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Old 03-23-2015, 07:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Might have to euthanise-Urgent

Hello there! Fan of this forum, just joined to post this but I've lurked before!
First, to clarify, by urgent I mean I may have to make this decision today, but probably tomorrow.

I'm the owner of a 2 year ~10 month little guy (they grow up so fast!) named Mimsy, he's my first hedgehog. I've had him since he was about 8 weeks.

He has an infection. He has been off for a bit, not eating or running as much, odd sleeping habits. I put it down to being a bit stressed/fussy. He would still eat and drink, but had turned off cat kibble. I could get him to eat chicken and turkey, some nights even in the last week he would eat plenty. So I kept telling myself his behavioural changes and tiredness were probably just side effects of this and since he would eat I'd be able to get his weight up. I'm forever having nightmares about him getting ill so I was very scared but convincing myself it would work out. Kept denying it. I wanted to take him to the vet once his weight started dropping but my mother didn't seem to think it necessary. I don't have a car or cash (they are the ones I'd be relying on for vet stuff) and she's a big Mimsy fan though less paranoid so I just trusted her.

He's naturally skinny, he likes running and climbing, he's usually a spiney sausage but can sometimes get closer to chubby (or closer to normalish). I'm lucky to have the fabulous Michael Griffith quite near who is the vet for the Belfast Zoo. He's treated pygmy hedgehogs before so I trust him. He thought didn't seem worried about Mimsy's usual weight when I saw him winter before last. The problem is he can lose weight easily and any weight loss is obviously troublesome with runner types. So in the last week even though he would eat a heck of a lot some nights he had got terrifyingly thin.

On Saturday night he was weak and it was horrible. Called the vet first thing Sunday. Got an appointment later with a different vet who had contacted Michael, she doesn't specialise in exotics but still knows what's what. She said either they would keep him in til Michael would be there this morning or I could take him home. I was much more comfortable with him staying at the vets. They wanted to start him on antibiotics since she thought an infection was likely. His skin, feet, ears, teeth, eyes, etc were looking fine. She wanted to start him on painkillers (since its hard to tell when they're in pain) and have him syringe fed.

Michael saw him this morning. Mimsy was weaker this morning. Yesterday he wouldn't take pureed food but was happily taking critical care (the food). He said it was looking really bad. They said I could either euthanise or let them keep trying. I obviously wanted to keep going since we would know by tonight or tomorrow if he responds.

The thing is if he hasn't responded by tomorrow and they think he won't they would really recommend euthanasia. If it was something definitely untreatable, like wobbly hedgehog syndrome, I would definitely euthanise. But with an infection I guess its impossible to know for sure? Like even if its the smallest chance I would find it so hard to not give him that. I don't know if he's in pain which complicates it further. I think I'm being selfish though. I'm staying really hopeful no matter how naive that may be.

I love him so much and with my health I haven't got to spend as much time with him as I'd want. But even if I'd usually just get talking to him or watching him eat I love knowing he's there. Heck, even when I don't get to see him for a few days. I miss him but just knowing he's there is lovely. You know when there just aren't enough loved ones with life threatening diseases so you decide to get one with a short life expectancy? Silly me. I just thought I'd be getting much longer with him, he's still quite young. The vet seems really sure that I haven't done anything wrong but its just hard to believe that.

Sorry this turned into a novella! Thank you if you had the patience to read this far!

Last edited by wondawful; 03-23-2015 at 07:37 AM.
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Old 03-23-2015, 07:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Are they sure he has an infection and if so, where is it located?
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Old 03-23-2015, 08:08 AM   #3 (permalink)
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They seem to be going by the anorexia being a frequent indicator and the time scale of disease progression. The other theory was some sort of hidden tumour but it seems like they disposed of that idea.

I think if antibiotics work then that will prove it, if they don't then its nothing treatable.

I'm guessing cultures or bloods would take too long? It isn't an infection with typical external signs (skin, nose, teeth and the like). I think they just went by Dx of exclusion.

Last edited by wondawful; 03-23-2015 at 08:09 AM. Reason: Thank you so much for the speedy reply!
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Old 03-23-2015, 09:06 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hibernation is ruled out? He's not wobbly or cold? What's the temperature of his cage? Hibernation is something that can go on for a while as well if it's just slightly too cold.

I personally would ask them if there's a way to be sure if there's an infection or not - blood work would most likely take a couple of days but x-rays can show things like tumours and is usually one of the first things my vet tries.
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Old 03-23-2015, 09:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you. I was wondering how they ruled out tumours. I'll ask if there's any chance there could be one and if so for an x-ray.

Wobbly with weakness, but not cold. We've kept him warm enough and keep his heat mat in just in case.
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Old 03-23-2015, 11:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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This thread is no longer necessary. You've been great though. I got the call, he has passed peacefully.

I can't seem to figure out how to delete this thread. Sorry.
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Old 03-23-2015, 11:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Sorry for the loss of your little buddy. It's hard to let them go isn't it? Know that he is safe and warm and happy over the rainbow bridge.
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Old 03-23-2015, 02:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm so sorry to hear that. Hugs
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Old 03-23-2015, 03:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Sorry to hear that he's gone. He fought long and hard.

So sorry for your loss, our thoughts are with you.

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Old 03-23-2015, 06:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Sincerely appreciating the support. It means a lot. I'm sort of glad I didn't have to choose. I'm grateful I didn't have to find him dead and the last time I saw him (only yesterday and it already feels like so long!) even though he was so unwell he was still managing to explore and be curious and rest his nose on my fingers. I've always thought it must be so hard for those who have to watch them suffer for a long time.

I still haven't really got my head around it actually happening though. Feeling like a bit of an animal abuser to be honest. I've appreciated the hedgie community before in seeing how nice everyone is about them passing, there are too many other people in the world who act like losing a pet isn't a real problem. Its nice knowing that people here appreciate how important and loved (and missed) they are.
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