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Old 04-27-2020, 02:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Consistent skin infections/itchiness - very frustrated owner

Hi there,

I will apologize in advance for my lengthy post, but at this point I don't know else what to do. Please help in any way you can!

Hickory is my two year old hedgehog and we have been dealing with consistent skin infections and obesity for quite some time now. I am getting very frustrated with myself for not being able to help him. His weight has been an ongoing issue for a year or so and the skin infections are a new development over the past two months, which I am aware is more than likely correlated. I'll try to keep this short, but there is a bit of history I need to share. I'll start with the skin infections.

Over the past several weeks I spent well over $1200 on vet visits and various medicines. And at this point he seems to have plateaued and not making progress in healing. It has been a fair amount of trial and error on the vet's part (understandable as it can be the same with humans). It started with Hickory biting and tugging his skin so badly that he drew blood and caused a wound/scab to form. The first time he healed no problem, and within 2 days of it clearing up he tore himself up again. The attacks have become more frequent and this last week he only irritated the area a little bit compared to previously. That is until last night, he was clearly busy and did another number on his skin nearly doubling the affected area. I am beyond frustrated and every time it breaks my heart a little more.

Right now his medicines include three oral medicines: antibiotics (Clavamox), antifungal (ketoconazole), anti-inflammatory/pain (meloxidyl), a topical antifungal gel (micazole), and a medicated soap. I stopped using the soap after 2 uses because he seemed to be messing with the spot more after baths, but clearly it didn't matter. I'm wondering if he's built up an immunity to some of the medicines and that's why he seems to be messing with his skin every couple of days and reopening the wounds. Or perhaps a food allergy?


His weight has been an ongoing issue as well, but for longer and is most likely causing the infections. And this has been his diet:

Before all of this happened I was feeding him Wellness Complete Health: grain free cat food ( https://www.chewy.com/wellness-compl...ural/dp/141779 ).

The vet of course recommended Mazuri hedgehog food ( https://www.chewy.com/mazuri-hedgeho...food/dp/218007 ) which based on research and what I've read on this site is not recommended by hedgehog owners. But I was willing to give it a try if it meant we could get his weight under control.

Reading through other threads about obesity in hedgehogs I saw recommendations for Chicken Soup for the Soul wight & Mature ( https://www.chewy.com/chicken-soup-s...care/dp/191832 ).

I've been doing a mixture of Mazuri and Chicken Soup foods, but I'm wondering if it's an allergic reaction to one or the other?

He is picky and not interested in any fruits or veggies I try to feed him. He will eat crickets, but I avoid them because I don't want to give him too many treats.

Also a few disclaimers:
Yes he was tested for mites.
I was using paper bedding but switched to only using pee pads to stop bedding from getting stuck in his sore.
He is still eating and drinking normally.
His poop is normal.
For the most part his temperament has been consistently good, but today in particular he is grumpy which is understandable because he has a new sore.

I'm sorry again for the long post, but I am feeling pretty desperate and I want my little guy to start feeling better.

Thank you for any tips you can provide!
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Old 04-27-2020, 09:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm not qualified to help much with this, but one thing I do know is that all hedgehog food is terrible, and is probably causing more harm than good to your hedgie. The ingredients are not good at all for hedgies, they're absolutely rubbish.
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Old 04-27-2020, 10:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The first thought that comes to mind is a culture and sensitivity test. Has your vet run one of these yet? Doing a culture off of a skin scraping would at least test for bacteria/fungal infection and tell you what it was and what drug treats it best if it is indeed an infection and not an allergy issue.
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Old 04-29-2020, 12:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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ChloeMali, Yes, thank you for the input and like I said I have done my research and I am aware that it is not recommended by hedgehog owners and the ingredients are not ideal. I also mentioned that I am desperate and willing to try anything to help him a) feel better and b) lose weight.

