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Old 04-02-2011, 09:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Talking PLEASE I need advice

I unfortunately am left with a horrible decision to make , and need the advice of hedgehog owners/breeders/ anyone that can give it. I've had Zee ("zahara") since she was a baby. She is now a little over three. She has developed wobbly hedgehog syndrom which she was diagnosed with last week. She wasnt eating and pooping and was put on two meds, one of which the doctor said may help with the WHS. Anyway, the medicine didn't seem to help. Actually in one week, she quickly got worse and worse. She still hobbles around, falling to one side. But since I went to the vet I have to syringe feed her carnivore care. ANYWAY, she recently developed a large tumor on her neck region. It is still growing a bit, and if it gets too big I think I'll have to have her euthanized because it will probably block her esophagaus. Guys, what do you think? I don't know when I should draw the line. Should I wait until she can't swallow what i syringe feed her? Or should I put her down now because she can't even eat on her own? Should I put her down because she could be in pain? Anyway, I don't need any expert answers, although those are welcome too. I just want to know "what would you do?" I hope I get some responses, Thanks in advance and I appreciate any help immensely.
-Laura
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: PLEASE I need advice

You will know when it is time. Just don't let her suffer and be in pain.
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: PLEASE I need advice

Oh, on that note my other question: does anybody know how to really know when she is in pain? Will she just give up on trying to move around at all? And not get excited and perk up to see me anymore?
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: PLEASE I need advice

Are you sure she has WHS and it's not the tumour causing her mobility issue. Really though, it doesn't matter in the least.

Honestly, I would not wait until the tumour blocks her airway or her esophagus.

Our Cinder had WHS and we were having difficulties making the final decision. She still had bright eyes and seemed content with her life. We were syringe feeding her and she was still eating well until the final night when she started to choke. We didn't think she would ever stop choking as we phoned around trying to find an emergency vet to euthanize her. At that time, the emergency vet was on call and when we did get a hold of him, he wanted nothing to do with a hedgehog. Thankfully, she finally stopped choking but we couldn't give her any more food or water for fear of her choking again. The next morning we took her to the vet but our vet was not there and the vet that was didn't know us and would not let us be with her.

It's very easy to say, you should do this, but when it is your own pet we don't think quite the same and it is really difficult to decide when it's time.

Our first oral tumour was old Pagen. It came on fast and at the vet on Friday, she suggested we let him go without letting him wake back up. Pagen was still so bright eyed and active that we wanted to wait a bit longer. She told us that at any time that tumour could become painful or reach an area that caused some severe symptoms. She said what if that happens at night or on a weekend when no vet is open. Did we really want him to suffer until we could get him in to see someone. After she said that, there was no more hesitation.

There is a saying, "better an hour too soon than a minute too late"

I'm sorry you have to make this decision. It is not easy.
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: PLEASE I need advice

Never had to be in that situation with a hedgehog, but been through it several times with pet dogs. I agree that you will know in your heart when it is time. When you know you've all you can do and she is in pain with no way out, or her quality of life has become what you consider unacceptable with no way out----you will know.
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Old 04-02-2011, 11:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: PLEASE I need advice

All I can say is to try and keep her comfortable for as long as possible. Keep the hedgie nice and warm and try to keep on feeding. If you believe she is suffering then you should let her go. If I were in your situation I would put her down.. Losing a pet is never easy and its a difficult decision. It depends on how you feel about her condition.

You will know when the time is right.
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: PLEASE I need advice

I'm so confused as to why my vet didn't bring up euthanization. She saiid the tumor could be removed but I
Kind of asked what would be the point...Seward has whs and not much time left, so why would we put her through surgery that itself could kill her...not to mention the fact it was over 600 dollars..do people think I've made the right decision in not doing the surgery? It just seems like a cause of stress to see ad myself that isn't even going to help in the long run. I'm going to call my vet Monday to talk about euthanization. I appreciate everyone's advice so much I'm so glad I decided to post on here.
Laura
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Old 04-03-2011, 06:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: PLEASE I need advice

yes, I think you made the right decision to not do the surgery. Surgery would be very hard on her and difficult to recover from. With her underlying WHS, I agree that it would be too much for her with no real recovery for her.

There's always the "woulda, coulda, shoulda" when you look back on something like this. There's not always one right answer. But I think it sounds like you are putting yourself in her situation and imagining what she would want.

Animals don't understand the way people do. To her, pain is just pain--she doesn't know if it is going to be temporary or not--it just hurts.

When our dog was anemic and getting lethargic, she was found to have a tumor in the pancreas area. The vet took her into surgery and we hoped for the best, but said our goodbyes just in case. During surgery, the cancer was all over so we let her go. She wasn't really feeling that bad or acting that sick at the time, but we knew the future would just be painful and short. We often wondered if we did the right thing. But she left the world feeling loved and relatively healthy. You've got to look at the big picture and see what would lay ahead of her down the line. I sympathize with your position...it's terrible and I know whatever you decide it will be the right decision.
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Old 04-03-2011, 06:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: PLEASE I need advice

When deciding on surgery or not there are many things to consider. We have to look at age, prior health history, speed at which the tumour is progressing, the risks of surgery, recovery time and how painful the recovery will be, the quality of life after wards plus the probable life span with or without surgery. Unfortunately, for most of us, finances also have to factor into it since none of us have a money tree on our lawn.

Some surgeries have fast recoveries with minimal discomfort and others are long and painful. Will there be any life long adverse effects from the surgery?

Having a prior health issue such as WHS, makes surgery kind of pointless and may increase the speed at which the whs affects her.

A hedgehog with no prior health issues, we have to look at other factors. Invasive surgery on a old hedgehog, even one that is currently healthy, is not as wise an option as on a young one. The surgical risks are higher, slower recovery time, and we start looking at the fact that hedgie might only have another few months of normal life span anyways and do we want it spent recovering from surgery. We also don't want to do a painful, long recovery surgery if it only gives a few extra months.

For your girl, what is surgery going to accomplish? Even if it would happen to cure the cancer, the stress on her body is possibly going to speed up the WHS. Even without any surgery, whs can get progressively worse very quickly and at any time.

Difficult as it is, I think you have made the right decision.
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Old 04-27-2011, 11:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: PLEASE I need advice

Hi again everyone. I just wanted to thank you for all the support and advice. The day before yesterday I decided it was time to put zahara down. It was very hard, but she was just getting awful and so out of control with her movements. What really did it for me was when she was covered in dried up baby food because she couldn't eat without falling. She wasn't able to even quill up. I miss her terribly and when we brought her in I cried for the first time I have in probably over a year. I never expected my relationship with her to go that deep and to be so painful to let go. I'm now faced with rehoming my sugargliders too because unlike Zahara I don't have time for them. I know my heart is going to ache for another hedgehog, but I feel like unless a rescue were to come along needing help I should wait so I don't feel like I am "replacing zahara" Just writing about her makes me emotional, I just hope to god shes at peace now
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