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Old 02-10-2013, 02:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default nails falling out :(

Dear hedgies,

It's been a while! In the meantime, Poffertje has outgrown her mum and they are a pair of very happy, friendly and spoilt rotten hedgies.

But now Poffertje has fallen ill. One of the things with her, is that I noticed that almost all her nails fall out! I haven't trimmed her quicks or anything, and she has very soft bedding (hemp). Does anyone have experience with this?
Just to complete the picture: she is sneezing an awful lot (I think she may be allergic to cat milk, so I stopped giving her that, and it seems to help), she has a swollen lower lip and she doesn't run as much as she used to.
Also, she never protests if you pick her up, but she's just very tame.

thanks in advance!

Catters
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: nails falling out :(

I'm not sure about the nails...that sounds very strange. I'd get her to the vet soon though - sneezing can be a sign of a URI, which doesn't get better without medication, and can progress to pneumonia and death. The vet would be a good idea to check the nails out as well.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: nails falling out :(

Thanks for the quick reply! I will take her to the vet asap, but as it's Sunday night over here, I hoped to find anything I can do for her in your vast amount of experience
btw, I also got my cousins addicted; they now have a female reversed pinto (apricot) hedgie called Toot. She's absolutely adorable and they are a great family for her
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: nails falling out :(

As far as I know, there's not much I can think of to do for her outside of the usual - make sure she's staying warm and comfortable, make sure any open wounds (if the nails are leaving any as they come out) are staying clean (you may want to take her wheel out anyway, just in case), and make sure she's eating and drinking. A good thing to do is to write down the symptoms and the time line of when they appeared, as well as making sure you have her environment noted down (light, temperature, bedding, food choice, etc.), and any changes in the environment recently so you have that information available for the vet. They really appreciate it when owners have all of that stuff easily accessible, it can help with making a diagnosis or figuring out where to start with testing. Good luck, and keep us updated!
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: nails falling out :(

thanks, that's a great idea. I rubbed sunflower oil on her feet yesterday, as to keep the quicks supple. Nails do fall out, but leave no wounds whatsoever. Very strange! Will keep you updated. At the moment, she's snuggling up to me ^-^ such a cute little hugmonster
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: nails falling out :(

Personally, I would give her feet a really good washing and not put any oils on, just in case it could be some sort of fungal type of infection, in which case the oil can lock it in. If you want to keep them moist and supple, I'd go with a dab of polysporin instead.

Is it happening to all her feet? Or front more than back(or vice versa)?

Do her feet look any different? Are new nails growing back? What type of diet is she eating?
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: nails falling out :(

thanks for your reply. I checked her again, and it's only the nails on the two front paws that fall off, or are hanging by the rims of her nails only. She is in a rabbit cage with a hard plastic bottom, and she always digs into the plastic. Maybe I should buy her a glass cage, so she won't hurt herself anymore?
Her nails on the back feet look brittle, but they're not falling out. There's a university medical centre specialised in exotic animals, and i'll ring them this afternoon for advice. Maybe I can email them pics so they can have a look at her.
Will keep you guys posted.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:17 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: nails falling out :(

I haven't heard of hedgehog's digging at cage bottoms doing this before... What kind of food is she eating? I wonder if her nails are weaker or brittle than most hedgehogs for some reason, making them more susceptible. I'm not sure if glass would help with the problem, rather than plastic. Maybe switching to liners to keep her from being able to get to the cage bottom to dig might help? You could make (or buy) them a few layers thick so they're really cushy, and big enough to tuck under or clip to the cage somehow so she can't get under them.
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Old 02-12-2013, 03:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: nails falling out :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilysmommy
I haven't heard of hedgehog's digging at cage bottoms doing this before... What kind of food is she eating?
kitten & babycat from royal canin, mealworms, mealbugs (higher in protein and lower in fat), sometimes cooked chicken as a treat.

Quote:
I wonder if her nails are weaker or brittle than most hedgehogs for some reason, making them more susceptible.
well she is inbred; her dad is her uncle and both her parents were around 8 to 10 weeks when she was born (gotta love pet shops). Would that cause something like this though?

Quote:
I'm not sure if glass would help with the problem, rather than plastic. Maybe switching to liners to keep her from being able to get to the cage bottom to dig might help? You could make (or buy) them a few layers thick so they're really cushy, and big enough to tuck under or clip to the cage somehow so she can't get under them.
that's a really good idea, thanks! I have some liners lying around. I could also cover the bottom with torn up yellow pages.

I rang the centre of veterinary medicine studies at the university. They have a department specialised in birds and uncommon animals. They'd like to see her, so we'll be going on a trip somewhere soon. She doesn't look like she's in pain, but as it's a hedgehog.. I wouldn't want her to be in pain just because I didn't recognised it as such.
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: nails falling out :(

It very well COULD possibly be a malnurishment while in the womb. Basically the babies were fighting with the mom over nutrients. It's possible her nails were never developed properly, perhaps she lacked calcium overall. IF that is the case, I'd be very careful with her bones and such. Never allow her any sort of "step" just as a precaution, in case her bones may be more brittle as well.
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