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Old 09-24-2014, 12:14 PM   #21 (permalink)
Join Date: Aug 2008
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I'm sorry to hear this. We dealt with a spindle cell sarcoma many years ago with one in a similar location. Very young hedgehog too. He was only 1 yr 1 week at first symptom. We visited Michigan State University Onocology to get options, and they were the same. Surgical removal and daily radiation treatments for just short of a month with a high chance it would come back. Hospice was the direction we took as well.

RE Diet: Often we switch to a low carb, high fat/protein diet with cancer patients. Whether or not it slowed the cancer I have no idea. But they did tend to like those foods better.
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Old 09-24-2014, 03:25 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I'm so sorry to hear this news. I hope you can take some small comfort in knowing that you gave Sophie an amazing life, and now you can spoil her with all her favorite foods. When it comes to the lives of animals we love, quantity does not trump quality. Wishing you strength and peace in the difficult days ahead.
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Old 09-24-2014, 06:33 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I'm very sad to read this prognosis. I only hope that there is some comfort in the knowledge that these last days will be filled with much love between all of you and an opportunity to say good bye.
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Old 09-24-2014, 06:41 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I am so sorry. That is really sad news. Take care of yourself and cuddle Sophie. We're thinking of you and Sophie.
Proud Mama to Gretta and Lucy. Missing my other sweet hedgies: Libby, Mason, and Molly- Rest in Peace little ones.
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Old 09-24-2014, 11:16 PM   #25 (permalink)
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You and Sophie are in my thoughts.

Take care of yourself and your precious girl.

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Old 09-25-2014, 08:10 PM   #26 (permalink)
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When I began this thread, there was no predicting where it might go. Sadly, it is tracing an account of where there was zero indication of a problem on a Saturday and Sunday - to a huge tumor from out of nowhere on Monday - to biopsy surgery on Wednesday - to confirmed (and expected) test results of terminal cancer this Wednesday.

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Perhaps some people will benefit from an accounting of the decline and eventual euthanasia of an animal that was thought to be in generally quite good health. This is how fast things can change.

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Sophie is expected to have one to two months of a mostly comfortable life remaining. Realistically, I would be surprised to see her make a month before I make the decision. In part, because a week or two too soon is kinder than realizing I've waited too long.

Also, since the onset of her tumor, consumption of her main food has crashed; down 60% - 85%. It's an odd extreme. Sure, pinky mice and mealworms are her favorite foods, but we've always done exceptionally well with maintaining a balance of foods and nutrients.

I've kept her right at 3.0 grams of mealworms for a long time because it is such a small percentage of the total diet, but she knows that she has to show me wheel time and food consumption to get the bonus pinky mice.

She continues even now to love the pinky mice, which I hand-feed in the late afternoon. Her only reticence is safety. She is such a scaredy-cat about being out in the open. She continues to hunt down every one of the mealworms that I put out during her late-night visit.

She's always liked her food blends; preferring some over others but always eating well and taking in plenty of premium kibble (ground) and meat-based canned cat foods and my using vegetables to tweak down the energy density to keep her weight steady. Her vet(s) have been pleased with the nutrient balance

Her vet is now quite concerned, that for whatever reason, the sudden massive drop in the food blends that she has always eaten plenty of is likely the next stage in deterioration. Taking away her two very favorite foods is unlikely to 'force' an increase in eating the healthier and better balanced food blends. Though behaviors are almost all entirely normal, and though she is in no apparent pain and still eating her treat foods, she is just running out of gas. Taking those away will more likely lead to her giving up eating. At this point, a drop in interest in her treat foods or a complete refusal to eat her main food, are probably the key signs to intervene swiftly and prevent suffering.

The plan is to keep the mealworms exactly as they are, and to manipulate the pinky mice to see if that prompts a change or not. Today, because she ran for just over 2 hours last night on the treadwheel, she got a pinky mice splurge; three mice totaling 7.9 grams (a lot for her, even when healthy). Depending on what happens tonight, the plan is to minimize the pinky mice tomorrow and hand-feed just one at around 3.0 grams and monitor.

