Food Additives to Help Dry Skin

Nov 30, 2015 by

Some hedgehog owners have found that food additives or supplements may also help improve skin quality. We suggest using food additives or supplements only under veterinary supervision. The following information is a summary of products used by other hedgehog enthusiasts but we cannot personally recommend any of the following products from our own experience. Flax Seed Oil Flax Seed Oil is reported to help dry skin, aid in digestion, and is beneficial for overall good health. It can be purchased at any health food store. It should be refrigerated. Many breeders buy flax seed oil caplets from their local drugstore. These convenient capsules can be punctured on one to allow a small amount of oil to come out. If your hedgehog’s food does not already contain flax seed oil, you can also add a few drops to your hedgehog’s food. The kibble will readily absorb the flax seed oil. This can be repeated daily. Too much flax seed oil can cause diarrhea. I think what really helps his skin is adding the flax oil to his food. I feed Hejji two teaspoons of chicken or turkey baby food with flax oil each night. I mix 2 capsules of flaxseed oil in the little jar, then freeze the baby food + flax oil mixture in a mini ice cube tray, once frozen I store the cubes of food in plastic bag in freezer = super...

Integument (Skin) Issues

Nov 11, 2013 by

The most common reason that hedgehogs see veterinarians is for skin conditions. Pruitis (Itchiness) Scratching can cause redness or damage to the skin, which could lead to secondary infection. Scratching frequently often causing self trauma Other Causes for Scratching Allergy Infection Lymphoma Skin Irritation Treatment has the best results if directed at the cause Mycotic Dermatitis Can be subclinical (Hoefer) Manifested by scales, crusts, and the loss of spines (Hoefer) Caused by Trichophyton or Microsporum (Hoefer) Treatment includes: Diagnosis is by fungal culture of affected skin and scales (Hoefer) Oral griseofluvin and lime sulfer dips weekly (Hoefer) Treatment has the best results if directed at the cause. Skin Lesions Skin lesions may be caused by many different conditions including but not limited to cancer, bacterial infection, fungal infection, or injury. Lesions may appear as open sores, red/discolored areas on the skin, or swollen or raised patches. All lesions should be biopsied and cultured if the cause is not identified by observation. An excellent article on skin lesions and cutaneous lymphoma is in the July/August 2000 issue of Lab Animal Volume 29, No. 7. A veterinarian needs to assess skin lesions by biopsy and culture before prescribing treatments. Fungal Infection  Oral antibiotics, such as Trimeth-Sulfa Suspension given twice a day or Itraconazole.  Conofite Spray used once a day maybe prescribed. oral antibiotic Itraconazole. Bacterial Infection When severe scratching damages the skin, commonly occurring bacteria on the skin (that our...

Dry Skin Treatments

Jun 13, 2013 by

Treatment Overview The first step in treatment is to look at a clean, completely dry hedgehog. Our Bathing Articles describe an oatmeal bath, how to bathe your hedgehog, dead skin removal, and simple skin care tips. Various owners and breeders treat simple dry skin with various over-the-counter remedies and other items usually found around the house. Very rarely will a veterinarian prescribe a prescription treatment for dry skin only, since many other more cost-effective means are successful. In many cases an oatmeal bath will clean and soothe the skin, and no other treatment is necessary. Healing should happen fairly quickly, and if not, a trip to the veterinarian is necessary because dry skin that is not accurately treated will become worse over time. Mite infestations can be the root of the dry skin problem and will continue to cause more skin and quill damage if not properly treated. Most veterinarians recommend a treatment of Revolution as a precautionary against mites because it is more reliable than looking for mites, it is inexpensive and very safe. Another reason to see a veterinarian is the he/she may need to prescribe oral antibiotics such as  Trimeth-Sulfa Susp and Conofite spray for fungal problems.  Oral antibiotics such as Itraconazole may be necessary as well.  Harrison’s Avix Soother Topical Spray Great for skin irritation, mange, minor lesions and itching Promotes soothing relief for skin inflammation Is safe and effective for all species...

Causes Of Dry Skin

Jun 11, 2013 by

In order to treat the dry skin, it is necessary to understand potential causes of the problem.Several factors may contribute to the dryness, but the problem will not be completely eliminated without treating the specific problem. Quilling Varying degrees of quill loss may also be associated with dry skin.  Quill loss and dry skin may indicate a mite infestation or fungal infection but is not always the case. A veterinarian can rule out mites by observing skin scrapings under a microscope and performing a simple fungal test. It is very important to visit the vet and ascertain the reason for the dry skin if the problem persists or there is quill loss. Our Quilling Article has more details on this subject. Mites and Fleas Refer to Mites and Other Ectoparasites for More Information Fungus and Bacterial Infection Your vet will need to do a skin scrapping and will prescribe antibiotic if necessary. Fungal spores are airborne and can be transferred easily throughout the environment. Animals (and humans) with dry skin are more susceptible to funal infections Fungal infection: ringworm Fungus (dermatophytoses. (Vet Med, 1999). Type of Bedding Bedding with fine particulates can dry out the skin Hardwood beddings and dusty beddings can also dry the skin. Diet Deficiency Certain dietary issues may also cause dry skin. Allergens Grass Detergents Fabric Softener Carpet Cleaner Bathing Too frequent Type of soap or shampoo Not rinsing shampoos well can cause...

