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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been very depressed lately ever since my hedgehog, Damien, started having health problems :cry: Recently within the last month his health has declined. First I started noticing he was having a slight "whistle" to his breathing. I ignored it for a week or two because he was only doing it while sleeping so I assumed snoring but it progressed into his everyday breathing. He was doing this weird whistling/squeak in his breathing even when he was wide awake. And then he was barely pooping or peeing anymore, he wasn't running, kinda eating, and not much water intake. That's when I decided to take him to the vet. The vet was very kind but informed me that Damien was suffering (this broke my heart:sad:). Since he seemed to be suffering the vet suggested putting him down, which I refused because I just can't do it. I can't. Anyways, He told me Damien could possibly have either a kidney infection or UTI, along that range. He tested Damien's pee and said there was blood in it (it was a very dark mustard color). But, he said it didn't seem like cancer nor did it feel like Damien had any stones or hard bladder. He put Damien on a few antibiotics Baytril 22.7mg, Amoxicillin and Ciavulanate Potassium, & Metacam 1.5mg. I give him 2 medications 2x a day, and the other is only once a day everyday. Has anyone been thru this and used these same medications?

His follow up appointment was in a week and to the vet's surprise Damien looked a lot better! He didn't have any weird breathing noise, he was peeing a pooping (very little), he was eating more, drinking a tiny bit (not nearly enough), but he still wasn't running on his wheel. But he did seem better. The next follow up appointment was in 2 weeks, and that's where it seemed Damien wasn't doing any better. The antibiotics seemed to help for the short time but I don't know what happened :confused::( Damien was back to eating more, drinking less, 1 poop, barely any pee (& if so it was dark), no running on the wheel :sad: He had another pee test done and it was still bad.
The vet suggested I either A. run more tests (which are about $50-80 another pee or poop sample more in depth) and continue the antibiotics, B. do an x-ray (which isn't guaranteed best results because of quills interfering with the x-ray image), or C. put Damien to sleep.

I'm now at lost what to do. Damien has been with me when I was going thru a lot. I've taken care of him since he was a month old baby, and it's been amazing to see him grow, I can't bare the thought of putting him down. He's 4 years old and 10 months and still my baby to me, I do know they live about 3-5 but still... I have hope he can go longer right?.... The x-ray costs over $100, and I've already spent up to $300 on Damien's recent vet visits and medications. I don't know if I should go with the x-ray since it's not guaranteed results, he won't be cured, and it'll cost more money to run more tests after that and whatever medication he'll have to take (which again isn't "guaranteed" to heal him completely.

It's been a few days since the last vet visit where the vet suggested A,B,C. I told him I'd get back to him on what I want to do.
I've been torn between what to do. I honestly don't know so if someone could please help me, or has been in the same situation please give me some suggestions :sad: Is it his time to be put down? He's 4 years old, everyday I clean up his stuff and it breaks my heart that he doesn't run like he use to or play with his toys. Every time I walk into my room, even at night, I can hear his whistling breathing. Almost as if he's having trouble breathing. And I feel so guilty I can't fix him. I feel so guilty I'm keeping him around when he's suffering. But I'm really just hoping he will get better but I'm scared I'll be in denial until the day he does pass away (naturally) and I'm just scared to find him passed away one morning. It'll break my heart... :cry: thank you for taking the time to read this. I might have rambled, but I really care and love my hedgie. If anyone could help me out, I'd really appreciate it :( </3

Thank you
 

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Let me tell you about Da Vinci.

I was fresh out of college, engaged to my best friend, and looking forward to the life of my...well, not exactly of my dreams but the one I'd chosen and would make me happy. My fiancé and I were on a date, and I walked by this adoption center and saw the most adorable and unusual puppy I'd ever seen. (Unusual is a big selling point with me.) I wasn't looking for a dog at the time, but he & I clicked, and over many protests from my fiancé, I brought him home. Over the next fourteen years, that dog stayed with me through that ill-fated engagement and wedding, an abusive marriage that left me on the brink of suicide more than once, a divorce, the struggle of starting all over, meeting and marrying my husband, two lost babies, two more high risk pregnancies, the birth of my two sons, three year-plus deployments, two cross country moves, countless hellos and goodbyes, and everything in between. He was my best friend.

