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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This is my third post on hedgehog central now and I haven't gotten one reply... So i hope these posts will at least be insightful for owners who might be seeing these symptons in their hedgies.

Kiwi's skin condition has gotten a lot worse and my concern has sky rocketed through the roof... I hope no one ever goes through what my kiwi and i are currently going through. Both vets that I have been to have ruled out mites, allergies, and cancers because Kiwi is only 2 months old and both mites tests have been negative. But because Kiwi is showing all the symptons of mites, she is currently finishing her last 2 doses of Revolution. I've been giving her oatmeal bathes in hope to soothe her pain.

Kiwi is having this strange behaviour where she looks like shes trying to self anoint but she is really trying to pull her own quills out. She has been successful in almost every case. Every moment she is awake she will be scratching or trying to rip quills off her own body... It is VERY disturbing to watch and her her do this.. I try my best to move her head away from her body but she struggles to go against this... I've attached some photos. She has since her first vet treatment have various sores and scabs on her entire body and is very jumpy and hissy now. I really miss the Kiwi who used to love to cuddle against my body, and now I can barely pick her up... I love her and I hope the next doses of Revolution will work on her. <3

I have attached photos of Kiwi trying to take her quills out, and photos of all the quills she has forcefully pulled out of herself.

If anyone has insights on this type of behavior or steps to fix this problem please do let me know... I've been hoping for a welcoming community but so far no one has replied to Kiwis conditions and no vets know what is wrong with her.
 

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Did the vets test for any kind of skin infection? Either fungal or bacterial? I would certainly go ahead and continue with the revolution, but honestly, if it hasn't helped yet, it's probably not mites.
 

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I am so sorry for you and your hedgie. I haven't got a clue what it could be, just rooting for you that she recovers soon. :heart:
 

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Have you asked the breeder you got her from about it? Maybe it's genetic. They might be able to help you if something similar has happened to one of their herd. Just a thought. I hope all is better soon. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
How have your vets ruled out allergies?
She suggested that because Kiwi is only 2 months old, it would be too early to contract any types of cancers or allergies. What are your thoughts though? I would love to hear all the suggestions I can get to help her :( <3
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I am so sorry for you and your hedgie. I haven't got a clue what it could be, just rooting for you that she recovers soon. :heart:
Thank you so much, I hope no owner ever has to go through watching their own hedgie frantically try and pull out her own quills.. thank you for the support, I will definitely update when she is on her second dose of revolution.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Have you asked the breeder you got her from about it? Maybe it's genetic. They might be able to help you if something similar has happened to one of their herd. Just a thought. I hope all is better soon. :(
The girl I got it from is actually my friend whos original 3 hedgies all had offspring and I have been keeping in contact with her updating her of Kiwis status, but she has notified me that all of Kiwis siblings are doing well! I really hope Kiwi feels better after her second dose of revolution :( Thank you for your support <3
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Did the vets test for any kind of skin infection? Either fungal or bacterial? I would certainly go ahead and continue with the revolution, but honestly, if it hasn't helped yet, it's probably not mites.
I don't remember her saying anything regarding that Kiwi could have any fungal or bacterial infection, but she didn't do any tests for that. I do remember her saying that if it was any of those two, that Kiwi would have to go on antibiotics? (correct me if i'm wrong). She did say that all of her symptons (unincluding the pulling quills out) are of mites and that we will continue... I will definitely update you with how the second dose goes! Thank you for your input, I will call the vet and ask her about the fungal or bacterial infections. <3
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have a video and more photos of Kiwi's condition on her instagram at @kiwi_hedgehog if anyone is interested in seeing this as a reference of what might be wrong with her... <3

Thank you for everyones kind words and support
 

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This sounds very bad! It could be allergies! Antibiotics will only wweaken your little hedgies ability to fight off the allergy, if its an allergy. Wishing you lots of luck,
 

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You need to get her back to the vet so they can do more tests as soon as you can. She must be miserable if she's pulling out quills as that is not normal and is painful for her to do. Even babies can have allergies. What kind of bedding is she on? What food?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You need to get her back to the vet so they can do more tests as soon as you can. She must be miserable if she's pulling out quills as that is not normal and is painful for her to do. Even babies can have allergies. What kind of bedding is she on? What food?
She was originally on Aspen from the girl I got her from, after taking her home I had her on CareFresh for a little while until I realized she was scratching quite a bit. I switched to fleece after this and saw that it got even worse so I switched her back to CareFresh and now after the second trip to the vet, she is just on paper towels so I can disinfect and clean her cage everyday.

