hard to tell, but I think I can see build up around the base of a few of them

I know you don't think its mites, but I recommend a veterinary visit to have a skin scraping done. If not mites, she may have a bacterial or yeast infection that is causing the overly dry skin and patchy quills. Once those are ruled out, then you need to consider environmental and dietary issues. Bedding could dry her skin or she may even be allergic to it, humidity in the house may be too low, she may need higher levels of fatty acids in her diet, etc. All things you can discuss with your veterinarian.
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