Hedgehog mites might sound scary but they aren't that uncommon. Good news though, they are easily prevented and/or treated!
What are mites?
Mites are tiny little arachnids that infest hedgehogs and damage their skin and quills.
Possible symptoms of mites:
If your hedgehog has one of these symptoms, dont stress out. Hedgehogs commonly have dry skin, so not every itch is a sign of mites. Baby hedgehogs go through stages of quilling, they lose their smaller baby quills and larger adult quills push through the skin. As you may imagine, quilling is extremely irritating. Quilling is another cause of both itching/scratching and also shedding quills.
How do hedgehogs get mites?
Hedgehogs can get mites from most beddings (including shavings, paper bedding and pellets) and also from other infected hedgehogs.
I think my hedgehog has mites:
If you suspect your hedgehog may have mites, you should seek treatment from a knowledgable exotics veterinarian. Usually mites are diagnosed by taking a skin scrape and putting the slide under a microscope. If the infestation is bad enough, sometimes the mites can be seen with the naked eye.
Treatment of mites:
Most breeders and veterinarians will treat an infested hedgehog with Revolution. Revolution is very easy to apply on the hedgehogs back and will last 30 days. Most hedgehogs are successfully treated with one dose of revolution but more severe infestations may require a second dose.
Some veterinarians may suggest Ivermectin. ONLY TOPICAL Ivermectin should be used. Ivermectin can be easily overdosed which makes the injections very dangerous. Which is why I personally recommend Revolution.
How can I help prevent mites?
Freeze all unopened bedding for 48 hours in a chest freezer. Alternatively or in addition, you can buy food grade diatomaceous earth and sprinkle it in their bedding.
Can my other pets get mites?
These mites are hedgehog specific. This means only hedgehogs can get them and they cannot spread to other animals like your dogs and cats.
Thats it! So if you suspect your hedgehog may have mites, dont freak out! Just seek a knowledgable veterinarian to get a diagnosis and treat accordingly.