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Old 06-25-2018, 12:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Hedgehog Biting Self For 3 months

Hello everyone,


I know this is a topic that's been visited and revisited here, and I've looked at multiple threads regarding this and I've tried several remedies and two vet visits to no avail and I'm at my wits end. I'm very much considering just giving up my poor hedgehog because I've put so much effort into this and it's not resolving and I don't think I can give anymore.



My hedgehog:

  • 2-year-old female African pygmy that I've had for over a year now.

Current Housing and Care: (Now, I also have a male hedgehog whom I've owned for 3 years and house similarly to my female hedgehog and my male hedgehog is totally and completely fine.)
  • Housing:
    • nice big plastic tub
    • paper bedding
    • Carolina Storm wheel
    • nice hidey-hole
    • I spot-clean their cages twice a day, do a complete clean-out every week, and bathe the hedgehogs every two weeks.
    • Both hedgehogs are in my second bedroom
  • Food:
    • Blue Buffalo Indoor Kitten Chicken kibble with a mix of real (unseasoned, but cooked) chicken and veggies.
My problem:

  • My hedgehog keeps biting herself around her neck area. It started back in late March for some reason. She bites herself, the wound scabs over, the tears open the wound again.
What I've done so far:
  • Wound care twice a day with:
    • vetericyn to clean the wound first
    • apply silvadene next (obtained from the first vet visit)
    • apply wheat Germ oil
  • I have tried also:
    • manuka honey a couple times (not consistently.)
    • comfort HC spray (obtained from the second vet visit)
  • I changed out her paper bedding to fleece.
  • I cut back on her food and supplied her with veggies to help cut back on the calories and help her lose weight. She's lost 50g over 3 months.
  • Whenever I hear her chewing on herself I hold her and try to get her to bit down on something else like a fleece blanket or a q-tip. I've held her for like an hour just trying to get her to stop chewing herself.
All this I've done with absolutely no resolution. She just bites herself all over again, even when she's nearly or completely healed. I'm so tired and frustrated I don't know what else to do.



Maybe it's stress? But I don't know what could be setting her off. I can't think of anything I changed or something new I introduced to my hedgehogs prior to when this whole thing started.



I don't think it's infected because it doesn't smell foul or looks red or inflamed (apart from the times she starts biting herself, but on days when she behaves, the wound looks good.)
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Old 06-25-2018, 07:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Im sorry to hear about your poor girl and have read other posts before going through a similar situation and even with the same neck area.

Is she overweight? As you mentioned about cutting her calories to lose weight. I'm pretty sure I read the other person's hedgie was also overweight. Could her skin be irritated from it rubbing perhaps?

Baths every 2 weeks is too much to usually bathe a hog. Once a month and footbaths as and when is what most people recommend.or do you have to bath more often due to the self mutilation? What do you use when you bath her? Also make sure your washing her fleece with non perfumed detergent suitable for sensitive skin. Most people also add distilled White vinegar to the rinse to help get rid of any residue on the fabric.

Have you always fed her blue buffalo? Perhaps she has developed an allergy to an ingredient in the food, which is causing her to react like that. Do you notice it happening more so after she eats or does it happen randomly? Might be worth trying to add in a new kibble (very slowly) or trying a raw diet to see if it helps at all. Requires a lot of research so just depends if you have the time to do something like that. I'm currently looking into doing it for my boy to help him lose some weight and just be healthier.

Can she be distracted by food when she wants to chew? Perhaps some insects (less fatty ones if she does need to lose weight).

I hope it settles soon ♡

Last edited by Yukidama's mama; 06-25-2018 at 07:41 AM.
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Old 06-25-2018, 01:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Have you taken her to the vet to rule out a bacterial or fungal infection that could be making her skin itchy? Often they will bite themselves if they are really itchy. You could also talk to the vet about getting something like benadryl to stop any itching while it heals.
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Old 06-28-2018, 11:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yukidama's mama View Post
Im sorry to hear about your poor girl and have read other posts before going through a similar situation and even with the same neck area.

Is she overweight? As you mentioned about cutting her calories to lose weight. I'm pretty sure I read the other person's hedgie was also overweight. Could her skin be irritated from it rubbing perhaps?


My response: She was at 750 gms, and I got her down to 699 g. The first time I took her to the vet, that is what he told me.



Baths every 2 weeks is too much to usually bathe a hog. Once a month and footbaths as and when is what most people recommend.or do you have to bath more often due to the self mutilation? What do you use when you bath her? Also make sure your washing her fleece with non perfumed detergent suitable for sensitive skin. Most people also add distilled White vinegar to the rinse to help get rid of any residue on the fabric.


My response:I use Johnson & Johnson Baby Wash for Sensitive Skin and I currently really like it because my other hedgehog had really bad dry skin and since I've used it. I've been using this shampoo on the both of them for about 1.5 years now.

I am not actually washing the fleece in detergent suitable for sensitive skin! But I don't want to put her back on the paper bedding. I'm worried whenever the little paper bits get stuck to her wound it bothers her and makes her want to bite it to attempt to remove the paper bits.


Have you always fed her blue buffalo? Perhaps she has developed an allergy to an ingredient in the food, which is causing her to react like that. Do you notice it happening more so after she eats or does it happen randomly? Might be worth trying to add in a new kibble (very slowly) or trying a raw diet to see if it helps at all. Requires a lot of research so just depends if you have the time to do something like that. I'm currently looking into doing it for my boy to help him lose some weight and just be healthier.


My response: Yes, she's been on that food for about 2 years. Though the chicken and veggies are a relatively new staple I've introduced. I am now slowly cutting them out of her diet.


Can she be distracted by food when she wants to chew? Perhaps some insects (less fatty ones if she does need to lose weight).



My response: I haven't been successful with distracting her from biting. I tried distracting her with food first, but she's never interesting in eating when I'm present. She will only eat when I'm not in the room.


I hope it settles soon ♡

Thank you for your response! I really appreciate it!
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Old 06-28-2018, 11:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikki View Post
Have you taken her to the vet to rule out a bacterial or fungal infection that could be making her skin itchy? Often they will bite themselves if they are really itchy. You could also talk to the vet about getting something like benadryl to stop any itching while it heals.

My response: I may actually consider taking her to the doctor one more time to ask for a wound culture. Though, I doubt it's validity since the culture may be contaminated because she bites and picks at the wound. Like, what if what comes up in the culture is bacteria from her mouth instead of what's actually on the wound? So I get an antibiotic to treat for something from her mouth rather than from the wound. I had a contamination issue with her over a "urinary tract infection" that turned out to be a uterine tumor.


The doctor gave me some comfort spray which has hydrocortisone to help with the inflammation, I try to use it whenever she has flare-ups and starts biting herself, because that's when the inflammation is the worst.



Thank you for your response! I really appreciate it!
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Old 06-29-2018, 03:43 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I would stop using the Johnson & Johnson baby wash, it's actually not very gentle and is very drying to their skin. A better alternative would be Aveeno Baby Wash as it has oatmeal in it which is very soothing to their skin.
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