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Old 12-03-2014, 04:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Colon Cancer?

Hello everyone,
I have been asked to post the following on behalf of my friend who is a hedgehog rescuer. She is very distraught and would love to know if anyone has had a hedgehog with colon cancer and what, if anything you did about it.

"Has anyone ever done a colon resection on a hedgehog? What was the outcome? Looking for anyone with related experience!

Horatio has had an ongoing GI issues and went back to the vet today. He had an ultrasound which showed a mass on his colon, probably cancerous. An ultrasound in Aug had just shown thickening of the tissue. We're discussing things like estimated survival rate on surgery (~75%), complications (infection, spread of cancer if cancerous, rupture of bowel if stitches tear), and quality of life if successful (stool softeners and special diet).

He's got mobility issues from severe spondylosis, so they would make a "nest" bowl to keep his spine curve forward and supported, with warmth during surgery. He's just over 4 years old and missing many teeth, including front upper "fangs", so she eats mostly soggy kibble. He's amazingly calm & sweet, allowing little kids to pet him. He still enjoys hobbling around the house free-range, as his back problem means he can't use a wheel or runabout ball.

I'd like to think he could have a good quality of life, despite special diet and mobility limits, but don't want to put him through it if survival or quality of life outlooks are poor. If that's the case, I'd rather go with hospice care and help him enjoy the time he has left until it's time to help him pass."

Thank you to anyone who can give input, on behalf of Elaine and Horatio,
Susan H.
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Old 12-03-2014, 07:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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To be honest...it sounds like doing any kind of surgery would likely be pretty risky and could have a lot of complications during & after. I don't think I would consider it worth it, personally. I'm not speaking from any kind of experience with a situation like this, but just my thoughts with how risky surgery can be for hedgehogs in general and what a delicate area the colon & intestines are. And I could be wrong (I'm going off memory & it's end of semester so my brain is fried), but it seems like colon cancer is one in humans that has a high likelihood of spreading elsewhere? I could be wrong though. Whatever your friend decides for her boy, I wish her luck & send good thoughts.
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Old 12-03-2014, 07:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Kelsey, you are correct. Colon cancer has a higher (one of the highest) mortality rate because it metastasizes incredibly fast. My grandmother passed away from it 6 years ago.
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Old 12-06-2014, 03:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Nancy?

Thank you for the replies thus far. Nancy? Have you dealt with this at all? Thanks ahead of time......
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Old 12-06-2014, 04:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hi Susan I haven't had any with an actual colon cancer diagnoses.

To me, four year olds are in that grey area where we really have to consider quality versus quantity of life. A four year old in perfect health otherwise, then perhaps surgery would add some quality time to his life.

At his age and with his other issues, supportive care until he says it's time, would probably be a kinder option. We don't know how much time any 4 year old has left. Some not much, others possibly as much as couple of years, but with spondylosis that is only going to worsen, my question would be, is it worth doing a major surgery that may not give him any extra quality time and will only decrease his quality of life while recovering.

Hospice care and letting him enjoy the time he has left would be my choice.
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Old 12-09-2014, 09:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default surgery is a go....

Thanks for the reply Nancy.
Elaine has decided to go ahead and try surgery. Horatio is scheduled for tomorrow and two doctors will be performing the operation on him. Please keep this little guy in your thoughts and prayers. He is a real sweetheart and we are just hoping that he pulls through and the surgery is a success. Of course I will let you all know how it goes. I hope that he can have some more time with us as he is supposed to spend Christmas here with me, Daisy, and Sola!
Thank you all for your input,
Susan H.
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Old 12-11-2014, 09:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default update.

Well, when Horatio went in for the surgery they conducted some pre-op blood work and found out he had low albumin. This decreased his outcome significantly so my friend decided to postpone the surgery and try to get his protein level up. They suggested feeding him egg whites and re-test in 10 days. He may never be a good candidate for surgery, but we shall see. anyway, I thought you folks might like to know.
-Susan H.
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Old 12-11-2014, 11:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thank you for keeping us updated.

I was thinking about his surgery yesterday and wondering how he was doing.

Hoping for the best!
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Old 12-26-2014, 08:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default poor little guy

To anyone who wondered, little Horatio had to be helped across the Rainbow Bridge just before Christmas. He never had a chance to have surgery and it was later discovered during his necropsy that his cancer had spread throughout his body. He will be very much missed.... but at least he is no longer suffering from any discomfort. I was supposed to take care of him while his owner was out of town....I miss the little "Derpus"
-Susan H.
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Old 12-27-2014, 02:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I am so sorry to hear about this. Cancer has taken too many of our little friends.

Rest in Peace, little Horatio.

Give your friend a hug from all of us.
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