Hedgehogs and Mites

miteHedgehogs are prone to mite infestation. If your hedgehog starts losing patches of quills, mites are probably to blame.

Source

The bedding that you buy may be contaminated with mites or they could be transferred from another pet in your house. Whatever the case, your hedgehog will need to be treated.

Treatment

Many people confuse fleas with mites. Fleas are pretty uncommon in hedgehogs. Most flea treatments are dangerous for hedgehogs, so avoid trying any over-the-counter flea treatments. Mites can be treated with Revolution (prescribed by a vet).

Ivermectin can be used topically/ or orally to treat hedgehogs, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have had good results with it in the past. I do use it on rabbits, but hedgehogs are smaller making it harder to get the dosage correct and you will need to administer 3 doses at 2 week intervals. I have also heard of cases of hedgehogs dying from Ivermectin, possibly from overdosing or  fatal injections. Revolution clears it up in just one dose, so I’ll be sticking with that.

Prevention

Bathing your hedgehog once per month in warm water with a few drops of olive oil will help to prevent mite infestations. I give olive oil baths regularly and have not had mites yet. This could also be due to a little bit of luck, but I know the olive oil helps.

Prevention can also include not buying bedding in a pet store where the bedding is close to small animals/birds. Mites could migrate into the bedding and create problems. I purchase my bedding from The Tractor Supply Company and have had good luck.

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Responses to “Hedgehogs and Mites”

Olivia patterson

My hedgehog has mites and I’ve been using a powder of sorts to get the mites off of her, it’s some earth something. And I’ve noticed it’s killed off a majority of the mites. Only thing is, is that she’s itching and bitting herself under her arm. Do you suggest I go to the vet or keep putting the powder on her? I don’t have a ton of money, I’m a college student. I just need some advice. How much do treatments typically cost at the vet?

christie

Hello Olivia!

I’m sorry to hear that your hedgehog has mites. Without proper treatment, mites can be very difficult to manage.

I am assuming that you are using Diatomaceous Earth. The food grade diatomaceous earth can be used as a natural treatment, every few days for a month or more. It is not 100% effective, but I’ve heard of success stories. Be sure to avoid the face as the dust can be harmful.

Ivermectin injections were the old treatment method, but proved to be fatal to many hedgehogs and that treatment is no longer recommended. Some owners do use liquid Ivermectin, 2 drops between the shoulder blades, two treatments two weeks apart. Ivermectin can be purchased over the counter, but it is not a preferred treatment and some hedgehogs may have a reaction to it.

The best treatment by far is prescription Revolution. You would need a vet visit and your vet may or may not insist on doing a skin scraping or extra testing. A typical vet visit should cost around $50 + $20 or so for a vial of Revolution. Dosage is usually 1-2 drops between the shoulder blades and treatment is very effective with one dose. The vial that you get from the vet can also be stored properly to be used again in the future.

Revolution kills the mites and prevents any further re-infestation for at least one month. Since the life cycle of mites can be up to 3-4 weeks, some of the other treatments are not as effective.

The itching and biting that you mentioned is probably a result of the mites. Since the diatomaceous earth is not 100% effective it can take more than a month of regular treatment every few days for all of the mites to die. Mites need to actually come into contact with the powder to die and you will still have eggs hatch for one or two cycles. Your best bet is to get some Revolution from your vet.

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