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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

I decided to share my and Pipka's story with other hedgehog owners in a case you are going through the same process.

Pipka was a happy hedgie, bought on Craigslist, the ad lied about her gender so might have lied about her age as well. If I believe the ad said truth, Pipka should be about 2 years old.

Everything was ok health wise, she was always little grumpy lil girl, but everything changed when my fiance and I came back from New York on December 23, 2013. She was not able to keep her front legs together, was falling, could not stand and could not walk, she stopped eating and when I put her on the couch, she was leaving tiny puddles of urine and also sticky trails. Later I realized those sticky trails were blood trails. She started sneezing in November, we first thought it was allergies as our then vet told us she might have some allergies.

Our previous vet did not seem to care that much about her but he kept charging us like he was delivering the best care in the world. We decided to see another vet, not very experienced with hegies, but this was emergency. He weighted her (0.4 pounds), did x-ray scan (twice) and found little gray area in her belly.

We did not pay much attention to that. Today I saw the vet again. He examined her, felt her through her whole body, I helped him to held her when he was examining her belly and he found quite a big lump there. I asked him to do x-ray once again. Once again, he found the same grey tissue in her belly. He told me that it might be nothing, but it may be tumor as well, as it feels as tumor.

He prescribed her antibiotics (Clavamox) for that sneezing and also blood in her urine, as there's still a blood (I bought Rapid Response Urinalysis Reagent Strips for checking blood in Pipka's urine).

Now regarding the dosage, the doctor prescribed her the smallest dosage (0.1 ml). My question is, is it ok dosage for hedgehog that weights 0.4 pounds? I want these antibiotics to help her sneezing at least as she sneezes a lot and I do not want to underdose her.

I believe that what Pipka is dealing with is a tumor. I love this girl very much, did not sleep the whole night and while we were waiting for the x-rays, I teared up. I will opt for the surgery, I just need to know whether there have been cases where hedgie came out alive. I know Aether's Relm did not as that poor baby already lost lots of blood and I do not want to loose her that quickly.

I am not sure what to do. If you please have experience with surgeries, lump that just turned out to be the soft tissue, please share it with me as I need lots of help right now. I love that little bundle more I could have every imagined and her health really got toll on me (I lost 6 kilograms). I am not here to complain about myself, I just need to hear from someone they put their hedgie under the scalpel and it went awesome.

If you please have any questions, suggestions, reach out to me. I would truly appreciate each reaction from you.

Have a wonderful day everyone.

Martina
 

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The girls I've had spayed have come through it great but surgery needs to be done asap. The longer they continue to loose blood, they can become anemic which makes the surgery more of a risk. Laser surgery is the best as it is faster with less blood loss and quicker healing.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
For some reason I think she is in pain. She does not sleep, does not want to go to her blue fleece sleeping bag (it was her favorite) and she just lies like this with her eyes opened. :(
She does not lie on her side anymore, she is stretched on her belly.

 

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Discussion Starter #5
Nancy please can you give a price estimate on how much such laser surgery may cost please? I was asking around town for spay surgery, it's about $350 around here. I am not sure if my vet has such equipment though. I will ask. Thank you Nancy.
 

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Prices vary from vet to vet. You would have to ask but it isn't a huge amount extra. The most important thing is to have a vet that is experienced with hedgehogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Nancy,

she started taking antibiotics last Thursday and yesterday I found blood stains in her cage. :( I first thought she hurt her leg, inspected her thoroughly and found no cuts or bruises. 8 hours later I inspected her again, her belly was bloody and when I was washing her while she was laying on her back, I noticed blood was coming from her urethra.

I do not want to loose her during surgery, I've read and heard many stories when hedgies did not survive surgery because they lost lots of blood. She has been loosing blood for almost 2 months. I do not know any experienced doctor here in Vancouver, I have e-mailed 12 vet hospitals in the area which do accept small pets or exotic pets. I am not sure what to do. She keeps eating normally, I am just freaking out she may be in pain, I do not want her to suffer. I am truly not sure what to do here.

