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Old 02-14-2011, 01:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Beck's vet visit...

Thankfully it was mild this morning and Beck braely made the venture to the vet swaddled tightly in my coat. I dropped him off at 7:30and went on my way (we weren't sure when the vet would be able to see him, and I had classes).

At 11:00 she called me and told me that he has a heart murmur. I had sent her quite a bit of information on hedgie heart health, because I suspected that was the problem. She has treated other hedgies before, and she agreed that with the things he's been doing that I've described, his heart murmur, and his lack of other symptoms (from liver or kidney problems, eg.) does seem suspiciously like a heart problem. I agreed to have her do a full body x-ray so we can see his heart and also check for any masses while we're at it. I'm going to pick him up at about 3, so I'll know the results of the x-ray then.

My poor little guy. She admitted she wasn't entirely sure how to treat heart disease in hediges, and was under the impression that there were no meds specifically studied for hedgehog heart health. Does anyone here have any knowledge in the area? She said the only thing she could think of was giving him Isoprene (? I think that's what she said. I could have misheard her or been TOTALLY wrong, so take that with a grain of salt lol).

Does anyone else know potential treaments or medicines that I could mention when I pick my little guy up? Thanks!
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Old 02-14-2011, 04:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beck's vet visit...

I don't know anything about hearts or medicine, but just wanted to say I hope there's nothing seriously wrong with Beck.



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Old 02-14-2011, 04:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beck's vet visit...

I'm sorry about the news. There are people on the HWS Yahoo list who have dealt with heart problems in hedgehogs.

Heart murmurs aren't always a cause for concern. Some animals and people live with one all their lives and it doesn't cause any problems. What stage is it?
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Old 02-14-2011, 06:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beck's vet visit...

I just got home with Beck after meeting with the vet and going over the x-ray. He handled the gassing and recovered quite nicely, which was a relief.

The x-ray showed the beginnings of a dilated heart. She said she has seen it where the heart is like a basketball in their chest, and that I probably caught his before 90% of most owners would, and that it was really good that I brought him in so soon. Confirming the dilated cardio myopathy diagnosis was the fact that the rest of his abdomen was obscured. You couldn't see his liver or kidneys, which suggests that there's a lot of fluid in his abdomen, presumably because of the leaky heart murmur. So it's early stages, but that's what it is alright. He has lost some weight since his visit last year, although the vet didn't think it was drastic. He was 380 grams this year, down from about 500g last year. He's a pretty lean built hog, and he still has a slight ( ) shape from above.

She mentioned Furanosamide as a diuretic, and she was going to find out about another drug to help his heart function more effectively. She said there are no studies on these meds in hedgies, she's just going on what has been successful with cats and dogs. She's going to talk to some drug compounders and see if I can get the medicines in liquid form, or at least in a small flavoured treat form. I told her peanut butter is his favourite flavour

He's eating dinner now, with a good little appetite. He looks a bit dischevelled, probably very tired from the vet ordeal. Hopefully he can get some rest tonight.
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beck's vet visit...

I remember reading an article in the Hedgehog Welfare Society newsletter about a heart issue. I looked it up. Turns out it's about right-sided heart failure in hedgies. I don't know if you would be able to get any useful info from it at all. Page 9-10.

http://www.hedgehogwelfare.org/newslett ... apr-09.pdf

I'll be thinking of you & Beck. Sounds like you caught it early. Please keep us updated.



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Old 02-14-2011, 09:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beck's vet visit...

I am so glad you caught this early. By the time that my vet figured out that BubbleWrap had heart disease it was too late. He had contracted pneumonia from the fluid build up and became very sick. My vet had siad that there were options to fight the heart disease but he was afraid to treat for heart disease while BubbleWrap was still fighting off the pneumonia. I wish I could remember what he had said he would do to treat for heart disease. I think it might be a good idea to make checking heart for heart disease a regular part of anual check ups, or maybe I am just a worry wart. My thoughts are with you and your little guy. Please keep us updated.
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beck's vet visit...

Hopefully the vet is able to talk to the compounders soon so we can get him some drugs in a form he can take. I mostly found things online saying the following about treatment:

"Frusemide and ACE inhibitors "have been used with some success to treat pulmonary oedema or ascites" in Erinaceus europaeus - West European Hedgehog.
Treatment for CHF may include enalapril, digoxin, frusemide, potassium supplementation and a diet/exercise plan. (Atelerix albiventris - Four-toed hedgehog). "

I've sent the vet the article that talked about those, so she can decide on which would be best for him. Hopefully it's soon. He was quite collapsed and pathetic on his floor last night
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Old 02-15-2011, 09:41 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beck's vet visit...

Talk to Deb, Razzle's Mommy. He (my little angel) was on Furosamide. One of my previous dogs had a heart murmur for many years. I've had two since I was 17 and I am far far far far past that now!
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Old 02-15-2011, 11:26 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beck's vet visit...

i have a guy with a murmur/cardio myopathy. he takes Enalapril & Furosemide 2x a day.

it was discovered by accident in August. he was acting just fine but he had a big matt on his head - seriously, the nut! - & needed it removed. then we got that news.

good news: he is happy & enjoying life. he has his not so hot days...but he loves to play & snuggle & chew on my clothes & annoy his brothers. he can't wheel as much as he used to but that is to be expected & a good gague of how things are progressing.

bad news: his is a case that is progressing more quickly than we'd all like & than is usual. we've had to up his meds several times. when i picked him up this weekend, he was sneezing & had a clear snot bubble...not a good sign. i couldn't get him to the vet he needs to see so he's wasting precious time until Saturday when my parents can take him ...& it is killing me. my guess is the disease has advanced further.

still, if you are vigilant with meds & watch his habits closely & take him to the vet regularly to make sure you catch any small changes early, you will do well. when i first got Herman's diagnosis, i thought he wouldn't last 2 months. he's still scrabbling around like a champ. he even tries to jump out of your arms to get to the hedgie blanket fortress we have on the den floor. despite the snot bubbles & sneezing!

word of learned advice: if your vet compounds the meds for you, next time you pick them up, take some vanilla or caramel or other flavored syrup that he might like with you to use instead of the Karo (which most places use). it tastes much better & makes daily medicating much easier. just make certain you look for syrups with no extra chemicals & preservatives & dyes. i found some great organic ones but of course they don't carry them where i live. Target's Archer Farms are pretty good though...nice, short ingredient list. i know it's sugar - but the syrup the vet will put in is sugar too. so my thought is why not make it a more pleasant experience for him? & my vet has been great about using it. we just take the bottle & they mix it up (i was so thrilled they did this! while i am still getting settled & my parents are caring for my hoggies & so can't compund the medicines themselves.)

anyway, i have gone on way too long...if you wan't to talk more, please PM me. i am happy to talk!
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Old 02-15-2011, 03:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beck's vet visit...

Thanks, Rivoli. I PM'ed you!
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