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My raccoon got heavy matted hair balls...HELP

Health, Medical or behavior problems with all animals.

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Blackie1
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My raccoon got heavy matted hair balls...HELP

Postby Blackie1 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:41 pm

If anyone can give me some advice I would appreciate it. My 2 raccoons are 9 months old, both males there names are Blackie and Brownie. Blackie started getting his winter coat about 2 months ago, it was very thick and wooly...you could barely get your fingertips down to his skin. About 2 weeks ago his hair on his back half started to matt together. He got more and more matted hair balls. I bath them at least once a month with johnson baby shampoo. Now he has these matts and it looks like there is no hair in between them..like the matts are so tight its pulling his hair out. He is in no pain, he doesn't bother them at all. He is very healthy otherwise. Also his brother Brownie, doesn't have this thick winter coat at all, his hair is fine and brushable. He does have a thin spot on his right hip that I have been spraying a topical medication...that seems to be getting better. In both cases the skin is not irritated or red. I have cut some of the matted hair out from Blackie and now he has these bald sections...the skin is clearly not irritated. I've looked up mange and it doesn't even look anything like that...just bald sections in between matted hair balls. Has anyone ever had this "matting" on any of your raccoons? And how should I get them out without cutting them out? They are too matted to comb out.
I do have a pic but it won't let me upload it.
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Juska
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Re: My raccoon got heavy matted hair balls...HELP

Postby Juska » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:03 pm

I don't own raccoons, but I can tell you that matting does hurt, even if there's no red skin or visible pain shown by your raccoon. If it's tight enough to be pulling his hair out, you can bet he's feeling pain. If they are left in, they can start pulling the skin off as well, which leads to infection and all sorts of nasty things. And you don't want that.

I've groomed dogs for three years; I've seen plenty of matting in that time. I commend you for at least acknowledging that he's matted and are asking for help. I've had people bring in severely matted dogs and then act absolutely shocked when they're told the dog needs to be completely shaved because of how horribly matted they are.

Most pet supply stores sell de-matting tools. They look like little curved sickles with a gripped handle. They're blades that cut through the mat without pulling the hair out or cutting it shorter. Here's an example of one:

Image
Safari Mat Remover for Dogs

You can get them for that price or a little cheaper at Petco or PetSmart rather than paying for shipping online.
Last edited by Juska on Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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TamanduaGirl
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Re: My raccoon got heavy matted hair balls...HELP

Postby TamanduaGirl » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:05 pm

If the mats can't be brushed out you need to cut them all off(or try that tool Juska posted). They can keep tightening up till skin is pulled into the mat then you wont be able to cut them off without a vet. If he got some food or something in his fur that can cause it. The bathing can cause it too. If not 100% dried and brushed well the moisture left can cause mats in fluffy fur. Sometimes shedding fur will mat but it usually pulls right out in that case. Do you condition them? You may be bathing too often. The bathing removes the natural oils which helps to prevent mats among other things.
Blackie1
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Re: My raccoon got heavy matted hair balls...HELP

Postby Blackie1 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:55 pm

Juska wrote:I don't own raccoons, but I can tell you that matting does hurt, even if there's no red skin or visible pain shown by your raccoon. If it's tight enough to be pulling his hair out, you can bet he's feeling pain. If they are left in, they can start pulling the skin off as well, which leads to infection and all sorts of nasty things. And you don't want that.

I've groomed dogs for three years; I've seen plenty of matting in that time. I commend you for at least acknowledging that he's matted and are asking for help. I've had people bring in severely matted dogs and then act absolutely shocked when they're told the dog needs to be completely shaved because of how horribly matted they are.

Most pet supply stores sell de-matting tools. They look like little curved sickles with a gripped handle. They're blades that cut through the mat without pulling the hair out or cutting it shorter. Here's an example of one:

Image
Safari Mat Remover for Dogs

You can get them for that price or a little cheaper at Petco or PetSmart rather than paying for shipping online.


Thanks for the advice Juska, I will look and see if I can find that one on amazon...they ship fairly fast. I can't really tell from the pic but his matted hair balls are fairly close to the skin and it may or may not fit underneath them but I will definitly try it. Thanks again.
Blackie1
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Re: My raccoon got heavy matted hair balls...HELP

Postby Blackie1 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:14 am

TamanduaGirl wrote:If the mats can't be brushed out you need to cut them all off(or try that tool Juska posted). They can keep tightening up till skin is pulled into the mat then you wont be able to cut them off without a vet. If he got some food or something in his fur that can cause it. The bathing can cause it too. If not 100% dried and brushed well the moisture left can cause mats in fluffy fur. Sometimes shedding fur will mat but it usually pulls right out in that case. Do you condition them? You may be bathing too often. The bathing removes the natural oils which helps to prevent mats among other things.


