!!Please convince me that I'm making the right choice to euthanize my hedgehog today - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 04-15-2020, 05:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation !!Please convince me that I'm making the right choice to euthanize my hedgehog today



Hi everyone, I joined this site after many tries and fails to make an account but I finally got it!
(sorry if this thread has any grammar mistakes or is just all over the place, I'm very stressed right now and I just want to get my hedgehog's story out there)
I have a hedgehog named Piper who's around 2 and a half years old and in the past few weeks, her personality and demeanor have changed drastically. The first sign that I noticed was that she wasn't sleeping in her house like she always does, and instead, she lays half on and half off her wheel. At first, my family and I just thought it was because her heat lamp was too high (it's not), so we turn it down a few degrees but the same habit remains with her being in her house at night and in the morning finding her half on and half off her wheel. Another cause of worry was that her food and water level had stayed the same for the previous few days which was early April, around the 3rd I believe. Normally, I would have to add more of her cat food into the little dish daily, but I didn't have to and her bowl seemed to be untouched completely. I was looking into different sources and I gathered that the hedgehog drinking water is more important than them eating (I'm PRAYING that this is right). So I put a little marking onto Piper's water bottle to see if she was drinking at all. The next day (April 4th) as I was checking over everything, I saw that the water level in the bottle still hadn't gone down. The dates get a little blurry for me so please forgive me if I don't give exact dates. I obviously keep a very close eye on her food and water levels. A day or so after the first time that I saw that the water level stayed the same, the level decreased a lot (around an inch and a half). Now that I'm writing this I'm starting to believe that Piper was unable to reach the part of the bottle where she'd drink from and instead the majority of the water found itself in the bedding. However, at that time I was looking for any sign that I was over-worrying myself for no reason (I now know that a hedgehog not eating or drinking at all is a definite sign that something's wrong and that professional help should be looked for). On April 6th I bathed Piper because she had gotten some poop on her underside.
This is when I started comparing her behavior to how she was "before". Normally, Piper's a feisty hedgehog that huffs when you pet her in an area that she doesn't like and makes the biggest fuss ever when I cut her nails, and she treats baths like the end of the world (before I noticed something was off), in that she would try to climb up my arm to get out of the sink and whenever I pour water on her gently to get out the soap she would run to the other side to avoid it. On April 6th, however, as soon as I placed her in the sink she just sat there in the water and it was obvious that she wasn't holding herself up. While I cleaned her up she was drinking some of the water (I made sure that it was new water with NO soap in it!) which was a sign to me that she wasn't drinking water in her own time for her to feel the need to drink the water from her *clean* bath. As usual, she peed and pooped in the sink (I wouldn't let her drink again until I drained and refilled the sink) but this time her poop was liquidy. I will bring up again how she absolutely had no reaction to being bathed and didn't try once to climb up onto my hand. After about 10 minutes I bring her, dried off and wrapped in a towel to a separate room for me to observe her. I looked everywhere on the web for a possible reason for her sudden change and the only one that seemed reasonable in her case was Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome. (sidenote: before getting Piper I did all my research on their species and along the way, I learned about WHS from the get-go) I wanted it to be anything but WHS as I already knew that there was no escaping this terminal disease. I'm watching her out of the corner of my eye as I'm trying to find answers by myself at 3 a.m when I hear her coughing and rearing up. She threw up a clear liquid with tiny bubbles in it and a few minutes after she threw up, I caught the first video of her wobbling (hopefully you can see it in this thread). At this point, I was frantically looking for help from any source and I came across this website: https://www.justanswer.com/veterinary/
I was hopeful that they would be able to get me the help that I need, and I paid the $5 membership fee to get a chance to text a "professional" vet that was awake at this ungodly hour (around 4 a.m now), and they never got back to me and I called to get a refund... PLEASE do not use this site, they will take your money and not give you the answers that you need. The next day, April 8th, I take her to a veterinarian that is trained to treat hedgehogs, and sure enough the diagnosis comes back that confirms that she has WHS. We receive medicine and a syringe to give her each night 0.25mL of the medicine that we were given (I forget the name at the moment). We do as the doctor said and we also begin to give her water with a small amount of white sugar mixed in because it might entice her to drink because she likes the flavor. Today is April 15th and I continue to follow the doctor's orders down to a tee, and I start preparing myself for the worst right after the visit to the vet. No matter what, WHS will result in death at some point, but it seems like in her case that she has maybe a few days to live. The symptoms become more obvious now in that she refuses to drink the sugar water now, she still refuses to eat her dry food, there's no evidence that she's peeing or pooping, and the most concerning change to me is how she doesn't even try to hold her head up anymore and if given a few seconds, she will just lay down wherever she is and just close her eyes. It's also obvious that she's lost all feeling in her hind paws and part of her butt because when I touch those areas, there's no reaction at all.

