Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dinner is Served

Razzle's dinner consists of a blend of the following dry cat foods. These foods are high protein/low fat which is the preferable diet for African Pigmys.
Royal Canin Lite 37:

Wellness Lite:

Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul Lite:

The Wellness brand has the perfect little hedgie-sized pellets, but the Royal Canin and the Chicken Soup kibbles are a tad on the large side. For that, I break up the pieces using a mortar and pestle:

Not that Razzle needs to watch his weight at all. In fact, he still needs to put a little meat. For that, he gets a snack every night which includes a high-calorie food called Maxi-Cal:


Sometimes I sneak a bit of Razzle's medicine in there too. Shhh!!!

Razzle has been drinking much more water lately due to the fact that he is taking LASIX, a diuretic, for his heart congestion.

I asked his doctor is putting a bit of Pedialyte in his water might help ward off dehydration and she thought it might help him a bit. I've been adding 3cc's into his water and so far, so good.

The medicine cabinet

Dining at the Double H Cafe:

Sunday, May 27, 2007

...And all that Razz

Razzle had his follow-up vet appointment yesterday. He was, as usual, a big huffy ball of prickles. He had an X-ray and full exam. And also, as usual, there is good news and bad news. The good news is - his tumor has not gotten any bigger! This is great news, actually, as perhaps it is a slow-growing tumor or even a non-growing tumor *fingers crossed*. The bad news, however, is that Razzle's heart is a little worse. The X-rays showed that it was enlarged even further. We upped his LASIX dosage and hopefully this will help. He is also on a 1x day antibiotic for prevention of another lung infection (a common side effect of the Congestive Heart Failure). The additional good news also is that Razzle looks good. His appetite is healthy. He's running on his wheel, albeit for much shorter distances, but the fact that he still has interest in running is a big positive.

I was watching him the other night as he was eating and drinking (he drinks a LOT of water now) and at one point, instead of running into the confines of his igloo, he simply plopped his little self down, legs outspread, and head down on the floor. He looked exhausted. He layed there for what seemed like a very long time. I talked to him and told him it was ok that he was tired. He needs to just take it easy and do what he can, but he needs to keep his strength up by eating his snack. At that point, he got up and went right over to his snack bowl and ate a few bites. Such a good boy listening to his mommy! :)

Razzle's wonderful doctor, Dr. Horton, said that at this point the tumor really isn't our main concern. It's his heart condition that is really the bigger issue right now. Hopefully with the dosage increase in his meds, we can get things back under control.

It's still a struggle to get meds into Razzle, but I have become a little bit of a pro at it now if I do say so myself. It seems a little rough at times, as it is really like shoving the syringe down his throat somewhat, but he doesn't seem to hold any grudges and he forgets about it quickly enough.

One more thing to note: I often find Razzle hiding out behind his wheel. I have watched him for long periods of time, and he can sit there very quiet and still. Sometimes he will lay his head down in that exhausted way. Why he likes to go behind his wheel is a mystery to me. When he's behind there, he does not like to be bothered. Maybe that's his little place to sit and think?
Razzle hiding behind his wheel.

In deep hedgie thought..

Monday, May 21, 2007

And Razzleberry Dressing...

Picture of Razzle as my wallpaper on my cell phone. This is the picture everyone sees after asking, "what's a hedgehog?" - taken February 2006

Little Razzle is still hanging tough. He looks a tad tired to me; frail; tiny. He needs to gain a bit of weight still. I'm sure with all the meds, he doesn't have the biggest of appetites anymore. He is still fighting me every morning and night when I go to give him meds, and that's a good thing. Though I have noticed it is getting *somewhat* easier...not sure if it's me just becoming a total PRO at giving a squirmy hedgehog meds or he is not fighting me as much? He hasn't been running hardly at all the last couple nights. Last night he was on the wheel for only 2 minutes and 33 seconds. We still have the odometer hooked up to his wheel and I record every night's running. I check to see if I notice any evidence of this tumor getting bigger, and so far I can't tell. If it has grown at all, it isn't immediately obvious.

