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I would be optimistic that no news yet means good news, so hopefully all turns out okay and it’s nothing serious! The surgery site(s) look great too, hoping for the best!
 

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Holly is 3 years old. Super cuddly and loving.
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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Called the vet this morning to see if the results came back.

The lumps turned out to be 2 different types of cancer.
One is spindle cell sarcoma, she said its fast spreading and tough growing.
The other is salivary adenocarcinoma.

So we are going back on the 4th in the afternoon to talk to the vet in more detail about the results, and she told me the vet said its best to give her some steroids to help prevent anymore growths.
 

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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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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
No I hadn't thought about searhing the group, they did seem pretty positive that they got it all after the surgery.
The person I spoke to wasnt a vet and only knew what the vet had left her to tell me, so I'll learn more when I talk the vet on the 4th November as well.

I'm not really sure which one came from what place though.
The one under her arm was just one lump which wasnt small but wasnt too big either, while the one higher up was a string of 3 small ones. Its not really important I guess just I like knowing things like that.

Oh and I was going to add a photo of her healing and then I forgot to add it!
This one was taken last night.
They are pretty much gone!
Dog Carnivore Felidae Fawn Dog breed


The other great thing is that she is as active as ever, eating great still and seems bright in herself so is doing really well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Okay so Holly had the vet again today.

The one under her arm is the spindle cell sarcoma and the string of 3 from her neck is the salivary adadenocarcinom

The histology report says this about the sarcoma, "This lesion is likely to display invasive growth and be locally reacquaint without a wide margine of excision. Sections suggest a very narrow shell of connective tissue around parts of specimen"
So I guess thats not a very good thing really because its more likely to come back then, thats what it seems right?
It also says that its "poorly differentiated spindle cell sarcoma with mixed differential, subcutaneous tissue" which really doesnt sound good at all. So I'm think this is really bad.

The report also says "the salivary gland adenocarcinoma is also poorly differentiated and can be seen to have displaced clusters of neoplastic cells in the adjacent connective tissue. Metastasis is considered more likely to be risk for this tumour"
Which I think is also really bad isnt it?

So seems both are poorly differentiated which I really dont understand what that means and I am struggling to find out.

Anywayyy so the vet has said that all we can do is slow down any potential new growths with kemo, and to start with she will be on a type of steroids once a day, and I need to get more each month.

The vet said that if she gets anymore lumps, then we can remove them to make her more comfortable, but it wont stop her getting them or anything.

So I'm thinking that if she gets another lump I wont put her through the surgery or week of no wheel that she hates, when its just going to come back anyway and probably wont even help.
I love her and I want to do anything I can, but if removing the tumor isnt going to really help then I dont see much point putting her back through risky surgeries when it will just keep coming back again anyway.

Hopefully she has at least 6 months.
 

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Poorly differentiated (from what I gathered throughout Coco’s 18 month cancer ordeal) means a higher grade of tumour. If they were well differentiated, it would be lower grade. Unfortunately that’s not good news; the higher the grade, the worse it is.

Ultimately you know Holly best. If you feel it’s best to not proceed with any additional surgeries, then that’s what you should do. Hopefully you will get many months together yet, and she continues to stay her spunky self through it all.

Sending you hugs Ria, I honestly wish I didn’t know first hand just how hard it can be - but Hollys got the best owner she possibly could have, and I know you’ll only do right by her. I’ve been thinking about her, and I really wish you had got better news.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Thank you, thats great to know so I understand it!

From the description on the tumours and how much seemed to be intertwined into the tumour this time, and how risky anesthesia is especially with the older they get, and the areas they are likely to appear again are really risky places to do surgeries. Which really worries me about her having to go through it again, and then loose her wheel for a week, only for another to come back.
And most the time cancer will come back faster each time, even with kemo.

The vet and histology report both make it very clear it doesnt matter how many time I remove it, its just going to keep coming back.

I mean Holly had high grade tumours and the only thing she did was start drinking double the amount of water the week leading to when I took her to the vet. Which the vet seems pretty impressed with given she had 2 different high grade tumours.
To be honest now I know that I'm super impressed with that!

