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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Satin is my 1-year, 9.5-month old hedgie. I had posted about her current health issues, on C-n-Q and was receiving helpful feedback. Unfortunately, the site seems to be down, so I'm posting here as I know many of the same people frequent HHC. I copied and pasted the description of the timeline of events from Google's cache. Unfortunately, it didn't catch quite anything that followed. I'm jotting down what I can recall of the plan for Satin and am hoping everyone can help with things I hadn't remembered as well as suggest any new ideas.

I don't have a copy of her weight chart with me, as noted in the part below. The short version is that she's usually around 660g, but dropped to around 630g. Her weight has been stable around 630g ever since she was on the Baytril.

A new concern is that now she's off Baytril and on DMG, her poops have become more smushy. In a single pooping episode, she'll go from normal brown logs to a light brown unformed messy plop... this has become worse in the past 2 days. It's sticking to the underside of her tail and is creating a redness. I clean her gently whenever I see it like that.

Plan:
Vet appointment scheduled for tomorrow (1/16/09) morning
Discuss continued and increasing quill loss & balding
Discuss changes to poop
Treat with Revolution even if 2nd skin scraping comes back negative for mites
Look for fungal or bacterial infection

No baths for now (aside from her morning footbaths)
No oil-based topical moisturizers (eg, vitamin e or flax seed)

Get a non-oil based moisturizer from vet

---------------------------------- History begins here ------------------------------
Looking back through my notes, it looks like things began to be a problem in early November when she started getting dry skin and was losing weight. I've attached her weight chart. The pdf has a graph of her weight since I've had her and then a shorter one (starting when she first crested 600g) to help sort out the more recent variability.

Initially, I attributed the weight loss to dry skin and thought maybe her food was going stale. I incorporated a new batch of CSCLS in November and new Wellness Indoor Cat late Nov/early December.

By 11/30, she was losing 1-2 quills a day. I could see new ones growing in. Other than when she was a wee quilling baby, she previously lost quills at a rate of ~1 per week.

12/3 I added vit e topically ~2x/week, she was losing ~2 quills a day. I could still see new ones growing in.

12/10 Dry skin, losing weight, 2-3 lost per day. new ones were still growing in.

12/12 Dry skin, losing weight, change from vit e to flax seed oil topically ~1-2x/week.

12/23 4-6 quills lost/day, dry skin improving

12/25 2-3 quills lost/day; skin improving

12/26 skin looks wonderful; lost 6 quills

12/27 we go to the vets. I notice her quills between her shoulders are looking more sparse than usual. To someone who doesn't know her as well, she still looks like a "normal' hedgehog, but I can see the difference. She tests negative for mites in a skin scraping; doesn't appear fungal to the vet. Vet wonders if maybe it's just due to the seasons changing (maybe she can pick up on it even though her climate is well controlled), change in humidity, etc...

12/29 begin 0.6 cc oral Baytril 2x/d after results of urinalysis are back. The vet saw white blood cells in her urine an evidence of a bacterial infection. Fecal float comes back clean.

For the next 10 days, she's on Baytril 8am, 9pm alternating with Benebac 3pm, 12am. Weight stabilizes. Quill loss continues ~5-10/day. I see the sparsely quilled area between her shoulders is growing more sparse.

1/4/09 I see her quills are looking rather sparse on her rump - about 1" above her tail, center of her back/rear area.

1/8 repeat urine. White blood cells in urine no longer a problem; however vet sees epithelial cells that cause her some concern. Decision was made to take Satin off Baytril & Benebac and put her on DMG (oral 0.3cc 2x/day) in an attempt to boost her immune system function.

1/11 quill loss ~ 10/day; rear area growing bare

1/13 (this morning) lost 15 quills over night and while I held her this morning. Poop not well formed.

Throughout this, she's been a pretty good eater and drinker. She runs on her wheel. Is not abnormally huffy. No real behavior changes. I can see new quills growing in, but the quill loss has overtaken her quill growth. No changes to her housing, temperature, cleaners (for her - oatmeal) or her liners (unscented laundry detergent, no softeners). No itching/scratching beyond a little scratch here or there - ie, her usual behavior.