I know at this point there's little to no hope for Piper, and I approached my parents (I'm a teenager) to tell them that I have come to terms with Piper's condition and I want to save her from as much pain as possible. I know that it's hard to tell with hedgehog's when they're in pain, but would any of these symptoms signify that she is in pain? I feel like I should've noticed signs of her health going downhill weeks prior to me noticing in early April, and I will forever tear myself down over it because I feel that if I noticed earlier, earlier action would be taken which could lead to her being in less pain. I'm looking to go back to the vet to get her euthanized today (Wednesday, April 15th... I'm writing this at 5 a.m where I live) and I think the point behind me posting this is to get support to tell me that this is the right decision. I don't think I will ever be able to forgive myself over losing her, as I knew she was my responsibility ever since I got her as a small yet sassy 6-week old hedgie baby, and I'm absolutely heartbroken that there are other hedgehogs out there that have to go through this terrible journey at such a young age. The last thing I'd want for Piper is to pass when she's in pain and I know that the longer I wait, the more she'll deteriorate and the more misery she'll be in, so hopefully with all of the precautions being taken in the world right now regarding the sickness, the vet will be able to find a time to euthanize her. Who knows, it could be in 7 hours from now or 2 days, but all I know is that I want the best for my sweet girl and I want her suffering to end. At this point, I'm crying like a blubbering mess, so I will post on here again with more updates, an answer to if she seems like she's in pain, or the dreaded news of her passing. Please keep Piper in your thoughts.

Thank you for reading and wishing you all the best,
Nikki

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1w3k...ew?usp=sharing
^^ hopefully the video is viewable
HedgieloveHershey likes this.

Last edited by nicoletterosepassick; 04-15-2020 at 05:44 AM. Reason: adding a link to watch a video
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Old 04-16-2020, 03:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm so sorry to hear about your Piper. I sympathize SO much with you. I'll keep you in my prayers. Please let me know how Piper does! It's terrible you have to go through this but please, whatever you do, DO NO blame yourself. You have tried your best and it was good enough. You have done everything you can, and YOU ARE DOING THE RIGHT THING IN EUTHANIZING HER. You sound like an amazing hedgehog owner. (If I was a hedgehog, I'd want you to be my owner, no joke) What's done is done, and you have not intentionally hurt your hedgehog. I know you're going to miss her, but I'm right here with you. Please let me know how she does.

Best of luck, thanks for sharing your story. You got me right in the heart, I'm almost crying right now.
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Old 04-17-2020, 02:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by HedgieloveHershey View Post
I'm so sorry to hear about your Piper. I sympathize SO much with you. I'll keep you in my prayers. Please let me know how Piper does! It's terrible you have to go through this but please, whatever you do, DO NO blame yourself. You have tried your best and it was good enough. You have done everything you can, and YOU ARE DOING THE RIGHT THING IN EUTHANIZING HER. You sound like an amazing hedgehog owner. (If I was a hedgehog, I'd want you to be my owner, no joke) What's done is done, and you have not intentionally hurt your hedgehog. I know you're going to miss her, but I'm right here with you. Please let me know how she does.

