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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My hedgehog is nearing 10 - 11 months old and ever since I had him he has been loosing quills. I have had him since June.. I know there is a "1 year quilling stage", but it really does feel endless... :(

here are some facts:

1) He loses between 7-10 quills a day (attached photo), some days 4-6
2) I can see new quills poking through, all the time.
3) he has dry skin and I have used olive oil/coconut oil to help
4)He has been treated with Revolution for mites in June, I recently I talked with my vet and he was prescribed 3 doses, 14 days apart again. I started the 1st dose last week
5) There are no obvious bald spots


Here are my questions:
1) how long does this last??
2) the quills lost all have "balls" at the end, and also some dry skin, is this normal?
3) is there such thing as quilling forever ...??
4) my vet said to stop using any oils for dry skin... so the skin can be "natural" and "balanced"..does anyone agree with this..ever since i stopped oils, the dry skin is so flaky
5) is the size of these quills BABY QUILLS?? they are huge... (see ruler for scale) is is losing adult quills???

Getting a bit worried that this stage is so long..it's been 5 months of quilling
 

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It'd probably be a good idea to ask your vet about doing a skin scrape to check for skin infections. Quilling doesn't last this long and usually normal quill loss isn't quite that many.
 

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I'd also stop with the oils, as if it is a skin infection they can aggravate the skin and make it worse (oils prevent the skin from breathing). How often do you bathe him? My boy used to have dry skin (lots of flakes and some bald patches) and I limited the amount of baths I gave him and it significantly improved. There were other factors with him though, it was during cold dry months here, he had a heat lamp as opposed to a che and he was also on crappy hedgehog food so these could all have contributed to his skin issues at the time. I made necessary changes and he's now on high quality cat food, eats insects as part of his diet and his skin is much healthier and no more bald patches!

Definitely get his skin checked as Kelsey suggests to rule out a skin infection.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the reply Lilysmommy and Yukidama's mama!

Hezzie gets a full bath once every 2 weeks, and foot bath rarely. When I was using oil, his skin did look a lot better. No flakes at least.

I agree with a skin scraping. Unfortunately, it seems that the vet I go to isnt too knowledgeable?? (On the forums, I heard many great things about Dr. Munn in Toronto, but I went to that clinic and he had left, I ended up seeing a vet there though)

Can any vets do a skin scrape for a diagnosis? or best to be hedgie experienced?
Looking for recommendations for vets in Toronto!

Also, what do you guys think about the size of the quills lost? :S
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the reply everyone!

Good news - I have booked in Hezzie for a skin scraping this Thursday with a new vet. Hopefully, we are able to figure out what's wrong.

The receptionist explained that he would need to scrape the skin until it bleeds?!?! This seems a bit concerning -- but I am sure some medication will be applied to reduce pain.

My hedgie's skin is very flaky and dry -- Should I bring him to the scraping as is? If i give him a bath before hand -- it will be easier to access...

What do you guys think?
 

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I would leave as is - giving a bath may make it harder to pick up anything useful in the skin scraping to help diagnose what's going on.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hey everyone,

Got back from the vet today where he did an examination and a skin scraping.
I have attached 2 photos, one before the scrape and one after (WARNING slightly bleeding).

The good news is - he did not see anything under the microscope. It doesn't look bacterial. The bad news is - it still seems a bit vague about why the adult quill loss...

Today i treated with another dose of revolution. Also later in the week, I was suggested to add OMEGA 3 and VIT C to diet into food/water (over the counter at drug store)...???didnt do much research on this diet change.
 

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Did he check for fungal infections? Those are a possibility too...

Both of those sound like good steps. Omega 3 fatty acids are good for skin & hair (& quills). I don't remember details, but I feel like I remember vitamin C also being good for skin issues - it was something I was looking into for an old ****er spaniel with skin problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the reply Kelsey!

Mites is ruled out for sure, but I will finish the last dose of revolution in 2 weeks to be safe.
Unfortunately, he did not send off the skin scrape for a fungal test. It took a long time to retrieve the scrape ... :( and with no pain reliever..

I am to implement the diet changes and continue with bath + oil to see if any improvement in 2 - 3 weeks time. If not, then more $$$ for another visit and sending off fresh results to the lab.

Feeling quite sad with this happening. Hope Hezzie gets better on his own soon
 

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Sorry to hear you're not having much luck finding the cause...

Could it be his current diet, what food do you feed him? As this helped sort my boys previous minor balding issues and dry skin.

Also Vitamin E is good for the skin and hair (it's commonly used in many beauty products), it's an antioxidant too, which helps protect body tissue from damage and it also aids the proper function of many organs in the body.

I purchased omega 3 fish oil, flaxseed oil and vitamin E supplements (all in oil capsule form) to give to my boy but to be honest all his skin and quill issues greatly improved by just changing his diet, putting him on high quality cat food and feeding live insects (which also eat lots of fruit and veggies, as well as the substrate which is high in the above nutrients and more). His only problem now is he seems to be losing hair so I'll gradually try adding these oils to his food slowly and see if that helps.

Also what bedding do you use, could this be irritating his skin and contributing to the issue? If you're not already, I'd suggest changing to fleece and see if it helps. Also only use a small amount of non-scented detergent (baby one or for sensitive skin is best) as I think this used to irritate my boy's skin too / give him allergies.

I hope the diet changes help your boy, keep us posted ♡
 
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