Thanks TamandusGirl for your quick reply...I tried to cut a few out but they are fairly close to the skin..about 1/4 inch. I can get a pair of scissors under it but he won't hold still long enough for me to cut them out. I am going to get the tool that Juska posted and try that too. I didn't know that moisture could cause the matting...now I feel even worse knowing it is my fault...ughhh. Ok so less baths and dry very well and brushed more. This last bath I used the johnson baby shampoo with extra conditioning, that actually seemed to make it worse..of course I didn't dry completely either. I can get Brownie almost all the way dry (he loves bath time!) but Blackie is so squirmy he's hard to dry off completely and he hates bath time. You would never know they were brothers... Ok after I get them off he is going to be so naked...how long will it take for his hair to grow back? And any ideas on how to make him alittle drowsy or sleepy so I can do all them at one time? I definitely need to get them all off asap, I don't want him to be in any kind of pain.
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Re: My raccoon got heavy matted hair balls...HELP

Postby Juska » Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:27 am

The reason that baths given too often causes matting is because, like TG said, it takes the natural oils out of their fur, which makes the hair fibers rough and coarse, thus causing them to tangle and stick really close together once they're matted.

If you get that tool, start at the ends and work your way closer to the skin, just like you were brushing your own hair and getting out tangles. Then you can try to slide the mats out and/or get between the skin and matting. You can also try massaging conditioner into their fur before de-matting. The conditioner helps the hair become smooth, untangle and slide free. I've sometimes been successful at sliding a mat out with just my fingers or a regular brush on matted dogs with the conditioner.

Perhaps instead of using shampoo every bath time, just let them play in the water, and massage their fur and skin without shampoo, or if you must, just use a conditioner or a dry shampoo. Conditioners are much better for hair; shampoos are terrible for both people and animals and really should only be used when absolutely necessary, and should only be left on for a very short period of time. It strips the hair completely. You could try to find an all-natural shampoo without sulfate, but they still aren't that great for hair.

You can let him air dry, but once he is totally dry, immediately brush him to remove any small tangles. That should prevent the start of most mats. I let my dog Emo air dry and just give her a good brushing once she's dry, and she has never had a mat in the 7 years I've had her.

It could take a few weeks or possibly a month or two for their hair to grow back to full length, if they're anything like a dog. But it may take longer because I imagine they aren't built for their hair having to grow back out that long.
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TamanduaGirl
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Re: My raccoon got heavy matted hair balls...HELP

Postby TamanduaGirl » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:26 am

A conditioning shampoo tends to always just be a mess if that's what I'm reading about the johnsons. If you used a separate conditioner and it seemed to make things worse it probably wasn't rinsed out all the way. Anything not totally rinsed out will make things sticky once it dries up and if the mats were already there, which it sounds like, then there's no way to get it all out.

If you air dry a good combing before totally dry can help too. That way as the hair finishes drying it is drying in a neat shape and position.
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Re: My raccoon got heavy matted hair balls...HELP

Postby Juska » Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:49 am

Combing hair while it's wet can destroy the elasticity of it, though. I wouldn't recommend it.
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Re: My raccoon got heavy matted hair balls...HELP

Postby pat » Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:24 am

juska and tg gave very good replies. I agree with them.

I would like to add, raccoons really don't need bathed often. they are able to groom themselves.

for the mats, you could try putting some type of oil through out his whole body.
I put olive oil on mine once in awhile, cause they looked like their skin was a little dry, I would then use a ss comb,
as juska mentioned, start combing from the bottom of the fur to the skin. you could also try just cutting part of the mat,
apply some oil, then comb from bottom up.

keep the baths very frequent. as suggested, let them play in plain water.

I personally never had any mats with mine. they have two large water pans outside to play in.

also, are they kept indoor all the time? however, they are still young to keep outside much.

please keep us updated..
hope to see pictures of your babies...
Pat (Sybil and Benny's Mom)

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Blackie1
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Re: My raccoon got heavy matted hair balls...HELP

Postby Blackie1 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:08 pm

pat wrote:juska and tg gave very good replies. I agree with them.

I would like to add, raccoons really don't need bathed often. they are able to groom themselves.

for the mats, you could try putting some type of oil through out his whole body.
I put olive oil on mine once in awhile, cause they looked like their skin was a little dry, I would then use a ss comb,
as juska mentioned, start combing from the bottom of the fur to the skin. you could also try just cutting part of the mat,
apply some oil, then comb from bottom up.

keep the baths very frequent. as suggested, let them play in plain water.

I personally never had any mats with mine. they have two large water pans outside to play in.

also, are they kept indoor all the time? however, they are still young to keep outside much.

please keep us updated..
hope to see pictures of your babies...


