Progressive Neuropathy - Pain? - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 03-08-2019, 10:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Progressive Neuropathy - Pain?

I've been meaning to post here for awhile but wasn't ready to face Marley's problem. He's getting worse so I can't deny it any longer. In February he was diagnosed with Progressive Neuropathy. I'm assuming it's most likely WHS so that's what I'm researching to figure out how to manage Marley's care. The vet said that Marley wasn't in any pain. That gave me comfort, but now I'm seeing things about massaging & exercising, etc to help with the pain of WHS. Is progressive neuropathy &/or WHS painful? Thx. . More questions coming.
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Old 03-09-2019, 12:14 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Does the vet have experience with hedgies?
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Old 03-09-2019, 11:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Start massaging now and encouraging exercise where you can. As it progresses their legs will start to stiffen and will stiffen to the point even you cannot bend them. Keep moving them, massage multiple times a day. Massage the entire body. Massage the tummy in a circular motion (direction that the gut flows) to help digestive issues.

Arrange his cage so that he cannot fall over and get stuck on anything. You will start to need to either add multiple sources of water in the cage, or at least move things closer to his bed. Add sturdy items that can help him steady himself. I roll fleece tightly to create mazes in the cage. It helps steady them. I put these near food and water bowls too so they can lean on them if they want to. I also use food bowls that have really low edges, that way they can lay down to eat if they feel unsteady. Basically get the food and water lower/closer to ground level.

Also have lots of bedding on hand. As it progresses they are going to go to the bathroom closer and closer to their sleeping area. Use cut pieces of fleece that you can easily remove multiple times a day. With the last two I had, they would go right outside their bed. I'd remove the fleece 2xs a day to keep it cleaner for them.

I won't lie to you, it is extremely sad and painful to watch a once highly active hedgehog slowly lose its ability to do anything. I highly recommend deciding now that once "xyz" happens you will decide it is time to euthanize. Do that now because as this progresses it gets really easy to say "just one more day" and eventually you realize you went too far.
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Old 03-09-2019, 04:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The vet does have some experience with hedgehogs. He did, however, refer me to a different doctor as being “the best in hedgehog care in AZ” and able to give me a more detailed diagnosis. I was not aware at that time that WHS is misdiagnosed a great deal of the time. I understood progressive neuropathy or WHS to be fatal & nothing I could do to stop it. And, since the vet said Marley wasn’t in pain, I didn’t take any further action.

Now, from talking to a local breeder, and also, from what is being said here on the forum, I think I made a mistake & should have taken him to Dr Driggers. Marley didn’t seem to be in any pain & was still able to right himself after falling over but still, I am kicking myself.

This other doctor is a bit of a distance from me & everyone says he’s really, really expensive. I literally just spent $1000 on an ER visit & urgent surgery for my 14 year old Chihuahua on February 26th so I’m broke. I don’t like to put a price on what I’ll spend on my critters but my dog tapped me out. However, I will call the recommended vet on Monday & see if I can at least get Marley in for a visit on payday. At the very least he can tell me if my boy is suffering & it’s time to let him go.
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Old 03-09-2019, 04:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you, Kalandra for the tips on his care. These are some great ideas that would never have occurred to me. Hedgies have only been legal in Arizona for a few years now so it’s harder to find knowledgeable vets & fellow pet owners to talk to. I have only had Mar Mar for six months. The local rescue had nothing available at the time so I got him off Craigslist. We’ve been to two different vets so haven’t been ignoring his issues. Still, my boy has suffered because of me - excuses or not. It just got much worse so suddenly.

I will try these tips until we can get in to the recommended vet. Your honesty is much appreciated. I would hate myself if my kid suffered because of my ignorance or inability to let go.

Can he drown if he were to tip over into his water bowl? I bought 2 water bowls that have a lower edge on one side but I’m worried the lower side is still not low enough. Never thought of putting water in different parts of the cage. Smart.

Thank you very much! More questions likely to follow tonight, after work. Marley says to say thanks, too, for helping his mom!
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Old 03-09-2019, 05:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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We love our animals, but money is a finite resource.
I hope you get the answer that helps you make the best decision for your hedgie.
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Old 03-09-2019, 06:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I would think it would be a possibility. I have yet to have one fall in their water dish. I tend to use smaller water dishes and put them in corners to try to reduce the area around them, and to give the hedgehog something to push on should they fall and need to move away.

It really is all about looking at everything a different way. I try to take into consideration how much mobility they have and then look at everything in their cage and determine if they can push themselves away or to right themselves. This goes for any sick hedgehog... they get weak pretty quickly when sick.



I'm still fairly new to neurological problems in hedgehogs, I've only dealt with it a couple of times now. Its one of the toughest. They can be doing just fine, holding steady for a while, then a sudden downward change happens. No rhyme or reason to it. You just have to live day to day and enjoy each day that you get together.
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Old 03-19-2019, 01:27 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks again for your help & encouragement Chowder & Kalandra.
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