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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys! Its been a while since I've needed to post anything.

Monday night last week when we got Ash out for the evening we noticed a swollen lump on her lower jaw. So I made an appointment with the vet and got her in last Thursday. We were concerned that it might be a tumor, but we got very lucky and it was just a bad tooth that needed to come out. The vet said that it came out very easily and that the other teeth looked healthy. We were given a few days worth of painkillers and two weeks worth of antibiotics.

Well, it's been a week, and the swollen lump is still there. Not sure, but it might even be a little bigger. I'm going to give it until Monday to call the vet since I don't think they'll be able to really squeeze us in this late before the weekend. So my question to anyone that has dealt with the recovery of a tooth extraction before is how long did the swelling linger? I feel like a week of antibiotics should have made some improvement. Or am I over reacting and just need to be patient? I'm worried because she's almost completely given up on eating her kibble that I already soften with water. Id hate to leave her still hurting unduly, but I don't want to rush back to the vet right away and stress her out.

Thanks for reading, looking forward to seeing the responses.
 

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well, I have no experience with this, but I'll try to help. Maybe you should try syringe feeding her wet cat food little by little, (do not rush her). I know you may not want to stress her out by going to he vet, So could you possibly contact your vet and ask her/him how long until the antibiotics will work?

Sending lots of hugs to Ash, hope he feels better soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
She's eating a wet cat food on her own, so no worries there. I'm just concerned about the lump, what it might be, if it's causing her pain, and if I can expect it to go away with the antibiotics or if there might be another issue to deal with.

Thank you for the well wishes, we can use all we can get!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Just a quick update. We finally got back in to the vet. She was actually out of town and only got back into the office today.

She still feels that it was definitely a bad tooth, but is surprised the swelling didn't go down with the antibiotics after the extraction. She gave us a different antibiotic to try, and we have an appointment on Wednesday to have the lump lanced and drained. Hoping that will resolve the issue and ultimately make her more comfortable.

Also picked up a small bag of carnivore care. She's been fussy about eating and I wanted something that would be easy to syringe if it comes to that. Oh, and also, Ash started having really nasty diarrhea after she was done with the first antibiotic, so hopefully that will help with that issue too.

So fingers crossed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, it went. She got through it like a little trooper. The vet left the wound open so it could continue to drain. We're supposed to hold warm compresses up to it, but you can imagine how well that's going. Especially with having a topical solution we also need to clean it with. I was dumb and forgot to give her the pain meds/anti inflammatory last night (sigh) so it as a bit more swollen today. I gave it to her with her first dose of antibiotics for the day so hopefully when I go to give her the second it will look better.

She didn't eat much last night, but I'm attributing that to me forgetting her pain meds. Tonight should be better. I need to start her on probiotics, but I need to find some first. I think benebac is the go to for hedgehogs? But everything coming out of her is soft and green. Normally we give her pumpkin to help firm things up, but for whatever reason she's been refusing it. Which is odd since she normally loves it. For now we're just waiting to see how it heals. I'd love to hear any suggestions.
 

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I take it the vet still feels its just an infection then?

I've never used benebac, but yes you can use that. I've always just purchased some high count probiotic from the human supplement section of my health food store. Open capsule, sprinkle some on her kibble, or mix it into anything you syringe feed or soft food she's eating. I think you know this, but just in case, or for anyone else reading this... keep in mind that you cannot give probiotics and antibiotics too close together else the antibiotic will nuetralize the probiotic... mid-way between antibiotic dose is preferable if you can time it right.

Soft and green can be very normal for a hedgehog on antibiotics, especially with certain types. For example, baytril is well known at causing GI upset and I always give probiotics for up to a week after they are off it to help settle the GI. Its a great antibiotic, but it can cause absolute chaos on their GI, in my experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah, vet thinks it just a really nasty infection. She took samples to have a culture and sensitivity and a histopathy done, but, I hate to say it, I just can't afford those tests right now. So hopefully the meds she's on will do the trick. She's on Clavamox right now. She was initially on Clindamycin after the tooth was pulled, but we weren't seeing an improvement after the two week round was over.

And of course I had to say that everything coming out of her was soft and green. It's now liquid and green. Lucky me. I'll see what I find for probiotics and get her started on them as soon as I can.

This afternoon looked less swollen than yesterday, so I think maybe things are improving? It's so hard to say, and she's getting progressively more cross with us. Poor thing is probably tired of getting woken up to have meds shoved in her face and her wound cleaned every day.
 

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Poor girl. I'm sure her mouth hurts and she's just tired of being messed with. Its for her own good and hopefully she'll start feeling better soon and enjoying more snuggles than stuff being poked into her mouth.

Yeh, get those probiotics started. You might even try mixing some pumpkin into syringe feedng. But if she's also had a diet change (soft foods) vs her normal kibble, she's just going through so much that her GI is angry about it too. It should improve once her mouth problem resolves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, quick update.

The swelling just has not gone down. We unfortunately missed our window of opportunity to have the culture and sensitivity test done on the sample that was taken, but we were still able to send off the sample to get the histopathology done. Keep your fingers crossed that the insurance covers it. Hopefully that will give us something to work with. We'll at least be able to rule out tumor. Once the results come back the vet will get back with us and we'll figure out what to do next.