Hi Pat,
Thanks for the advice...I ordered the dematting tools last night and I'm hoping for a quick delivery. I'll try the olive oil today and try to cut a couple more out and try to give him a good brushing. He is alittle on the hyper side so it's hard to do even just one. Do you know of any over the counter meds I could give him to calm him down while I work on the matts?
I have them inside the house at night because of the cold and during the day I keep them in a big indoor enclosure in our heated barn. This summer I am adding an addition on the barn just for them and moving the enclosure to the outside.
I will keep you guys updated too. I'm trying to upload pics but the pixel count is wrong..I'll try to fix it. Thanks again.
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Re: My raccoon got heavy matted hair balls...HELP

Postby pat » Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:25 pm

I know sometimes when they are younger, it is hard to keep them still long enough.
guess you can try a little at a time. mine love to be combed, but, they are older now.
not sure if you can offer him a treat at the same time you comb him, or maybe a rawhide bone.
but, some coons might get a little aggressive when combing at first, thinking you are taking their food away.
I don't have any problems with mine in that mannor though.

one thing I would like to share with you. I have heard peanut butter is good for a raccoons fur, suppose to make it shiny and a nice coat. I started feeding mine peanut butter on their marshmellows, and they love it. worth a try for future I guess.

how hot is the heated barn? sometimes too hot is not good either. dry heat could (not sure) can dry their coat and skin.
as long as they have straw in the barn (as long as the weather is not so bitter cold as it has been) should be fine.

glad to hear you will add a large pen for them. as they get older, they will love it. you can put pans of water out there for them. I use the largest black cement mixer pans I can find for the water, also have some set up for their litter pans.

on the calming medicine. you could ask your vet for some type of sedative.
on another note, I just recently found a product called "AniMed Vita-calm"
however, that is for horses. maybe you can ask your vet if you can give him a little of it.
I used it on my youngest donkey that I just sold sunday. he was very shy and was not people friendly.
so, I tried the AniMed on him, but, had to work with him thru out the day before the people picked him up.
and it did seem to cam him. he went really easy into their buyers trailer.

AniMed It is not a sedative, but, it does seem did seem to relax my donkey.
I bought it at TSC for 10.00

love your raccoon. he looks rather happy and content.
hope to see more picts...
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Re: My raccoon got heavy matted hair balls...HELP

Postby TamanduaGirl » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:47 pm

You can give 1mg of meltatonin to calm him down a bit. Any pharmacy has it. My grocery store even has it. It's very safe and commonly used.

I would not use anything by animed on a non-equine without talking to your vet first. I bought Animed brand vitamin K supplement. They just relabeled the horse supplement for dogs. They put one dose on there but that is wrong because dogs come in different sizes and a dose for a big dog could kill your little dog with an OD. They said to give a tsp I think but she gets 1/8th of a teaspoon, which is just a tiny pinch. I figured out the right dose because we'd given her K before but then verified it with the vet. So if you try what Pat used I'd not use it without vet advise even if they have a small animal version of it, as that's just the horse kind relabled and they don't seem to know about dosing for other species and their sizes.
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Re: My raccoon got heavy matted hair balls...HELP

Postby pat » Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:26 pm

You can give 1mg of meltatonin to calm him down a bit. Any pharmacy has it. My grocery store even has it. It's very safe and commonly used
glad you mentioned that. I forgot about that. glad you posted that again.

the "Ani Med" goes by weight. the directions says: 1 to 2 tablespoons per 1000lb body weight. or can be doubled to 2-4 tablespoons for it to kick in about 1/2 hr to an hour.
if the vet approves it, we would have to figure out how much to give a small raccoon.

I have to call my vet about my dog, so, I will ask them, if they know.
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Re: My raccoon got heavy matted hair balls...HELP

Postby Blackie1 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:49 pm

pat wrote:
You can give 1mg of meltatonin to calm him down a bit. Any pharmacy has it. My grocery store even has it. It's very safe and commonly used
glad you mentioned that. I forgot about that. glad you posted that again.

the "Ani Med" goes by weight. the directions says: 1 to 2 tablespoons per 1000lb body weight. or can be doubled to 2-4 tablespoons for it to kick in about 1/2 hr to an hour.
if the vet approves it, we would have to figure out how much to give a small raccoon.

I have to call my vet about my dog, so, I will ask them, if they know.



Thanks Pat and TG again, I will try the melatonin definitely. I give that to my grandson so I have plenty of it around. I am a avid couponer also in my spare time. I haven't had time to do any work on him today we have frozen water pipes and we have been working on them all day. With no success I might add. I' ll give him the melatonin now and wait to see if he calms any. My fiancee suggested using his mustache grooming shaver to take some of the matt off before I but the olive oil on him. So I showed it to Blackie and turned it on a few times and he's not afraid of it only wants to chew it. If I can put his attention on a snack like oatmeal I might be able to do some work. Well wish me luck.
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Re: My raccoon got heavy matted hair balls...HELP

Postby Juska » Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:44 pm

A small tool like a mustache clipper will probably just get stuck in the hair. The blades aren't wide or strong enough to cut through fur, especially matted fur. Just a warning, as the hair might actually break the clippers.
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