Overview Of The Skin

Jun 11, 2013 by

Healthy Skin The epidermis and dermis are the two primary mammalian skin layers. The epidermis is the topmost layer is the selectively permeable skin barrier. It is called the dead skin layer, which provides waterproofing and serves as a barrier to damage. The dermis serves as the location for appendages of the skin including hair follicles and quills. Healthy skin is important to maintaining a formidable barrier to external stimuli including protecting against dehydration,  environmental changes, and diseases such as bacterial infection. Any modifications to the skin’s barrier equilibrium may trigger skin conditions such as dryness, itchiness, or dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) Healthy skin can be hard to maintain due to numerous environmental factors Temperature Sun Pollution Water itself can cause dry skin if one showers in excess or in hot water because it removes the oils the skin naturally secretes for moisture. Additional Articles Problems Associated With Dry Skin Causes of Dry Skin Diagnosis of Dry Skin Treatment of Dry Skin Other Skin...

Mites & Other Ectoparasites

Jun 6, 2013 by

General Information The information below is not meant to scare you but to make you aware of this common problem. With proper diagnosis and treatment mites can be eradicated with little more trouble than a minor inconvenience. According to Heidi Hoefer, in Clinical Approach to the Pet Hedgehog, mites are the most important parasitic disease of pet pygmy hedgehogs. Most hedgehogs will encounter an Acariasis (mite) infestation at least once in its lifetime. Various hedgehog species in the wild are known to carry mites, fleas, maggots, and ticks. Almost all hedgehogs in the UK Hedgehog Rescues are treated for these little creatures. The only type of flea infestation affects only European hedgehogs in the wild. Dog and cat fleas typically do not infest African hedgehogs kept as pets in the US. Symptoms Quill or Hair Loss Dry, Flaky, or Scaling Skin Scratching Caused by an uncomfortable feeling Excessive scratching is indicated by redness of skin and or scabs and sores Scratching can result in a secondary infection. Spines that are lost from the natural quilling process will have a root bulb that fits into the hair follicle similar to that of a human hair.  o Spines that are lost due to mite infestation typically will have a soft, flaky appearance to the spine tip. Tattered or ragged ears Crust at the base of quills or around eyes and ears Scabs Detection If you suspect that...

Quilling

Jun 5, 2013 by

The Process of Quilling There are times when a hedgehog will shed large numbers of quills and replace shed ones with new ones.  This process is called quilling.  The quilling process is different than the replacement of spines that are lost individually.  Quilling is a gradual and natural process that happens over time rather than an over-night occurrence.  It can be better compared to teething in human babies. Quilling occurs over an extended period of time rather than shedding like a snake that typically occurs overnight or in a short period of time. Quills that are shed naturally have a root or bulb at the end (like human hair) but spines that are shed due to a skin condition or mites tend to have a flaky or soft tip on the end of the spine. The first major quilling or heaviest quilling occurrence is often distinguished by the loss of small fine quills and the growth of new quills.  New quills can most easily be seen on a relaxed hedgehog looking down the spine and over the rump.  They will be thicker new quills beginning to poke through the skin surface.   Quilling is often equated with the “Terrible Twos” or “Adolescents”. New quill points will break through the skin fairly quickly after spines are lost so there are no bald spots or large areas of visible thinning in the hedgehog’s spine coat. Each...

Scratching

May 27, 2013 by

Bed Head Hedgehogs often scratch a bit when they first wake up or after they are handled. One might compare this scratching to fluffing out a “bed head” hairdo. Hedgehogs’ skin may also feel tight or need to be scratched when their spines are out of alignment. Some hedgehogs scratch when nervous or exploring. Again, this is a habit you may see in humans. Quilling and Dry Skin Quilling also can cause scratching because it is uncomfortable when the new spines are working their way through the skin. Dry or dirty skin can also cause scratching. A bath and olive oil treatment (or our skin care oil) should help alleviate both these problems. Check out the Quill Loss and Quilling, Dry Skin, and Bathing Your Hedgehog articles for more information on these topics. Mites Mites are the first thing people typically think of when they see their hedgehog scratching. If you are sure that the cause of scratching is only mites, be sure to look out for other signs of mites. Signs of mites include: Loss of quills with a flaky root rather than a healthy root bulb Visible mites or mite droppings Scratching and itching to the point where the hedgehog leaves marks on its body. A trip to the vet may be necessary if excessive itching continues or if other signs and symptoms of mites accompany the scratching. Check out the Mites...

Fungal Infections

May 25, 2013 by

Overview Small amounts of fungal spores can be found on the skin of healthy humans and animals. An overgrowth of fungus can cause infections and dry skin. Fungal infections and bacterial infections may be found at the same time. Dermatophytes are fungi that can cause infections of the skin, hair, and nails due to their ability to utilize keratin. http://www.provlab.ab.ca/mycol/tutorials/derm/dermwhat.htm The organisms colonize the keratin tissues, and inflammation is caused by host response to metabolic by-products. These infections are known as ringworm or tinea, in association with the infected body part. Occasionally the organisms do invade the subcutaneous tissues, resulting in kerion development. http://www.provlab.ab.ca/mycol/tutorials/derm/dermwhat.htm Kerion – A severe form of tinea capitis, in which well-circumscribed parts of the scalp are transformed into a painful, boggy, inflamed, confluent mass with loosened hair, purulent folliculitis, crusting, often with lymphadenopathy, due to a zoophilic superficial mycosis, Trichophyton verrucosum, or T mentagrophytes; geophilic or anthropophilic fungal infections may abruptly become Kerion. http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/kerion Depending on the species the organism may be viable in the environment for up to 15 months. There is an increased susceptibility to infection when there is a preexisting injury to the skin. http://www.provlab.ab.ca/mycol/tutorials/derm/dermwhat.htm Quilling is a prime time for fungal overgrowth and infection. Already dry skin makes hedgehogs more susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections. Fungal infections are often treated with either homeopathic methods, over the counter creams and/or shampoos, or prescription medications. If a...