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Ongoing dry skin, over a year of different treatments

1665 Views 9 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Kalandra
Sylvie has had dry skin & quill loss (with growth) since I brought her home October 2008. She was born August 2008. This is a link to a bit of the back story on the dry skin: http://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2675&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=10

In short, just before I got her she was treated with Revolution as her brother had mites, so she came to me with slightly dry skin.
Fall - I try adding flax & Olive Oil to her food, she loves the olive oil but no change. I don't add the olive oil any more.
Around January, she was treated again a for mites (there was dry skin but no evidence of mites, but treated to be safe) with Revolution, no change.
June - We add Sunshine Factor as a supplement to her diet, which she loves. & does seem to help a little, but no actual skin clearing. The vet did a skin scraping & thought it could be fungal so we treated her with Program Susp, no change. (above thread discussion)
Oct - With no change still and my having recently recovered from a yeast spot on my chin where I rest it on her cage, we thought it might be yeast. To cover bases as all the tests he was sending away were coming back negative she was prescribed Enrofloxacin & Hraconazole.
November, skin seems to be cleared up, quill loss is almost non existent.
Last night (Jan 2010) - I notice two big patched of dry skin on her rump again. The dry skin is so thick it almost looks like she's rubbed her bum in cotton balls and got the fibers all in her quills (she hasn't). Her nice gray skin can't be seen through the thick layer of white.
She hasn't (to my notice) started itching a bunch as she did this time last year.

Has anyone had experience with this? Provide some guidance? I don't want to keep giving her antibiotics as I'm afraid they'll weaken her natural immune system (think human superbugs) but I will if that's the only answer. The other thing I wonder is does she just have normal naturally dry skin & I'm fighting a loosing battle? As some pets or humans have Eczema, should I start looking at this as something to control over cure?

Edit: Fixing dates
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She may just have chronic dry skin. Have you given her a period of time where you are not adding anything to her skin to see if it "settles?" I've had one or two that had chronic dry skin. Nothing was wrong with them, other than that.

Here is my approach, its a little long. Take from it whatever you can. I don't know that any of it will work, or if you have tried it already...

How long has it been since she was on a medication? Antibiotics mess up the flora of the GI system. An unbalanced GI may not be able to assimilate nutrients properly. I personally have to wonder if giving a hedgehog a lot of "lets try this to see if it helps" medications without knowing that there is a problem does more harm than good sometimes.

How long did you give the supplements? Supplements can take 6-8 weeks before you even start to see results. With as dry of skin as she had it may take longer. I'd add an omega fatty acid to her diet (flaxseed oil, missing link, etc). I'd likely give it to her nightly or every other night for 3 months to see if it is going to help. Even if it doesn't help, it should not hurt her.

I'd also look into adding a probiotic a couple times a week. I use acidolphilus. Probiotics help the digestive system. There is thought that a healthy digestive system can help skin conditions.

I'd cut out all baths and give her one only if she absolutely needs it. If a wet wash cloth or a foot bath will not clean her, then give her a full bath. But make it short and use only water if you can. Even using Aveeno, bath washes and shampoos can strip the natural oils.

If she isn't itching, leave her a lone for now. If she starts itching I would add a couple of drops of vitamin e oil or flaxseed to her back. One drop in 3 places. Give it 2 nights and add 2-3 more drops in different spots if she is still itching.

This has been my approach with hedgehogs that had very dry skin. Most improved over time, but I've had at least one I can recall who just always had a tendency of having dry skin.
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What's the humidity in her room? Do you run a humidifier for her? If her skin seems to get worse during the winter months it could be that the humidity is too low causing dry skin, a very common problem during the winter with some types of home heating systems. Running a humidifier can help a lot for dry skin related to low humidity. Just another thought.
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