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-   -   Lump on hedgehog's back, possible tumor? (https://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=166633)

misha0209 06-28-2017 04:05 PM

Lump on hedgehog's back, possible tumor?
Hello all,

here's hoping i get some answers.

so, we got a hedgehog about 4 months back, at the time we got her, the store said she was 7 months old.
she seemed healthy when we got her.

after 1 month of being with us, we noticed a small bump on her back, and a few lost quills.
the bump grew in size so we decided (after reading up on the forums here) to go see a vet.
the vet at the time said it's an abscess and drained the area.
after some antibiotics, cleaning the area with betadine solution, then some cauterization spray, the lump seemed gone.

2 months passed, and while we found it slightly weird that no quills grew in the area where the bump was, the skin seemed normal, and she seemed happy, eating, running on her wheel, playing with toys.. lively generally.

now, the past 2 weeks, the bump started growing back, same place.
she is still her old self, playing, eating well, running on her wheel as i type this.
she even ate quite a bit when we got home.

today, we visited a vet, again, to check the lump.
after taking a sample, and looking at it under a microscope, he said it looks like a tumor.
he gave her a local shot (right in the **** bump) of antibiotics.
his advice, if the thing does not start going away in 10 days, it's probably not an infection, and he recomends, operate, and remove.

i've seen a lot of discussions here on this topic, so i figured why not make an account, and write this up, maybe i can get some answers from people with experience.

i'll add a few pictures to the post, maybe people who have seen this in the past can share experiences.
the bump looks bad now, and much bigger than it was due to the vet visit. it was 2/3 the size when we went to the vet.


would also like it if somebody will confirm this does not look like in an ingrown quill, told the vet that maybe it's an infection from something like that, said he didn't know, but what he saw under a microscope indicates more of a tumor than an infection.. i wouldn't know, i'm not a doctor :(

ofc i'm trying to get another opinion, but in my country you can't trust the human doctors, most animal doctors do cats and dogs... i'm afraid to let her under a knife, especially with this on her back, i mean after the OP, she will get stitches... which IMO she can pop if she balls up. right?
on the other hand, if it is a tumor, i definitely would like to try and do something about it ASAP. but i am afraid of a false diagnosis :( that would put her in unneeded danger. also the guy scared me, said he had to pull out a few quills around the area, then cut it off... i guess that would make sense, but still...

thanks for reading!
and would appreciate any feedback :)

nikki 06-28-2017 04:20 PM

To me it looks more like a tumour than an abscess or ingrown quill. I would have it removed and sent for testing. Even if it turns out to be an abscess it still needs to be removed. There shouldn't be a problem with stitches as the skin will stretch and it's not that big of an area.

misha0209 06-29-2017 01:28 AM

thank you so much for the input.

the plan is to schedule her for another clinic that specializes in oncology for pets.
if they do not give a definitive analysis that it's not a tumor, we'll go ahead with the OP to have it removed in 10 days, as the doctor suggested yesterday.

did not think it would need to be cut off if it is an abscess.
also, thank you for confirming it does not look like an ingrown quill !

nikki 06-29-2017 10:40 AM

Some abscess have to be removed if they keep coming back. Most can just be drained and treated with antibiotics but some have to be surgically removed to prevent them from reoccurring.

misha0209 06-29-2017 02:00 PM

i see, thank you for the explanations.
we're going to another vet tomorrow, to have another opinion.
noted that in your experience, you would take the operation. this is important feedback for me, especially coming from a breeder.
thank you!

i will probably keep posting here as things unfold, just to have a written record, other threads here helped me, so maybe this will be helpful to somebody in the future.

misha0209 07-03-2017 02:10 PM


i promised i will update here as the story develops.
we visited a second doctor, this one is suppose to specialize in exotic animals.

we have another confirmation that the proper course of action should be extraction, so we are now trying to confirm the date of the operation.

we need to wait a bit as the doctor will be away for 2 weeks (currently trying to find out if this is too long, and the risk is too high if this is indeed a tumor).
we would prefer the doctor that is away as she has performed operations on small animals before. the initial one is suppose to be good with cats and dogs....

will post again after the OP probably.

misha0209 07-20-2017 01:02 AM

We've underwent the procedure to remove the lump yesterday.

the doctor says she is very happy with how the operation went. to her, the lump looked like a malignant tumor, but she says she could clean it all out, and she is very confident it will not reoccur. we've sent the tissue for analysis, to see exactly what it is.

hoping for the best.

