It's been a sad, sad weekend 😞 Possible cancer - Hedgehog Central – Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 10-07-2018, 04:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default It's been a sad, sad weekend 😞 Possible cancer

My 3yr 10 month old hedgehog, Pepper, has been having issues with her stool since June. It is generally varying shades of green and never really solid. In the beginning, she would have regular poops sometimes so the vet said that it wasn't an infection but likely her diet causing it.
I didn't think that was right, but instead thought maybe she was experiencing IBS, an allergy, or some changes due to getting older. Her current vet has not been very helpful and does not seem knowledgeable despite specializing in exotic pets.

I have been regularly feed her pumpkin, Pedialyte, and probiotics on top of her food to try and get her more regular.

Yesterday I noticed she had not used her wheel at all and she didn't clean her dinner bowl. She loves to eat and run, so I knew things were getting worse. I told my fiancee to keep an eye on her when I went to work. He texted me later saying her rectum was swollen, she pooped every time she moved, and she was walking like she was drunk.

Last night we debated on what to do and I sat up with her all night because I really thought she was on death's doorstep. She made it through the night but lost even more use of her back legs, so we drove her to an emergency clinic over an hour away from home. I am kicking myself for not taking her last night.

The doctor there said she likely had lymphoma or another type of cancer that was pressing on her spine causing her walking issues and other symptoms.

They did not have the equipment there to do all the necessary testing to be sure (wish they would have mentioned that on the phone) and she wasn't even sure if Pepper could deal with the anaesthesia anyway. This vet suggested I go to a specialist that is 2 hours away. She prescribed prednisone for 5 days and told me to follow up with him.

Now we play the waiting game to see if the steriods help or hurt her. I am so down because I feel like I should be doing more. I just started a new job and don't have a large enough vet fund to cover all of the extensive testing and treatment right now. I feel like I'm failing her. I didn't want to put her down today because I want to give the steroids a chance and now I'm wondering if that was even the right call.

What would you do if you were me?
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Old 10-07-2018, 04:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Thats a hard one.
Your not failing her though.

I guess it depends how much you think these steriods will work and how much shes suffering.
Maybe give the steriods a chance and if they dont work, then look further or maybe let her go.
Honestly this a huge choice only you will know what is best.
If the steriods work and she goes back to her normal self then thats fantastic. But your better off trying than just giving up, and then finding out later that they could have worked and she could be okay now.
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Old 10-07-2018, 06:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you for the reassurance, Ria. I'm just beating myself up and thinking of all the would've/could've/should'ves in this situation.

I'll try to update this week for you and anyone else that might be reading. Please think positive thoughts for Pepper.
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm sorry to hear about Pepper's condition.

How is she at the vets, would it be possible for them to do xrays whilst she's still awake or does she move too much? I saw someone hold their hedgehog whilst the vet took xrays but not sure all vets would agree to this. Xrays would confirm whether there is a mass causing the issue.

Perhaps is the pumpkin contributing to her loose stool though? One time I gave freshly boiled pumpkin to my boy and it gave him diarrhea, there was poop smeared everywhere in his cage ><.

Unless she is constipated I wouldn't use pumpkin everyday if it was me. I'd just use the probiotics. I often give my boy probiotics when he has bouts of green tinge poop and it normally sorts it, but one time I increased the dose a little and it made his stools really soft and not formed, so I took that as too much of a dose. I generally only give a light sprinkle and it is one meant for animals (benebac). Last year which is when we got Yuki, he did have bouts of green poop for quite a while (on and off) so I didn't take him to the vets straightaway because it wasn't consistent. They checked his stool and said it was ok but prescribed him antibiotics (Baytril) and sure enough his green poop was gone after taking it for a few days so it must have been a GI infection. As I mentioned earlier he still gets bouts of it when stressed or trying a new food but benebac normally helps settle his stomach. He was otherwise acting normal when he had green poop so I guess Pepper's condition (not eating, wheeling and dragging her hind legs) could be something else causing it.

Has she eaten anything since? If she refuses to eat or eats very little, it is best to start syringe feeding her to stop her from deteriorating more. there is a tutorial on here if you need help doing it.

Please keep us posted, hoping she imoroves soon ♡
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Old 10-08-2018, 08:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Good luck, try what Yukidama’smama suggested. Hope shes okay soon, dont beat yourself up, it wont do anygood, you acted fast, and honestly your making the best choices here.
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Old 10-08-2018, 10:52 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies. I'm not sure how much the pumpkin helps or hurts. Whenever we give her other baby food veggies with her food the stools seem to be looser.

After 2 doses of the predisone yesterday and one this morning her stools are now very dark, one being pretty much black. The doctor we saw yesterday said if this happens to discontinue use.

I syringe fed her quite a bit last night because she does not seem interested or even recognize that there is food in front of her when I put it in front of her.

This morning I tried to do this again but instead of licking it from her lips she uses her paws to wipe it off. If I put it in her mouth more directly she forces it out.

So now it seems pretty obvious that it is her time. I know if I call her vet and take her in he will tell me to put her down. My fiancee is at work and I don't know whether to text him and tell him or just take her and save the sad news for when he gets home.
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Old 10-08-2018, 11:05 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Ah I'm so sorry to hear that. Perhaps discuss with your fiancée first and decide together.

That's good she took the syringe well last night. She may just not be that hungry when you tried to feed her in the morning. I believe they need to consume 20mls or so a day, but if they take 1ml then you can wait 1hour before feeding again, or if they take 4mls you can wait 4hrs to try again and so on.

Only you will know when it's the right time but like Ria said don't beat yourself up, you've acted fast and are trying everything you can for her. Hoping the best for Pepper ♡
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Old 10-08-2018, 11:32 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I’m really sorry to hear that.
I’d talk to your fiancé, and make the choice together.

Maybe try seeing if she’ll eat a bit latter ?? Then if she still wont maybe thats her telling you its her time then let her go.
If you dont think trying again later is best then dont. Its your choice. Only you and your fiancé know whats best now.
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Old 10-08-2018, 12:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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She's gone. We listened to some soft music and I was able to hold her as she took her last breaths.

I'm so heartbroken, but glad I kept her at home instead of spending her last moments in a vets office.

Thank you to everyone that tried to help.
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Old 10-08-2018, 12:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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So sorry to hear that !! Glad she had a peaceful time though. Hope your okay.
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