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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Early in December I noticed an INSANE amount of blood on Priscilla's wheel one morning, thick red blood. I took her to the vet immediately, who examined her and said it was coming from 'down there'. Her guess was it was either a uterine infection, a cyst, or something worse. She gave Priscilla some antibiotics (smells like strawberry, and Priscilla loves taking them by syringe) and although I've been out of town my hogsitter says she has not bled since.

Has anyone else had anything similar happen to their hedgehog? The vet said the next step would be to spay her if the bleeding happened again. I know this has big risks because of the organs being so far inside of the hedgehog... I just need any advice from people who might have heard of this happening and could give me any insight as to what they think, either about the bleeding or the spaying.

I'm hoping it was a mystery bleed that won't happen again, but I have done some reading that says hedgehogs are prone to a condition similar to endometriosis, and this is what has reawakened my concern in this happening once more.
 

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Our girls are prone to uterine cancer. Endometriosis is less common.

I've had a few girls with uterine bleeding and also some with urinary bleeding. From what I have experienced with our girls, it is just about impossible to figure out if the bleeding is urinary or uterine without doing a fine needle aspiration of urine directly from the bladder. If there is blood in the urine, then you know without a doubt the bleeding is urinary and the urine can then be tested to find out which antibiotic will work the best.

If there is no blood in the urine, it's pretty certain that the bleeding is uterine. It might be a uterine infection but very often uterine infections are the precursor to uterine cancer. There are two types of uterine infections, closed and open. With an open infection there is bleeding just about every time the hedgehog poops or urinates. With a closed infection, there is no blood until it bursts and then there is blood but then it seals back up again for weeks or months.

Spaying is the next option if the blood proves to be uterine. Spays are not that difficult. It is the boys that neutering is complicated because the testicles are internal. Hedgehog spays are no different than cat, dog, rabbit etc. I've had 3 spayed and all came through well and the first girl was at deaths door going into the spay. Laser surgery is the best with minimal blood loss and faster recovery time.

What type of bedding do you have her on. White liners will show everything so you will know instantly if she has even the slightest bleeding. If she bleeds again, I'd have her gassed and urine pulled from her bladder. If there is no blood, I'd get her spayed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for your responses.
When she was in, the vet gassed her to check it out, and was almost certain it was uterine. It sounds like a closed infection - masses of blood, then nothing. Which makes me think it might be best to spay her before it gets to a bad point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Alrighty - she's all booked in for her surgery on Jan 21st. Nancy, do you have any words of wisdom regarding her pre-spay/post-spay care? I know my vet will provide me with some info but I am finding HHC more useful for info than the vets has been, so any advice would be very much welcomed. :)
 

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She shouldn't have her wheel for a few days to a week after surgery. If she is a wheel fanatic, I'd start weaning her from it now as sometimes they have huge issues when the wheel is gone.

Liners are the best to have her on after the surgery. Make sure you have lots to change them frequently. Baby receiving blankets work great.

Have you ever syringe fed her? If not, it mightn't hurt to try a bit now to get her used to it, just in case she goes off her food and has to be syringed.

The vet will probably give her pain meds for the first few days after. If not, ask for them as it makes them feel so much better.

Give lots of hugs and tell her what is going to be happening. Sometimes I think they understand. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So with the wheel now, you're thinking take it out every other night or so? She IS a wheel fanatic as she has a home made bucket wheel and she's on it all the time.

As for syringe feeding, she recently had a course of antibios for the uterine bleeding so I am used to doing that, and she seems to be alright with that. Although it may be different with a whole lot of food as opposed to a quick squirt of strawberry gunk. Fingers crossed. How much (in mls or whatever) would she need to be fed if she did go off her food? I'd want to get an appropriate size syringe in advance as the meds one was only tiny.

She has white fleece blankets all the time, so that isn't a problem. I'll be sure to get pain meds - they definitely come in the cost of the procedure, I checked.

Thanks, Nancy, for all your help and advice. It's nice not to feel alone! x
 

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It's a good idea to get her used to the food you would be syringing. If you know ahead of time what syringeable foods they like it's much easier.

