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Old 10-05-2019, 01:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Preventative Spaying for female hedgehog?

I have a 18 month old female hedgehog, and recently discovered a small lump just to the side, under her arm. It's moveable, but hard so I'm preparing myself for something I dont want to hear. She has an appointment with the vet and regardless of what it is she will be having it surgically removed. In the event that it is mammary cancer, I am highly considering having her spayed while she is already under surgery. My logic for doing so is that I would rather do it now while she is fit and healthy, then do so later when an actual problem arises. From researching, I've read that the risk is the same as it is for a dog or cat, it's just the risk of anaesthetic that most are concerned about (and recovery, of course). But seeing as she will have to go under anyway, I'm considering going ahead with it. Any thoughts?
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Old 10-05-2019, 07:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That is a tough question. A couple of questions that came to my mind when I read this are:

One you never know what you will find when you cut into them to remove a tumor. Hopefully it is just a little encapsulated mass that pops out easily, but I've had a couple who we thought would be simple and once the vet went in it was clear it was deeper rooted and the surgery took longer, there was more bruising, etc.

The other issue that comes to mind is you will be managing two incisions, and the spay incision may end up being the larger incision (hard to tell).. You never know how they are going to react to an incision. They may worry over it and rip the stitches out repeatedly, or they may ignore it and heal quickly. Dealing with keeping one clean and sealed can be rough business with a hedgehog who stresses over it since you cannot put a post-surgery cone on them. You can sometimes guess how they will react, but they like to surprise us. This is one of my biggest concerns with an elective surgery.

Keep us updated on the diagnosis. We had a small tumor removed from the chest of a hedgehog about 7 weeks ago. Thankfully it did just pop out and she had a small incision. Pathology came back inconclusive, so we are in a wait and see pattern.
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Old 10-06-2019, 08:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The more I read about uterine issues on here, I think the more I'm leaning to have her spayed while she is already undergoing surgery. Coco is generally pretty chill but like you said, she's never been through anything like this before, so it's impossible for me to predict how she'll act. Luckily, my schedule is pretty clear for the next two weeks - so i'll be able to spend a lot of time with her during her initial stages of recovery and (hopefully) will be able to stop her messing with the stitches if she takes interest in them. My vet practice is awesome, and whenever I've had small animals spayed by them in the past, the surgery site was very clean and neat - so I'm hoping it'd be the same case for Coco.

I also just have a quick question regarding surgery on hedgehogs since youre familiar with how it goes; Is it similar prep for a dog/cat in the sense that they must fast before surgery? I've only ever dealt with small animals who cant vomit getting operated on, so fasting wasn't required.

I'm also totally prepared for them to tell me worst case scenario; i cant help it, I always fear the worst in these situations. So even though the lump feels small and moveable, I am very much aware that there is the possibility of something more sinister lurking below the surface. But, she's also otherwise fit & healthy so - expecting the worst, hoping for the best!
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Old 10-06-2019, 10:11 AM   #4 (permalink)
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My vet doesn't have us fast them and we've never had a problem. I have seen some do it and when I asked my vet about it he had a long explanation of why it wasn't really necessary. I don't remember the exact reason because it was so long ago now. But we have had a lot of turmors removed and never had a problem in that area.

I do the same as you, I expect the worst, prepare myself for the worst then when it turns out better, I feel like I won the lottery. Stay strong, your little one is very young, while I have had cancer show up in a 1 year old before, it usually shows up after they turn three. So that usually gives me some hope.

The little girl who had her tumor removed a few weeks ago had a small pea sized tumor show up on her chest. It was hard, fairly round and moved easily. She was in surgery for 15-20 minutes. It just popped out. The site did bruise a lot, but it healed quickly otherwise. I'm going to hope your little one has a similar result... albeit different pathology result, getting inconclusive back was a bit of a "kick to the stomach." I hate wait and see results.
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Old Today, 06:00 AM   #5 (permalink)
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So, update time for my lovely Coco:

I got the pathology back this morning, and it came back as mammary cancer. I was expecting it, but i think i was still clinging to a tiny bit of hope that it was maybe benign. Anyway; she is being scheduled to have it surgically removed. Vet also advised that we add an implant; Suprelorin, i think? i could be totally butchering the name, but It's a hormone implant that's supposed to not eliminate the risk, but at least dramatically reduce the risk of recurrence. So far we're looking at a nice bill of €475 (which has included the pathology and future surgery, so i'm honestly pleasantly surprised - i was preparing for worse!). But, she's worth every penny and deserves every chance we can give her.

Also while I'm here; are you familiar with the usage of IP6 at all, Kalandra? I lost a parent to cancer a few years ago, so i'm not totally stupid in believing that I can cure her with dietary supplementation at all haha, but i'm willing to trying anything that could potentially at least help prevent/delay future recurrence. If I were to add it, how much and how often would i do?

Co is in good spirits. Still her usual hyperactive, food-obsessed self!
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Old Today, 08:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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^ I'm not 100% on if thats the hormone implant they intend on using, by the way. All I know is that it was recommended to give her a hormone implant in the hopes that it will prevent, or at least delay, future recurrence.
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Old Today, 10:10 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Even with a cancer diagnosis there is still hope that the surgery will fully remove it and that it hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes yet. Did doc say what type of cancer it was or if it tended to metastasize?

I’ve not heard of Suprelorin being used before. Something for me to research. Did your vet say how often you’d have to replace the implant, and what to watch out for? If you opt for that, please keep me updated on how she reacts. I’m always looking for something to add to our arsenal against cancer.

Yes, I’ve used IP6 in the past, I’ve tried a lot of stuff over the years to see if it helps support them. Never had any negative results with IP6. Unless you have a milligram scale you aren’t going to be able to dose it easily. I usually sprinkle some on wet food. I do have a dosage written down. I don’t have notes of where I came across it though, so use with caution, talk to your vet about it and do some research, it states 25-100mg/kg for pets as preventative and up to 400mg/kg as cancer treatment. Many have given it over the years by just adding a pinch, no measuring really, to food with no ill results.

One cautionary note I have written down, that I needed to read more to see if it was accurate or not was to not give pre-surgery or with medications that thin the blood as it can have a thinning property. I haven’t continued to research that as it didn’t apply to me at the time.
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Old Today, 03:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't recall the specifics, no; all i was told is that it is mammary cancer and that if we want to act, we need to act now. I'll ask for the specifics at our next appointment for sure.

I have decided to go ahead with the implant seeing as we are not having her spayed right now like I had originally planned. From my understanding, the implant will essentially chemically spay her as it blocks their hormones. It needs to be replaced annually and is €120 a pop. I havent been told of there being any downsides to the implant (other than the price!), so we decided to go and try it.

Maybe I wont try IP6, then. I'll bring it up with the vet, but the thought of dabbling in things that could have potential side effects/over dose is a little (a lot!) off-putting.
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