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Old 04-23-2014, 08:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default runny nose and blood spots in urine

Hello,

I'm hoping that someone out there might have had the same experience with their hedgehog and be able to offer some suggestions.

Early-ish last Dec Holly started having an excessive amount of clear liquid coming out of her nose - blowing 'snot bubbles'. It wasn't much initially, so I didn't think much of it. By January, it was getting worse, and I also noticed blood in her urine. I took her to the vet. Over the course of a few months, lots of visits and money ():

- He has x-rayed her and ruled out any kidney stones etc.
- He took swabs from both her urine and her nose. The lab results came back with pseudomonas. She was luckily already on one of the few antibiotics that treats that.
- The lab results ruled out any changes in cells (phew).
- The blood is in her urine, not from her uterus.
- He's tried her on two types of antihistamine in case the nose thing is an allergy. They haven't helped.
- Despite having been on antibiotics for a long period, the blood in her urine hasn't fully cleared up (there isn't much of it, so he's not unduly worried that she's losing loads of bloody)
- She's been on Cystophan for several weeks in the hope that that might thicken up a wall in her bladder (or something) and reduce the bleeding (treating the symptoms rather than the cause).
- She's also been on anti-inflammatories

The last time I took her in (when he put her on the Cystophan, another antihistamine and more anti-inflammatories), he told me that the only options now are:
1) him opening her up to investigate (I do not want this).
2) taking her to a university vet school where they have far more equipment. However, she's not insured so I couldn't afford MRIs etc. The only benefit I guess from that would be the chance that they may have seen another hedgehog with similar symptoms and know what to do.

In all other ways, she seems fine - she's eating, drinking, running on her wheel and being her usual self. There are no other symptoms (i.e. her eyes are clear, her prickles are fine etc).

The nose is getting a lot worse though, and I think I'm starting to notice some foam coming out of her mouth occasionally. She wheezes, but that is confined to her nose (i.e. it's not in her lungs). The fluid is completely clear, but there's so much of it, and it must be really unpleasant for her.

There also continues to be a very small amount of blood in her urine which I can only see occasionally. So the cystophan clearly isn't working.

Like I said, I don't want to do any invasive surgery as she's only small and seems ok in other ways, so I'd rather not take those risks - her quality of life is currently good other than the nose issue. The vet also didn't seem keen to operate for these reasons.

We are going back again on Monday to talk through what options are left. They seem slim, and the nose issue is particularly distressing me as it looks so unpleasant for her (plus I'm constantly getting hedgehog snot sneezed into my hair! ).

So I was just wondering whether anyone had had similar symptoms with their hedgehogs?

She'll be 3 end of August.

Thanks so much!
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Old 04-23-2014, 10:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Did the lab do culture and sensitivity tests on the swabs from her nose and urine? This will tell which antibiotic will work best. Perhaps the antibiotics you are using aren't the right ones to completely kill the bacteria.

What type of bedding is she on? If liners have you tried different types of laundry detergent? Is there anything in your home, or the room she's in that could be causing an allergic reaction or irritating her nose? Perfumes, air fresheners, smoking etc.

Another thought would be a nasal polyp. Otherwise I have no suggestions about her nose.

Have you tried her on a urinary health food? Many years ago one of my girls, Kei, started randomly bleeding. Initially it was thought to be a urinary infection and two types of antibiotics were tried with no luck. She had a couple of urine tests done showing no blood, no bacteria so we had her spayed assuming it was uterine. It wasn't. She continued to bleed.

Kei's blood was very random and most of the time just enough to show a pink spot on her paper towels. Sometimes the only indication of blood was when the paper towel dried, there would be a rusty coloured edge to the urine pool.

Antibiotics did nothing, nor did anything ever show up on urine samples. It was suggested we try a urinary diet and put her on Hill's C/D. We bought one can and after that she never bled again. We figure she had a chronic low grade UTI that wasn't enough to show on testing, but enough to cause random bleeding.

It would be worth trying with your girl. Even if it doesn't work, it won't hurt her other than possibly some messy poop from a different food.