Razzle didn't really eat much of his snack last night (Max-cal). The Max-cal was a big hit at first, but maybe he is tired of it. So tonight we are going to try one of his old favorite treats: beef baby food. He did eat a couple wormies tonight though, and that was a good sign. He is still a tad underweight and could use a bit of meat on him. Oh if only I could have that problem! :)

Keep going strong my Razzle!!

This is Razzle assuming "Medicine Avoidance Position"

Oh by the way...I did try to give Razzle medicine by holding him a different way (not on his back) dice. Any other way, he digs his toenails into whatever surface is there and tries to run.

As far as the scratching, I still notice he is scratching here and there, but it's not only the area of his surgery. Now I see him scratching up by his ears on occasion. It might just be your normal "hedgie scratches". He goes in for another follow up this weekend, so I will mention it.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Every Little Thing

Sorry if this seems obsessive blogging about every little thing that Razzle does, but I'm now using this blog as a "record" so I can track changes and behavior in Razzle.

Last night I noticed that he was scratching a lot in the area where he had his surgery. This is also the area where another tumor has reportedly been found. My first reaction was he's scratching because the tumor is growing and bothering him. But upon further reflection, I'm wondering if his skin there is just irritated? His fur was shaved for his surgery, and while most of it has grown back, it's not fully grown back. Maybe it's just at a stage where it is itchy. Keeping a look-out on that...I hope it's the fur theory and NOT because the tumor is growing...*fingers crossed*

Secondly, I have another theory as to why Razzle is fighting me so much with the meds. Aside from the fact that he just doesn't like them, I think it is because he gets congested in the "medicine-giving-position" (on his back). I have noticed that his nose gets wet....sometimes to the point of spraying on me (hedgie snots!) and also, when I "force" the meds in him, he's having trouble swallowing because he's having trouble breathing. Tonight I will try giving him meds in another position. I don't know if it will work, but we can try.

Lastly, starting Tuesday night, I began giving Razzle a bit of Pedialyte mixed in with his water. I chose the "unflavored" kind. I wasn't sure how Razzle would react to it, since unflavored or not, nothing gets by that super nose! So I gave Razzle two bowls of water - one with Pedialyte and one without - just in case. He's been drinking the water with the Pedialyte and either he likes it or doesn't notice it. However, that night he ran 0.33 miles for 18 minutes. This is tied with last week's record run of 0.33, only that was done in 19 minutes. So he shaved an entire minute off his run. This is the most he has run since his surgery. :)

I'm trying to be positive about these little things. It's hard not to be sad when I look back at Razzle's running log and see all the nights he ran 3, 4 or 5 miles. He would run for hours effortlessly. I would wake up to a wheel that looked like a dozen horses trampled around on it. Now I'm lucky if there are a few little poos on there. But overall, Razzle is doing good. He's got his appetite back. He's as squirmy as ever. He's running a little bit every night. He tires more easily now and yawns a lot more, but that is to be expected. But he's doing good considering the obstacles he has before him. He hasn't given up, so neither will we.

Way to go Razzle! Keep up the good work! <3

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Long and Bumpy Road....

Well....I think a great name for a new Super Rollercoaster ride with all kinds of ups, downs, twists & turns should be, "THE RAZZLEMEISTER".

Steve had taken Razzle for his appointment this morning and I called during and after to find out everything that was going on. He told me all the good news.

He didn't tell me the bad news until I got home.

Being the sweet, caring boyfriend that he is, he didn't want to upset me at work. But when I got home he told me that during Razzle's X-ray this morning, another tumor was found. It most likely is exactly the same kind of "harmless" lump that we just had removed last month. The problem is, Razzle's heart could not handle another surgery, so there is nothing we can do except wait...and hope for the best. The last tumor was rather aggressive and had grown quickly. It also had started to "invade" some important organs. So...we have to hope this is a slow growing tumor. Or, let's get crazy for a moment and hope that it just GOES AWAY!!