Any ideas on what the allergy could possibly be? She originally was on Purina Indoor cat food from the girl I got her from, but I switched her to Natural Balance Green Pea and Duck Formula about a week ago. Other than this, shes only had banana once, and apples once. I stopped trying to feed her new food when her skin got worse

:(
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This sounds very bad! It could be allergies! Antibiotics will only wweaken your little hedgies ability to fight off the allergy, if its an allergy. Wishing you lots of luck,
I'm wondering what kind of allergies it could possibly be :( trying my best find out
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I think your best bet is to get a skin scraping done by the vet to check for a bacterial or fungal infection. The dried matter at the base of the quills could be from that.
Sounds good. My vet is insisting that the next step is a skin culture, so hopefully this will solve it... Do you have any insights on her self multilation habits?
 

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It's probably because she's uncomfortable. I had a somewhat similar issue. She didn't stop the self mutilation until we figured out the root cause and treated it. A skin culture should hopefully shed some light on what the actual problem is. Once you know that, it can receive the proper treatment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It's probably because she's uncomfortable. I had a somewhat similar issue. She didn't stop the self mutilation until we figured out the root cause and treated it. A skin culture should hopefully shed some light on what the actual problem is. Once you know that, it can receive the proper treatment.
I understand that she might be doing this because of the irritation of the scabbing on her quills, it probably prohibits her to ball up or hurts her when she does it... but I am concerned because she does this frantically and forcefully :(... I will definitely go back for a skin culture when I have tried the second dose of Revolution (this thursday) and nothing has gotten better... But i'm hoping it does :(

Thank you for the reply <3
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Kiwi's History

I wanted to make a post of Kiwi's history to give better insight as to what might be wrong with her.

Kiwi's History
Kiwis Birthday: January 17, 2016
When I got her: March 7, 2016

Breeder Home History
**Note: She was passed to me from a friend who's original hedgehogs had babies, Kiwis other siblings are doing fine so it is probably not genetics or an infection/mites from her original home**
Original bedding: Aspen
Original food: PURINA® CAT CHOW® INDOOR FORMULA

Vet Visits
First vet visit: March 17, 2016 (First dose of Revolution)
Second vet visit: March 26, 2016

Treatment History
First dose of Revolution: March 17, 2016 (First vet visit)
Second dose of Revolution: March 31, 2016
TThird dose of Revolution: April 14, 2016

I used CareFresh Natural the first week of taking Kiwi home. She was living in a huge storage container up until March 23 where we build a box made out of compressed wood and acrylic in combination with CareFresh.

After 10 days of brining her home, I switched her to a fleece bedding because I noticed she was scratching a lot. After this I put a few drops of olive oil on her in hopes of soothing the itchiness. Around March 16, I noticed that the scratching had gotten worse and that I found a scabby, dry patch near her skirt where the quills and fur meet. After further inspection of her quills, I had a suspicion that it was mites because of the small scabby red/yellow crusty rings around her quills. I gave Kiwi her first bath the evening I found the dry patches with a few drops of olive oil. I got her into the vet on March 17 and the vet did not to a skin scrape, but said that everything else was healthy and that she is too young to be contracting anything too serious. He gave her a dose of kitten Revolution as a preventative to mites and any worms though. From my understanding, Revolution should work immediately (within 24-48 hours), and I did not see any improvements.

Thinking back on this, does anyone think that because I gave her an olive oil bath 24 hours prior to Revolution that the Revolution may not have done as well of a job that it should because of this? Perhaps the olive oil prohibited the Revolution to be absorbed properly?

As mentioned above, we had built a cage for Kiwi made out of compressed wood and acrylic on March 23 where she lived here for 5 days. The day of moving in, I gave her an oatmeal bath for the first time.

The evening after, she started developing her self mutilation habit of seemingly looking like she's self anointing, but she is actually trying to rip her quills out. (has been successful). When I first noticed she started doing this frantically I broke down in tears because of how frightening it looks. I took her to the vet for her second visit immediately.

During the vet visit, the doctor look at look at her skin under the quills with a light and found that Kiwi had many scabs and sores mostly under her quills. In addition to this, Kiwi has been losing a lot of belly fur and has a small scab (dot) underneath her chin. She explained to me that it is unlikely that a hedgehog of two months is able to develop allergies or cancers, so her guess was that although the tape test was negative for mites, yeast, and bacteria, it still very likely could be mites because of all the symptoms she was showing. (ie. dry skin flakes, scabs, hair loss). After the vet visit, she prescribed me with 2 more doses of Revolution to continue Kiwi's treatment to see how things will go. Her next dose in on March 31, and then 2 weeks after that is her last dose on April 14.

Since taking her out, I have put her back into her plastic storage container and using paper towels as bedding so I am able to easily change her bedding and disinfect her entire cage everyday. I've been doing this everyday since I have moved her back into her temporary cage.