But one day, he stopped eating. Then he couldn't walk. Then he couldn't stand. For that last week, I never left his side. I carried him from room to room with me. I carried him outside and held him as he eliminated and then cleaned him when I brought him back inside. I woke up throughout the night expecting to find him stiff and cold. I didn't want to let go. But he couldn't let go. And I couldn't let him suffer.

So, after 14 years together, a very nice veterinarian came to my house, stretched out on the floor with me, my husband, my boys, our cat, and Da Vinci...and she helped him let go as I stroked his fur and told him how much I love him.

Making the decision to euthanize your best friend is one of the hardest you'll ever have to make. But it's one you do have to make sometimes. You love Damien, and you don't want him to suffer. Right now, he's suffering. And no matter how much you hope, the suffering isn't going to stop. It may lessen a little here and there, but it isn't going to stop. I'm so sorry, but I think it's time to let go.
 

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I tried and couldn't think of the right thing to say.
I am sorry you are going through this. It isn't easy, ever.
Mel said it better than I could.
The only thing I'd suggest is if you choose a or b, have a plan. If additional tests may reveal more conclusive answers that can possibly lead to prompt treatment and relief then that is an option. Unfortunately it appears Damien is not progressing with what has been done so far.
As bad as it hurts us, sometimes making the choice to say goodbye is an act of love.
 

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I know there are others that know a whole lot more about this than I do.

But I have heard of doing a needle-draw test directly from the bladder to determine if there is an infection and also to find out exactly what is causing the problem. Nikki and Lillysmommy can probably elaborate more. If it is a UTI or URI that can be treated, then these tests may show that treatment with another medication would work.

That said, if he's not eating, drinking or eliminating, it sounds like his body has just worn out and he can't be enjoying his life.
It will be hard, but it is even harder to watch them suffer.

My thoughts are with you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you to those who replied!
So I decided to just go with the X-Ray for Damien (total was $303) and it turns out he has 2 bladder stones :( The vet recommends surgery ($600) to remove the stones. Has anyone else been in this situation? How did surgery go? If I did go with surgery... Does it completely heal him? What's the recovery time? He is 4 years old so I am worried of complications also because of his breathing noises, he's at higher risk. If I choose to not go with surgery, Damien will be put on daily pain medication until eventually he passes away ;( the vet says this option would help with the pain but in time because it is an antibiotic, it will wear away at his kidneys and from there he will pass away within a couple of months. I'm unsure of what to do... Surgery is a big risk and with his old age I am not sure if it is worth all the risks. But with the antibiotics at least he is comfortable until he passes right? Any insights or suggestions would be appreciated greatly!
 

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I recently had to put down my dog Jake. He was my best bud and I loved him dearly. He became suddenly ill with Pancreatitis. The vet and I tried everything we could for almost a week with no improvement at all and at a cost of $5000.00. I knew when they re did his ultrasound and the vet asked me "Is it time yet".
that there was no hope for him.
I bought his blanket in and stayed with him while they put him to sleep. It was quick and painless and one of the hardest things I have ever done,but I knew it was right for him. If the vet could have given him something to make him pain free and I could have had more time with him I would have taken it in a heart beat. As long as he did not suffer. When the time comes you will know what is right. Animals do not view the dying process the same as humans do, they enter it peacefully and quietly and without human emotions. It is us humans who are left a mess!
I have a new dog now who is helping to heal my heart with her joyful puppy ways, but I still miss my Jakey. I hope this helps in some small way.
 

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I would wait until someone who has experience with the bladder stones surgery to answer before deciding. I would at least PM Nikki or Kalandra, since they have had lots of experience with all kinds of medical conditions.

Did they do any blood work to see how blood count is or anything like that? Sometimes that can tell if there are any hidden problems that might add to complications.
 
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I've not dealt with stones, but I know Nancy has dealt with crystals and/or stones in at least one or two of her quilled ones before.

Most of the questions you have, you should ask your veterinarian if you haven't already. Whether or not he will survive the surgery will depend on the condition of the hedgehog, something your vet should be better equipped to determine than us. I've had 4 year olds operated on and had no doubt they would make it. I've also had 4 year olds that I felt were not strong enough, and my vet agreed it would be a risky surgery.

As for a cure, hard to tell. If the removal of the stones is successful, then at least that problem is resolved, but will they come back? Possibly. Stones and crystals are symptoms of another problem, its figuring out how to fix that. It may require a permanent diet change, or medication to reduce the change of recurrence. I believe Nancy has used Hills S/D with hedgehogs who had crystals. Again something to discuss with your veterinarian.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I would wait until someone who has experience with the bladder stones surgery to answer before deciding. I would at least PM Nikki or Kalandra, since they have had lots of experience with all kinds of medical conditions.

