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Old 12-29-2008, 04:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3
Unhappy oral infection or oral cancer?

am hoping that someone will be able to help us. Here is Goby’s history.

About 2 years ago, we noticed that the right side of his jaw was swollen. We took him to the vet, and she thought that it may be an infected tooth. We put him on amoxicillin and he got better.

Now most recently, about 2 months ago, we noticed that his jaw was swollen yet again. We took him back in and he was put on amoxicillin again. The swelling went away, and then came back two weeks later.

The vet prescribed a different antibiotic which didn’t work at all. We then went back, and they decided that they better pull the tooth that they thought was causing all of his problems.

The vet said that the tooth came out really easy and they barely had to pull on it so she suspected that it was the infected tooth and everything should be better. He was then put on a different type of antibiotic for a longer period of time.

Well, things aren’t clearing up at all, in fact, they are getting worse. We called the vet back the day after Christmas and she said that if the antibiotic isn’t working then he must have cancer.

Previously, she said that because hedgehogs are so small oral infections and oral cancer typically look about the same and that it is hard to distinguish them.

We also noticed that he was visibly in pain while he tried to eat. We were able to get a prescription for some pain medicine.

Well. . . as we watched Goby anoint the other day, we saw very clearly into his mouth and it just looks like it is severely infected. His gums, where the tooth was pulled, are green and his breath stinks! He keeps smacking because I know that it must taste horrible.

Last night, we tried our best to clean it out. We are continuing to give him his antibiotics, but they don’t seem to be helping at all.

My initial thoughts were that it’s probably not the best thing for him to be on a continuous string of antibiotics for so long.

I also wanted to add that he is acting normal & he is 3 years old.

What do you guys think?

Has anyone had to distinguish between oral infection and oral cancer?

Any advice would be very much appreciated.
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Old 12-29-2008, 05:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
Hooked on Hogs
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Kingston, Ontario
Posts: 8,950
Default Re: oral infection or oral cancer?

The vet should be able to tell the difference between oral cancer and an abscess or infection. He would need to be gassed to get a really good look. The oral cancers we have had here all have had what looks like whitish yellow curdled milk.

Oral cancers grow incredibly fast and cancer does not go away. What he had 2 years ago would not have been oral cancer. With cancer they can also get infection so the infection may have initially been cured causing the swelling to go down, but then the cancer continues.

If it is just an infection, sometimes abscesses need to be operated on and cleaned out before the infection will go away. Also, if he had one bad tooth, it's possible there is now another one.

I've yet to have one with oral cancer last 2 months although I know of a few people whose lasted a bit longer.

If you pm me your email address I'll send you some pictures of oral cancer.
* * * Nancy * * *

Retired from breeding

Rescue contact for both the Hedgehog Welfare Society and the IHA
Rescued over 70 (and counting) hedgehogs needing a new home

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Old 12-29-2008, 05:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Michigan
Posts: 3,565
Default Re: oral infection or oral cancer?

I've been down the is it infection or cancer road many times. Most recently with Riley and a lump that appeared within hours on his neck. I took him to the vet and asked doc to do a fine need aspirate of the area to look at under a microscope. With Riley he already had a history with cancer, and it was the cancer coming back. My vets have always just taken the FNA and looked at it under a microscope to see what is going on. They should be able to determine if the sample has infection or abnormal cells (cancer). I've also had to have FNA samples sent off for a proper pathology to determine what they were. Its the only way you get an exact diagnosis.

Oral cancers are common, unfortunately. The oral cancer I have dealt with progressed extremely rapidly though.

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