Kalandra, The vet has done skin cytology to look for bacterial and fungal infections. Last time I was there the yeast (and bacteria for the most part) appeared to have cleared, but within a day of being home he tore his skin up again.
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Old 04-29-2020, 12:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I apologize if I offended you or something, that wasn't my intention. I just felt that perhaps the food might be making your Hedgehog more unhappy, but again, I'm not qualified to give anything else than my personal opinion.
Again, I'm sorry if I seemed offensive.
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Old 04-29-2020, 05:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Just to be clear in my mind, they did a cytology, or they did a cytology and a culture and sensitivity test off of the sample? If it was only a cytology, ask to have it culture done. If they did both previously, it may be worth having a new culture done just in case something new has popped up.

I ask this because I had a hedgehog (one of my very first 25 years ago) who had an infection on his back. Doc did a skin scrape and saw bacteria and prescribed a commonly used antibiotic. It worked, to a degree. The infection came back and kept coming back. We tried a stronger antibiotic, same problem. Finally doc did a culture and senstivity and we found that the strain of staph we were dealing with was resistant to those commonly used medications. We used one that had a good "kill ratio" based on the sensitivity test and it cleared up. His quills never came back, but the pustules went away.
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Old 04-29-2020, 10:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hi ChloeMali, no I’m sorry you don’t need to apologize! I just reread my response and I didn’t mean to come off so defensive. I’m just so frustrated that I can’t help him! I was clearly not in a good headspace yesterday, I’m sorry!

Kalandra, the vet only did not do a curl tire or sensitivity test. She mentioned it last time I brought him in, but it looked like it was clearing up so she didn’t think we would need it. Perhaps what’s left is a resistant strain of bacteria, especially since all we’ve used is the Clavamox to clear the bacteria. I’ll call tomorrow and see if I can get him in. Thank you!
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Old 04-30-2020, 09:19 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Worth a shot. A culture & sensitivity is my go to when things aren't working. I have had more than one hedgehog who a culture saved us a lot of time, frustration and suffering.



Some vets have the ability to do the C&S test in house instead of sending it to lab. It will take a few days to get results, but hopefully you'll get some answers. Even if it comes back negative, you at least will know you can stop the clavamox and concentrate on other potential issues.
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Old 04-30-2020, 11:03 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Smile Masterbation behavior?

I have a male hedgie too. If "busy" means self pleasuring himself I had the same problem with Tobias. Unlike humans hedgehogs ejaculate dries like hardened glue. In the night if he has emissions and is not eating it it will dry and crust into tummy fur. This creates an itch spot. Leads to biting and infection and the cycle your are describing. When hedgehogs get husky there is more folds for this to hide in.

How I got Tobias healthy again almost sounds counter intuitive. Obviously treat the infection. Twice a day I still give him a (soap free -limits dryness) water bath up to nipples and this does 3 things. 1) keeps his penis and the underbelly crust free and clean. 2) trains him to poop in the tub not his box (urine is so filthy in hogs!) 3) seems to sooth the injury.

After every tubby I applied a thick layer of iodine to the area (use Q-tip). Let it dry (it will dye everything!) and try not to let him anoint until after it's no longer wet. Toby didn't like the taste and after one time no longer tried to eat it. It took me being diligent and consistent. Also, learn when your hedgehog masturbates and check he is clean after so it doesn't dry on him. ironically Tobias does his gentlemen's time after every bath now...lol
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Old 05-05-2020, 11:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thank you all for the tips and discussion! You’re definitely right about the semen getting stuck, and I’ve had to take a few hairs with a cleaning in the past. This has been another issue though. I wanted to give an update on how he’s doing.

The usual vet I’d was going to referred Hickory elsewhere because she was suspicious Of cancer. The new vet ended up doing a full extraction of the lesion and stitched him back up. It’s only been a day, but Hickory’s mood has been great so far if not a little sluggish. The incision is quite big reaching across his chest, quill to quill.

Still waiting on lab results from both the culture and biopsy, but I am hopeful that this will be resolved soon!

Thanks again!
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itchy, obesity, skin infection, yeast, yeast infection

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