Best of luck, thanks for sharing your story. You got me right in the heart, I'm almost crying right now.
We euthanized her yesterday The vet said she was at a point where euthanization would be the best option. Thank you for thinking of us and I hope she's in a better place now.
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Old 04-18-2020, 09:08 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I do too. I'm so glad she doesn't have to suffer anymore. I'm glad you got her for at least 2 and a half years.
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Old 04-19-2020, 02:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm so sorry I've only just seen this!

Water bottles are not recommended for hogs because a lot of them struggle with getting the water out especially the older they are. I'm wondering if part of it was just dehydration? For future always use a small bowl. This is a lot better for them for drinking.
Also if you can see they arent drinking use a syringe from the side of their mouth and slowly give them water.

WHS can only be diagnosed after death, the test can only be done after death. So what I want to know, did your vet even look in to any other possibilities for these symptoms of just palm it off as WHS as you already though it was that.

WHS Also starts very slow with the legs, not with the first signs you noticed. I believe (if I remember from my reading right) they dont loose interest in eating or drinking until the have loss use of all their legs.

I truly am sorry! I feel like your vet should have done some other test, a tumour on the back of the spine can cause the loss of their legs and the other symptoms you went through - This can mean they will be in pain and die because sometimes tumors on the spine can't be removed without causing other problems.

I'm not a vet, I am not an expert. But I do know there is NO WAY your vet could haven given you proper diagnosis of WHS before she was dead.

Please don't take this as you doing the wrong thing! It is really hard. You didnt want her in pain and that shows real care! Even if it had been a tumour like I mentioned they still might not have been able to help, and keeping them out of pain the way she went was good.

I am truly sorry you lost her! But you put her out of suffering, and she's probably very grateful.

Dont feel bad though please! I'm seriously not trying to make you feel bad with telling you this! I just think it will be helpful if you get another hog in the future. Or for
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Old 04-19-2020, 11:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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It is so hard to watch our little ones endure any suffering. They are part of us and depend on us to do what is best for them. As I have read your posts, I can see how ill your Piper was and how how much you love her. You are so compassionate as was clearly seen in all of your thoughts and your actions. You tried to give Piper every possible chance for a healthy life and you placed her needs above your own. You should give yourself the opportunity to mourn little Piper and this will help you as you heal. She truly is in a wondrous world now filled with happiness and health. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for being such a responsible person and for loving sweet Piper unconditionally.
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Old 04-21-2020, 12:19 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Ria View Post
I'm so sorry I've only just seen this!

Water bottles are not recommended for hogs because a lot of them struggle with getting the water out especially the older they are. I'm wondering if part of it was just dehydration? For future always use a small bowl. This is a lot better for them for drinking.
Also if you can see they arent drinking use a syringe from the side of their mouth and slowly give them water.

WHS can only be diagnosed after death, the test can only be done after death. So what I want to know, did your vet even look in to any other possibilities for these symptoms of just palm it off as WHS as you already though it was that.

WHS Also starts very slow with the legs, not with the first signs you noticed. I believe (if I remember from my reading right) they dont loose interest in eating or drinking until the have loss use of all their legs.

I truly am sorry! I feel like your vet should have done some other test, a tumour on the back of the spine can cause the loss of their legs and the other symptoms you went through - This can mean they will be in pain and die because sometimes tumors on the spine can't be removed without causing other problems.

I'm not a vet, I am not an expert. But I do know there is NO WAY your vet could haven given you proper diagnosis of WHS before she was dead.

Please don't take this as you doing the wrong thing! It is really hard. You didnt want her in pain and that shows real care! Even if it had been a tumour like I mentioned they still might not have been able to help, and keeping them out of pain the way she went was good.

I am truly sorry you lost her! But you put her out of suffering, and she's probably very grateful.

