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Hi, I'm hoping to find someone with experience with an old hedgehog. My Nova is almost 4 1/2 years old and she recently starting having health problems. I'm not sure how much of her condition is due to her age and I don't know when I should let her go.

She has always been healthy up until last February. In February I noticed blood on her pee pad, we took her to the vet. After extensive tests I found out she had bladder stones and we were given meds for the pain as she passed them. She got better.

In April, I noticed a decrease in appetite but she was still eating, drinking, and doing hedgehog things.

As of a week ago, I noticed she wasn't eating at all and had an alarming amount of weight loss. We went back to the vet. The vet took all her vitals and said she looks in good shape besides losing almost 70 grams. We didn't order any new tests since they did a full work up in February. We were given meloxicam in case she is in pain and put her on a semi-liquid diet that I can force feed her with a syringe.

The feedings went well at first but have been increasingly uncomfortable, and yesterday she threw up after eating. I tried again today, more puke. She doesn't seem to be able to keep anything down and her energy has plummeted. She will still walk around but can only take 3-4 steps before she lies down and won't more without prodding.

I talked to the vet again, it will cost $130 to euthanize and I'm not sure if it's time... but I also don't want her to suffer.

Can anyone share their experience? How do i know if she is in pain? If I let nature take its course, how long will she suffer? :'(
 

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With the description of her condition, I'm willing to bet she's got cancer going on somewhere inside. It's extremely common with hedgehogs and seems to be what the vast majority end up dying from.

So with facing the decision on euthanasia or not...I would always go with yes, euthanasia, for anything that isn't a sudden death. We have the ability to give them a less painful way of passing when there isn't anything else that can be done. That is more humane and a better way to help them than to just let them go naturally. In most cases, naturally is more painful, uncomfortable, and just not at all pleasant.

As for when, I will always think of the quote Nancy told me. Better a day too soon than a minute too late. Basically, if you want to avoid having her suffer, sooner is better than later. I've had to make the decision for three pets so far, two by myself. I don't regret the timing for any of them - I feel I really would've regretted it if I had waited longer for any of the three. The first one I had to decide by myself was my first hedgehog Lily. We didn't know 100% what was going on before I made the call, but we knew it was bad - a mass in her abdomen that had grown large enough to feel in just 10 days. She was in similar shape, though she was younger - she wasn't eating well, she wasn't holding food down well, she didn't have the energy to wheel or do much, and she seemed generally uncomfortable and unhappy. I didn't want to put her through surgery or keep forcing her to be uncomfortable and unable to enjoy any of her previous pleasures just to give me more time. The time wouldn't have been happy for either of us. After the vet euthanized her, he checked & her liver was mostly covered in tumors. I'd already mostly felt like I was making the right decision, but as soon as I heard that, there was just no regret or second-guessing. I had made the best decision for her and under my sadness, I felt relief for that.

With your girl, you say she's not keeping her food down, she's unable to move around easily, she can't do the things she enjoys. At this point, her quality of life sounds like it's not really great. The decision is ultimately up to you, but personally, I would consider it time to say good bye and let her go as peacefully as you can. I'm sorry you're facing this, I know it's never easy. *hugs*
 
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