I have given her an oatmeal bath on the day she moved into her temporary cage.

Though I know that all I can do right now is wait till her Revolution doses are due, my main concern now lies with the fact that Kiwi is constantly panicking to pull quills off her skirts. I know of this because 1) I have watched her do this (even at the vet she managed to pull one out) and 2) When I check her cage in the morning I see quills with scabbed heads or quills with yellow residue at the ends of this. This is not the result of scabs falling off naturally, but from Kiwi frantically biting and pulling them off. Having done a search of "hedgehogs biting quills off" that yield no results also concerns me. I understand that she may be doing this because the scabs are irritating, but from what I've seen, it seems like she is doing this addictively and forcefully&#8230; (Almost as if it was a behavioural disfunction)

I guess my questions now are, is this by any chance a behavioural disfunction? (Do hedgehogs suffer from these things)? If Kiwi gets better or when we figure out what is the cause of all this madness, will the quills grow back? Will her fur grow back? and ultimately, will this self mutilation cause death by any chance? We have a water softener at home which has salt in it, might this be the reason she originally got very dry?

Does anyone think that this is a combination of quilling + mites or quilling + infection/bacteria? and the combination of quilling + ? has caused all this? I am certain that no one can give me a solid answer but I am constantly stressed and upset that she hasn't been officially diagnosed with anything yet. Everything seems very iffy.

Behaviourally, the first week of taking Kiwi home was a delight, she never balled up or huffed and puffed, loved walking in water for foot baths, wasn't scared to be held and loved cuddling with me, she loved to play and run around when she had play pen time and was overall very nice. She also used her 12in'' running wheel often and I have also been easily able to cut her nails. The first vet I went to even said that she has been handled well since birth because she was so relaxed and curious at the vet.

Now, Kiwi hisses when I reach into her cage to change her water or food, and every time I pick her up to see if she wants to cuddle she will start to bite herself and try to pull quills out. I always try to prohibit this by pulling the blanket to where her quills are to block her from biting them out. Out of the 5 days that Kiwi was in her compressed wood cage, she only used the wheel 2 times.

In terms of diet, pooping and peeing, Kiwi has shown no signs of discomfort through any of these as she is eating normally, I give her 50 kibbles over night and she usually eats 30 of them and there are around 20 left during the morning. She pees as she always has been, and her poop is always a regular dark brown colour with a solid consistency.

Emotionally I am terribly upset because I am a first time hedgehog owner and it is disheartening and discouraging that it has not even been a month of spending time with her yet and she is already suffering a lot&#8230;I have definitely gotten depressed from the beginning of all this and have had sleepless nights feeling that I am incapable of taking care of her even though I know i am doing my best. Cost of the vet is no problem for me, I just hope we find answers soon.

Thank you to everyone that has given me their input on what it could be, and thank you if you have read up till here. I really want to do my best to try and heal Kiwi and give her the best.

I am updating Kiwi's instagram with photos and videos regarding what is happening, if anyone is interested in taking a look at more photos or videos to give insight to this behaviour, please see @kiwi_hedgehog on instagram.

I have attached below photos of all the quills that Kiwi has pulled out since she has started.
 

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I am fairly certain by this point that she has a skin infection of some sort. One of our other members reminded me of your first post where you shared pictures of her skin. Based on the look of those pictures & your descriptions of her symptoms & behavior now, it really sounds like an infection. So the important thing to keep in mind - you did NOT cause this. Hedgehogs are prone to skin infections because they are constantly getting openings in their skin when quills come in, which provide a perfect entryway for bacteria & other nasties to get in & cause a problem. Unfortunately, it can be hard to catch a skin infection right away, and often people do what you do - put oil on them to help treat dry skin. Unfortunately, that's a bad thing to do with skin infections because it can clog up pores, keep the infection in, and make it worse. Still not your fault though, and a very common mistake! I did it myself with Lily - including putting too much oil on her at one point and caused a yeast infection. I definitely understand what you're feeling as I've been there three times already this year. Just try to keep reminding yourself that this isn't your fault, you are doing your best to fix the problem, and Kiwi is lucky to have an owner who has noticed her issues and is working to help her. Definitely head back to the vet and have them do a skin culture to figure out what's going on. If they can give an educated guess on what it is more likely to be, bacterial or fungal, I would ask if you can start giving her some medication now. It can take some time for the cultures to grow, but with her behavior, the sooner treatment can start, the better. But that will be for the vet to decide on whether it's worth the potential risks (treating for the wrong thing, possibly not using the right antibiotic to wipe out whatever bacteria it could be, etc.) to start treatment without knowing for sure.

Hang in there. I'll be sending good thoughts to you & Kiwi! Keep us updated on what you guys find out and how she's doing.
 
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