The Basics

Articles on basic care and considerations for new or prospective owners.

Vet/Health Care

Articles pertaining to health, nutrition, and veterinary care.

Breeding and Development

Articles and pictures about hedgehog breeding, growth, and development.

Advanced Care Issues

Articles for people who already own a hedgehog or want to know more than just the basics.

Shows and Colors

Learn more about hedgehog shows and hedgehog colors!

Purchase a Hedgehog

Wondering where on earth to buy a hedgehog? Start here!

Hedgehogabilia

Where to purchase hedgehog supplies and collectibles.

Our Herd

Meet the hedgehogs of Hedgehog Valley!

Other Critters

Meet the other critters that call Hedgehog Valley their home!


HEDGEHOG MITES

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about hedgehogs and mites and this article will address the three biggest ones. First, there is the idea that the mites that hedgehogs get are species-specific. That is not true. Several species of mites have been identified on hedgehogs, including those that can also affect dogs, cats, and birds. 

Next, there is the myth that mites are always a sign of poor husbandry. Certainly, poor husbandry isn’t going to help the situation, but even people who are scrupulous about cleaning have had mites turn up on their hedgehogs. There are plenty of possible explanations. One is that mites can lay dormant in bedding. If you purchase a bag of infested shavings, you bring the mites home to your hedgehog. Second, mites can be present at an undetectable level. If you handle another animal outside the home, the mites get on you, and you bring them home to hedgie. Or, hedgie may have just a few mites and they aren’t a problem until something happens to stress hedgie out, like a chill or minor illness, and the mites take advantage of the weakened condition to multiply. Either way, you can be cleaning and disinfecting daily and still have a mite outbreak.

The third group of misconceptions has to do with treatment. The current standard of treatment from the veterinarian is three doses of ivermectin injection, given two weeks apart. There is a research study that was done several years ago at the Santa Barbara Zoo that showed that 6 hedgehogs with severe might infestations, treated with the standard course of ivermectin, were not mite free at the end of treatment. Six similarly infested hedgehogs treated with amitraz dip were mite-free at the end of treatment, as well as at follow up. Our experience with ivermectin and amitraz, on our herd of 50 or so hedgies, has led to the conclusion that the standard course of ivermectin is not sufficient treatment. Unfortuntely, we have also found that amitraz did not seem sufficient, either. My search for a more effective treatment led to a veterinarian who prescribed Revolution (sealmectin) as a spot-on, calculating the dose at the same per-pound rate as for dogs.

We first used the Revolution in April of 2000. We used it on every furred critter in the house except the humans (that included a sugar glider, ferret, dwarf hamsters, and bushy tailed jirds). We also treated pregnant and lactating mothers, as well as nursing infants. I had one hedgehog who had cancer, who we had not been able to rid of mites for the last 4 months, no matter what combination of amitraz and ivermectin we had tried. Within a week, she was mite free and actually made some significant gains! We did not have another mite until August of ’01. We had several animals come and visit, so I am pretty certain the new outbreak came from outside rather than having been harbored in our herd. We treated again then, and have not seen another mite since! We also have seen no long-term effects on mothers or babies to date. Because of this, I am very much sold on Revolution as a treatment for mites in hedgehogs and would encourage you to take this article to your veterinarian and ask them to consider this type of treatment if mites have been a significant problem.

 

Antigone Means-Burleson

Iola, KS

hhvalley@yahoo.com

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This page last updated by Tig on  11/23/02