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Where were lumps/are her incision(s)? How big of an incision?

Personally, I use light color or white cloth liners during post op. It keeps things from getting stuck and I can monitor for blood, discharge and urine spots on the liner much easier than in any type of substrate bedding.

For cleaning, be as gentle as possible. If she has external sutures be careful when cleaning around them. You don't want to catch the suture. Most of the time any dried blood will flake off on its own fairly quickly. Depending on the tumor and how they removed it, you may also find that she will have a lot of bruising around the incision site. It can be really disturbing, but it can be normal depending on the tumor removal.

Watch her behavior closely and monitor her temperature. I have had a couple who wanted extra warmth the first night or two after a big surgery.
 

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Some hedgehogs can have a lot of loose skin in that area and once the fur has been shaved off it often looks baggy in those that don't have a lot of extra 'fluff' to fill it out.

I've also seen it look a little pinched if they had to remove a little skin with the tumor to get clean margins. I normally don't worry about that too much initially as it often returns to normal as they heal. I've always been told just monitor for inflamed/hot to the touch, red or streaks of red, swelling, oozing, etc.
 

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Looking good! That long pretty white fur they have can take what seems like forever to grow back too.
 

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If she normally travels well and doesn't stress out, I'd likely go ahead with my trip. You'll just have to monitor her healing, but so long as nothing negative happens, I bet she will be in great shape by the time your trip comes up. Its been ages since I had a hedgehog with stitches that had to be removed, but I want to say we only gave them about 14 days before removal.
 

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You'll have to use your best judgement of is 24 hrs going to make a difference. But I have had to give a wheel back early before and have also given it for short periods of time and removed it if I thought the hedgehog was over exerting itself.
 

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Oh Ria, I'm so sorry. Spindle Cell Sarcoma is one of those that just breaks my heart to hear. Do a search on here for it if you haven't and you'll find a few threads where folks have shared their experiences. I ran into it in a very young hedgehog many years ago and I felt so lost when dealing with it due to its location, the age of the hedgehog, etc.

Fingers crossed the vet got it all and it doesn't come back. Keep us updated.
 

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Ria, It is a tough decision. I've had hedgehogs who have had multiple surgeries. The tumors kept coming back but they were small and in locations that made them easy to remove and the recovery time was very short. But you are right, spindle cell sarcomas are bad. I have experienced it only once thankfully, but it was in a hedgehog who was just a year old. We had the tumor removed from his eyelid. It had already spread down into his neck and when it came back it was in a spot that had so many risks that we opted for hospice care. I probably posted some of this earlier so I apologize.

I took him in to see specialists. We had a veterinary ophalmologist perform the eyelid surgery. When the tumor came back we scheduled a visit with veterinary oncologists. We saw multiple doctors that day. It sounds like what your vet has told you is what those oncologists told me.

Spindle cells are a very primitive cell form, basically it is a cell that no longer looks like the original cell that it came from. We were told that these often have a high rate of reoccurance at the original tumour site. My understanding is they have a habit of growing fast if they are cut. We saw this when we had a biopsy done on the original tumor, it grew rapidly while it healed.

Problem with removing them is that they also have a habit of sending out tiny tendrils of cells that will grow. Which is what happened with Riley, we removed the one from his eyelid, doc thought he got it all, but it came back later in his neck.

They also don't react well to many treatments. Chemo does little good, cutting can cause them to regrow and larger if you don't get it all (one of the oncologists noted that he removed one once and before the stitches came out it had regrown). Radiation was the option given to me and at a price tag of over $9000 back in 2008 (or around there) with little guarantee it would work, he'd have to remain in hospital for about a month, it wasn't a viable option.

We did add prednisone late in Riley's treatment to help with inflammation being caused by the cancer. It helped, but was not a cure.

Riley lived for 8 months with his cancer. He was active and eating well all the way up to the morning we euthanized him. His tumor in his neck would not change for a while then suddenly would take a growing spurt and seemingly double in size over night. He never developed additional tumors. The evening before we said goodbye it had a growing spurt and started to cause him to wheeze, it was time.

I went through a lot of whatifs. What if we had attempted removal, what if we had debulked it, what if. It was painful. He was only 1 year 8 months old. You'll have to make decisions as you go along. If the tumors are small and up in the skin like before, maybe a surgery will give her quality time. Its balancing more time with quality of life. I have always tried to base my decisions on that question. Will the time spent recovering from surgery be minimal and provide the hedgehog with enough quality of life to warrant going that route. Is the tumor in a location where the risk of permanent damage is too high? There are lots of questions to think about.
 

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I believe it grew back between 2-3 months after the mass from his eye was removed. Riley was always very defensive and made feeling for new lumps difficult.

Surgery is a tough decision. You'll find many a posting on here of me being very pro-surgery. My stance changed after I lost a girl recently. She died 1 hr post-op to a bleed and the tumor wasn't even cancerous. It was behind her ear and deep and causing her issues. We may have gotten a little extra time with her. So yeh there are risks, I don't know what I will do the next time we have to deal with a tumor. My stance may be very different than it was before. But should it be easily removed... I don't know it is a tough one.