Sorry I can't be of much help. Poor girl.
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Old 04-23-2014, 02:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I deleted the other thread you started, please don't post duplicate threads.
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Old 04-23-2014, 04:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks Nancy.

Yes, they did culture tests and the antibiotic she was on (can't remember the name off hand) was meant to be one of the few that is effective with pseudomonas. And she was on it for quite a while - so it should have cleared it up.

Nothing in her environment has changed. She's always had carefresh bedding, but I'm going to try out fleece to see if that has any effect. She's certainly not exposed to smoke - yuck The vet did think she could have developed an allergic reaction to something, but like I said, she's now tried two different antihistamines with no effect.

Thanks for the polyps suggestion - will mention that to the vet.

The vet has more or less ruled out the blood being uterine. Re. the food - she's on Hills Science Plan for adults (light) currently, so at least she would be familiar with the brand! What does the food do in these cases?

I appreciate your suggestions. The vet's very good and thorough, but seems to be at the end of the road with ideas. Luckily she doesn't seem to be in pain or distressed, but the nose cannot be pleasant

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy View Post
Did the lab do culture and sensitivity tests on the swabs from her nose and urine? This will tell which antibiotic will work best. Perhaps the antibiotics you are using aren't the right ones to completely kill the bacteria.

What type of bedding is she on? If liners have you tried different types of laundry detergent? Is there anything in your home, or the room she's in that could be causing an allergic reaction or irritating her nose? Perfumes, air fresheners, smoking etc.

Another thought would be a nasal polyp. Otherwise I have no suggestions about her nose.

Have you tried her on a urinary health food? Many years ago one of my girls, Kei, started randomly bleeding. Initially it was thought to be a urinary infection and two types of antibiotics were tried with no luck. She had a couple of urine tests done showing no blood, no bacteria so we had her spayed assuming it was uterine. It wasn't. She continued to bleed.

Kei's blood was very random and most of the time just enough to show a pink spot on her paper towels. Sometimes the only indication of blood was when the paper towel dried, there would be a rusty coloured edge to the urine pool.

Antibiotics did nothing, nor did anything ever show up on urine samples. It was suggested we try a urinary diet and put her on Hill's C/D. We bought one can and after that she never bled again. We figure she had a chronic low grade UTI that wasn't enough to show on testing, but enough to cause random bleeding.

It would be worth trying with your girl. Even if it doesn't work, it won't hurt her other than possibly some messy poop from a different food.

Sorry I can't be of much help. Poor girl.
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Old 04-23-2014, 05:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Carefresh can be dusty so switching to fleece would be a good idea to try. It would be one more thing to rule out.

If she's only been on one antibiotic, perhaps it might be worth it to try another.

Quote:
He took swabs from both her urine and her nose. The lab results came back with pseudomonas. She was luckily already on one of the few antibiotics that treats that.
I just reread what you wrote initially. Was she still on the antibiotic when the swabs were taken and read? If so, usually bacteria won't grow once they have had even one dose of antibiotic so the results of the swab may not have been accurate. They or we too for that matter, need to be off antibiotic for approximately 3 days to get accurate results.

The food changes the ph of the urine making it a less hospitable environment for bacteria to grow. It certainly worked for Kei when nothing else did.
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Old 04-23-2014, 06:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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She tried two different antibiotics. Yes, she had been on the second antibiotic when the swabs were taken. May be worth getting new swabs done then, as she's not on any antibiotics currently?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy View Post
Carefresh can be dusty so switching to fleece would be a good idea to try. It would be one more thing to rule out.

If she's only been on one antibiotic, perhaps it might be worth it to try another.


I just reread what you wrote initially. Was she still on the antibiotic when the swabs were taken and read? If so, usually bacteria won't grow once they have had even one dose of antibiotic so the results of the swab may not have been accurate. They or we too for that matter, need to be off antibiotic for approximately 3 days to get accurate results.

The food changes the ph of the urine making it a less hospitable environment for bacteria to grow. It certainly worked for Kei when nothing else did.
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Old 04-24-2014, 05:46 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Got her an appointment for this afternoon, as her nose is only getting worse (definitely some white foam around her mouth) and she passed quite a bit of blood this morning.