The lump is just so...lumpy and swollen and looks so uncomfortable. The wound is healing super well, and is in fact almost closed. Which would normally be good, but that means we won't be able to continue cleaning it with the disinfectant we were given. I guess that doesn't matter much since it hasn't resolved the issue. Ah well. Here's hoping we get good news and a resolution soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It's not good news. The histopathology came back. It's squamous cell carcinoma. The vet is making some calls to find out about treatment. She's never dealt with this in hedgehogs, so she's not sure she even has the ability to treat it. In the meantime they are getting pain meds ready for me to pick up so we can help her be more comfortable. I've never dealt with cancer before, so any advice is appreciated.
 

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Well... crud. SCC is a bad diagnosis. Where was the mass again? If it is on the upper part of the mouth: watch her eyes and breathing. SCC often will spread into their nasal cavities. If it is lower: expect a lot of swelling and her having trouble eating.

Here is a post where I linked to a few other posts where I posted walls of text. Yes, I'm being lazy by just linking back to old threads, but you may find something of value in those threads.


Treatment wise, chances are it isn't surgically removable. SCC tends to be highly aggressive in growth and spread. Sorry to be blunt, but it can be a very nasty cancer. There was someone who tried palladia with their hedgehog for SCC and had got an extra year with their quilled one. I have no experience with it as I haven't had one with an SCC diagnosis in over a decade. But it may be something to ask your vet about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you Kalandra. I understand being lazy and linking things rather than retreading ground. I know I've done it before. I'll definitely be sure to ask about Palladia when I talk to the vet next.

The mass is on her lower jaw. Frankly it's gotten huge. It's already making eating difficult for her. Thankfully she's still interested in eating, but I have a bag of carnivore care ready to go just in case.

I picked up her meds this afternoon. We were given metacam and buprenorphine. It was interesting trying to draw them as the prescribed amounts are super tiny. Not sure if my eyesight is good enough for this. We had her on metacam after the lancing, and the lump seemed better. It definitely got noticeably bigger once she was off of it, so here's hoping it keeps it under control for a while. I'll update again after I hear back from the vet.
 

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That cancer can grow quickly, but if she bites it when trying to eat, it may be getting infected. You may want to ask doc about an antibiotic. With NeMali we also used prednisone to help with inflammation as her SCC was highly aggressive and spreading and swelling so fast.

Buprenorphine is pretty powerful. Buprenorphine may cause her to be more sleepy and seem out of it. I have had it prescribed to a hedgehog or two after a nasty surgery. We wanted them a little sleepy to assist in recovery, but just an FYI in case she has some change in that regard.

Please keep me updated on what the vet recommends. And if you need a shoulder, please don't hesitate to ask. I've dealt with way too many cancers over the last, gosh nearly 30 years now in caring for these little ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'll be sure to ask about it. I'm hesitant to do another antibiotic just yet. She spent basically a month on them with no improvement. 2 weeks on one and then 2 weeks on another when that didn't work. I'd like to give her tummy a break and maybe have solid poop for a few days. /sigh There's no good solution here. Honestly, I'd be thrilled to have a new solution for administering the metacam. It's such a small dose I'm not even really sure if she's getting it from the syringe. It would be nice if it could be diluted so that I can give her a larger amount and know that she got at least some of it. Still waiting to hear back from the vet. Hopefully she learned something interesting and helpful.
 

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Yeh, I think I had one that was on something ridiculous like .01 cc. I found syringes online that have the plunger that go all the way down through the tip of the syringe. I at least knew that it emptied completely. I bought a full box of 100 a long time ago, but I believe these are them, to give you an idea of what I'm talking about. Exel Syringe without needle - single syringe - 1 cc -EX-1003

I use them for feeding and often use them instead of the ones the vet gives. They hold up better in my opinion.

Ask your vet if he can dilute the meds or if you can. Sometimes they can compound medications to make them more easily administered (and sometimes to add flavor to make the pet take them easier too).
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just got off the phone with my vet. She's getting the prednisone ready plus an antibiotic. She isn't sure if she can even get the Palladia, but she's looking into it. Hopefully these will help and give Ash at least some relief. She's still interested in eating, she still at least tries to play on her wheel. She just seems overall interested in living, so I'd really like to make it more comfortable for her. As it stands now the lump is so big it's getting in her way when she tries to do just about anything.
 

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Poor girl. Has the new meds helped at all with the swelling?

From my experience with that cancer and others that swell up a lot, they really do try to behave normally. Its the cancers that impact internal organs that slow them down so much. So long as you can modify their living conditions (like soft foods) they will continue to try to behave normally, its just a matter of managing pain and figuring out what behavior changes indicate pain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Not really, not yet. The lump is still just so big. She's been on the new meds for a few days now. She does seem more steady on her feet, and maybe a little more energetic. She is however, still falling asleep in her potty corner after using her potty corner. So I guess waking up during the day to pee is a bit taxing and it's not worth walking all the way back to any of her normal sleeping spots so she just lays down when she's done.

The vet did find a way to get the Palladia, and it will actually be shipped directly to me. Should have it sometime next week. Here's hoping adding that in will help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Got the Palladia today. It is apparently quite nasty. As much as Ash does not like taking meds, I've never seen her react that negatively before. It was a definitive "YUCK!". Keep your fingers crossed that it helps.
 
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