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Old 06-11-2019, 08:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Feb 2019
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Default Hedgehog appetite, deciding on euthanasia

My hedgehog is around 4 years old, and the doctor is almost sure he has lung cancer. Because of finances, the doctor's near-certainty that he has cancer, and the hedgie's perpetually cranky temperament, we have not done extensive or heavy testing for fear that it would make things even worse, but she said that he had a couple weeks to a year to live (broad, I know). Since this diagnosis in February, I have done a lot of thinking and I intend to help him live as long as he wants to, and for him to not suffer more than he wants to.

I know that the signs that a hedgehog doesn't want to live are general lethargy, loss of attitude/usual behavior, loss of appetite or desire to drink.

In the last month, I realized out that the steroid I was feeding my hedgehog was expired, and immediately got the up-to-date prescription. But when he started the new medicine supply, he stopped eating almost completely. I went to the ER immediately to get the refill. The vet said that the only options were to do the extensive testing to declare specific prognosis, putting him on antibiotics to see if it would work (in case the expired medication gave him a bacterial infection and the refill was impacted negatively by the infection as it was said in the warning), or meeting to consider euthanasia.

My hedgehog still currently does not eat (even when his favorite mealworms have been placed in front of him), and he has been on the antibiotics for a day now. The vet said that it would take a day or two for the antibiotic to take effect and that I should see how he reacts and if he starts eating. I am praying that tonight he starts eating, but if he does not, I think I have to assume that he is seriously suffering and consider the prospect of euthanasia.

Even though he hasn't eaten for around 5 days now (he has eaten very little in the last five days), I don't notice any noticeable weight loss, change in attitude, action, or speed, and he does drink a little bit so I have no idea what is going on.

Hedgehog owners: Do you have any experiences similar to mine and are there ways to boost a hedgie's appetite?

And if you did have to put your hedgehog down, when was the moment/signs you knew that was necessary?

Also, I did schedule a follow-up appointment with the vet, and will be taken appropriate action.

Any advice would be tremendously appreciated.
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Manning, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 8,486

This is a really tough situation. Only you know your hedgehog well enough to say if his quality of life is deteriorating. Think back to how he was a year ago and see if you notice any major changes. Sometimes they happen gradually so we don't see any day to day changes. A very wise friend of mine once told me when I was dealing with the same type of situation that it's better to let them go an hour to soon rather than a minute to late.

As for the not eating, after 5 days of eating very little he's not going to feel like eating even with antibiotics. You could try syringe feeding him if you can. He needs food in his system to stimulate his appetite. If it is to stressful for him then I would take it as a sign that he's getting tired.
Retired breeder and active HWS rescue station

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eating, euthanasia, food, health, medication

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