What should you do if your hedgehog has mites?
Mites are a very common problem in hedgehogs, if not the most common problem. There are a few different varieties of mites who can live on hedgehogs. It is believed that mites may be present in hedgehogs at all times and multiply in times of stress, creating symptoms and problems. It is also believed that natural bedding such as pine and aspen can be a source of mites.
Signs of mites can include dry skin, quill loss and balding areas, itching and scratching.
Veterinarians will perform a skin scraping in a few different places to diagnose mites. The problem is that these skin scrapings are not 100% accurate. If the scrapings are done on a different location than where the mites are located, the tests will come out negative.
If mites are suspected and a skin scraping comes out negative, some vets will still suggest treatment as a preventative measure.
In the past few years, there have been reported hedgehog deaths associated with the use of ivermectin, particularly when it is given as a shot. I have discussed this issue at length with my veterinarians. Ivermectin is used as a horse de-wormer and converting the dosage from a horse to a hedgehog can apparently result in overdose to a hedgehog. Not in all cases, but do you want your hedgehog to be that one case? I do not recommend using ivermectin in any form on a hedgehog.
Revolution® (selamectin) is now the treatment of choice for most hedgehog breeders as it been safer for use in hedgehogs. It is also more effective in killing mites that commonly occur in hedgehogs. It is used as a topical treatment.
If your hedgehog has mites, please discuss the use of Revolution® with your veterinarian.
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