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Old 12-14-2009, 10:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default tumor

well i took mo to the vet today and after gassing her they told me that she has a large mass in her mouth. They say there is a possibility it is a tooth infection but more likely it is a tumour. They have sent a sample off for analysis and i will know for sure in 7 to 10 days. if it is what can i expect? they said they are untreatable and all they can do is make her more comfortable. i feel awful my porr little mo seriously is the best hedgie ever she is so friendly i love her to bits, even the vet commented on her lovely nature. is there anything i can do and what can i expect? i have been given antibiotics in the meantime to stop infection
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Old 12-14-2009, 11:27 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: tumor

Jaw tumors are one of the worst, in my opinion. Many seem to grow pretty fast. My experience with them has been extremely bad as the hedgehog had to be euthanized within a couple of weeks of discovery.

Some have tried to have the cancer surgically removed. I haven't heard of a hedgehog yet that really got any extension of a quality life from it though. And the cancer has always come back.

If she was mine, and the results come back cancer I would discuss with doc how to extend her quality of life (not quantity). Ask about medications that can help keep her quality higher. I usually start by asking about prednisone and if the cancer my hedgehog has reacts to it. Prednisone can be very helpful for some cancers. We have had it greatly extend the quality of life for a couple of hedgehogs now.

Also I would ask about metacam for pain control. While she may not be in pain now, it is good to go ahead and have this discussion for when she does seem to be becoming uncomfortable.

Discuss dietary changes. I monitor weight and body condition very closely in cancer patients. Cancer can make them lose weight quickly. Increasing the fat content and calories they are intaking helps combat this.

Good luck with her. We will keep her quills cross that it turns out to be an infection and not jaw cancer.
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: tumor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalandra
Jaw tumors are one of the worst, in my opinion. Many seem to grow pretty fast. My experience with them has been extremely bad as the hedgehog had to be euthanized within a couple of weeks of discovery.

Some have tried to have the cancer surgically removed. I haven't heard of a hedgehog yet that really got any extension of a quality life from it though. And the cancer has always come back.

If she was mine, and the results come back cancer I would discuss with doc how to extend her quality of life (not quantity). Ask about medications that can help keep her quality higher. I usually start by asking about prednisone and if the cancer my hedgehog has reacts to it. Prednisone can be very helpful for some cancers. We have had it greatly extend the quality of life for a couple of hedgehogs now.

Also I would ask about metacam for pain control. While she may not be in pain now, it is good to go ahead and have this discussion for when she does seem to be becoming uncomfortable.

Discuss dietary changes. I monitor weight and body condition very closely in cancer patients. Cancer can make them lose weight quickly. Increasing the fat content and calories they are intaking helps combat this.

Good luck with her. We will keep her quills cross that it turns out to be an infection and not jaw cancer.
thank you for the quick reply i so hope it isnt cancer but the vet seemed to think it is. i have another question...how do i know if she is in pain? i know she was bleeding after they took the sample from her mouth but she still seemed her active friendly self what signs should i look for?
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: tumor

I agree with everything Kalandra has said. We've had many oral tumours here. I did one surgery and will never do surgery again. Usually by the time we realize there is a tumour, it is past the point of removing and even when caught early surgery does not give enough extra time to warrant the pain of the surgery.

It's difficult to tell from the photos but is the tumour upper or lower? If lower, chances are she will probably have a longer prognosis than if it's upper. Upper tends to go into their head quickly and affect their eye, sinuses or brain.

With oral tumours, the thing can be huge and horrible and the hedgehog does not seem to be in pain. It is very difficult to euthanize when they still seem to be bright eyed and enjoying life but my vet has said that with the speed these tumours grow, things can turn bad very quickly if the tumour reaches their brain, nasal cavity or eye.

Poor Momo and Pam.

(((((Hugs)))))
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Old 12-14-2009, 01:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'd monitor her eating tonight. If her mouth is hurting her from the biopsy she is likely to not want to eat tonight. If she doesn't eat, talk to doc about pain meds and you may have to syringe feed her.

If this is a tumor and as it grows she may also have trouble eating. With NeMali her tumor was upper and lower and in 3 places of her mouth. (left & right upper & right lower). She had difficulty eating kibble but would gladly eat mealworms, chicken baby food etc. She was still a very happy hedgehog when we had her euthanized. She was eating, maintaining weight, running on her wheel and just full of energy. Sadly one evening I was holding her while watching a movie. Pre movie she was "normal" (had a tumor but otherwise fine). Post movie her eye was starting to bulge. I held her all night long and by morning the tumor was further pushing her eye out. We were waiting at the vet's office when he opened and said our goodbyes.
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Old 12-14-2009, 03:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: tumor

nancy i didnt even think to ask where the tumor was i was just so shocked i took her to the vet thinking there really wasnt much wrong with her maybe a bad tooth or something. it looks like the tumor is in the top of her mouth though from what i can see but they said it was large inside. i took her to a university teaching vet so there was lots of people there it was horrible i dont think they see many hedgies as they r still quite rare here thats why i came on here asking for information. they say they will phone as soon as they get the results back i'm just gutted coz i know i got lucky with mo being so sweet cant imagine life without her now i will take these posts with me when i go back so if u think of anything else i need to ask please tell me. thank you both for the info and kind wishes x
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Old 12-14-2009, 04:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: tumor

For now, I cannot think of anything new. If it is indeed cancer and as it progresses I'm sure you will have new questions.

Dealing with cancer in hedgehogs is not easy emotionally. Especially if it is a type there is nothing you can do to even try to save them. I won't lie to you, it hurts. We will be here for you to help support you through this though with either advice or just a shoulder to lean on.

Try to concentrate on the good times you have had together and that she is still with you instead on being sad that she is sick. Every day that you have with her should be spent celebrating that she is with you. Each day we have with our quill kids should not be taken for granted. These are precious moments.
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Old 12-14-2009, 07:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: tumor

I'm sorry to hear your hedgehog has an oral tumor. If they biopsied it, then they are pretty sure it's not infection but an oral tumor because of it's nature, can trap food which can have a concurrent infection that does respond to antibiotics (typically an anaerobic antibiotic like Antirobe).

All of the advice you've been given is spot on. Pain control is paramount to a quality life and nutrition is right there, too. Do whatever it takes to keep her weight up. Cancer causes weight loss just by it's nature of using up more of what the body has.

Find a flavor of Boost High Protein that she likes and offer it at least once a day. She'll need more protein and more fat during this time.

Also, find a soft food diet she'll eat and make sure you always have some on hand. There is a sticky about soft food diets:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=39

I wish you and your furbaby all the best.
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Old 12-14-2009, 07:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: tumor

Someone told me something a long time ago and I keep it in mind whenever we are dealing with an illness and especially an oral tumour.

"Better an hour too soon than a minute too late"

I think that sums it up quite well when we have to make a tough decision.
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:46 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: tumor

just a little update, mo is taking her antibiotics well the first day she refused to let me give them to her but the past 2 nights she has taken them no problem (she must like the taste) its crazy she seems so healthy harassing the cat and annointing lol i took this gorgeous pic of her tonight you can see her face seems a bit more swollen but im hoping thats just because they cut the growth for the biopsy. i still think she looks gorgeous though!
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