Her food blend has been revamped to increase energy density: 5.0 grams crushed EVO (high-protein, high-fat compared to most kibbles), 16 grams Natural Balance Turkey & Turkey Giblets Formula, 6.2 grams BeechNut Peas, and 1.6 grams water to thin consistency,for a total available weight of 28.8 grams. Three weeks ago this percentage of ingredients would have had her gaining weight at a mind boggling rate. It would have been the stupidest idea ever. But that was then. Today we need maximum energy density in whatever amount she is willing or able to eat.

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For those wondering about euthanasia:

Though most vets won't allow owners to be present at any procedure not easily done in the primary exam room (fairly unsophisticated and not well equipped - used for the most basic things only), it is very common to bring what ever is needed for euthanasia into that room so that the owner can be present. That was a non-negotiable requirement for me.

Her vet sent me an email today outlining the process.

Hi Mr. Blackwell,

Per our conversation yesterday I have detailed the euthanasia process and the associated costs below. Please let me know if you have any questions about this. We could complete the entire process in the exam room so you could be present the entire time.

Euthanasia process: We would place Sophie in a clear sided acrylic box and attach the anesthesia machine to a port in the top to pump in anesthetic gas. (This is the same way we have induced anesthesia for her in the past.) Once she is fully asleep we would give an injection of the euthanasia solution into her abdomen and place her back into the anesthesia chamber for another 5 minutes. During this 5 minute period her heart should stop, we would be keeping her in the anesthesia chamber as an extra precaution so that she does not wake up and experience any anxiety or pain while she passes. After that period of time we would again remove her from the box and confirm that her heart has stopped. The fee for this service is $57.00.

Handling of remains: There are three different options for handling Sophie’s remains. You can take them home with you, in which case she would be wrapped in a blanket and placed in a small cardboard box. There is no fee for this option. Option 2 is a communal cremation where she is cremated with other pets and the ashes are spread at a memorial garden in town. The fee for this option is $40.00. Option 3 is individual cremation where her ashes would be returned to you – they come in a very nice ceramic urn. The fee for this option is $77.50.

Memorial options: We can collect several different memorial items for you – ink nose prink (no fee), ink paw print ($6.00), clay paw impression ($12.00)

There will a form that we go through at the beginning of the euthanasia appointment that will have all of these options on it and allow you to pick what you would like to have done. We do ask that this be scheduled, primarily because we don’t want you to have to wait when you get here.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.
Dr. Xxxxx Xxxxxx
I already have a place to bury Sophie and also have everything that I could want with pictures and videos. My only need is to be there. It is my responsibility. This is a pretty good overview of the process . It does not note how emotionally traumatic it is likely to be, but I assume they are well experienced with possible reactions.

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Most recent videos:







(Three pinky mice (7.9 grams). She ran just over two hours last night, but consumption of her primary food was down about 85%. I decided to treat her extra with pinky mice today.)


Last edited by GoodandPlenty; 09-25-2014 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 09-25-2014, 08:23 PM   #27 (permalink)
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I just want to say, I have been following your thread and I'm really sorry about your baby.
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Old 09-25-2014, 08:35 PM   #28 (permalink)
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My heart weeps for you. I ask the universe to offer you the strength you need to make it through these trying times. Not just now, not just when it's time to put her down. But for as long as you and your family need it. It's very obvious you care deeply for Sophie and her leaving this life will cause change on many levels.
I hope that, for as long as you can, you have a willingness to stay here on the forums as well. The knowledge you share is invaluable to many of us. And please know, we share your sorrow as well.
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Old 09-25-2014, 08:53 PM   #29 (permalink)
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I am so sorry you got such devastating news about your beautiful little girl. At least you have a short amount of time to spoil her rotten and love on her.

Reading your vets euthanasia plan I'm wondering if rather than putting her back in the box after she is given the injection, they could use the tiny mask and hold it close to her nose. By using the mask, you would be able to stroke her face, rub her ears or whatever petting she enjoyed. She would pass feeling your hands rather than in the box. All but my first have passed with me and usually my daughter as well, stroking them and telling how much he or she is loved.
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Old 09-25-2014, 09:24 PM   #30 (permalink)
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I, like the above poster, have been following in close detail. I can't imagine how hard this must be for you. But I appreciate your knowledge and willingness to be upcoming with procedures and your experience. As hard as it is for me to think of my little ones passing, I, now, have something to help when the time comes.

Thank you and again I am so sorry.
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