So yeh, I get it. I have lost many hedgehogs to cancer over the years, and lost both of my girls within 28 days of each other earlier this year. I'll echo EMC, one thing these little ones have taught me is to cherish every moment you get. Don't take them for granted. Our little ones are amazing, they have personalities that are amazing, and yet such short lives.
 

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She will likely get used to it, but you can try injecting it, or mixing it into a food she will normally eat all of quickly.

He gave her prednisone right? Did he say if it was flavored or sweetened?
 

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How'd last night go? One thought I had last night was will she eat fruits or veggies? I have used sweet peas and applesauce in the past to help sweeten meds.
 

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The weight loss and lethargy are concerning to me. Talk to the vet about them. Pred typically is known to cause weight gain, I think due to water retention and due to increased appetite. I know it can cause mood changes/irritability in humans and I think it can cause lethargy in humans too. So maybe its having an impact on her too and doc needs to be aware of it. Pred is a powerful steroid, but it can have some nasty side effects when given in large doses (not sure how strong of a dose he is giving Holly) over long periods of time. Which can be frustrating if you encounter them as you cannot stop giving it without going through a weaning process.

I never saw any issues with basal cell causing problems, nor was I warned that it would. The main warning I had was that it would grow very large, would respond with rapid growth if cut/injured and would likely cause pressure on other organs, or in Riley's case his throat. I think we encountered a salivary cancer once, but I think it was removed and never came back as I don't recall who had it nor have it logged as a cause of death in any of the hedgehogs I've cared for over the years.

We have quite often seen weight loss in hospice care as cancer takes a lot of the energy the hedgehog eats to feed itself. Ask doc about diet changes, I have been told many a time to increase protein and decrease carbs as carbs feed cancer. I have also had my vet recommend other supplements, like omega fatty acids, to help support the body. But those were typically with hospice cases.
 

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I'd increase the wet food to see how she reacts. You are already monitoring her weight, so if she starts to gain too much, you can start to switch back to the kibble. I've quite often had a fat hedgehog who I have fought hard to keep weight off of, that I'm suddenly reversing and trying to put weight on once they have had a cancer diagnosis. It can change their chemistry drastically depending on what kind they had.

In my experience, with older and sick hedgehogs they usually stop using the wheel first but will be active when with me. But they do seem to tire. If she's overly active with you, it could be a sign of her being irritable. I've also had hedgehogs not eat kibble, but would other more tasty options when they weren't feeling well. So both to me are items I'd talk to the vet about to get an opinion of if it could be the pred making her not feel well or if he thinks it is concerning.

As you know its always best to chat with the vet to get his opinion. These little ones will keep us guessing.
 

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Fingers crossed that its nothing. I agree no seeable/feelable lumps is always a good thing. Don't panic yet, lets see what the vet thinks is going on. Hopefully she's just having an off week or two and things will settle soon.
 

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I'm sorry Ria that this is happening to her. I have had 2 now that had a leaking tumor, we opted for euthanasia on both.

For Holly, I'd recommend putting everything she needs as close as possible to her. You might even consider putting her wheel in her cage if you took it out. While she won't likely use it, it can be comforting for them to have it in their cage. I had one who got upset if his was out of his cage, he'd look over to see if it was there then crawl back in his bed.

Give her whatever she wants. Keep her living area soft and snuggly. Keep things low. If you use a water bowl with tall sides, try to find a bowl that is more shallow so that if she tires she can sit to drink. Snuggle often and lots of bugs if she wants them.
 

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Looks good to me. You might see if you can build up a little ramp of sorts so she can get into her box easier.

Oh and my preference has always been to let them go naturally so long as they aren't suffering. Talk to her, let her know its ok and look in her eyes often. I've found that they generally can tell you when its time to help.

Take care of yourself too. This is the hardest thing to go through with them. Stay strong now, which is easier said than done.
 

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Do a pinch test to see if she is dehydrated. Pull up on her skin on her back, watch how long it takes for the skin to return to normal position. If it snaps right back, she's hydrated. The longer it takes to snap back the worse off she is.

Everything you said makes sense. If they willingly eat and or drink from a syringe I continue to assist. If they refuse or fight me over it (and I don't mean the type where they have no idea what we are doing and fight me), well I take it as a sign.

For how much water, I honestly have no number to share that I use as a goal. I will give water so long as they take it. I will add water to their food to help hydrate that way too. How often will also depend on how much you get into her and how dehydrated she is. So yeh, it all just depends on how dehydrated, and how much she will willingly take. Just be careful, make sure she is willingly drinking it and doesn't aspirate the water. At a minimum I would try a few times a day, and give her as much as she will take if the pinch test fails.
 

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Rest in peace little one. You were loved and you will be missed greatly.

Ria, Its ok to cry. I'll cry with you. Its never easy going through this. I've done it many times now with hedgehogs, and it never is easy. Drink plenty of water to minimize the headache.
 

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Ria if it makes you feel any better, the freezer is where mine go until I can take them for cremation too. I often wrap them carefully in a blanket, and put them in a bag. I talked to the owners of the crematory here and was told to leave them frozen its fine.
 
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