Shaky front legs, falling head, traces of blood in urine, black "zit" on belly - Hedgehog Central – Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Smile Shaky front legs, falling head, traces of blood in urine, black "zit" on belly

Hello everyone,

I bought my female hedgie Pipka last April on Craigslist and the ad stated "he" was 1 year old. After first vet visit we've been told it was a female, so we are not sure about her age now. I have been taking good care of her, I kept giving her only filtered water, I bough special Spike's Delite Hedgehog Premium Diet and I also buy her worms on regular basis (I feed them organic greens and carrots) and I also feed Pipka with mix of vitamins and greens once in a while (probiotics, vitam B12, vitamin E8, Echinacea). I take her out of her cage every night at 2 am and let her run around the house and play with her and check her belly and legs and sometimes her ears and mouth.

On the night of December 24th 2013, I've noticed she cannot walk properly and stopped eating. I started freaking out and spend two nights without sleep reading all threads here on HC. We've seen vet 3 days after, he prescribed her antibiotics for a week. Pipka started eating again, her legs stopped shaking and she was able to walk on the wooden floor again.

2 weeks after that I noticed there are little dark blood stains in her fleece bag she sleeps in and let her pee on my blanket so I could see better if there's blood present (picture attached). I thought maybe 1 week of antibiotics was not long enough and gave her another week round. Yesterday when I put her on my bed to feed her worms I've noticed her front legs to be a bit shaky again and she had troubles to hold them together. I bought also special urine strips that detect blood and well they did, she still has blood in her urine.

I am planning to see vet next week and will ask her/him to pull urine from her bladder so we can be sure it's not stones or UTI. Pipka is also sneezing a bit. (We saw vet and he checked her nose and ears for mites 5 months ago, found nothing). She used to sneeze more often before, she sneezes sometimes now. I use fleece blankets for her cage and also fleece sleeping bag. I wipe her cage only with warm water and do not use any detergent she I wash her blankets or bag. She sleeps in my room next to the heater so it's always super warm here.

I am also a bit worried about the dark spot on her belly, it started as little purplish zit 2 months ago, now it's black and it's tiny and feels like a tiny mole. Do you think it may be something?

I am very sad and can't sleep and am worried to wake up to find her dead. It hurts me physically when I look at her and she cannot walk. I always start crying and pick her up and hold her for couple of minutes and promise her it will get better. What should I ask vet to do please? I know I need to ask about that urine sample from bladder, they did also X-ray of her body, found nothing, but tumors are hard to see on X-ray. I guess I am just very desperate and I need to hear it will get better for her and me, I love her so much. I am thinking it may be cancer or uterine tumor because of the blood.

I am very thankful for every suggestion and response. Have a wonderful day everyone and thank you.

Martina
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Old 01-30-2014, 10:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Does anyone has an experience with blood in urine that did not go away with 3 weeks pf antibiotics? Pipka started eating normally after taking them, which was good but she shakes when she pees and poos and it seems to be painful for her.
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Old 01-30-2014, 11:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have also noticed and totally forgot about it that Pipka has urinary incontinence for about a week - she leaks a tiny bit of urine when she eats or sits. Is it normal? Does anyone has an experience with that? Thank you
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Old 01-30-2014, 11:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I would go see the vet sooner, if at all possible. Definitely get urine pulled from the bladder. I'm going to guess that if three weeks of antibiotics haven't done anything, it's totally possible that it's a uterine issue instead, so prepare yourself for her possibly needing to be spayed.

I'm not sure on the shakiness or the dark spot. The only other advice I can think of is to double check the actual temperature of her cage and maybe boost the temp up a degree or two and see if it helps her out. Sick hedgies often need it warmer since their body is already stressed with dealing with the illness.

I'm sorry I can't help a whole lot, I'm not great with health issues. Hopefully Nancy, Kalandra, or Nikki will be by soon. They have more experience with health issues than I do. Good luck with the next vet visit, and please keep us updated! I hope Pipka will start feeling better soon & you guys figure out what's going on with her.
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Old 01-31-2014, 01:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you very much Kelsey. I very much appreciate your advice. I am going to boost a temperature a bit right now. I was looking into different clinics and hospitals that would be able and willing to spay my lil Pipka, I also set aside money for that in a case she needs such surgery. I am little worried though as one clinic contacted me and asked me how old my hedgie was because there is a possibility she may not survive the surgery if she's above certain age range. That scared me a bit. But if she needs spay, I am in. Thank you again

Martina
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Old 01-31-2014, 03:44 AM   #6 (permalink)
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You're in Vancouver, BC?

Go see Uri Burstyn at Arbutus West Veterinary Clinic. Ask for him, specifically. He's a total dork of a doctor, and not that good with people, but he's an active researcher and sees more hedgehogs than any other clinic I've heard of in Vancouver (~50/year). When he can't figure something out, he consults with other exotics specialists for their opinions, and he's happy to talk to you to answer every question and follow up as much as you want.

I didn't like his nutrition advice, but I understood where it came from (zoo vets). I really appreciated his active interest in my little ball of spikes, and his willingness to investigate what was going on and trust my observations.

Any other vets at that clinic are hit-and-miss. He's the owner, so he's ultimately responsible, but I haven't had direct experience with any of the others.

To save you some money, see if you can get copies of the xrays or any other tests you've already done. If they refuse to give them to you, see if they'll send copies to Dr. Burstyn directly.

