Hedgehog Central banner
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone.

I have a 5 year old female hedgehog. Friday night I saw a lot of blood in her enclosure and took her to the vet Saturday morning. The vet did a physical exam and said everything was fine until she felt a mass on her uterus. She applied pressure to the area and blood came gushing out so she suggested that my hedgie has cancer. She told me that many hedgehogs that have come in for surgery have either died during the procedure or declined in health quickly after, so she suggested that I have her put to sleep soon. Especially since she is already old. I took my hedgehog home with pain medication but the current plan is to put her to sleep soon as per the vets recommendation.
So now for my question. I’m kind of skeptical on putting her to sleep since she still acts normal. Eats and drinks well and is active on her wheel. (The vet knows this) Although im not sure shes been using her wheel the last two days because its not dirty with poop like usual. She also hasn’t bled since the day it first happened. I just want to ask, what would you do in this situation? I feel very lost and just sad. I dont want to let her go but I know i might need to.
 

· Registered
August (Gus/Auggie). 31/10/21
Joined
·
590 Posts
I’m very sorry to hear about your hog, it’s certainly a very tough situation to be in.

Hedgehogs, like a lot of small animals, are masters at hiding pain - so even though she could be uncomfortable due to the tumour, she may continue to appear otherwise normal & happy. My previous hedgehog had mammary cancer; the tumour from her 3rd reoccurrence was deemed inoperable, and got significantly large (to the point she was unable to curl fully into a ball). But yet she continued running on her wheel and playing - despite a huge tumour. So while behaviour is a good sign that she’s at least still feeling good, it’s not the only sign we can rely on when it comes to deciding whether we should or shouldn’t operate (if that’s what your stuck on deciding here).

At 5 year olds, your hedgehog has already done very well to get to this age - it’s a milestone few get to see! She’s a very senior hedgehog, and risk of surgery increases with age. A hysterectomy can be a tough recovery, and ultimately when I’m deciding whether or not surgery is in their best interest I look at the bigger picture and ask myself - if something were to go wrong, would I regret it?

With a younger hedgehog, I find it’s an easy decision to make - for a younger hog has potentially years left, and a surgery like this is their only hope, a literal lifeline.

But, for an older hedgehog it’s a much more personal decision. Overall, senior hedgehogs unfortunately do not have a whole lot of time on their side as is (cancer or not). So while a surgery could certainly buy time, it’s not only the risk of the actual surgery you have to consider but also the after care…recovery from a hysterectomy is a harsh recovery - add onto that that some hedgehogs can go off food during such a major surgery, further adding to the stress, and then risk of infection… it’s a lot to consider. Especially when their time left is already limited, depending on the hog in question of course a lot of that time could be spent from recovering from the surgery alone vs not opting for surgery, and just choosing to let them enjoy whatever time they have left as pain free as possible for as long as we can.

Like I said, it’s a very personal matter. I struggled accepting to not operate on my girl after her 3rd reoccurrence of cancer. Similarly to you, I was also told during my consult that I would have to put my hedgehog asleep soon - within the next 2 weeks is what I was told… but she ended up getting an extra 4 months. And they were quality, happy months that she spent doing the things she loved & when we felt it was time to let her go, we let her go - and looking back, I don’t regret a single thing.

I would never judge someone for choosing to operate on a senior hog, nor would I judge someone for choosing not to - it’s really a “owner knows best” type of thing. I can’t personally say I would or I wouldn’t, because for me, it’s very case dependent. That’s all I can really say!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I’m very sorry to hear about your hog, it’s certainly a very tough situation to be in.

Hedgehogs, like a lot of small animals, are masters at hiding pain - so even though she could be uncomfortable due to the tumour, she may continue to appear otherwise normal & happy. My previous hedgehog had mammary cancer; the tumour from her 3rd reoccurrence was deemed inoperable, and got significantly large (to the point she was unable to curl fully into a ball). But yet she continued running on her wheel and playing - despite a huge tumour. So while behaviour is a good sign that she’s at least still feeling good, it’s not the only sign we can rely on when it comes to deciding whether we should or shouldn’t operate (if that’s what your stuck on deciding here).

At 5 year olds, your hedgehog has already done very well to get to this age - it’s a milestone few get to see! She’s a very senior hedgehog, and risk of surgery increases with age. A hysterectomy can be a tough recovery, and ultimately when I’m deciding whether or not surgery is in their best interest I look at the bigger picture and ask myself - if something were to go wrong, would I regret it?

With a younger hedgehog, I find it’s an easy decision to make - for a younger hog has potentially years left, and a surgery like this is their only hope, a literal lifeline.

But, for an older hedgehog it’s a much more personal decision. Overall, senior hedgehogs unfortunately do not have a whole lot of time on their side as is (cancer or not). So while a surgery could certainly buy time, it’s not only the risk of the actual surgery you have to consider but also the after care…recovery from a hysterectomy is a harsh recovery - add onto that that some hedgehogs can go off food during such a major surgery, further adding to the stress, and then risk of infection… it’s a lot to consider. Especially when their time left is already limited, depending on the hog in question of course a lot of that time could be spent from recovering from the surgery alone vs not opting for surgery, and just choosing to let them enjoy whatever time they have left as pain free as possible for as long as we can.

Like I said, it’s a very personal matter. I struggled accepting to not operate on my girl after her 3rd reoccurrence of cancer. Similarly to you, I was also told during my consult that I would have to put my hedgehog asleep soon - within the next 2 weeks is what I was told… but she ended up getting an extra 4 months. And they were quality, happy months that she spent doing the things she loved & when we felt it was time to let her go, we let her go - and looking back, I don’t regret a single thing.

I would never judge someone for choosing to operate on a senior hog, nor would I judge someone for choosing not to - it’s really a “owner knows best” type of thing. I can’t personally say I would or I wouldn’t, because for me, it’s very case dependent. That’s all I can really say!
Hi. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I really appreciate it.

I’ve opted to not go with surgery since it doesn’t seem worth it to me as of now. Amy (my hedgie) is already so old and I don’t want to put her in any more possible pain and stress that comes with having surgery. Since her behavior seems normal for now, and the vet said everything else minus the tumor was fine, I think the best I can do is continue giving her pain medicine given by the vet and just keep an eye on her and monitor her health. Although I know every case is different, hearing that your hedgehog lived a happy 4 months after the initial consult is very encouraging.

Again, thank you. Your response truly was helpful.
 

· Registered
August (Gus/Auggie). 31/10/21
Joined
·
590 Posts
I think you’ve made the best choice for her. I think sometimes choosing to not operate is the most selfless choice we make. Spoil her rotten, and enjoy every moment - her acting normal is a very good sign, so I hope you two get to enjoy many moments together yet.

Don’t let a vets advice on when they think she should be put asleep get into your head (it was something I found myself fixating on, and almost driving myself mad). Remember that it is you & you only that will know when the right time to say goodbye is. You are the one who knows her best. So don’t think you have to put her down just because the vet says so. You will known when it’s time when that time comes.

Keeping you in my thoughts! I wish I didn’t know first hand just how hard it is.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top