Hedgehog Central banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our beloved 4 year old hedgehog has a lower mouth tumor. It is bleeding quite a bit tonight. It has grown a lot in the last 4 weeks. She can't eat her dry food so I crushed it and make a runny paste with warm water. She also likes meat babyfood. We have kept her weight up. She acts mostly normal but looks awful. Do I have her put to sleep or wait for her to die? Please tell me what you would do? thanks Her name is Igel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
Is she still eating? I would use my best judgment. Don't make her suffer if you see shes in pain...its unfair and cruel. Id personally want my animal to pass naturally when its their time...comfortably in their home with me. You need to use your best judgment here. =/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,268 Posts
I prefer a path of least pain.
By the sounds of things, she could be suffering. Have you taken her to the vet's to get the tumour looked at? What is their opinion on the matter?

When my cat's cancer lumps started bleeding, she quickly deteriorated, and we had to make the decision to put her to sleep... I wouldn't have wanted to watch her deteriorate even more and to watch her die slowly at home. It was hard enough watching her for as long as we did, but then she told us it was time, and we took her to the vets.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,950 Posts
Take her and have her helped to cross. She could last quite a while and be suffering. A lower oral tumour could go quite a while before it reaches the point of her dieing from it and she will be suffering even if she doesn't show it.

If it is bleeding, chances are good it has reached the time to let her go.

Hugs
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for your replies and concerns. I want to do whats right. She isn't bleeding this morning and ate her breakfast. I am off to work but will get her to the vet ASAP. She is a doll and I don't want her to suffer and be here just for me. I so appreciate your support. Most people don't understand. Jill
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
3,667 Posts
Jill,

For me when the question about when is it time comes up, I carefully examine their quality of life. When they can no longer do the things that they really enjoyed, or if they are in pain I make that hard decision. Pain can be extremely difficult to determine because these little guys hide it.

Ask your veterinarian to help you if you are uncertain if it is time. Jaw tumors are some of the worst I've dealt with. They tend to grow very quickly and there isn't much we can do.

I have a friend from CnH who I am going to quote: Rather a minute too soon than a second too late. Its kinder to watch them go with dignity than to watch them struggle to the bitter end.

Good luck with whatever decision you decide to make. It is never an easy one and at least for me it always feels like someone is ripping my heart out of my chest. We will be here for you no matter which you make.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
3,667 Posts
Morel3etterness said:
Oral tumors are something that cannot be treated? Or are they expected at that age?

=/ Im sorry about your hedgie.
As my vet puts it: "hedgehogs get cancer." It is extremely common in these little guys. It can show up anywhere in the hedgehog's body, not just the jaw. Anytime I see a lump after they turn 3 the chances of it being cancer increases (at least in my experience it is often cancer). However it doesn't just impact older hedgehogs, I had one that was 1 year and 1 week develop cancer.

Jaw cancer in hedgehogs is a nasty cancer. People have tried to have them removed (by having a portion of the jaw bone removed). Often the cancer came back before the hedgehog fully healed. It just doesn't seem to work and it puts the hedgehog through a very painful surgery. Upper jaw tumors are often worse than lower as they often start to grow into the sinus and nasal passages and will eventually grow into the brain and will push the eye out of its socket.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,419 Posts
Such an unselfish hedgie parent you are! Your statement that you do not want to keep her here for yourself brought tears to my eyes! But how true a statement. Rest well-she is so loved and always will be. And Nancy, your answers are always truthful but laced with comforti and kindness from a wealth of your own experience.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
902 Posts
I'm so sorry you are having to go through this.

I'm so thankful I've found this forum of supportive people in case I do too. It really touched my heart.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You are all so kind. Igel and I just returned from the doctor. He said that jaw tumors or any type of tumor are common in hedgehogs. Our Igel is 3 1/2 years olds. He thinks it will be only a few days to a week before she passes. SHe is acting normal still, still has her attitude. He gave me vitamins and pain pill to crush for her. She usually rolls in a ball in a strange situation but it was like she wanted to show them where the problem was, she stuck her head right out. He said that these tumors grow extremely fast which as I have witnessed is true, nothing 4 weeks ago. I am feeding her meat baby food, loose scrambled eggs minced up and crushed cat food with warm water making a paste. SHe licks up the food. He thought as long as she was eating and drinking and had pain meds he didn't think we needed to put her to sleep. I have changed her bedding to hospital pads so no bedding will get in her mouth and I can easy change it ( her mouth oozes). It has begun to have a strange odor (her mouth) today which the vet said was the cancer. I feel better that her needs are being met. thank you to you all
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
3,667 Posts
He gave you a pill to crush up for pain meds? I have never had that before. You may want to ask your vet about metacam. My vet always prescribes metacam for me. Its a liquid, so much easier to dose and the hedgehogs have all liked it (so far).

