Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hedgehog Flea Alert

It was a quiet evening last week when I decided Twitch needed some play time outside of her cage. Actually, I think I was rather down about something or other, probably school again, but Twitch and Max are my main comforters when it comes to any catastrophe, great or small. Anyways, I picked her up and was cuddling her when suddenly a giant flea came wiggling out on my arm! I yelled for Max and rushed Twitch into the bathroom. I turned her over so I could see her belly and low and behold there were about 10 fleas wiggling around, looking for cover. I turned the water on in the bathroom sink and ran Twitch a nice warm bath while capturing fleas and tossing them into the toilet for flushing. Poor Twitch just sat there watching me cuss angrily at fleas, as I picked them off and berated them for choosing my beloved Hedgehog as their home. Finally I had removed all the visible fleas, and Twitch went for a paddle in the sink to scare out any remaining offenders (2) which I picked off and flushed as well.

The next step was to empty out her box. Since fleas usually remain in the vicinity of their host I figured, they were probably still confined to her enclosure, and were not running around the house showering it with eggs. I quickly trashed the bedding and all disposable toys, washed out her dishes, and took her wheel, tunnel and the enclosure outside. That being done, we decided to go to bed, and take Twitch to the vet to get some flea medication the following day (Monday).

The next day proved frustrating. The Exotics service at the Vet School was closed for the next three weeks, and there was only one other vet clinic that would see Hedgehogs in town. I really didn't want to go there, because I have had 2 friends who worked there and they told me all the shady things that go on there (One of my friends lost half of his finger, no joke!). So I decided to try and find my wonderful Parasitology professors, because they could give me the prescription I needed for flea preventative. Of course they were out as well, so it was off to the dreaded clinic.

To be fair, the clinic was very nice. The receptionists were efficient and helpful, and the vet saw us promptly. If I had not had a biased opinion going in I would have been quite impressed. The vet prescribed Revolution (Half the kitten dose for my 400 gram Hedgehog) and after applying it we went back home and cleaned Twitch's house and toys so she could relax.

SO how did Twitch get fleas in the first place? Well, she has been at my Mom's house all summer, with three cats, one witch was very curious about her, and insisted on climbing in the box to watch her more closely. Of course the cats go outside all the time, so as soon as the cat jumped in with Twitch she probably dropped eggs and fleas in the box, and the rest is history.

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