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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last month I took Pineapple to the vet because she started loosing quills and had some white flakes falling off her skin. I thought it might be quilling and dry skin since she was about 12weeks old but I wanted to be sure. The vet looked for mites but didn't find any, did a fluorescent light test and she glowed orange (negative for ringworms, right?) and they did a scrape test and also took some quills from all over her body to test and today, more than a month later they called me and said she has ringworm. At first I thought it didn't sound like a big deal but I started looking it up online and it's worrying me more and more, so I just wanted some good advice about how to deal with this.

During this month, Pineapple has been eating a lot (20+mealies and 30+kibbles (Royal Canin Indoor Light mixed with Purina Kitten Chow) per day) and pooping normally too. She weighed 200grams at the vet, and she is now about 240grams. Her poop has been solid (toothpaste-like) and very dark brown to a lighter brown, never green. Three nights ago she threw up some mealies, which worried me a lot, but she went right back to eating and hasn't had any changed behavior. During the month she was never itchy, but since yesterday I've heard her scratch herself a couple of times. She did loose more and more quills (10~20/day) for a while but recently it has slowed down to maybe about 5 quills a day. She has also stopped shedding white flakes. I have also given her an Aveeno oatmeal bath with Flaxseed oil drops about once a week. Externally she looks perfectly healthy.
As for me, I haven't had any sort of rashes or skin irritations even though I've always handled her with my bare hands and let her sleep in my shirt sometimes.

Since I've learned that ringworms are contagious, what kind of precautions should I take with her and the stuff she touches? I use fleece blankets for lining and everything else is pretty much plastic. Should I sanitize her toys? Will that work to kill off the ringworms? Should I boil her blankets? She also always plays on my carpet. Should I sanitize my carpet? Should I use protection for my hands when handling her or does just washing my hands afterwards work?

Also, is it even possible for her to have ringworms when she doesn't seem to be having the horrible symptoms I've seen pictures of? And plus the fluorescent light test glowed orange.. I went to Westgate Pet & Bird hospital in Austin, TX. which was on the recommended vet list but I want to get some other opinions just in case, since I didn't know anything about ringworms before today.

And what ringworm medicines are good for hedgies? I don't want to just give her any medicine the pharmacist hands me without any prior knowledge about it.

Sorry for the long post.. I'm kinda freaking out since the vet and pharmacy are closed already and I wasn't prepared to ask these questions when they called me, and now that I've thought of them it's driving me nuts. I'd appreciate any advice. Thanks :)
 

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I looked up feline ringworm, because it should be more or the less the same in hedgehogs. This site seemed pretty good: http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=1+2134&aid=223

Your vet should be able to tell you how to control it, or you could even call a regular dog/cat vet and they would know how to kill it on surfaces and what not. At the vet clinic I work at, the only cases I've ever seen are cats, and 9/10 times the owner has it too. From what I read on that website... if your hedgie does have ringworm...this site said hedgehogs will glow a fluorescent colour under a blacklight...so wouldn't orange mean positive or did your vet use a different sort of light test? These tests really aren't all that accurate though. Make sure to ask your vet what "test" was positive for ringworm. There can be false positives too... so let's hope!!

You should wear gloves at all times when handling... although if you haven't got it yet from handling without them...it makes me wonder. And it seems bleach is the only thing that can kill it on surfaces. It says carpets should be steam-cleaned and that your furnace and air ducts should be cleaned too. Yikes. Sounds like a pain to kill.

It looks like usually a topical anti-fungal cream is used, so hopefully someone else can reccommend a good one. Or sometimes oral anti-fungal meds too. I've never treated my hedgehogs for fungal infections so I'm not sure what meds are safe and which aren't. Your vet should know...but if you talk to them and they can't answer all your questions, I would get a second opinion.

Good luck!

Carpets should be steam cleaned and disinfected. Heating and cooling ducts and furnaces should be professionally vacuumed and filters replaced if a culture from the ducts comes back positive. Furniture and drapes should be vacuumed and the vacuum cleaner bags should be disposed of promptly. Housing units that contain wood or rusty metal should be re-painted. After vacuuming or mopping, clean with water and a detergent solution. Then, use bleach diluted to 1:10 with water and left on for at least 10 minutes to kill most of the organisms. All grooming tools, bedding, kennels, cat carriers, and cages should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected with bleach, as well.
Ringworm can be transmitted between cats and people. Persons should wear gloves when handling affected animals and wash hands well afterwards.
In healthy shorthaired kittens and cats with small isolated lesions, the lesion is often treated with a topical cream containing an antifungal such as miconazole or thiabendazole. In addition, it is important to treat any underlying conditions, provide good nutrition, and prevent the spread to other animals and humans.
As for the throwing up...I don't think it's related to the ringworm, but your hedgehog could have an underlying condition which made her more susceptible to the ringworm fungus, and maybe this condition is also causing the throwing up? I don't want to worry you more! And I'm definitely no vet, I just thought I'd throw out what I do know about ringworm and hopefully your vet can fill you in on the rest!
 

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Ringworm is NOT a worm. It's a plant which is a fungus. Not all ringworm glows under a Wood's lamp.

Practice good sanitation. The vet should have given you an oral med such as Itraconazole for your hedgehog; topical doesn't really work that well.

Yes, it's contagious, just wash your hands well and handle her as little as possible until she's on meds for a few days.

