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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I lost my Watson Sunday morning, and I really don't know what happened to him.

Several months ago now I noticed he was suffering from very watery poop. His poop smelled downright foul, far worse than my other hedgehogs and was very runny. No mucus to it, just bad looking poop. I kept an eye on it, and after a few days when it didn't change took him to the vet. His weight was around 220g, and he was given some medication and a fecal sample was taken. No parasites in his poop. The antibiotics seemed to help and he began to put weight back on. Everything looked good.

On Thursday I noticed his poop looked bad again. In addition to the runny foul smelling poop strange noises were starting to happen. I heard a sort of MWAP sound that morning and thought that maybe he'd farted while pooping? In addition to this he was very active during the day and making loud smacking sounds while eating which he hadn't before. A vet appointment was made again and we got him in Friday afternoon. Watson was at 272g, and given a clean bill of health.

The appointment included an oral exam, the vet felt his belly, and looked him over. He decided he should get some nutrical, pedialyte, and some antibiotics mixed with a bit of yogurt for the probiotics in it. This was mixed up and we left. Watson took the meducine well and all seemed ok. He even slept through most of the day Saturday, waking at night like a normal hedgie.

Throughout all this time he wasn't lethargic at all. He was very busy on the wheel. He'd wake up during the day, wander over, eat a bit, poop, go back to bed. He was social as ever, affectionate as ever, and still the same sweet hedgehog. There was no real indication that he was fatally ill. We thought he just had a stomach bug.

Sunday morning we saw Watson was up and acting odd. At first I thought he was humping the blanket in his cage, but upon closer inspection he was struggling to breathe. I picked him up and tried to calm him down. He was breathing hard, his whole body moving with it (again, like he was humping), and his nostrils were flaring. His breathing was odd, a bit of a wet sound to it. He tried to purr (he always purred a great deal) and immediately burrowed up against my chest. Scratching his cheek I felt something. There were two red bumps by his chin, at the edge of his jaw. One was just medicine, but the other looked more like a tick. It wasn't a tick, but it was pink and a bit of a nodule like that. It was smaller than a deer tick in size, but still noticeable through the fur. Nothing felt weird under it, and his teeth (which he let me look at) didn't show any abscesses or gum inflammation.

He kept making the weird sounds with his breath, little squeaks interspersed throughout it. I tried to keep him calm, and we tried to find a vet open Sunday morning. By the time we found a number and called it he began opening and closing his mouth, struggling to get closer to us. We held him as he moved, and tried to keep him comforted. His mouth shut. He'd stopped breathing. Just like that he was gone.

We really don't know what could have caused this. The symptoms just don't seem to add up. Watson was only 1 year and 3 months old, very young for a hedgehog. None of our other hedgehogs have shown any similar symptoms, and all were on the same food. All cages are cleaned with the same material. What could have happened to our poor boy and could we have prevented it??
 

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I think you did everything you could- you had brought him to the vet and were monitoring him, and trying to get him to the vet that day. I don't know if the vet would have been able to do much by that point. Hedgehogs can get sick and decline rapidly and sometimes when they are sick they will still act normal.
Luckily it doesn't sound like he was in pain and you were with him when he passed. He is no longer suffering. It is very sad and not having answers can make accepting the loss even harder. But don't beat yourself up- you did everything you could.
I'm sorry for your loss. Take care of yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think you did everything you could- you had brought him to the vet and were monitoring him, and trying to get him to the vet that day. I don't know if the vet would have been able to do much by that point. Hedgehogs can get sick and decline rapidly and sometimes when they are sick they will still act normal.
Luckily it doesn't sound like he was in pain and you were with him when he passed. He is no longer suffering. It is very sad and not having answers can make accepting the loss even harder. But don't beat yourself up- you did everything you could.
I'm sorry for your loss. Take care of yourself.
I'm worried about it being something that could hurt the rest of the herd or something that somehow could have been prevented. If the thing on his neck could have been a tumor that I should have noticed earlier - or could have? - maybe he'd still be with us? It was just such a shock. :(

But he did seem really happy, all things considered. Right up to the end he was purring and cuddled up with us. That should be worth something.
 

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It is a shock. And it always hurts. I know its hard, but try not to second guess yourself- the vet examined him and he had been treated.
The fact that he was happy and still cuddling with you counts for a lot. Hold onto all those good memories.
 

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So sorry for your loss, but it sounds as if there was nothing different you could have done. Did you consider asking your vet for a necropsy to determine the exact cause of death?

Please try to find peace with this, by believing that you did all the right things and some things simply can't be "fixed". This is something that could happen to any of us, and that's what makes it so scary. Be kind to yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So sorry for your loss, but it sounds as if there was nothing different you could have done. Did you consider asking your vet for a necropsy to determine the exact cause of death?

Please try to find peace with this, by believing that you did all the right things and some things simply can't be "fixed". This is something that could happen to any of us, and that's what makes it so scary. Be kind to yourself.
Immediately after he died we considered having a necropsy done. We decided it wouldn't be worth it, as it wouldn't bring him back. None of the other hedgehogs have shown similar symptoms, so maybe we're okay? I'm just still worried about it all.
 
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