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Old 09-01-2011, 10:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How to handle whs?

Hi everyone I haven't posted much but I've had my baby Hazel for almost 3 years and she was diagnosed with whs about 2 months ago. I just want to know how to handle such a hard situation. She is very special to me in many ways. I want her to be happy but I don't know how to do that. She still seems happy eating and when I play with her but I can tell she is getting worse. The hardest thing now is the vet wants to put her down but I just can't seem to do it. If anyone had/has a hedgehog with whs I would love to hear your experience and I'm sorry if this is the wrong place to post I haven't been on here much. Thank you so much for all of you who took the time to read this.
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Old 09-01-2011, 11:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to handle whs?

Oh wow, how sad. I'm so sorry to hear about this. Thankfully, my baby doesn't have any health problems, so I really don't know what to say. I wish you and your little girl the best.
I do suggest that you inform the breeder you got her from so she knows that other hedgies from that lineage should be monitored.
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Old 09-01-2011, 11:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to handle whs?

I would repost this in the health forum to get better attention to it
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Old 09-02-2011, 07:28 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to handle whs?

How bad is she? Is she still able to eat on her own and move around the cage on her own? Can she walk at all or is it a constant struggle for her trying to move? Some of them progress fairly rapidly but others its a slow progression. What I found with Cinder is she would remain at the same mobility level for a long time, sometimes months, and then would suddenly decline almost overnight. Then she would stay at that level for a while before the next decline. She survived 18 months from initial symptoms.

Do what you think is best for your girl. If she still has mobility left, she is probably not ready.
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Old 09-02-2011, 09:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to handle whs?

i had the same experience as Nancy. my boy Atticus would be at one ability level for a while & then very quickly progress...then plateau...then progress. when it got to the end, he was still himself & eating & drinking (via syringe) but had severly limited mobility & was starting to suffer from peripheral neuropathy & was biting himself. then i knew it was time.

i found it was best to set my own limit ahead of time. i did not want him suffering. & by my own fault, he did. but the moment i noticed, off to the vet we went. still, i had set boundaries prior: if he started losing interest in food (he LOVED food), if he stopped wanting attention, etc. that way i had an objective list & it didn't matter how i felt - if he met the criteria, it was time. turned out, he never met those but was obvioulsy suffering. so i was able to make the right choice.

feel free to email or PM if you like.
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Old 09-04-2011, 01:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to handle whs?

She still can kinda scoot around but I hand feed her because I don't want her to drown in the water bowl. She loves to eat still and she looks at me when I talk to her. I just feel like
I am giving up on her if I put her to sleep.
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Old 09-04-2011, 07:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to handle whs?

Use a very low sided and small water dish so that even if she does loose her balance at the dish, it isn't large enough for her to drown. If she has enough mobility to get to the dish and drink, she will be fine with a small dish. Even a lid off a jar would work as they are very shallow.

Hand feeding her is good even if she is still able to eat on her own. Not only does it ensure she is getting enough but I think being able to still get to their dish keeps them from feeling so helpless.

Can she get to her feet at all? If so, sometimes arranging the cage so there is furniture that she can lean against to walk. Also, a liner that is firmly attached so it doesn't move with her as she tries to move. Wrapping fleece around a piece of tight fitting coroplast will make for a nice firm and non moving surface.

It doesn't sound like she is ready to go yet. It is extremely difficult to know when to make that final decision because even as they continue to get worse to the point of almost no mobility, they still seem happy with bright eyes and often still with a good appetite.

In hindsight, we realize we let Cinder go too long. Her last evening, Jess started feeding her and she started to choke and we didn't think she was ever going to stop. This was back before there was an emergency vet clinic here and we called all over trying to find a vet that was on call. When we did, he wanted nothing to do with euthanizing a hedgehog so her last night was spent hungry because she could no longer swallow the food.

As rivoli says, set a boundary and hard as it may be, stick to it. We tend to loose our judgement with these little ones.
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Old 09-04-2011, 06:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to handle whs?

Thank you so much for all the advice this is such a hard disease to deal with because we know that are little babies are not going to get better even though in our hearts we want to believe they will. You want them to get better so bad but just watch them get worse. I would do anything for Hazel to make her happy and her personality is still happy she is still bright eyed and it really doesn't feel like she's ready to go. I just don't want to be the judge of when it is her time.
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Old 09-04-2011, 06:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to handle whs?

I haven't seen how but she does end up on the other side of the cage at night. Sometimes I find her laying on her back too. She only moves around when I'm asleep. I also have a question her tummy seems super sensitive but I want to give her foods that she enjoys so how can I do this without upsetting her tummy?
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