While that one post is rather frightening, it's also the extreme. Ringworm isn't that big of a deal normally and it's easy to keep a cage animal from spreading it all over the house, unlike cats.

Just for credentialing, I also own chinchillas. They are horridly prone to ringworm. I took in a rescue of 22 chins of which half had fungus. Not one of my animals ever got it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
yeah the post Larry gave the link to was one of the first things I read and it freaked me out lol It did seem a little extreme.
I guess I was a little confused since Pineapple's lamp test was negative (it's supposed to glow green for positive, orange for negative and she glowed orange) and she hasn't had other symptoms other than what looks like regular quilling. Also her results came back after a month when I heard the incubation period is about 7-14days, which is also how long the vet told me it would take to get the results back.
I guess I'll have to call and talk to the vet.. They left me a voice message at 9pm last night and left me to freak out all night without being able to ask them questions.
Thanks everyone for your replies.. I'll keep updating about her and maybe it will help someone else when they need answers about hedgie ringworm :)
 

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It's not unusual for ringworm to not fluoresce. It's also normal for it to take a few weeks to culture, depending on the type of ringworm.

Good luck and just keep on keeping clean. It should be ok.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just an update..

Pineapple's been on 0.1ml of Itraconazole every day. They flavored it grape flavor and she gobbles it up :D
I've been restricting where she gets to play and sanitized her entire cage over the weekend.
She's been fine but she is losing lots of fur.. which makes me sad. I love every tiny hair on her cute little furry body! But other than that she's been eating a lot and running on her wheel and pooping mountains and hasn't been losing a lot of quills. She's been itching a little at night but I haven't found any scabs or marks on her skin.
One thing though is she threw up again and this is worrying me.
Both times when she threw up was when she ate lots of mealies and played outside immediately. Can hedgies be like little kids when they throw up after running and playing too hard right after eating?
She has not thrown up once when she's inside, and even after throwing up she's had a great appetite and normal poops. I would take her to the vet but I don't know what to tell them to check for since X-rays don't really show much if it's an intestinal issue and that's usually all they do.
 

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Maybe she's allergic to mealies?

I know that seems like a strange thought, but generally animals throw up food when they are allergic.

Or she could just be eating the mealworms too fast, partially choking on them and then throwing them back up. Does she throw up immediately after eating them?

Is it the same batch of mealworms she's been throwing up? Maybe it's a bad batch of mealies and her body is recognizing there is something wrong with them and throwing them up?

Other than that I don't have any ideas. As long as she's not throwing up all the time, and as long as she's still eating and pooping regularily I don't think you have to worry about a blockage.

I would just watch her for now. And if the throwing up increases or the poop decreases then consider getting an xray. But you're right a xray + sedation is a lot of stress and risk for something that might not even give you a clear picture of what's going on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I buy live mealworms at the pet store and they have oatmeal flakes in the container. But until now I've always bought the small container which runs out in about a week so this time I had bought the big container and had been feeding her from it for about 4 weeks.
Maybe they went bad?? Can mealies go bad even when they're alive?
I keep them in the fridge, but I admit sometimes I do forget to put them back after feeding her and they stay out for hours.
I immediately bought her a new batch on Monday after seeing SnufflePuff's post though. Guess we'll just have to wait and see now. She did not throw up yesterday or today.
 

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kurai18 said:
I buy live mealworms at the pet store and they have oatmeal flakes in the container. But until now I've always bought the small container which runs out in about a week so this time I had bought the big container and had been feeding her from it for about 4 weeks.
Maybe they went bad?? Can mealies go bad even when they're alive?
I keep them in the fridge, but I admit sometimes I do forget to put them back after feeding her and they stay out for hours.
I immediately bought her a new batch on Monday after seeing SnufflePuff's post though. Guess we'll just have to wait and see now. She did not throw up yesterday or today.
Mealworms can't neccessarily go bad. I keep the ones I'm feeding in the fridge too, but I also take them out every few days and leave them out to let them feed. I also have a mealworm farm, and those mealworms are kept in warm conditions all the time. However, if there's a lot of dead mealies in your container, it could be a bad batch, or maybe the oatmeal is just really poor quality.

One thing you can do is buy your own bedding (I use a mix of oat bran, wheat bran, a tiny bit of corn meal and a little bit of flax seed). When you buy the mealies, pour out the old bedding, wash the container and put in your bedding. Then put the mealies back in and leave them out of the fridge for 1-2 days. This way they will eat the new bedding, flush the old stuff out of their system and then you know they have good stuff in them. You can keep them in the fridge afterwards, but you can leave them out overnight once in a while to let them feed, since they don't eat when they are in the fridge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok. Thanks so much for your advice everyone!
I'll definitely try changing out the oatmeal for the mealies since Pineapple gobbles up the worms and then licks up the oatmeal flakes that get stuck in my fingernails after digging them out.
I'll also slowly increase the amount of kibble I leave in her cage and see how she deals with that.
BTW, where do you buy the oat bran and such?
My friend who also has a hedgie says that she takes all the mealies out and puts them in a container with unsweetened bran cereal since her Daisy hates the oatmeal flakes and won't eat mealies that have the flakes stuck on them. She gets the mealies from the same pet store I get them from too. Maybe Daisy hating the oatmeal flakes is indicative that something's not right with them? hmm.. anyways, does cereal work?
 
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