Thank you for your really kind words, makes me feel a whole lot better to be honest.
I want to thank you so much for all the help with her weight back when I needed it, because if it wasnt for you, she would probably still be overweight and those lumps would have been much harder to find, and a lot more risks to remove them.
 

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It essentially means that the cancer cells look extremely abnormal to normal cells. It’s a term associated with aggressive cancers unfortunately.

and I honestly totally understand where you’re coming from wirh surgeries. Some hedgehogs do take recovery from surgeries easier or harder than others. Coco would always bounce back within hours, but also her tumour reoccurred sooner and sooner every time (6 months, then 3 months, then 8 weeks).. I don’t regret choosing to operate, because it did buy her a lot of extra time (18 months when she was given a 6 month prognosis) - and most importantly, it was good time. However, not all cancers respond well to removals, and for some it can cause the cancer to progress quicker and cause the hedgehog to have an overall tougher time in recovery. So it’s definitely a case by case basis. I wouldn’t feel guilty for choosing to not operate in the case of reoccurrence, and similarly I also wouldn’t feel guilty for choosing to operate if you do. It really is one of those things where owner knows best, and if you have a great vet - and it sounds like you do - they should also give you their honest opinion on what they would also recommend/what the realistic outcome is with any option you do take (inc. if it’s to simply keep her happy and comfortable for however long that is).

& I take no credit for helping with her weight loss at all! You’re a really dedicated owner and did all the work yourself; she’s truly lucky to have you, and she’s in the very best of hands I’m sure. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone, but you’ll get through it. If I have learned anything from Coco’s battle, it’s to enjoy every moment you get - and to never take a single second for granted. Keeping you guys in my thoughts!
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
From what I read about the spindle cell sarcoma, if they dont get all of it and they miss any, it will grow back quicker and more aggressive, and I think thats the biggest thing thats scaring me about another doing it again.

Holly bounced back really quick after her first surgery, she threw hissy fits towards the end of the week about not having her wheel and taking meds because she felt batter, and then her insicions recovered really well which is brilliant.

But each surgery is going to mean a whole day in the vet, a week of no wheel, and then even more meds and I can't see her being happy about that.

The vet said he wouldn't rule out removing it once or twice more, it could buy her more time but it also might not, and it will definetly make her more comfortable as she dies with it.

From what I understand about the spindle cell sarcoma is that when it comes, its going to be much worse than the last time. So with each removal its going to get worse, faster and more aggressive, which to me sounds worse than not removing it.
And the one on the neck was only found by the vet, I hadnt even seen or felt it! And thats likely to come back in the same place which is a super risky surgery.

The vet seems to think that from now she only has 6 months, and that removing any more will only be to make her more comfortable and wont help with her lasting any longer. So it makes me really question about if its worth that at all.
He never said it like that, but when my mum said "we might get another year" he seemed to be very doubtful, but when I said "even if she just makes it to 4 years old in 5 months maybe a bit after that would be brillant" he made it clear thats the more realistic thing with or without removing more tumours.

My vet is great really, very understanding, realistic and clear. I know the next step for the kemo if the steroids arent working well and everything.

I am going to hope and wish that with the steroids, it takes 6 months to even come back, and then asses and go from there.

I wish there was more I could to help her fight it and go for as long as possible, but I dont think there is unless theres anything diet wise because thats only real thing I can control.

One thing for sure I am likely to spoil her a lot more from now. People thought she was spoilt already! But who cares she can be more spoilt haha.

Thank you so much! But I would never have found out so much if it wasnt for you, oh in the end we have got her down to 450-440g. So she really came far from where she was 700g back in March 2019 at 10 months olol
 

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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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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
To be honest, I am basing my decisions of no more surgeries a lot on the worst case what ifs and fears of that.
Like what if the next time they do it bad because they know they arent curing her. Bad thought of such a great vet but I suffer with anxiety and I dont control those ones only how I react.

Can I ask, with Riley, how long after was it before the new tumour in his next was found? I know its likely to be different with Holly but it might help with a rough period.

The vet said that he is fairly sure its all gone, but with very narrow margins and the type of cancers they are, theres a very high chance they will come back.
He also made it very clear that all the steroids will do is help to slow new growths down, predominately on the salviary gland one and not so much with the spindle cell sarcoma.

