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Old 04-17-2013, 02:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Possible Lung Tumor

On Wednesday April 10, 2013, I noticed that my hedgehog, Holly, was quite lethargic all of a sudden (this was in the evening). I called the vet the next morning and took her in that day (Thurdsay, April 11, 2013) and they did x-rays which showed that her lungs were in pretty bad shape (instead of showing up black on the x-rays like they should they were almost completely white). The vet she saw that day (which is not her primary vet as he was not in) suggested that it could possibly be pneumonia. So with that I was send home with antibiotics but the next day she stopped eating. I took her back on Saturday April 13, 2013 when her primary vet was back in and he took a look at her x-rays and suggested that it was either pneumonia or a lung tumor and with that, he though it would be best to hospitalize her over the weekend and do several different antibiotic injections (including a long acting one) as well as subcutaneous fluids so that is exactly what we did. I picked her up on Monday April 15, 2013 and the plan was to see how she would do at home and that is where we are right now. She is still quite lethargic, not eating or drinking on her own (I am currently force feeding her), on several antibiotics, and her feces are quite runny and green but that is almost certainly due to the stress of her stay at the vet and all the antibiotics (I am keeping a very close eye on this regardless).

My big question is, how long would it take a lung tumor to claim the life of a hedgehog without treatment?
I ask this because she had went in on July 31st, 2012 when she was having mobility issues with her back legs (I believe I had posted about this at that time...luckily she regained full mobility in around December 2012) and she had x-rays done then. However, the vet (not her primary) did not mention anything about her lungs until I took her in with breathing difficulties on that Thursday. It was at this time that he put the July x-rays next to the recent ones and pointed out that her lungs weren't even that great then (they were barely better in July 2012 than in April 2013). As you could imagine, I was quite disappointed that he did not mentioned that in July 2012 as I could have dealt with the issue before it got to this point. And to make matters worse, at that time in July when she was showing no signs of respiratory problems (She was not lethargic there was no discharge from the eyes or nose, no coughing, sneezing, excessive nose licking...nothing) we more than likely could of went ahead and did a definitive diagnosis as to whether it was a tumor or pneumonia. However, because of her condition now in addition to her age (she will be turning 4 in October), her primary vet does not feel it is in her best interest to be fully sedated, have a saline solution send into her lungs and sucked out and sent off for testing.

I've dealt with cancerous tumors before in one of my hedgehogs (he had a jaw tumor and the pathology report showed that it was squamous cell carcinoma) and he sadly only lived 28 days after the reslults of that biopsy came back at which point I had to have him euthanized as the tumor had rapidly spread to his eye. I have talked to others with hedgehogs who have had cancerous tumors and their hedgehogs too did not live longer than a month after their diagnosis.

So to rephrase my question, what are the chances of this being a lung tumor if whatever is in her lungs was present in July 2012 and still present now in April 2013 (about 9 months)?
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Old 04-17-2013, 03:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Possible Lung Tumor

I'm sorry I can't answer your questions or offer advice, but I really hope for the best for you and your little one. It's so frustrating to not know. Give her lots of love and affection, our time with them is too short no matter how long they stay with us. I would speculate if she had a tumor back in July, she would be in a lot worse shape now, and most likely not here with us anymore, but that is only a guess.
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Old 04-17-2013, 06:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Possible Lung Tumor

Ah, I'm sooo sorry. This is terrible. A lung tumor is what took my little girl last month.

I can't offer a ton of help. All I can tell you is Fiona was very lethargic, I had to force feed her, and idk..she was just not acting like my normal little Fiona. So I took her to the vet when I noticed her breathing weird. They initially thought fluid in her lungs as well, as that is what the x-ray seemed to look like. They decided they would try to extract the fluid using a needle, but when they put her on the ultrasound to look at the needle, it showed clearly it was a tumor, not fluid. She was taken from me that day, as the vet only said she'd have absolutely maximum a week left, and he told me she was in serious discomfort. Is there any way you can get an ultrasound done instead? I know, they are very expensive. That's all I can offer you as far as advice though.

I'm really sorry about this all. Cherish her all you can right now, and hope that when she goes, it is without any suffering. <3
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Possible Lung Tumor

Quote:
Originally Posted by fionas_mommy
Ah, I'm sooo sorry. This is terrible. A lung tumor is what took my little girl last month.

I can't offer a ton of help. All I can tell you is Fiona was very lethargic, I had to force feed her, and idk..she was just not acting like my normal little Fiona. So I took her to the vet when I noticed her breathing weird. They initially thought fluid in her lungs as well, as that is what the x-ray seemed to look like. They decided they would try to extract the fluid using a needle, but when they put her on the ultrasound to look at the needle, it showed clearly it was a tumor, not fluid. She was taken from me that day, as the vet only said she'd have absolutely maximum a week left, and he told me she was in serious discomfort. Is there any way you can get an ultrasound done instead? I know, they are very expensive. That's all I can offer you as far as advice though.

I'm really sorry about this all. Cherish her all you can right now, and hope that when she goes, it is without any suffering. <3
Money is not an issue so if an ultrasound is beneficial then I will talk to Holly's vet about getting one done (he should be giving me a call sometime today so I will ask then).
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Old 04-19-2013, 01:26 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Possible Lung Tumor

After speaking with Holly's vet today, an ultrasound looks to be out of the question at this time for the same reason the other procedure cannot be performed...he does not want to fully sedate her in this condition which would be required for an ultrasound. However, we will be doing more x-rays to see if her lungs look any better.
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Old 04-19-2013, 07:45 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Possible Lung Tumor

I don't think they have to be sedated for an ultrasound. I've heard of ultrasounds being done with the hedgehog balled up around the ultrasound wand. I've also read that sometimes people opt for ultrasound because they don't need sedation where as xrays they usually do.

Pneumonia can be very difficult and often impossible to cure. Her lethargy, green stool and not eating are all symptoms of pneumonia too. What is odd is that she didn't have any URI type of symptoms. Although there have been cases of pneumonia with no URI type symptoms, it is uncommon. There have been numerous cases of pneumonia being treated more successfully by using a nebulizer in addition to oral antibiotic.

Poor little girl. While we don't usually wish for pneumonia to be a diagnoses the alternative is not what we want to hear. Sending prayers to her.
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Old 04-19-2013, 01:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Possible Lung Tumor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy
I don't think they have to be sedated for an ultrasound. I've heard of ultrasounds being done with the hedgehog balled up around the ultrasound wand. I've also read that sometimes people opt for ultrasound because they don't need sedation where as xrays they usually do.

Pneumonia can be very difficult and often impossible to cure. Her lethargy, green stool and not eating are all symptoms of pneumonia too. What is odd is that she didn't have any URI type of symptoms. Although there have been cases of pneumonia with no URI type symptoms, it is uncommon. There have been numerous cases of pneumonia being treated more successfully by using a nebulizer in addition to oral antibiotic.

Poor little girl. While we don't usually wish for pneumonia to be a diagnoses the alternative is not what we want to hear. Sending prayers to her.
I thought it was quite odd too that she never showed any URI symptoms (and I would've without a doubt noticed if she was).
Needless to say, I'm going to get her on a nebulizer be it at home or at the vet clinic and I will call around to see if I can get someone to do an ultrasound without sedating her.
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