A friend who's a vet has said:
'Recent advice from our lab is to take a swab about 7 days into treatment to check treatment is working, and then about 7 days after treatment finishes. If the antibiotic is effective you should not culture any bacteria while still on it (sometimes in vivo efficacy can be different to in vitro, depending on how well the drug penetrates the site of infection, and also how long your swab sits in the post and how good your lab is!)'

The fact that the bacteria was still present when the swab was taken (and she was already on the antibiotics) surely means that antibiotic wasn't being effective?
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Old 04-30-2014, 06:09 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I should update:

A vet (not the normal guy - a 'locum') last Thurs put Holly back on her anti-inflammatories (Loxicom). However, she worsened over the weekend. She wouldn't eat anything - even when I waved mealworms, dreamies and bits of home-cooked beef in front of her nose! Very unusual for her. The only food she ingested was what I forced down her (soaked some of her biscuits in water and smooshed them up). She was very lethargic (obviously not eating wouldn't have helped).

Took her back on Monday afternoon. The vet noted also that she's lethargic and not her normal happy self. He said he thought her tummy was swollen, and noticed new asymmetrical lumps on her paws. All in all not looking good.

He's kept her in since Monday, so they can syringe feed her, trying different foods, and put her on antibiotics, to see if that helps her turn around - but when I called them this morn, they said she's still not eating on her own.

I'm in a weird place. I'm trying to be realistic in knowing that she's not going to make it - even if she does stabilise, she's clearly very poorly and it's only a matter of time. But yet I don't want to write her off - I still maintain a bit of hope because I can't quite believe this is it!

We don't really know what's wrong with her and I (and he!) are not prepared to surgically investigate. I could take her to Edinburgh vet school, but that would be a lot of money, and stress for her travelling over there, when she is clearly very sick. And if she has what he suspects (lymphoma or similar), there isn't any treatment anyway. So it would be pointless and just add stress to her in her last days.

What I think makes it particularly difficult (and what I think is important on here for people to know), is that I was under the mistaken impression that hedgehogs live on average till 6!! The vet (who works quite a bit with hedgehogs and clearly spends his spare time reading what research there is!) was quite adamant that they don't, and that at 2.75, she is an 'old' hedgehog (while I've been under the impression that's she's the equivalent of a ~40 year old human!).

He read a recent study, I think conducted by Edinburgh Uni veterinary school, which found that 50% of hedgehogs at age 3 have some kind of cancer, and 70% at age 3 have some form of heart disease. That is a lot!! It is probably a combination of a small gene pool and inadequate diet since not enough research is done into what nutrients etc hedgehogs really need.

I think if I had known this, I would have been better prepared. I've been under the impression Holly would be with me for a good while longer. If I'd known that actually 2.75 is an average age for hedgehogs, I would be less shocked now.

She's still at the vet's, and I'll call them again in a few hours to see if there's any progress, but I think I have to prepare myself. If she's unhappy and in discomfort, and the medicine's not working, I guess I'll have to put her down. I'm thinking I may ask if the vet school wants her body as clearly more research needs to be done to help future hogs. All very sad

Googling yesterday, I found this which is interesting/useful:

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=J...mphoma&f=false

At age 2, a hedgehog is considered geriatric!
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Old 04-30-2014, 08:49 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm sorry Holly is getting worse and you are faced with the difficult decision.

There is an age chart here http://hedgehogheadquarters.com/secure/longevity.htm At 2.75 she is not considered old. 3 is middle age. Once they are 3 there is a higher chance of health problems starting especially the closer to 4 they are.

The majority of hedgehogs I've had have passed in their 4's. I've lost some at 3 and very few at 2. I've had numerous make it to 5, and a couple to 6.
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Old 04-30-2014, 08:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I agree with Nancy, she's not an old hedgehogs. Most of mine lived to at least 4 and quite a few till they were over 5. The only ones I've lost before they were 4 were a few that ended up with oral cancer and had to be euthanized.
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