What would you suggest if you would be in my shoes please?
 

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I would get the surgery done immediately. Well to be honest, I would have had it done when she was first bleeding and the grey area showed on xray.

Yes, there is a small risk of loosing her in surgery, but not doing surgery she is definitely going to die. That tumour could bleed out at any time. You are lucky in that the tumour has given you warning and time to get it removed. We aren't always that lucky. I've had a couple whose first indication of anything wrong was when they were bleeding out and it was too late to do anything but say goodbye.

Nobody can tell you what to do. This is your decision and a decision you are going to have to live with.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Nancy, she already started bleeding. It comes where she pees from and it's all over her belly. I want get the surgery immediately, I am just asking all the questions here as my vet is not experienced with hedgehogs :( I am going to see him tomorrow and will try to convince him to remove tumour tomorrow. I am just worried it may be too late now.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
We are in tomorrow, I will push for the surgery. I am just worried it may be too late now. It's my fault not getting her surgery sooner, but my doctor kept comforting me it was just a soft tissue. This is my first hedgie and I felt like I failed her. I hope she will survive the surgery. I do not want to loose her. But if I had to, I want it be through surgery so I know I did everything in my power to save her.
 

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Thank you Abby. I should have seen more vets for second opinion though. I am so nervous. I am not leaving without her getting surgery tomorrow. 9 more hours until we see the vet. Thank you very much for your support, it means so much. I will definitely keep you informed. I will wait there until she wakes up. I know she will wake up. She is a strong girl. Thank you Abby. Tons of hugs :*
 

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Unless you have surgery scheduled she probably won't get surgery the day of the visit. Most vet have dedicated surgery days, plus she will have to fast before the surgery.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So I came to see the doctor again. He examined her, she was bleeding heavily and was sneezing excessively. He checked the x-rays again and told me based on the evidence the tumour is most likely in her bladder, which is very hard to operate. It would be much easier if the tumour was in her uterus as he can just do spay, but she needs her bladder to live and function. I was pushing for the surgery even though he told me repeatedly the hedgie has only the slight chance of survival.That was the time when I totally lost it and burst into tears I was holding back all those weeks. She has been bleeding since December 23rd, 2013 until now. The blood started leaking from her urethra last Tuesday in the wee hours. I made a habot from checking on her every 3 hours even during night, that's when I realized it was getting worse.

I called my fiance immediately, told him what doctor told me and my fiance asked me to push for the surgery. I came home and saw Pipka was struggling. She struggled last Thursday when we got home and she struggled even more today. After 2 hours of crying, I got my sh*t together. Who am I to cry here, she is the one suffering. I called the doctor's office and grabbed her painkillers. She finally fell asleep.

It's been rough, I cannot sleep properly, eat properly, I kept saying to myself this all was preventable. I left my then vet Dr. Uri Burstyn because almost all of his ideas or procedures were absolutely unnecessary and did more bad than good. When I met Dr. Dodds, he did not push me to another appointment, he does his job, he does not offer additional procedures when they are not needed. He told me it may be tumour, but he thinks it's just soft tissue. I went with that. Now I know better and now I know I should have go with the surgery when I found blood in her urine for the first time.

I love her, I love her so much it hurts me physically and I will never forgive myself for not getting the second opinion.

The only advice I have is do not detract your hedgehog's or any pet's condition. I understand it's costly, I spent over $3000 (and I do not regret a dollar from it even though I am a grad student and has to support myself) for Pipka and it was all antibiotics, X-rays, check-ups, urine sampling, skin scrapping. Do not wait, see the vet immediately, know what you want from your vet and go for it, do not leave until you are content with the appointment. Watch your hedgie closely and if something is not right and your inner voice tells you to do something, see the vet immediately (vet assistant is allergic to me as I call the vet office almost every day and was doing so for the past month, it's important to fight for your little one).

