Is it time to let him go? - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 09-21-2019, 07:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Is it time to let him go?

I had an earlier topic with my hedgehog a few months ago. Long story short we thought he started to develop symptoms of WHS so i contacted my local vet. He couldn't solve this mystery, and guessed for WHS, as the other vet i took him after. At the end we were at 4 different vets one of them was an exotic expert. It turned out he has a genetic illness which causes spondylosis across his spine technically making his spine into a rigid structure and paralyzing him in the process. I accepted his condition and love him the same but nowadays i started to think if its right to keep him alive like that?
He can't eat by himself because he can't reach his food and dry food he cannot crush with his teeth anymore due to his left side being paralyzed. He can eat insects and soft cat food but his appetite is less by day. He lost a lot of weight since his illness progressed.
He always cold, doesn't matter how hot i keep him. His spine is turned to the right side entirely, making his left arm unresponsive. His legs are still responsive but he doesn't have enough energy to push himself. During feeding he has problem with smelling, not realizing it is food in front of him and after a few bites he gets into an almost "coma" state falling asleep on the food for a few secs. He seem to be really sensitive to his spine but doing nothing when i touch him where he didn't like before. He just vegetates kinda.
It is really sad to see him in this condition but I'm not sure if I should put him to sleep. But i don't want to keep him for my greediness either. Is it time to say goodbye?
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Old 09-21-2019, 07:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: southern Il. USA
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Its sad to say but from what you have described his quality of life has declined to the point that it may be best for him to end his suffering. It is always a hard decision to make but we must always put their best interests first even if its hard on us.
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Old 09-21-2019, 08:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
Join Date: Nov 2018
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It sounds like you really love him but I think when we start questioning ourselves on whether it's the right time or not we already know the answer. Our little freinds can't say please help me...this is too much...they just continue to deal with it because we aren't giving them a choice.
I have been in your position and it's so hard to let go but it's better a day early than a day late. From what you're describing it sounds like kindness to say goodbye. You sound like a very loving parent.
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Old 09-22-2019, 09:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Colorado
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You are an amazing owner to put his comfort before you. I think that if you think he is in pain, you should do what is best for him. Don't feel bad about it, he will thank you. I know it's hard (I've had to make the same decision before) But it's not the wrong thing to do.
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Old 09-23-2019, 10:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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A very wish hedgehog breeder, who was my mentor, once told me...It's better to let them go a hour to soon than a minute to late. I always think of this when dealing with a choice like yours, I always try to be the hour to soon so I can be as sure as possible that they aren't suffering.
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Old 09-25-2019, 06:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you for everyone. His temperature problem got solved but other than that nothing has changed. He tried to move from his spot so desperately that he broke down his nails to a bloody mess in the process. He still doesn't eat more, on the contrary even less. He seems awake and annoyed in my hand but as soon as I put him down he gets into that lifeless laying state. It is really hard to say goodbye to him because according to his illness his spine is the only thing which gets paralyzed, so if i take care of him he should be "fine". But I'm not sure this is a life for him. But even so, even with the constant weight loss he is still around 380 gramm. Its in the acceptable range for his weight considering that he doesnt burn that energy he consume. But on the other hand he was always between 520-560 gramm. What if he doesn't feel pain and it's okay to him? And what if he has pain i just don't see... It is a hard choice.
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Old 09-25-2019, 07:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm so sorry you have to make this hard choice. We all love our little guys so much. If only it were easy to know if they are in pain or not. Maybe he's not and it's just the paralysis. Even so, his quality of life is decreased if he can't move himself around at all, much less do fun hedgehog things like explore and wheel, and it he doesn't really enjoy his food anymore. And it's a bad sign that he can't keep weight on. If it were me, I think I might weigh him very frequently and see if that downward trend keeps going. That would seem to point to a clear decline. You wouldn't want to wait too long in that case. I didn't see your earlier posts. How old is your guy?

I really feel for you and am thinking about you both tonight!
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Old 09-25-2019, 08:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Location: London-Surrey, UK
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If he used to be 520-550g then 380g sounds underweight for him, I cant judge since I cant see shape and size of him, but thats a lot of weight loss. And if he wont eat its only going to get worse.

Its hard, but regardless of being in pain his life quality is getting worse, and all the fun hedgehog things he cant do, it's likely to make him bored.
If he is laying lifeless like in his cage then I would say it's time to let go.
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Old 09-25-2019, 08:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Your post really got to me. I recently had to put down my 5 year old hog. I did the same in my head, "what if" "what if" but realized, I'd rather she be pain free and there was no way my little one was living her best life. It's a very personal decision and no one can tell you what to do, but in your heart you'll know.
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Old 09-26-2019, 05:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The thing which makes me the saddest that he didn't even really got time to enjoy his stay with me. I got him from a breeder when he was already 6 months old, big muscular hedgie he was. But he was only a year old when these symptoms started to show. He is 1 and a half years old. So young. But you guys are right. I think it is no life for him. I think I'll contact my vet about bringing him to sleep. It is really sad seeing him like that. Maybe he will be better like this. For anyone who wants to see pictures of him before his illness i link here some.
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