Life Coming to An End - How to Comfort (Mouth Tumor) - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 07-05-2015, 10:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Mount Gilead, OH
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Unhappy Life Coming to An End - How to Comfort (Mouth Tumor)

About a week ago, my very old (5 years!) hedgehog named Harvey started to develop a swollen lower jaw. I rushed him to the vet thinking that he bit his cheek and an abscess, only to be told by the veterinarian that it was most likely a tumor and there wasn't much that could be done for it.

As a result of the tumor and the location, his lower jaw has become somewhat deformed and his lower right tooth now points horizontally forward, instead of straight up and down.

I asked the vet if Harvey should be put down humanely or if he was in so much pain that it was needed, but was told that he didn't have much time left and would go naturally soon. I don't know how soon "soon" is, but I want to make sure he is as comfortable, happy and spoiled (healthily of course) as possible.

At the moment, I'm feeding him a slurry of wet cat food (he loves the fishy kinds), crushed meal worms and keeping his bedding and litter as clean as possible. He also gets a oatmeal bath once a week to keep his skin moist. I also ordered a little "sleeping bag" of sorts for him to get comfy in if he gets cold or upset, due to any neurological issues the tumor may cause.

Have you dealt with any hedgehogs dying of mouth tumors?
How did you help make them comfortable?
Is there anything I should know?

Harvey is my first hedgehog, so I worry that I'll make a bad choice and worsen his situation somehow.

Any ideas and suggestions are welcome!

Thanks so much.
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Old 07-06-2015, 12:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: San Antonio Texas
Posts: 342

I'm very sorry to hear about your Harvey's unfortunate condition. Five years is quite a long life for your little guy and I'm sure you've made it a great one! As far as your question is concerned, I don't have any experience with ill or geriatric hedgies but I do know that heat is very important. Perhaps a snuggle safe or something similar would be beneficial. Just make sure anything you use isn't too hot. Just out of curiosity, did your vet provide any pain medication?
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Old 07-06-2015, 10:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Sugar Grove, VA
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There are several things that you can do to make him more comfortable and possibly help with the tumor. Is he on any anti-inflammatory or pain meds? You can give him Piroxicam and/or Tramadol. Piroxicam has been shown to reduce the size of some tumors, but squamous cell in the jaw is very serious and usually progresses very quickly. Did your vet take any x-rays of the jaw? Also, the vet could pull that tooth that is sticking out and possibly make your hedgie more comfortable. Is your vet an exotics specialist? If not then you might take him to one or else have your vet consult with one in your area regarding all this stuff.
I had a hedgie, Sola back in February who I finally put down due to the same thing. Her tumor was causing bone loss. One day the tumor began bleeding into her mouth which was finally what made me decide to put her down. She was still running on her wheel and eating her soggy kibble, etc. but I wanted her to have some dignity left. I am very sorry you have to go through this. I hope others will chime in with their stories too.
Take care,
Susan H.
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Old 11-04-2015, 06:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I currently have a hedgie named Otto who also has a tumor on his lower jaw. I have not taken him to our usual vet, however my mom(a retired vet) confirmed it was cancer. Upon looking at forums and seeing that almost everyone was recommended to give their hedgie Boost by syringe along with their food, I decided since he was still happy and it was early to go get some Boost and try giving it to him without a syringe as that causes stress or they spit it out. He LOVES strawberries so I gave him about a small water bottle cap full of the strawberry flavor in his dish next to some of his normal food that we had ground up and soaked in warm water. He loves it!! He comes out everyday at feeding time so he can eat his Boost cold and his food while it's warm, and he is still active, bright eyed, and he hasn't lost any weight!! I'm hoping to keep him happy like this as long as possible before I consider taking him to the normal vet and having him put to sleep. This is a picture of him just today(although I am unsure of how well I attached the photo, I just made this account today)
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Old 06-25-2016, 09:58 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Join Date: Nov 2015
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It's been a while, since I lost my password, but OTTO'S TUMOR IS GONE AND IT HASNT COME BACK! I'm assuming he ate it cause he didn't eat two nights in a row according to my dad who was watching him while I was gone, at which point I pulled him out and the tumor was completely gone, there didn't appear to be any scanning or anything though so I'm not entirely sure what happened. I'm just glad he's fine now, we transitioned him back to normal dry food and he eats it just fine. I still check him regularly to make sure his behavior isn't changing and nothing reforms, but nothing has changed in about a month!
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end of life, mouth tumor, old hedgehog, tumor

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