Is it time to put her down? - Hedgehog Central Ė Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 02-12-2020, 03:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Is it time to put her down?

My little one, Artemis, is just over five years old; two weeks ago, I noticed two spots of blood in her dig box, quickly followed that night by a lot of blood in her urine. We went to the vet the next day, who recommended 14 days of antibiotics with a follow up appointment for ultrasound and X rays if the antibiotics didn't fix the problem. For several days it seemed like it was working, until two nights ago when the spotting returned.

Her follow up appointment is tomorrow, and they were very sweet but honest at the vet's about the fact that this is likely uterine cancer. She has also lost about 40 g in the last three months and looks visibly skinnier than I'm used to seeing - she has loose skin and usually she's pretty plump.

Over the past few months, her eating and sleeping has also changed. She eats about twice as much as she usually does (despite the weight loss) and drinks all her water daily, whereas she usually averaged half a bowl per day. She is often awake for periods in the day, where she eats and drinks a bunch before going back to sleep, and half the time doesn't bother to burrow before sleeping, just curls up (or, frankly, flops) on the floor of her crate - she never did that before this calendar year.

The thing that gets me is that her activity and personality are completely normal. She's still running around, exploring, pooping, peeing, and giving her usual 100% sass.

I know I still have to wait and see what the doctor says, but he did say he would likely recommend spaying her if it is cancer, as we suspect. I'm mostly concerned about her quality of life at this point. I don't want to put her through surgery and pain meds if she's not going to get a substantial amount of extra time from it (we had a dog who took six months to get fully back to her normal self after cancer surgery when I was a kid, and finally when she got back to quality of life, passed away. I don't want to torture her like this). On the flip side, even though I see the changes that have happened, I don't want to put her down prematurely if she's not in pain! I also don't want to linger until she IS in tons of pain and then have to wait to see a doctor and make her suffer that way.

I know this is LONG and that there's no quick and easy answer, but does anyone have any insight or advice? She's been an angel of a family member for 5 years and I just want to do right by my little girl.
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Old 02-13-2020, 11:43 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Based on the time you posted, Iím going to guess you have had your veterinary visit or itís really soon. You know there is really is no quick and easy answer. Unfortunately this is one of the hardest decisions we have to make when we care for these little ones. And while it often causes us heartache, It is also one of the kindest we can make.

She may recover from surgery quickly to only find that the cancer had already spread. Itís something you have to be willing to risk. Talk to your vet, ask for options, and get his opinion. Be clear in what your expectations are, tell him you want to give her quality of life, not quantity.

Sadly there isnít much any of us can do to tell you if itís the right time. Best I can tell you is to talk to her. Look at her condition, is she still enjoying life? Look at the things she loves, is still doing them. Look in her eyes, often you can tell when its time.

If you donít opt for surgery, take it one day at a time. As long as she isnít in pain and is enjoying life, enjoy the remaining time you have together. Make a list of things she enjoys. Review that list regularly and when you start ticking those items off, youíll know what to do.

No matter what you decide. Good luck. I've been in this position more times than I care to think about. Even when its very clear it is the right decision to make. It still isn't an easy decision to make.
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cancer, euthanasia, pain, uterine cancer

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