I used to use 1 ml syringes. Walmart sells them, they are 1ml/1cc needles but the needle comes off. Recently I've discovered 10ml syringes that the pharmacies include with meds for little kids and they work far better than the smaller syringes. When syringing, the more she eats at a time governs how often you need to do it. Basically you want her to eat at least 10mls per day. Sometimes they won't take very much at a time so you need to do it more often.

Chances are good, you won't need to syringe her at all. Often when they are feeling rotten, just leaving some kibble in bed with them and they'll eat.
 

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I had a wheel fanatic that had a large tumor (26 gram mammary tumor on a 300 gram hedgehog) once. Due to the size of the incision to remove the tumor (it ran around her back leg and around 2 of her nipples (they both had to be removed), we reduced her cage size to restrict movement for the first few nights and her wheel.

We found that the first night she pretty much laid in bed but did get up to eat, drink, and go to the bathroom. All a very short distance from her sleeping area. I think it was the next night we found her circling. Circling being that she ran laps around the cage. Which caused a slight problem of getting her tummy dirty.

Doc had us mix a weak hydrogen peroxide mix, damp a wash cloth and gently pat the area to keep it clean. Ask your doc about cleaning the incision area should it get dirty.

I also use 10ml syringes to syringe feed. The size of the syringe is easier to handle for me. You can ask doc if he can give you a couple of feeding syringes just in case you need them. I typically have some in stock (I buy them online), but he will typically give me a few if I'm running out. Also you may want to ask doc if you can have a can of Hills A/d. A/D is a recovery formula of canned cat food that is easily syringable. Something I like to keep around just in case anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Good to know. Did your hog with the mammary tumor recover well? It's always so sad to hear about them getting tumors but I keep reminding myself how different it is from humans in that they don't have the psychological issues of knowing they have a tumor. Sometimes I think that does way more harm to wellbeing than the cancer itself.

I'm thinking now perhaps I should buy a small sterlite container (those plastic ones with lids) to keep her in after the surgery so she is in a smaller area.
 

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Peaches mammary tumour was removed when she was 18 months old and she died of a totally unrelated cancer at almost 5. Removing her tumour was a minor blip in her life. She came home an hour after the surgery and carried on as if nothing had happened.

Jube also developed a mammary tumour but she was almost 5 and if not good health so we opted not to have it removed.

Snow at 5 had a tiny mammary tumour when she died of unrelated issues at almost 5.5.

How large is her cage? Unless it is gigantic with a loft, she will be fine in her own cage and will be more comfortable in familiar surroundings.
 

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Bianca recovered just fine. She was a rescue who I had only for a month. She was of unknown age (we guessed her to be about 3 or 4) but we were her 4th home and the prior home had had her for about a year. The only problem we ran into was an stitch didn't dissolve correctly and caused a red spot where it finally worked its way out. Otherwise she lived about another year before developing colon cancer.

I closed off part of her cage because I use a two tub condo with a ferret tube connecting them. Because her incision was so long (Chest all the way down to a back leg and then around the back part of the leg) we didn't want her possibly catching a stitch on the tube.

Yours should have a much smaller incision area since it is a spay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
All these hog-cancers break my heart! Still I know it's a reality.

Priscilla's enclosure is a terrarium (with a mesh top for lots of ventilation, I might add) which is 3' x 1.5'. No loft, just flat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Just thought I'd post an update to let you all know Priscilla had her surgery yesterday and the spay went very well. I can't believe how small the incision is; just over 1cm long.
Apparently when her uterus was removed it was very vascular, but there was no sign of a tumor so glad we got it done before something like that came up as a problem.
Now we have pain meds til tomorrow and antibios for another 5 days... she isn't eating a lot but she's drinking, and some food has gone.

Thought you guys might like to know! I'm very relieved that is over!
 

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Good news! They often don't eat and drink a lot the first night, but you do want to see some activity (from my experiences). My experience with hedgehogs and surgery has been very good. With pain meds they seem to recover very quickly. We will keep our quills crossed here that your experience will be similar.
 

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That's wonderful news. :D

Try putting some kibble in bed with her. Often when they don't feel good, they will eat if the food is in bed and they don't have to get up. :)
 

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Im so glad to hear she had a good surgery and that she is taking it easy!

When Needler had a cyst removed from his butt(dont tell him I told you where) he wrecked his cage that night because I had taken out his wheel.. LOL
 
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