Dont feel bad though please! I'm seriously not trying to make you feel bad with telling you this! I just think it will be helpful if you get another hog in the future. Or for

Thank you so much for your feedback. When we took her to the vet the first time, we asked him after he diagnosed her with WHS if it would be anything else like a tumor or something small like an ear infection, but he said that WHS was the only one that matched up with all of the symptoms. However, on her last day (April 15th), I noticed a lump on her back near her back right leg and I pointed it out to my parents but they said that it wouldn't make a difference now, as she was closer to death than she was to life. She didn't seem to be in any pain when I touched the lump, so could this have been the cause of death instead of WHS? The vet didn't examine her after she died.
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Old 04-21-2020, 12:23 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Ria View Post
I'm so sorry I've only just seen this!

Water bottles are not recommended for hogs because a lot of them struggle with getting the water out especially the older they are. I'm wondering if part of it was just dehydration? For future always use a small bowl. This is a lot better for them for drinking.
Also if you can see they arent drinking use a syringe from the side of their mouth and slowly give them water.

WHS can only be diagnosed after death, the test can only be done after death. So what I want to know, did your vet even look in to any other possibilities for these symptoms of just palm it off as WHS as you already though it was that.

WHS Also starts very slow with the legs, not with the first signs you noticed. I believe (if I remember from my reading right) they dont loose interest in eating or drinking until the have loss use of all their legs.

I truly am sorry! I feel like your vet should have done some other test, a tumour on the back of the spine can cause the loss of their legs and the other symptoms you went through - This can mean they will be in pain and die because sometimes tumors on the spine can't be removed without causing other problems.

I'm not a vet, I am not an expert. But I do know there is NO WAY your vet could haven given you proper diagnosis of WHS before she was dead.

Please don't take this as you doing the wrong thing! It is really hard. You didnt want her in pain and that shows real care! Even if it had been a tumour like I mentioned they still might not have been able to help, and keeping them out of pain the way she went was good.

I am truly sorry you lost her! But you put her out of suffering, and she's probably very grateful.

Dont feel bad though please! I'm seriously not trying to make you feel bad with telling you this! I just think it will be helpful if you get another hog in the future. Or for

Thank you so much for your feedback. When we took her to the vet the first time, we asked him after he diagnosed her with WHS if it would be anything else like a tumor or something small like an ear infection, but he said that WHS was the only one that matched up with all of the symptoms. However, on her last day (April 15th), I noticed a lump on her back near her back right leg and I pointed it out to my parents but they said that it wouldn't make a difference now, as she was closer to death than she was to life. She didn't seem to be in any pain when I touched the lump, so could this have been the cause of death instead of WHS? The vet didn't examine her after she died.
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Old 04-21-2020, 12:23 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by shetland View Post
It is so hard to watch our little ones endure any suffering. They are part of us and depend on us to do what is best for them. As I have read your posts, I can see how ill your Piper was and how how much you love her. You are so compassionate as was clearly seen in all of your thoughts and your actions. You tried to give Piper every possible chance for a healthy life and you placed her needs above your own. You should give yourself the opportunity to mourn little Piper and this will help you as you heal. She truly is in a wondrous world now filled with happiness and health. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for being such a responsible person and for loving sweet Piper unconditionally.
Thank you ❤️
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Old 04-21-2020, 02:49 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Lumps are annoying most of the time they are cancer, sometimes the are begin tumours, and other times its just an abscess.
On the back its a lot harder to see until they big.
I would say it was more likely whatever the lump was causing issues than WHS.

A lot of illnesses can present as WHS and a lot of vets will palm it off on this rather than running other tests because its easier for them!

Your parents should have told the vet when you took him back, and got the vet to examine it really. Even if in the end putting down was the kinder option.

Regardless, you was never going notice before you did. And from where you described the lump to be, its not surprising you missed it. Especially if its possible it could have been smaller.

Never let a vet tell you its WHS until you have had other tests done - make sure your parents don't too. I know its money, but a ultra sound would have been able to see of there was any tumours there causing it. An xray would have show if there was something wrong with the bones (can also pick up tumour sometimes)

But you didn't know and even if you had, your parents would need to agree with you, not the vet. So seriously don't feel bad. The vet should have done more not just palmed it off to WHS which is pretty rare in most countries these days, because WHS is from inbreeding and that's not very common anymore.
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