Aside from no longer being attached to Satin, her quills look normal. They all have the little ball on the end. Are not easily bendable or breakable. There isn't anything on them that I can see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The vet wasn't able to come to any conclusions about what might be causing Satin's quill loss, but agreed that a thorough investigation would be the way to go to look at mites, bacteria, and fungal possibilites. She also wanted to follow up on the bacteria & epithelial cells in her urine. So Satin got quite the work up on Friday.

Under sedation, the vet took some x-rays - those looked good. She had been wondering if maybe Satin had some kidney stones or if any masses might show up that she couldn't detect while palpating Miss Hufflepuff. She did do a second skin scraping looking for mites - didn't detect any. And then a skin biopsy. She anticipated that we'll see results of the biopsy and the culture & sensitivity next week. She didn't want to try a trial of Revolution, preferring to get the results of the testing back before making the next move. We've determined that the DMG, although probably helping boost Satin's immune system, is responsible for the messy poops, so that's been discontinued.

Poor litle hedgie was absolutely adorable and pitiful when I got her back as the sedation was wearing off. Making these soft whaaa-chirp noises, trying to puff into a ball and failing, then getting her front legs working while her back ones gave way. She was up and running about before I set off for home with her in tow.

For now, we just sit tight until the results are in. The good news is that Satin has been maintaining her weight. And, like always, she's being a good eater, runner, and pooper. Bad news is she's still dropping quills.
 

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It is just torture waiting on those results. Does doc do an in house culture or sends it out? I've had both done. I know when my vet has done them in house I can usually call to see if the cultures have started to grow or not. Gives me a least some peace of mind of what we may be up against.

We'll keep our quills crossed here that the results come back and tell us what is going on with poor Satin.
 

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I hope the test results help you figure out what is wrong, and aren't too bad! Get better soon, Satin!
 

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I'm sorry to learn that Satin hasn't been feeling well. I hope the test results will provide your vet with a good idea as to what's going on and what needs to be done to stop her quill loss. Wishing Satin a quick and full recovery. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'll let her know that you're all sending good wishes.

She's a good little runner, though her biopsy site is a little sore. Visually, it appears good/healthy, but she gives me a definite *huff* if I touch too close to the area, so I do my best to avoid it.

I think her vet is sending the culture out rather than doing it in house.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
We're still awaiting results on the quill loss issue.

In the meanwhile, Satin hasn't eaten as much as usual these last couple nights. And she's dropped 11g in two days (she had previously been holding stable around 630g after the initial 30g weight drop).

I'll be giving the vet a call, but am hoping you might have some ideas??
 

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My little Lucy had a similar experience. Massive quill loss. I took her into the vet many times. No mites, but did a course of Revolution anyway, just in case. Nobody seemed to take me seriously until I brought the ziploc bag of quills in. She had bald spots and at last count, had lost over 700 quills.

He pulled a quill out of her, and tested it. She had both a bacterial infection and yeast infection. We had to do two courses of Baytril, and I also sprinkled part of a Lactobacillus acidophilus capsule over her kibble at night to help with the yeast infection. I still do that from time to time.

I have also added another food with a higher fat content to her diet and that seems to have helped with her drier skin and quill loss; Castor and Pollux Natural Ultramix Indoor Feline Formula. I only put in 9 pieces of kibble a day into her mix, but I've noticed that it helps with her dry skin and overall health. Now, I have been out for about a month because the only bags Petco had were due to expire in a week. Maybe that's why Lucy has suddenly started losing more quills again:

http://www.castorpolluxpet.com/store/natural_ultramix/natural_ultramix_indoor_feline_formula
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Lori :)

We continue to await word from the vet on next steps.

In the meanwhile, Satin has begun to take on the odor of a tea bag. Not any special blend, just your run of the mill generic tea bag. Seeing as how I know she hasn't been sipping tea, I'm wondering if such a scent indicates anything to anyone?
 
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