Cancer is more common in hedgehogs than in any other pet. The common symptoms of cancer in hedgehogs include loss of weight, blood in urine, loss of appetite, lethargy, diarrhea, and fluids in the abdominal area. They may also have difficulty breathing.
Hedgehogs, particularly those over the age of three, are highly susceptible to cancer. Tumors in hedgehogs can develop in any organ of the body, but they are most common in the mouth and gastrointestinal tract.
The signs are commonly unclear and non-specific. Now, let’s take a look at some of the most common signs of cancer in hedgehogs.
List of Hedgehog Cancer Symptoms
Loss of Weight
It is not always the case that your hedgehog is suffering from cancer, but weight loss is one of the most common signs. The most important factor in maintaining a healthy hedgehog weight is the ability to curl up into a ball without their bellies showing through.
The body of your hedgehog should look like a water drop or be straight when seen from the top. Your hedgie is not healthy if its belly sides collapse inwards.
By the time they reach adulthood, hedgehogs should only have a slight fluctuation in weight. If there is a weight change, it should occur gradually.
Therefore you should watch out for any sudden change in weight in your pet.
It is critical to keep track of your hedgehog’s weight by weighing it at least once a week at home. It may seem excessive, but hedgehogs are excellent at concealing illnesses that can manifest themselves quickly.
Blood in Urine
You should be concerned if you notice blood in your hedgehog’s urine because this could indicate cancer, particularly uterine cancer and cancer of the gastrointestinal tract.
It is difficult to detect blood in your hedgehog’s urine. This is one of the reasons why the hedgehog community uses light-colored bedding to keep an eye out for any abnormalities in the animals.
The appearance of bloody urine may be present on their steering wheel or even in the bathwater, depending on the situation. Its color can range from light pink to dark red, and there should only be a few drops of it in the mixture.
Loss of Appetite
Anorexia is a medical term that refers to a loss of appetite or a lack of appetite. The first sign of illness is frequently a decrease in appetite.
If you are unable to determine the cause of your hedgehog’s change in eating pattern, you must have him examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
It is not uncommon for hedgies to skip their first meal or two but if it persists it could be an indication of ill health. Hedgehogs are often preoccupied with sleeping, exploring, or running on the wheel that they do not have time to eat properly.
When a hedgehog is happy and healthy, it is curious about its surroundings and shows interest in them. It is your hedgehog’s way of checking everything out, so if it suddenly appears lethargic, overly sluggish, or dull, it could be a sign of a serious illness such as cancer or diabetes.
As a result of their short gut transit time, hedgehogs produce large amounts of feces with varying degrees of consistency. What you don’t want to see is slimy green feces, which is a sign of diarrhea and should not be ignored.
However, because of the rapid transit, it is possible to see a small amount of green color in the feces from time to time. This is not a cause for concern.
You should only be if there is a significant amount of slimy feces because it is an indication that your hedgehog is in danger.
Hedgehogs are prone to cancer, which is fairly common. Hedgehogs that are more than three years old are the most susceptible to the disease.
Symptoms of cancer can be similar to those of other illnesses and can manifest themselves as a visible tumor on the outside of the body or as symptoms that are similar to those of other illnesses.
Types of Hedgehog Cancer
Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Your hedgehog’s mouth may become infected with oral squamous cell carcinoma, a type of cancer that affects the oral cavity. The hedgehog’s cavity becomes infected with cancer when a mass of abnormal cells accumulates there.
This mass can result in gum enlargement as well as tooth loosening.
Hedgehogs’ oral squamous cell carcinoma cancer is aggressive and can spread throughout the oral soft tissues and bones, as well as to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes. Over time, the disease can spread to the lungs, ultimately resulting in death.
Hedgehogs with oral squamous cell carcinoma cancer are usually detected during an oral exam before any other obvious signs that something is wrong with your pet become apparent.
Mammary Gland Tumors
Hedgehogs are prone to mammary gland tumors, which have a high incidence rate. This type of cancer can affect both males and female hedgehogs, with the majority of cases occurring in middle-aged hedgehogs.
Tumors of the mammary glands frequently manifest themselves as swelling in the abdominal region. Hedgehog mammary gland tumors are typically malignant and infiltrative, with a tendency to spread throughout the body.
Other cancers such as uterine tumors, ovarian tumors, lymphoma, cancers of the integumentary system, cancers of the digestive tract, and cancers of the endocrine system are also prevalent cancers.
When hedgehogs get older, they may develop more than one cancer.
The signs of cancer in hedgehogs are different depending on which part of their body has been affected by the disease.
It is important to note that the symptoms can be mistaken for those of any other disease and that without a proper examination and diagnosis, none of these symptoms can be definitively linked to cancer.
How to Know Your Hedgehog Has Cancer
The only sure way of knowing that your hedgehog has cancer is through a biopsy. After a biopsy has been performed, a definitive diagnosis can be made and confirmed.
Blood tests and diagnostic imaging are two other types of tests that are commonly used to determine the presence of cancer and to provide a prognosis for cancer
While surgical treatments can be used to remove cancerous cells from the body, depending on how far the disease has spread, this method is not always effective.
Radiation and chemotherapy are also used to aid in the treatment of hedgehogs who have been affected by the disease.
Removal of the ovaries is a preventative measure that many hedgehog owners are considering as a last resort. Cancer in hedgehogs, like cancer in humans, is more effectively treated when it is diagnosed early before it has a chance to spread to other organs.
Caring For a Sick Hedgehog
While there is no comprehensive treatment for cancer, there are some things that you can do to make your pet’s life a little bit more comfortable. Supportive care is the cornerstone of ensuring that the quality of life is maintained at that point.
Consult with your veterinarian to determine how long the supportive care will be effective. It’s important to remember, however, that sometimes other issues are misdiagnosed.
Don’t make a diagnosis on your own.
Look for a veterinarian who is willing to perform all of the necessary tests. If this is not done, there is a chance that some underlying disease will go unnoticed.
Typically, there is no cure for cancer and you must provide supportive care to your sick pet. Cancer can manifest itself in a variety of ways. If the hedgehog is suffering greatly you might consider euthanasia.
Please do not be alarmed if your hedgehog appears to be acting slower or different than usual. There are a plethora of possible explanations for any given set of symptoms.
The only thing to remember is to have your hedgehog examined by a veterinarian.
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