I spent a lot of time with Razzle tonight, much to his chagrin. All he wanted to do was squrim away! But he's eating, he's active, he has so much life. His X-rays showed that even the congestion in his lungs has improved. Why this tumor?!? We are trying an antioxidant mixture that I will give to Razzle once a day in hopes that it will dissolve or at least greatly slow down this tumor. I'm not ready to give up on him yet, and apparently, neither is he.

Vet Check-Up Today

Razzle went in for his 2 week post-hospital checkup. He's looking gooood!!! His doctors said his lungs sound better!! YAY!!

We had the following questions today:

1) Medicine issues: Very difficult to give meds. Is it stressing him out too much? Also - sometimes he throws up the meds. Afraid he's not getting proper dosages. Can't rely on mixing in with food if he doesn't eat it all. Are shots an option? Will it hurt him?

Shots are not an option. We must still try to get Razzle to take his meds by mouth. It really is a tough task with Razzle and his kickboxing moves. I was afraid he was stressed out, but his doctor said, if he were stressed, he'd roll up in a ball. He is doing the exact opposite! It's good he has so much fight I guess, but it certainly is not easy trying to get those meds in him!

2) FOOD: has he gained enough weight? Should we still feed Maxi-Cal ? Concerned about too much fat and Fatty Liver Disease. Because he didn't eat for several days, could Fatty Liver Disease have started? Any way to test for it? Can it be reversed?

Yes, we sound continue on the Maxi-Cal. Maxi-Cal (Eucanuba Maximum Calorie) is just as it says: high calorie! But Razzle still can use a little weight on him. As far as Fatty Liver Disease, there may be beginnings of that just due to the nature of his heart condition. But, as long as he is eating, he is doing good. Razzle will be happy - he loves the Maxi-Cal! It's like Chinese Food for Hedgehogs.

3) Mouth / Teeth: His mouth and jaw seem different to me for some reason. Keep thinking he might be sore from me forcing meds on him.

The meds (particularly LASIX - a diuretic) may dry out his mouth, which would account for the different sounds/movements from Razzle's mouth.

4) Had a couple green poos. Stress? Meds? Need fecal float done.

He does have an overgrowth of yeast (probably from the antibiotic). He is on a probiotic (BeneBac) but in addition, we were given yet another medicine for the yeast. Oh Joy!

5) Ask about PEDIALYTE. Would this be good to give to Razzle? Will the Lasix cause any electrolyte imbalance or dehydration issues? He does appear to be drinking sufficient water. Would adding a bit of Pedialyte to his water be beneficial?

Yes, it can't hurt. It might even give him a bit more energy. Now to decide upon which flavor - apple or grape?

6) Ask about LANOXIN...a heart med. Would this be a good addition to his medicine arsenal - not that I want to add more meds, but thought I'd ask!

No. This medication is much too strong for hedgies. Maybe as a last ditch effort only.

7) Needs nails clipped.

One pedicure - done!

Follow-up in 2 weeks.
Razzle at the doctor's office

Monday, May 14, 2007

Stylized Razzle

Everyone knows Razzle has style! A few cute photos for your viewing pleasure....

Little Boy Blue....

An Angel on a Cloud

Poster Raz

Funky Abstract Raz

Charcoal Bath

Warhol Raz

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Everything's Coming Up Razzley...

Stitches are all healed up.....

Fur that was shaved for surgery has grown back.

A healthy appetite has been restored.

Pre-hospital figure has been regained.

Overall cuteness still intact.

Lots of reasons to smile!

Now the little darling needs a BATH and NAIL TRIM!!!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Razzle is HOME and EATING!

So we rushed up to the hospital on Friday afternoon to see if I could get Razzle to eat. He had a lot of energy and looked better (though small) but he still wouldn't eat. He seemed to have a bit of cabin-fever from being cooped up in his tiny aquarium and just wouldn't sit still!! He wasn't interested in eating - not even his beloved wormies. He just wanted to escape, it seemed. We thought he'd have a better chance of eating if in his own environment. He had been doing good off oxygen, so his doctor said she would recommend he go home with us.

Razzle X-rays....notice his quills!!

