Mites are a type of small red or black arachnid, like spiders and ticks. They bite and trigger inflammation to your hedgehog’s skin along with its spines (quills) and hair. Mites can spread from one hedgehog to another quite easily; luckily, they’re easy to prevent and deal with.
Unlike some other external parasites such as ticks and fleas, mites will not trouble humans.
Symptoms of Mites in Hedgehogs
You may or may not have the ability to see the real mites on your pet hedgehog however you probably will see the damage the mites trigger to your pet. Mites cause inflammation hair and spine loss; while hedgehogs will typically shed some of their spines, areas of light spine loss or loss of hair are irregular and must be indications that your hedgehog might have mites. Other symptoms might consist of:
- Biting, licking, chewing or scratching itself
- Low energy
- Dandruff and very flaky skin.
Your exotics veterinarian will do a skin scrape to obtain a sample of skin and hair and appearance under a microscope for the mites. A skin scrape is not a 100% accurate test, but if there is a big problem of mites, it will generally have the ability to detect their existence.
Causes of Mites in Hedgehogs
Mites can be contracted a variety of ways. New hedgehogs, bedding, and food are the typical culprits of a mite infestation. It’s not uncommon for hedgehogs to be plagued with mites if, for instance, it has lived in a pet shop near rodents or birds. If you haven’t exposed your hedgehog to another hedgehog (and have not managed another hedgehog and after that handled your own), the mite problem might originate in his kibble or his bed linen. Natural items like food and substrate often carry little mites that are then are introduced to your hedgehog’s enclosure and cause an invasion.
Hedgehogs can get mites from other infested hedgehogs, which they may contact at the breeders, in pet stores, shelters or previously contaminated bedding, according to VCA Hospitals.
Treating Methods of Mites in Hedgehogs
There are no anti-mite treatments specially produced hedgehogs; however, treatments produced felines are generally safe. Trip exotics vet will most likely utilize a drug such as ivermectin or selamectin, under the trademark name Revolution or Advantage. Prevent using any medication without veterinarian approval, as hedgehogs react severely to some treatments planned for felines and dogs. In specific avoid mite collars, permethrin sprays or permethrin spot-on, as these can be lethal to your animal.
Even if the skin scrape is negative, your vet might still treat for mites based on symptoms since mites are relatively typical in hedgehogs. If these mite treatments do not work and the skin scrape was unfavorable, more testing such as skin biopsies may be required to check for other diseases or allergies.
Aside from treating your hedgehog for mites, you’ll require to treat their environment as well. Clean and clean the whole cage, hide box, water bottle, any blankets or towels, toys, and the wheel in the cage with a mild meal cleaning agent and rinse thoroughly. Toss out any bedding that isn’t washable, along with all the kibble that is currently in the cage. Freeze the staying bed linen and kibble that you have for 24 hours to kill any mites that might be in them and to avoid reinfestation. You’ll also want to keep the affected hedgehog different from other family pets for a week approximately until you’re sure the infestation has been eliminated.
Good to know: hedgehog mites do not like living on humans.
Preventing Mites in Hedgehogs
Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid mites. Always wash your hands after managing any other hedgehog at a show, family pet shop, or buddy’s house. If you bring home a new hedgehog be sure to quarantine them for one week to look for signs of mites or other illnesses before introducing them to your other hedgehogs. Also, make sure you are washing your hands after managing your new hedgehog and before touching your other ones. Freeze all bed linen and packaged food after you acquire it (not the crickets or mealworms though) for 24 hours before putting it in the cage with your hedgehog. These items are the typical suspects for mite infestations in animal hedgehogs when there has been no other hedgehog direct exposure. For an additional layer of protection, consider bathing your family pet monthly in warm water with a few drops of olive oil; this can help keep mites at bay while likewise keeping the hedgehog’s skin from becoming too dry.