Did they do any blood work to see how blood count is or anything like that? Sometimes that can tell if there are any hidden problems that might add to complications.
No they did not do any blood work .
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Animals do not view the dying process the same as humans do, they enter it peacefully and quietly and without human emotions. It is us humans who are left a mess!
I have a new dog now who is helping to heal my heart with her joyful puppy ways, but I still miss my Jakey. I hope this helps in some small way.
Thank you for this story. It gave me a different perspective.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Since being on the pain medication, Damien is eating and drinking normal now. His breathing is still the same. But I've noticed once in a while he runs on his wheel. Not every night but some nights even for a little... I read somewhere in another post about where you should write 3 things down that your hedgehog loves to do and each day they don't do something on those top 3, you should see a pattern and make a decision whether to put them down... I mean he's eating and drinking and sometimes running so that means he's not entirely suffering. I do realize the pain medicine does help numb the pain but for the time being, isn't it okay to have him stick around a little longer since he's still eating and drinking? Some people may find this selfish of me to keep him around on pain medication, but at the moment I'm having a real hard time of letting him go. Even the thought of bringing him into the vet clinic to put him down brings me to tears... Everyone tells me to put him down and I can always get a new hedgehog, but it's not that easy. I don't want a new hedgehog, all I want is Damien.
 

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If you can't handle the thought of losing him through euthanasia, you still probably think about the possibility of his passing. It's hard to deal with. It isn't an easy thing to think about. However when our time is up, nothing can be done.
When a person or animal nears the end, a lot of the times medically healing becomes a game of tag so to speak. One ailment is treated and managed and another issue pops up.
I do not envy your situation. If I were in your situation tomorrow I don't know what my choice would be.
 

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Only you can make that decision. You know Damien the best and can judge if he still has quality of life. I was once told "it's better to put them down a day to soon than an hour to late" it basically means to make sure to make that choice before they are suffering. It's the last gift we can give them because they can't do that for themselves.
 

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There's an article in the memorials section that someone posted maybe in January or February of this year. It was right after my Nara died and it gave me a lot of perspective on how animals go thru the death process.

It's the article on "interesting article about death, dying and hospice care" posted by coffeekat.

I consider myself "fortunate" that I did not have to make the decision, Nara died while I was holding her. I just kinda had sense that it was her time during the process.

Your Damien may very well let you know himself when the time is near. Just be aware of what he is telling you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Today was the day I decided to take Damien to the vet and have him put to sleep :( it was very very sad for me and I cried the whole day, the whole night before I couldn't sleep but I knew it had to be done. I thought it would be easier keeping him on the pain medication and being able to spend more time with him but as the more days passed, his overall condition just worsened. It was breaking my heart everyday to hear him have trouble breathing, falling over, and dragging his legs. The hardest decision I ever had to make. I spent everyday caring for him since he was a month old. Everyday I changed his food, water, cleaned his wheel, and changed his pee pads. I put so much love and care into him and it's hard to imagine I won't be checking up on him every morning anymore or letting him roam my room every night. It's funny being a perfectionist trying to be prepared for anything when it comes to my pets. I try to do everything perfect, give them the best, be prepared for every situation I could think of but I was never prepared to lose him. I was not mentally prepared for the day I would have to let go... He would've turned 5 years old next month. This whole process has been incredibly difficult for me but I'm trying to think of this in a more positive light... I'm motivated by the pursuit of happiness, pursuing happiness in my life. I've realized my pets have brought me many moments of happiness, they've brought me pure joy over the years and although it saddens me greatly to see them go... This one long agonizing moment of sadness doesn't compare to all the joyful happy times I've had with my pets. I truly believe that. Even though it's this one moment happening right now, I've had many great memories with my pets. They've brought me great joy in my life and I believe that's what life is about... Finding happiness. So I am truly grateful for those happy moments my pets have brought me <3 I really loved and cared so much for him and I hope he forgives me, I only ever wanted the best for him.
 

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I'm very sorry for your loss.

Know that he is at peace now. He does not suffer. You loved him and gave him the best life possible from the first moment to the last, and it was wonderful life. But now, if he could, he'd tell you not to hurt and not to close your heart, but to, instead, cherish the years you had together, mourn if you must, and love again.
 
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