We took him home and he slept for the remainder of the day. I'm sure he was happy to be in his igloo with his comfy blankies. As much as I wanted to check on him every 10 minutes, I let him be. I'm sure the peace and quiet was much appreciated.

That night, I had left a smorgasbord of all kinds of treats for him to choose from. Of course, he picked the high calorie food we got at the vet's (used for weight gain in animals that have lost a substantial amount of weight - it's like the Pizza of pet foods). We were so happy that he was eating!! That night, he even ran a few minutes on his wheel!!

He did well over the weekend and continues to get stronger every day. His heart meds have been increased, and he is now also on an antibiotic for his lung infection. Giving meds has now become a 2-person ordeal. Razzle wants no part of it and is so squirmy that it's nearly impossible to get the little syringe to his mouth. Steve now has to help me and try to hold Razzle's head gently while I try to position the syringe and quickly adminster meds. It doesn't always work. Sometimes the medicine ends up on his fur; sometimes the floor. His medication is so very important that it must be done, so we try and try until it is. On one hand, I dread giving him his medicine every day and dealing with this struggle; on the other hand, I'm glad he has so much SPUNK!

Goooo Razzzzzzzzle!!!!!!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Hanging in the Balance....

Razzle in his oxygen tank

We went up to visit Razzle again last night. I picked him up and he recognized me right away and unrolled even more than last night. At first, it seemed like he was feeling much better as he showed quite a bit of energy. But then, that burst of energy wore him out fast. I put him back into his oxygen and gave him some mealworms, which he did not eat. He also just wanted to lie down and put his head down. I adjusted his blankie so he felt safe and covered, sang him a couple songs, and looked in on him through the glass aquarium tank. He was lying still, obviously exhausted. I put my head down on the table next to the glass and stayed there with him for a while. Then he turned his head and looked at me through the glass for a little while. I dont know if he was telling me he was going to be ok..or not.

This morning we called to check on his progress and were greeted with no-so-promising news. Razzle's respiration did NOT improve overnight. He's been kept in oxygen with the hope that we could slowly wean him off and he'll be able to come home. He also did not eat...not even the worms I left for him. We are to speak with Razzle's main doctor today to hear more and discuss our "next steps".

The news this morning was not good. And I'm doing everything I can to keep positive and hold on to some hope that Razzle pulls through. He's a strong boy and a fighter. I just want him to be home, sleeping in his favorite igloo, hearing him hiss at me for bugging him, fighting with me when I give him meds, gobbling up hamburger and wormies, running on his wheel and making a big ol' mess. I haven't cleaned a messy wheel in over a week now. What I'd do to be at the sink scrubbing a poopy wheel....

Come on Razzle!!!!!!!!!!

Spoke with Razzle's primary care just now (actually Steve did - I'm too much of a mess right now...) and she sounded a bit more hopeful. Her biggest concern is that he isn't eating. If we can get him to eat, then we'll be in much better position. But I know my boy....he won't eat around strangers and especially if he feels he's being watched. Maybe if he's hungry enough, he will, but I'm not sure? So I asked Steve to call back and see if we can come up there. I think I can talk to Razzle and tell him the importance of eating. He did eat a little the other night when I was with him, though he did not last night. So I think a good talking to is in order.

I also don't know if I can stay at work much longer. I've been hiding out at my desk, afraid to see/talk to anyone for fear they will ask me about Razzle. It's going to be a long day....

UPDATE 1:04pm
Steve is coming to pick me up from work and we are heading up to the vet's office. I am going to see if I can get Razzle to eat something. I think we are also going to have to talk about what our next steps are in terms of his care...what his chances are of getting better and coming home with us. Keeping fingers, toes, and quills crossed for my pumpkin. Come on Razzle!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Never get too comfortable....

On Tuesday, April 24th, Razzle had his follow-up appointment from his surgery he had on Tuesday, April 10th. He was doing great -- running, eating...his stitches were pretty much all healed up. He looked fantastic and seemingly felt so too. He got a glowing health report and we finally were able to breathe a sigh of relief that Razzle's health issues were under control....

Then last night, Tuesday May 1st, we had to rush him to the hospital where he spent the night. Tuesdays seems to be bad days.