When NeMali had her oral tumor I let her eat whatever she enjoyed. No worries about high fat diets here (cancer often makes them lose weight anyway). Give her lots of love, the things she enjoys and just enjoy her while she is with you.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,950 Posts
I too have Metacam for pain control. I've not heard of pills either but I remember years ago my vet didn't stock Metacam and it had to be gotten from a pharmacy. Perhaps that is the reason you got pills.

I'm glad you have pain meds. That will make her more comfortable. Be prepared though that the smell might get really bad, really fast.

Oral tumours are horrible. We have dealt with so many to the point that I was beginning to wonder if something I was feeding or doing was causing it. I charted everyone and found out that we had the average number of oral tumours per hedgehogs we had. When I removed the rescue/rehomes from the list, one that arrived with an oral tumour and a couple that developed one within a few months, then we are actually below the average.

You are lucky you have had her 4 weeks with her. That is a fairly slow growing tumour. I've had numerous that it appeared and the hedgehog had to be euthanized within a week. Our first experience was old Pagen. I discovered the tumour on Tuesday and we euthanized him on Friday. The tumour doubled in size daily. I swear I watching him that I could see it growing. He was still active, eating great, bright eyed and still enjoying life. The vet recommended to help him cross but my daughter and I wanted to give him a bit longer. She talked us out of it and I'm glad she did. She said that with the speed that tumour was growing, another day and his eye could be pushed out or it would reach his brain or the painful stage. Given that it was a Friday, there might not be a vet available to euthanize him on the weekend. At that time we had a rotating on call vet and we knew from experience that many would not look at a hedgehog. She also pointed out that we were there with him and could hold him as he passed and option we probably would not have with a vet that didn't know us.

I'll keep your little girl in my prayers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This is our first hedgehog. How often do they get mouth tumors and are they usually older? Igel (German for hedgehog) has brought joy to so many children. I teach part time. Not always but often she goes with me in her basket to visit. It is fun but also an opportunity to teach the kids about hedgehogs. Rarely have any of the elementary aged kids seen a hedgehog.
She seems better this evening after the pain meds. She is eating and wondering around. I will insist that they put her down if she stops eating or shows discomfort. I realize she is not comfortable now but her behavior isn't out of the ordinary for her. I am watching her closely.
I appreciate all of you.... Igel's mom
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Igel is still with us. She is still eating and drinking. She ran in her ball for 2 hours last night. I view this as the pain meds are working.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
I'm happy to hear that she is doing okay. When the time comes, you will know. My only advice is to be prepared for it to happen any day, and savor every single moment you have with her now.

We can all tell that you love her very much, and you've given her a wonderful life. I'm sure that when she does pass, she will do so knowing that she had a blessed time here on Earth.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Our little Igel passed away last night. We first noticed the oral tumor on New Year's Eve and she survived 5 1/2 weeks. I held her during the Super Bowl last night and she could barely lift her head. She did well until earlier in the week. She quit eating and then quit drinking. The meat baby food, pain meds and liquid vitamins is why I think she survived so long. They do let you know when it is time. If it hadn't been the weekend I would have taken her to the vet to be put to sleep. She saw the vet on 1-28-10 and he thought she would be gone in a few days. I am glad she is no longer suffering. Her weight dropped drastically this week. She was our first hedgehog and we enjoyed her. I am the good touch/ bad touch instructor in our area. She traveled with me to classrooms quite often. The kids adored her and I think she enjoyed everyone thinking she was so special.

THank you to all of you who commented and helped me know how to help her. Enjoy your little hedgies :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
902 Posts
I'm very sorry for your loss. What a little trooper she was.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top