Severe dry skin, quill loss, yellow scabs all over back - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 05-10-2016, 08:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Severe dry skin, quill loss, yellow scabs all over back

Hi,

Just a quick note - I have a vet appointment tomorrow, just looking for general advice and to see if anyone else has experienced a similar problem.

My little girl Emma has had a bad problem with dry skin recently - I believe the cause was winter/food change (company discontinued the food I had been giving her before). However, despite constant attempts at remedy (flax seed oil in food, finally found a new food with different ingredients/more moisture etc, flax seed oil directly on skin) her skin would always return to its dry state.

Recently she began to lose a lot more quills (this is when I scheduled the vet appointment) and I also noticed - within the last couple of days - horrible crusty yellow spots all over her back. It kind of looks like they're forming where some of her missing quills used to be.

Has anyone experienced this problem? Vet will do a skin scrape, but I wouldn't mind some input from the community. I stopped the flaxseed oil on skin treatments a week ago, spots showed up in the last couple of days, so I don't think it's flaky skin colored by the oil.

Some extra info - the breeder I bought Emma from was obviously very irresponsible (I unfortunately didn't do enough homework on her), and she cut Emma's quills without asking me. She lost most of her cut quills when she quilled, but there's still a few small ones. Could bacteria in these quills be the cause? This whole experience is breaking my heart. Emma's never been an angelic hedgehog, but now she physically flinches her body in when I try to touch her and it's breaking my heart.
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Old 05-11-2016, 08:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Bad mite infection, bacterial infection or possibly even a fungal infection... all of these can present in this manner. I'm leaning towards a bacterial infection. Skin infections can look like nothing more than a dry skin that won't go away. Eventually they will get bad enough that quill loss will become a major problem, and you'll start to see yellow crustiness (pus usually) forming around the base of the quills. Her behavior may be in part due to her skin hurts her. You may see a dramatic improvement once she has been healed.

Discontinue the oil completely (I know you have already). Far too often I see people suggest oil for dry skin. Which is fine, to a point. If the dry skin doesn't improve and continues to be a problem, then its always time for a veterinary visit to rule out other causes of flaky skin. Oil can actually make bacterial and fungal infections much worse as they hold the infection close to the skin and provide a nice moist environment for it to grow in.
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Old 05-11-2016, 09:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you for your reply! Vet trip is in a few hours. I'm leaning towards bacterial infection, but my roommate informed me that she had had a ringworm infection about a month ago (small spot on her back). The location seems to make it more unlikely it could have been passed to Emma (my roommate doesn't hold her that often because for some reason Emma doesn't like her)...but still. Emma's dry skin started developing about a month ago. Oh man that's going to be a headache if she has it.

And thank you for the tip about the oil. I had been using it per recommendations I saw on the forum, had no idea that it could increase the likelihood of infection. I'll probably refrain from using it directly on the skin altogether in the future, and just put it in her food.
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Old 05-11-2016, 09:37 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Oil on the back does have its moments where its a good thing to try out. Its a quick fix if they need some relief. But, in my experience, all it really does is cover the underlying issue that is causing the flaky skin. Its finding the underlying cause, whether its dry air, dietary, allergy, too many baths, quilling, etc there is usually something going on. It may be a hard to determine, but there is usually something.

I haven't experienced ringworm before, but they can get it. Good luck at the vet, post when you get results?
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Old 05-11-2016, 12:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Just got back from the vet. She did a fecal examination and examined some of the quills I brought in that Emma had lost and determined that it was mostly likely fungal infection (aka ringworm). I suspected it could be since my roommate had it...she prescribed a nice shampoo for Emma and told me it should clear up in 3-4 weeks.

Now I just have to do a bleach treatment with all of emma's fleece and bedding + cage. And the vet hinted pretty hard that I'd probably develop ringworm too so I'd need to handle Emma with gloves until it's cleared up. It's going to be a hassle but at least I know how to cure my poor Emma!
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Old 05-11-2016, 12:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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That's both good and bad news. At least you know what is going on and can take precautions to prevent its spread and cure you baby too.
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Old 05-11-2016, 01:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Exactly. And thank you for the advice! I've got a strong immune system, so hopefully I can resist the fungus until it's out of Emma's system. She already seems to be perking up post shampoo treatment #1.
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Old 05-12-2016, 08:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Emma is very fortunate to have such a caring and loving person in her life.
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