on the other hand, our hedgie is just fine.
when we brought her home she ate and slept.
last night she woke up, ate quite a bit, drank water, and was very energetic. used the wheel all night :D
we've removed toy tubes, so she can't hurt herself.

the next 5 days we're suppose to syringe feed some pain meds, so that she doesn't feel the OP. she was stiched back up with absorbant fiber, so there is no need to remove the stitches.

all things considered, we're hoping she will be fine.
will post again when the analysis on the tissue comes in.

misha0209 08-01-2017 01:45 PM

new update, the test results for the tissue came in.
unfortunately it looks quite bad :(

"High-grade round cell tumor. Based on histological morpholoy, the histiocytic sarcoma or mastocytoma is suspected."

this is right out of the sheet, the only thing in english.
the rest is in hungarian. i can google translate and post it here if somebody has the medical know how to interpret.

we're going to see the doctor soon, to talk about it.

i have no clue about this, but the quick google searches i did today, say the first one is very bad and the second is not as bad, but still quite bad :(

we're going to do an extra examination, they say that with immunhistokaemia they can say exactly which of the 2 it is....

if anybody has had any experience in the past, please share. proper course of action?
if the tumor was removed, are there chances of it coming back? chances of spreading to other places? anything that we can do to determine if it spread - i remember the doctor said x-ray will only show bones, they can't tell if there are tumors for such a small animal -? how do we tell if she is in pain? the doctor inquired about oncological treatment for hedgehogs in a specialized clinic (chemo i suppose) and they said they can do it, but it would be hard because she's a small pet. dunno what that means, hard for them, or her... i suspect both :(

on the other hand, she is eating well, wheeling all night, curious and lively. 410grams. picked up in weight after the OP, she was at 395.

we heard her cry/moan twice, we figured it was because of the operation, or the fact she can't sleep well, since it is HOT - 38~40 deg celcius hot - around here now. we leave the AC on all day for her.

will keep posting as this develops, again, to have a written record, in case somebody runs into the same problems.
but if anybody has any advice, please share.

thank you!

misha0209 08-09-2017 02:00 PM

reporting in again, in case somebody is still reading, we visited an oncologist.
the guys is suppose to specialize in small exotic pets. he's worked with hedgehogs in the past. and seems to have a long, and good history in the vet oncology line of work so to speak.

we did ultrasound of the abdomen, and x-rays. had a tough time keeping the hedgehog from wiggling around. the vet did not want to put her to sleep unless absolutely necessary. it was not necessary :)

he could not see any other tumor anywhere in the abdomen. kidneys, stomach, bladder, liver and a few more looked ok. x-rays showed nothing wrong with the rest of her, lungs, and so forth. man even managed to listen to her heart and breathing. all sounded normal.

he even checked out her operation, even used ultrasound on the region, and saw no abnormality. just thinner skin, but he said it is healing up properly.

now i'm not a medic, so i have no idea what was on those screens, to me it looked like nothing.. he tried explaining stuff... but yeah. images just too fuzzy for my untrained eye.

his prognosis was quite good. he said there is no evidence of metastasis.
we are waiting on the final analysis on the sample to see what tumor it is. the guy even said he will give the lab a call, to talk to the person that did the examination of the tissue. based on what that reveals we might do a brief hormonal based treatment just to be sure. and another check-up in 3 months.

in the meantime, we are trying to find somebody with a decent ultrasound close by, to do a monthly checkup until we see him again, although he said it is not necessary.

hoping for the best. will post again when there is more news.

misha0209 08-11-2017 12:06 PM

hi again,

so bad news, the result came back, and it is sadly sarcoma.
i say this, based on some reading i did on the net. the sarcoma seemed worse.

the doctor said that small pets do not take chemo very well, in fact he would be afraid it would kill her, so he suggested we use meloxicam, in what he called Metronomic Chemotherapy.
i gave it a read, seems it means small doses of active agents, that stop the disease. they do not cure, but prevent it from evolving.
the meloxicam seems to be a simple, non steroidal anti inflammatory like ibuprofen, but seems to have a particular effect on the large cell tissue/tumor, causing it to stop evolving (selective COX-2 inhibition)

any input here would be much appreciated, as all of this is based on what i can google, like i said not a medical person.

we did not get a prognosis, as the man said nothing much is known about hedghogs and caner, and he can not make an educated estimation. if you folks could share past experiences, that would be great, if that does't stir up too many emotions.

this being said, if anybody has had any experience of the sort here, or with the drug, please post experiences. the dosage given is quite small, we use the 0.5mg/ml formula, and are suppose to administer orally 0.1ml per day

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