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Old 12-14-2013, 03:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Advice Needed For Scratching

I've been looking everywhere online for answers. I got my Pinto hedgehog Sonic (original name I know) a few days ago from a small local pet shop. Starting maybe yesterday he's been scratching a lot. He's been sleeping all day and most the night. He'll wake up for about 30 min to eat and drink and poop, then it's back to bed. They told me he's about 16 weeks old, and he was in a wood shaving type of bedding when I bought him. I have a bedding called "Planet Petco Softwood Bedding for small animals." It says it's a blend of spruce, fir, and pine shavings.. I'm not sure if maybe that's causing the itching? I haven't seen any white flakes on his quills or orange crust or any real signs of mites or anything like that. Just a lot of scratching.. I'm using "Ultra-Blend Select Hedgehog Diet" for the food, and he eats it a lot, and is drinking a lot as well. I am very new to this and I'm still trying to get use to him slowly so I haven't really picked him up to play, but I let him out of his cage whenever he's up to walk around. I just kinda pet him and pick him up a inch or two off his bedding to try to get him use to me.. He scratches his quills as well as his softer underneath section. his skin when i can see it looks pinkish maybe slightly somewhat red. I would like to maybe give him a bath with oatmeal and brush his quills, so I guess I'll have to man up and be more confident and try to pick him up slowly.. any advice would sure help a lot.

Last edited by akertesz; 12-14-2013 at 03:30 AM.
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Old 12-15-2013, 04:50 AM   #2 (permalink)
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He could be quilling again, because I think they go through a second phase at 4-months-old. Sonic is still a little toddler; so the number of sleep sounds normal! Even as an adult, they can sleep for 20+ hours; they are real piggies, haha.

I searched up the bedding, and it seems fine to me... But maybe someone else can offer another opinion on it. Hopefully the pine is cured/kiln dried, or else it could be harmful for your hedgie. However - it is totally up to you - I would always recommend using fleece because it is most economical, and has a low-risk factor of causing any type of damage (avoid the fleece with threads, though). Keep in mind that fleece can be washed and reused, while the wood bedding will have to be changed weekly.

Definitely ditch the Ultra-Blend Select Hedgehog Diet. Wonton's previous owner fed her that hedgehog food, and the ingredients are NOT nutritious at all! They are all filled with what we call "fillers". Opt for quality cat food. There is a list of cat food that are highly suggested by this forum's hedgie owners.

Also, for the scratching, it could also be due to dry skin. Hedgies are prone to having dry skin, so rubbing them with olive/flaxseed oil could soothe it a bit. Your plan of bathing him in an oatmeal bath would help too.

Definitely continue the bonding process! Try taking Sonic out to play for at least 30 minutes a day, or if you are busy, at least have him sleep/snuggle on your lap just so he can get used to your scent more quickly. If you are afraid of his quills prickling you, you can use a blanket/cloth to protect your hands. Don't use a glove - that will mask your scent. Bonding can take place while having a bath too, because they don't usually ball up. Be aware of your hedgie having some bowel movements during the bath though, haha.

Good luck! I am counting on someone else to post up the link to the pdf file of a hedgehog care guide. (Annie&Tibbers) hahaha.
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Old 12-15-2013, 02:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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What's that? A hedgie signal in the forums, calling out for the link to the awesome book of all the info the pet stores don't know? Here you go!

I know nothing about using wood-shavings. If it smells "woody", then it's probably fresh (vs kiln-dried) and can be a carrier for mites. Mites are irritating, but easy to treat, and pretty much inevitable that you'll encounter them sometime. If your little guy seems like he's doing "frantic" scratching, then mites are a strong possibility.

Some hedgehogs have sensitivities/environmental allergies to wood. Easy to test by giving him a bath and plopping him on fleece/fabric liners (no loose threads, so if not fleece you'll need to do some sewing) and see if it clears up.

Dry skin is chronic issue, particularly during dry winters.

For bonding: be confident! Pull your sleeves over your hands to protect them from prickles if you have to. Give him some fabric that smells like you (fleece you've slept with, a worn tshirt). Sometimes talking to him can help, teaching him your noise as well as your smell. Just remember he's a tiny diva convinced his world is going to end, and it's up to you to constantly reassure him that you're not going to eat him. Eventually, he'll calm down about it.

Good luck! Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on your new tiny friend.
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Old 12-16-2013, 01:20 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you both for the help. I have been a bit nervous of holding him as you know, but today I gave him a bath! He hated it! But he was eager to jump back into my hands and was very good for the 30-45 min he was played with. I made sure to dry him well and the bath consisted of only oatmeal, no shampoos and such. Also 2 days ago I began putting flax seed oil in his food ( which I will now begin looking for a different brand ) and his scratching has gone down quite a bit, so I'm guessing it was dry skin after all. As for the bedding it does smell "woody" but I am certain it's pretty dry. He's quite friendly now and seems happy about his bath now. He's sleeping soundly now and I'm really excited to get to know him more!
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Old 12-16-2013, 04:56 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Ok well after his bath I had him on the carpet and on me as well and he didn't scratch at all, but once he was back in his cage he slept a bit. Then he just woke up to eat and is scratching a bunch. Maybe he is allergic to the bedding I'm using?
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Old 12-16-2013, 12:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I would change the bedding and treat him for mites even if he's not showing any other signs - it's easiest to treat before you start seeing a lot of quill loss, etc. because then it takes a long time for quills to grow back.

As far as I know, kiln-dried bedding can carry mites just as easily as non-kiln-dried. Lily was on a pelleted pine bedding when I first got her, which was kiln-dried, and she ended up with mites anyway. So it's a definite possibility.

Changing the bedding to liners can help you see if he is allergic to the wood bedding, but it can also keep him from getting mites again once you've treated him. Make sure you only treat him with Revolution (kitten/cat is most often used), not Ivermectin (also called Ivomec). You'll need to do 3-4 treatments every 2-4 weeks, depending on what your vet recommends. While you're treating (especially the first couple days after a treatment), make sure you clean his cage completely - change the liner, disinfect the cage, etc.
~*~*~ Kelsey ~*~*~

RIP my sweet Lily ~ 6/12/08 - 1/20/12
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Just got some fleece liner from walmart today and im about to change it out. I'll look into getting the Revolution as well!
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bath, itching, scratching

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