Last edited by Annie&Tibbers; 01-31-2014 at 03:49 AM.
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Old 01-31-2014, 07:00 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Hello Annie&Tibbers,

Dr. Uri Burstyn is actually first vet I saw Pipka started scratching a lot in September and I was worried she might have had mites so I made an appointment with Dr. Burstyn and saw him the next day. He was the doctor that told me my hedgie was a female. Pipka fell from the table while he was looking at her, thank God he was able to catch her and what made me not to come again after the third appointment was the fact that he did skin scraping the first time we were there and it came out negative - no mites, yet he gave her anti-mite solution on her spikes and told us to come two weeks after. We did, he did another skin scraping just to make sure there are truly no mites even though the tests came negative the first time and Pipka came back to us with blood over her head from scraping, doctor prescribed me anti-mite soap I should use while bathing her and gave her anti-mite cocktail injection that wasn't necessary at all as there were truly no mites neither bacteria present. I should have said something and when he explained to me he planned to gave her that cocktail two more times, I knew it was the last time I saw him. I loved Arbutus West website, the video, and also the vast experience Dr. Burstyn has, but I felt like he did not truly care about helping my hedgie. He admitted he did not know why her condition was not getting better, but he also suggested we should feed her meal worms, so I have to give him credit for that. Thank you very much for your advice though Everyone has different experience, that's why it's so important to keep looking for the right doctor whether on your behalf or behalf of your pet friend Thank you again Have a nice day and it feels great to know there is someone here from Vancouver, it does not feel so lonely
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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UPDATE: She stopped peeing, I gave her water through pipette yesterday and she did not in her cage, I also checked her fleece sleeping bag, nothing. She started sneezing a bit more and I also found mucus on her nose, it used to be very watery in the past now it's slimy. I've read somewhere that UTIs and cold in hedgies can be related, I am also wondering whether she has pneumonia or URI. There are so many diagnosis and this seems like a marathon and I am not sure if Pipka will survive it. I am trying to stay strong, but I just cannot focus on anything. I have 5 midterms next week and it just doesn't bother me at all. I am thinking to call the vet next thing in the morning. I had a bad experience so far so I do not trust vets in my area as much, but hopefully the one I saw last time will be able to help. If you please have any suggestions, had been in similar situation, experienced the same symptoms with your little spikey ball, please talk to me.
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Old 01-31-2014, 02:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Oh, wow, that's a pretty bad experience with him! I suggest adding that review in the vets section, so any other little hedgehog-owner can get that viewpoint as well. I've been very specific about what I wanted/needed when I've gone to him, so I haven't seen the diagnostic side before.

I had a miserable experience with the vet who is geographically closest to me (and had to fight really hard to get the mite-treatment I wanted). I do wish we had someone who was just universally awesome! Sick pets are upsetting enough without also not being able to be comfortable and trusting with the specialists to care for them.

I think we actually have a couple Vancouverites on the board. It's a beautiful day today, which makes everything a little less overwhelming.

I have no experience with health problems this dramatic, so I can't offer much for advice. Sneezing & runny nose are typically URI symptoms, but with so much else going on I don't know if it could be something else, or if her immune system is weaker and picking up additional infections. I have read that some owners have managed to put their ear up against their hedgehog's backs, and listen to their breathing to see if it sounds wheezy/raspy.
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Old 01-31-2014, 06:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I wanted to write a review at first, but then decided not to as he might have had bad 3 days I mean it was clear he was trying to make money off inexperienced hedgehog owner, but he consulted with me each fee, but majority off those fees very absolutely unnecessary since Pipka's condition got even worse. He is a nice guy, very polished, with tiny offices with lots of pictures of cats and dogs with all internal organs present that one can find on the walls of biology lecture room and I bet he is great with cats and dogs, but hedgies are not his forte. He was a bit scared to touch her so he asked N.J. to bring her over for gassing. N.J. is by the way my main person, I absolutely love that guy, he always made Pipka and me comfy and always made me laugh. He is amazing. When Pipka stopped eating and walking, I was looking for another vet. After an hour, I found one review that got my attention coming from hedgehog owner. I decided to call the clinic, they have a special doctor that has vast experience with hedgehog but she was out for vacation as it was December 25th. As this was very urgent, I decided to give a chance another vet that works at Kerrisdale vet hospital. The waiting room is spacious with lots of funny pictures of animals so I did not feel this was yet another clinic for cats and dogs. Doctor saw me 5 minutes before the appointment, he did not wear dress pants and dress shirt as Dr. Uri Burstyn, but I could tell he was very focused and devoted to help Pipka. He checked her out without gassing her whether everything was ok with her belly, check her eyes and mouth and then decided to do Xray. They also tested her urine and found blood. They prescribed us antibiotics and a/dŽ Canine/Feline Critical Care can. They did not attempt to schedule an another appointment as it used to be with Dr. Burstyn, it was up to us to show up with Pipka for re-check. Two weeks after veterinary office assistant called me in the evening whether Pipka got better. I think I finally found myself and Pipka her vet clinic. I am very sorry you had a bad experience with the vet in your area. It can be frustrating, some doctors are not very considerate and sometimes forget they deal with animals we truly love and care about. You can tell right away what doctor is truly into animals and for whom it's just a job. Sometimes they can have a bad day, but if that repeats on regular basis it's time to knock on another door. I live in South Vancouver close to Langara college and I commuted 3 times to see Dr. Burstyn. In the winter time, I asked my dad to give me a ride to Kerrisdale so Pipka could stay warm. Just like with people, one has to keep looking and looking to find a right fit. Thank you very much Annie for your advice, I never thought about that, I am definitely going to check her breathing. Thank you. It's amazing how such a little critter can change your life. I am glad I found this community. It's amazing to know there are other people with similar struggles Thank you Annie once again for being amazing.
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