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My Hedgehog Has Mites- What Now?

Mites are a very pesky but treatable problem that sometimes happens with pet hedgehogs. I am not a veterinarian and this article is not a replacement for your veterinarian. You will want to consult with your vet before using any medical treatment for your hedgehog. This article is meant to give you some idea of what options have been evaluated for hedgehogs, as well as what things we have heard people say about their experiences. This will help you to work with your vet to make a decision about care that is based on as much available information as possible!

When I first started working with hedgehogs, in the mid 1990s, topical Ivermection was typically recommended as treatment for mites (reference: personal exeperience; https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4612-3626-9_19). Participating in the few hedgehog groups/mail lists that existed at that time, I heard people complain that Ivermectin made their hedgehog sick or that it wasn't very effective (reference: personal experience and https://www.jstor.org/stable/20094848?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents ).

When mites showed up in my herd in the early 2000s, I asked my vet if there were any other treatments available, since I didn't want to risk my hedgehogs getting sick or it not working very well. A study that compared injected Ivermectin to Amitraz as a dip showed that the Amitraz, used as in their study, was effective at eliminating the mites while the Ivernectin was not quite as effective (reference: https://www.jstor.org/stable/20094848?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents and https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/immunology-and-microbiology/ectoparasitism ). I used the Amitraz with good results, but eventually, my vet stopped carrying it and we had to look for something else.

Veterinary articles reported success with permethrins to treat mites (reference: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/immunology-and-microbiology/ectoparasitism and https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/immunology-and-microbiology/ectoparasitism ) but word of mouth was that some people had hedgehogs with adverse reactions, so I did not want to try that.

The next reference we found that was promising was use of Selamectin (Revolution) as a topical treatment (reference: http://veterinarycalendar.dvm360.com/hedgehog-wellness-proceedings?id=&sk=&date=&pageID=5 ).  This worked extremely well, clearing mites within about 24 hours and keeping them gone.

Recently I had a hedgehog turn up with a case of mites and the vet indicated that he hasn't carried Selamectin for over 5 years so we looked at other options. Oral dosage of Fluralaner (Bravecta) was found to be effective in one dose (reference: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318318852_Fluralaner_as_a_single_dose_oral_treatment_for_Caparinia_tripilis_in_a_pygmy_African_hedgehog). I have had someone tell me, "Don't use that, people had problems!" but they did not provide any references or explain what those problems might have been. We chose to use Fipronil (reference: http://wildpro.twycrosszoo.org/S/00Chem/ChComplex/fipronil.htm and http://vri.cz/docs/vetmed/60-1-57.pdf ivermectin, selamectin, fipronil ) as a topical and it did clear the mites with no adverse effect on the hedgehog.

As you can see, there are a lot of different treatment options and there are different kinds of mites. If your vet is not familiar with the treatment of mites in hedgehogs, the references in this article will be helpful for you and your vet to determine what treatment would be likely to be most effective, and if there are several options, to help you determine which one you would prefer.

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