He was very happy that there was no new feelable or seeable lumps yesterday when he checked her over. So I guess thats a good sign they didn't aggravate the sarcoma!?

While I'm making the decisions that I done want to put her through surgery again, it doesnt mean that at the time of a new lump I wont change my mind depending on everything at the time.

I'm only on a short way in and already finding this really hard!
 

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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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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Okay thank you, Holly is really easy going so its pretty easy to feel around her for anything. Its good to know it could be up to 3 months though.

Honestly she could have it, and say have 6 months without removing it, let's say they remove it, but they don't get all of it, ten it begins growing a lost faster, that surgery cuts the time she had to live because now its going faster, I don't think I want to risk that at all. Thats purely based off that one cancer.

She is my first pet, so also first hedgehog, to go through cancer with (although wont be the first one I love to die with the horrible thing)

I've always cherished her and the time I get with her, from the moment I got her and that will never change. I will never get another hog as funny, and strange as she is which is great, she truly is an amazing little girl and I couldn't have got a better first little hedgehog!
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
So we have to give the steroids once a day, I chose to do the evening because I think its better for us both.

So far we have done 4 doses, the first 1 was fine, the second one wasn't to bad, but the least 2 she has been really fighting.
If I try with her wrapped up in the blanket like the last meds to help her feel more secure when I hold her to give them, she will find a way to bury her head, no matter what!
Moves her head doesn't matter what angle I try to come from.
She uses her paw to try and push it away!

Each day I have managed to get her to take it, but I dont want to fight her! Will she get used to it? Is there a way to make it easier it - my mum can help some nights but a lot of them she is working so I really need a way that only requires one person.
Or should I call the vet to see if theres another way? Maybe I can do it like inject an insect with it and make sure eats the whole insect?
 

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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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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
The bottle says prednidale. All he said was that it tastes better than the antibitoics and painkillers (although the antibiotics smelt much nicer haha)

She generally eats wet meat, cooked meats her and insects really fast and never leaves any.

So if I did a bit of wet meat and then mix the dose of steroids into that, making sure she eats all of that it will be okay every night?
I dont want to be fighting her each time because its annoying for both of us!
 

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The wet foods with broth are great for mixing with meds without blocking the syringe. Canagan & Applaws are what I used to use; I would take up some of the broth in the syringe to mix with the meds and with Coco at least, she’d happily take the syringe. Giving an insect before administering meds can also make them relax their guard for a bit, and can make it a little easier to administer meds (for some hogs, not all). Just some tricks I used with Coco!
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
I tried giving her an insects then the meds, she wasn't having it at all😂

She is fine with the syringe as far as I can tell from previous times - she takes meds when she thinks she needs them not once she is feeling fine! I think its just the meds she is rejecting taking but I could be wrong!

I think we still have some applaws left for my dog, so I can try that one tonight.
I know we definetly have pate type wet meat that I could probably mix it into if that would work.

Thank you, both of you, so much! I dont want to be fighting her daily.
 

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You can mix it with a pate and try syringing it also; I just wouldn’t mix it and leave it in her enclosure, just to ensure she’s getting the entirety of the dose in one sitting.
Honestly a very smooth pate (so it doesn’t clog the syringe) may even be better than just the plain broth at masking the taste of the medicine. Hopefully you find something that works!
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 · (Edited)
If I mixed it into the wet meat in a bowl, I would give it to her just before going back, to ensure she ate all of the meat with the meds.

We have lily's kitchen and wainwright, bot can go pretty smooth when mashed with a fork so if the broth still makes no differcnce tonight I'll give that a go in the syringe.

If she still doesnt like it in the syringe that way, the maybe its not so much the meds but not liking taking it from the syringe?

Last night I did some applws broth mixed into the syringe, I still had to fight her, but that could just be from previous nights where its been just medicine, so will be trying that one again tonight.

Last night I gave her some wet meat, since it was open she may as well be able to have some.
She also drank her whole bowl of water again. The bowl holds like 90ml.
I thought given she has wet meat she would drink less of the water, but it appears not. Unless she is sneaking something in to drink her water!

The vet thinks it could be due to the cancers changing a hormone to make her want more, and the steroids should help with that if thats the case. But it also may not.
 
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