She finally fell asleep. She has a cancer and it spread to her lungs. I always thought she had cold or even pneumonia and now I feel bad for forcing her to go through all those antibiotics she hated so much. I want her to have the best last days. I bought her her favourite a/d critical care cans and also fresh meal worms. I was looking forward to this summer, I used to take her to the meadow, she enjoyed running around there last summer :)

I love her so much and if I could do anything, to travel back in time, I would do it immediately.

Thank you ladies for your support and wise words, you are amazing and you helped me tremendously. Without you I would be lost and your knowledge regarding hedgehogs is bigger than any vet's I know :) Thank you.
 

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That made me so sad. I know it is hard to not blame yourself, but hoe could you have possibly known? You went to a well regarded vet and when that didn't work out you sought out another specialist who reassured you it was nothing to worry about. I know I myself second guess a lot of things and even though I am a new hedgie owner I have already learned how to tie myself in knots with worry. Read your posts back and pretend another owner had written those words. What would you tell that person? Would you beat them up about what they maybe, should of, could of done? I hope not. You would empathize with them. Your hedgie knows you did your best, you both gave it a good fight but cancer is a b**** and doesn't fight fair, not in humans and certainly not in animals.
Without a good owner who obviously cares so much she might of had a rotten life.
Sorry to go on like a lunatic, but I hope you find some small comfort in everyone's words to you.
 

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I am so terribly sorry. =[ You did absolutely everything you could, and it is normal to not want to do surgery unless you absolutely have to. I hope you won't beat yourself up too much. You went above and beyond what a lot of people would. I know my family thought I was crazy spending as much money as I did on Relm.

You are a great hedgehog mom, and I know that Pipka knows that too. *hugs*
 

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I'm so sorry to hear about your poor little girl. But you are an amazing hedgie Mom, and pet owner, a lot of people can learn from you.

She's very lucky to have you, to be by her side during her last days.
 

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I'm so sorry. :( Please don't beat yourself up. You went above and beyond regular hedgie parental care, even without getting a second opinion. She's lucky to have you and your fiance there to care for her so much. And when she crosses that rainbow bridge she'll be comforted by your presence and she'll go knowing that she is very loved, and will be deeply missed but never forgotten. Give her lots of love and kisses from all of us here.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you very much ladies. It helps me a lot to read your posts. Thank you so so so much.

I do not want to make this post about me, as this should be mainly about my hedgie Pipka. I just have no idea how to cope with loss. I cannot imagine to fully loose her, to not see her again. I do not want to put her to sleep at the vet's office, she is my hedgie and I do not want to leave her there.

I don't know what to do. It's so so so hard. I don't know how to exist without her, she made me so happy and moments spent with her were the ones I always looked forward to. I cannot imagine my life without her. How should I comfort myself? What should I tell myself to make it better? I always relied and prayed every day and night for her recovery, for her getting better and that was my solace. I believed in it so much. The vet took this from me today and I have no idea what to do now.

I am not ready to loose her. It just hurts so so so much. I cannot imagine how badly she's hurting. I want her to be pain free but at the same time I want her to stay with me.

Buying her on Craigslist was my fiance's idea. I love animals and I always loved hedgehogs. I never knew they could make great pets too. When we got Pipka, I was at my lowest, dealing with major depression and she made it all go away. She turned my life around and she saved me. And I feel I didn't pay back the favour.

Please how did you deal with loss of your hedgie? Did you talk to someone?
 

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I cried. A lot. I hate crying, but it did help to just get it all out of my system, although it took awhile. Even when I got Basch, I would still tear up talking/thinking about Relm. The vet pressed Relm's paws into clay and baked it, then wrote her name on it and sent it to me in the mail. (I was unaware they did this so when I opened the letter I started crying all over again!) Her paws are always here with me at my desk. I'm sure you can find some clay at a craft store and make an imprint of Pipka's paws yourself, if you wanted.

I also talked to my hubby about it a lot. He's actually a psychologist so he's a really good listener. Sometimes you just need to talk and someone needs to listen. Talking to your fiance and sharing in your good memories of Pipka might help ease the pain a little.

Remember the good times and don't bottle up your emotions too much. That's kind of the way I coped, but everyone is different. =]
 
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