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Old 03-17-2014, 05:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Possible Oral Cancer

Hello! I`m new here, and it`s really sad that my first thread is for something this horrible.
My hedgie is about 5 months old. On Friday night, I noticed a reaaaally small bump on the left side of his cheek. He was not at all helpful when I tried to look in his mouth. On Saturday, the thing was definitely bigger, so I made an appointment to the vet and on Sunday (the bump grew again) they examined him.
At first, the vet thought it was a tooth problem or an abcess, but when she opened his mouth, there was a pink-yellow lump. She poked it, but nothing came out but blood. So she said it was not an infection or a tooth and it is either a cyst or a tumor. She prescribed an antibiotic and painkiller and told me to give him soft food and to come back on Tuesday to check on him and decide what to do. I asked her if there is a way to find out what it is and she told me she can perform a biopsy, but she has to anesthetize him and there is a risk for him, because he is small. After that, if it is indeed a tumor and the X-ray shows that it has not spread it can be possible to remove it with surgery. But again, it will be risky.
So, after all this, I can not decide is it worth it? I will do anything to save him, money is not an issue. But what if he dies from the anesthesia? I just won`t bear the fact that I took the decision, he is only five months old . So, here are some questions:
Is there a *safer* kind of gas to use for the anesthesia?
How big is the risk exactly?
If the risk is high, is it better to refuse the biopsy and continue the painkillers and try to make the rest of his life happy and comfortable and to love him? And how long can he live with that? Months? Weeks?...
Thank you for reading and any answer/advise will be extremely appreciated.
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Old 03-18-2014, 12:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I know that you will read on here that there is a risk from gassing a hedgehog. There is a risk with anything….. but I have had 3 hedgies and my vet has gassed them all to no ill effects. It is the only real way that she is going to be able to get a good look in his mouth to determine what this thing is. I would not worry about that part of the procedure. I would recommend that you take him in and have a biopsy done. After that you can decide what you want to do. However, he is very young and probably could cope with surgery if it is necessary….perhaps someone who has dealt with oral tumors will chime in, but I would *think* he is a bit young for that to be the diagnosis. I also wanted to add that if you do not feel confident with this vet for some reason, maybe you can find out if there is a better one before you perform a surgery - if necessary.
Best of luck!
Susan H.
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Last edited by shmurciakova; 03-18-2014 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 03-18-2014, 12:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I've had more hedgehogs gassed than I care to think about and, thank goodness, all have come through fine. I would never have one gassed for something minor like a nail trim but for a health issue that requires gassing for a proper diagnoses, I don't hesitate. Consider the options. Gas him, with the small risk of an adverse reaction, but you find out what exactly is wrong and potentially cure him, or don't take the small risk and most likely whatever is wrong will end up killing him.

At 5 months old, there is more of a possibility that this is an abscess than a tumour. Although not an impossibility, at that age, an oral tumour would be rare. Most of the time, antibiotics alone will not get rid of an abscess. Usually they need to be drained and cleaned out which will require him to be gassed.

When they gas them for a quick examination they only give enough to knock them out. The vet should be prepared to do what is needed to clean out the area if it does appear to be an abscess. You don't want to have the vet say, yeah it is an abscess but he'ell have to come back again for it to be cleaned out. I've had a couple with tooth infections pulled and cleaned out while I watched.

Hopefully it is just an abscess.
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Old 03-18-2014, 06:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Oh, well, that is a relief. Thank you both for answering, I needed to hear that from someone who is experienced
I spoke with the vet today and we decided that tomorrow they are going to have the biopsy and the x-ray done. She said not to give him painkillers tonight (my guess is that because they make him quite sleepy, maybe they could interfere with the anesthesia tomorrow?)
Anyways, I will try to post the results afterwards. Hopefully everything will be alright.
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Old 03-22-2014, 05:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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UPDATE:
Hello all :]
So, on Wednesday we did an X-ray without gassing him, and according to the vet, it didn` t look like a tumor to her. We continued with the antibiotics and today she said there is a big improvement! The bump is a bit smaller, and she noticed that there aren`t any cyst-looking thingies in his mouth. (I`m sorry if I sound strange, I`m not a native speaker :])
She prescribed a gel called Solcoseryl, that is used for wounds and burns, 2-3 times a day for a week.
So I really hope that next Saturday hedgie will be back to his happy healthy self, because he kind of hates me now

Oh, and a scary thing happened today as the vet sprayed a local painkiller in his mouth. Hedgie freaked out and started biting his tongue! I picked him up and he stopped, and when I put him down, he started again...this continued for an hour :[ he was bleeding a lot and it was horrible to watch. So ever since I check on him every half an hour to make sure he is okay. His tongue is darker now, a bit purple, but he licks his nose a lot and eats just fine, so I assume he is okay.
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