Seems ever since that wonderful follow-up appointment, Razzle starting acting different. We noticed his activity level started dropping off. Also, it seemed like he wasn't eating as much. Over the past couple days in particular, I noticed his food intake had been very minimum and he hadn't run on his wheel in over 4 days. He looked smaller to me - like he's lost some weight...but I wasn't sure if that was because he had a large tumor removed. After noticing he wasn't eating his crunchies, I gave him some of his favorite snacks, and still - he wasn't eating much. Then last night it looked like he was having trouble swallowing. I went into the kitchen to get him some soft food and Steve told me that he had attempted to eat a crunchie and made some sounds like he was choking on it. He also was acting weird where he would just sit still near his wheel...where normally he would run for his igloo. He was slow moving and then started to bite his toy jingle balls and even the metal wheel stand. ? We took him immediately to the emergency vet where we waited until 2am. They wanted to monitor him overnight and keep him in oxygen. This morning they said he was doing ok, though he did not eat. Today he is going to be looked at by his primary care and most likely have some X-rays done to look at his heart. We have a feeling that his heart is causing these problems. It's just shocking because he was doing SO WELL and it seemed like the heart meds were really helping things. I don't know why the sudden turn-around.

In any event, I just hope my little guy is ok and can come home today. I don't like the fact that he's beginning to be a regular at the vet's office. I wish I had my healthy Razzle back....


Just spoke with the doctor. Razzle has lost a drastic amount of weight - 50gr. in a week. Because of that, they are going to keep him overnight for at least another night. They are going to do X-rays to look at his heart and also really check out his teeth/throat area as well as the site of his surgery to make sure there isn't some underlying infection.

I am really nervous about this drastic weight loss. The doctor did speculate that it might be hard for him to eat/swallow because he is also having trouble breathing due to the enlarged heart. It may be a matter of just upping his heart med dosage.

I'm just so scared that this is the "beginning of the end" much as I hate to even think that....but his heart condition is not going to get any better. We might be able to slow it down a bit, but it's not going to go away. I want to do everything I can for him, and up until this point we have been able to stablize the situation, but I feel like I'm quickly approaching "nothing more that can be done". I hope we're not to that point yet....but I also want him to have a good quality of life. I don't want him to have to go to the ER every 2 weeks....or be forcing tons of meds on him every day. I guess at this point, I just need to wait to hear what the X-rays reveal...

SIGH....oh Razzle....

SECOND UPDATE - wednesday may 2nd

Well they were NOT able to do Razzle's X-ray today. His breathing is very congested due to his enlarged heart pushing fluid into his lungs. The vet did not feel comfortable putting Razzle under anesthesia with his compromised breathing. Instead, they increased his heart meds (which includes a diuretic) and they have him in an oxygen tank that is easing his breathing. The vet said he was stable at the moment, but he does need to stay overnight for monitoring. Hopefully by tomorrow, his heart situation will be stablized so he can safely undergo an X-ray.

We'll be going up to visit our little trooper tonight...


THIRD UPDATE - thursday may 3rd
We went up to visit Razzle last night and he looked ok - more congested than usual and very huffy. He unrolled a bit once I picked him up...he knew it was me. He gave me a little nuzzle on the nose. But he's huffy/scared/mad that he's there and I really want to just take him home so he can relax in his warm igloo. They told us that he had not eaten, and it was nearly impossible for them to syringe feed him since 1) he's huffy and can choke when that upset; and 2) he won't unroll for anyone. So I brought with me his favorite soft food treat and some worms. He did eat a good amount of worms! We only stayed about an hour since we wanted him to relax and maybe eat a little more on his own. This morning the doctor said his congestion was a bit better. He did some wee in the night (great!). He had also done a nice poo the night before.

He DID end up having his X-rays today, and now I am just waiting to get the results back from the doctor. Waiting is the worst. I hope he's well enough to come home tonight. I hope it's just a matter of increasing his meds. I hope his heart hasn't gotten worse. I hope there aren't any more tumors. Come on little've come this far! We're not giving up now!