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Reptile Mites vs Hedgehog Mites

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  • Reptile Mites vs Hedgehog Mites

    Dr. Alan, I really need your expertise here. We went over to a friend's house tonight to check out their hedgehog and bring it to our house prior to bringing it to its new home in VT this weekend. They had told us it had lost some quills from dry skin, but it was no big deal. (I had my suspicions about that.) When I examined him, he had tiny white mites crawling on his skin, and he's missing most of his quills in a 2.5 to 3-in. diameter area. (On his back/butt.) We left him at their house until I can bring him directly to the vet's office and when we got home, we put all our clothes directly in the washer and showered immediately.

    My questions: Are the mites on this hedgehog transferrable to our cat, our dog, or most importantly, our reptiles? Is the cleaning procedure we used when we got home enough to avoid mite infection at our house? When we go to the vet, she's likely to give him a shot of ivermec or something similar, right?

    My husband's first snake died of mites while someone was pet-sitting it for him, so he is terrified our reptiles will catch them, especially our juvie GTP. This hedgehog and the one already at my house (clean) are supposed to travel in the car with our dog to VT as a Christmas gift for someone's kids. Are we going to be able to get his mite problem under control in a week?

    Thanks so much for the input; I want to get the little guy as comfy as possible ASAP and I definitely want to keep our clean collection CLEAN!
    "Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight;
    You gotta kick at the darkness 'till it bleeds daylight....."
    --Bare Naked Ladies

  • #2
    The bugs are almost certainly not transferable to reptiles, but the question becomes cloudier with mammals. Some scabies mites (Sarcoptes spp) can cause dermatitis problems for humans and animals of different species then the host - presumably the hedgehog - even though they don't reproduce on the abnormal host. Treatment with ivermectin (1% injectable dosed at 0.01ml/# either by injection or orally) is usually effective. Having said that, I have lately run into problems with lice in rats that were apparently resistant to ivermectin and had to be treated with topical Frontline (fipronyl) as well as ivermectin. Since you are dealing with a situation in which the skin parasite has not been exactly identified; is it a mite, louse, or even possibly a hanger-on picked up from another animal where the hedgehog currently lives?, I would be inclined to treat the hedgehog aggressively where it is now and clear up the problem before you bring it into your home. You could also totally isolate/quarantine the animal in an enclosure kept well away from everybody else and maintained by only one person until it is "clean", and I think that would be safe enough. Better safe than sorry.
    ~Alan

    "You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror."
    President Geo. W Bush in an interview with CBS News, Washington D.C., Sept. 6, 2006

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    • #3
      Dr. Alan, thanks very much for the quick response. I will make sure he goes to a vet, but this hedge is going to have to stay where he is. He will not go to VT with us; I would feel terrible if the folks taking him got mites into their dog, cat, or bird. I'm calling the vet when they open at 8 to get him an appt. Thanks again!
      "Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight;
      You gotta kick at the darkness 'till it bleeds daylight....."
      --Bare Naked Ladies

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      • #4
        Dr. Alan,

        I spoke with my exotics vet and the infected hedgie is going in tomorrow to get a shot of Ivermec, with a follow-up topical application in 2 weeks. I told her the mites are visible to the naked eye and she is pretty certain that Ivermec will kill all the adult mites off in 24 hours. We're going to keep it under quarantine as much as possible until the second dose, but the folks adopting him are willing to keep him isolated until the treatment is done. The home he is in now has one dog who is on Frontline and shows NO symptoms even though they let the hedge and dog run all over the same stuff, and the humans have not been itchy either. (The hedgehog's been losing quills for well over a month and they have been handling him like normal.) So, with a little luck, he gets cured, gets a nice new home with great owners, and we keep all of OUR critters clean. (Our cat and dog are on frontline or the equivalent.) Thanks for your help!
        "Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight;
        You gotta kick at the darkness 'till it bleeds daylight....."
        --Bare Naked Ladies

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        • #5
          Just to let you know, he got his shot yesterday and I was sent home with 2 more syringes for either subcutaneous injection or oral dosage 2 weeks apart. I will proboably inject his doses into giant mealworms and feed him his meds. The clinic here has almost never seen a live hedgehog; he was a huge hit among the vet techs! I held him for the shot though, as he was hard to immobilize. Thanks for your help.
          "Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight;
          You gotta kick at the darkness 'till it bleeds daylight....."
          --Bare Naked Ladies

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