Saturday, June 30, 2007

Shh! Don't tell Razzle!

Razzle had his 30 day check-up today and...lots of good news! We have to speak in hushed tones about it around the house because it seems that everytime Razzle finds out he's doing well, something happens. So, we're keeping quiet about this good news.

His heart & lungs look good! Even on the lower dosages of the heart meds, he's doing very well. His poos are back to normal, which means no more yeast, so he can stop taking one of his meds for that. Yippee!! He gained weight..he's 401 grams...the most he has ever weighed!
Razzle showing us how it's done...

But the most amazing news today...the second tumor that was found...the tumor that we feared could grow quickly like the last one did....has shrunk!!! It's barely even noticeable on the X-ray!!!

We are going to continue with his heart meds dosages the way the are. We are going to continue with the Pepsid, as that seems to help with any upset stomach he may get from meds. He's going to continue with a low dose of antibiotics as a preventative. And he's going to continue to get stronger and healthier!


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Monday, June 18, 2007


Too many serious posts as of late....I think we are in need of a Razzle photoshoot!

Taken this weekend upon Razzle's return from the hospital. As you can see, nothing can slow this boy down!!
Too quick to be caught

Moving at warp speed

Only a still for a moment

before running for cover!

You need to watch out....

cuz I'm cRaZy!!



Respect the Quills.

Chillin' at home

Razzle's been doing great...he came home on Friday and rested up a bit. By Saturday night, he was looking fantastic! Bright, alert, sniffy and curious. I cut up some white-meat chicken and mixed it up with some baby-food pears and cut up fresh cherries...he LOVED it. He had his feet in the bowl trying to get as much of it as possible and licked the bowl clean. It was so good to see him eating like that again. His poos are back to normal color/consistency. He didn't run much on his wheel though - just a few minutes.

Last night, I gave him more of the chicken, pear & cherries combo and again he snarfed it. He's still taking medicines, but is on a MUCH lower dose of his heart meds. He is also taking Pepsid....yes, as in that stuff you take for heart-burn. It's to help calm his stomach and prevent him from throwing up his medicines.

However, last night we did have a couple scares. I gave him a couple of his meds, then took a break. We watched a little TV with Razzle (he hogs the remote!). He was sniffing around and active for a while, but then curled up to take a nap. I figured he was sleepy, so I let him go back to his igloo, but he still had a couple more meds to take. I gave him his last round of meds of the night and he immediately started throwing up again. :( I am worried sick when this's bad for his heart, it's bad for his kidneys...I don't want him to get dehydrated. Afterwards, he seemed fine...he went over to his food and ate the rest of his chicken, cherries & pears. He also ate some of his crunchies and drank some water w/Pedialyte. He went back over to his crunchies bowl and started eating and at one point, I thought he was choking!!! Then I realized that one of his crunchies got caught on the roof of his mouth. Razzle was struggling...even made a little "squeak" noise. The best thing to do is to let him try and work it out himself. Picking him up could make things worse. I could tell he could it was a matter of letting his saliva moisten the kibble so it would dislodge. It did finally...and he simply ate the kibble and went on his merry way. Whew...

I have been crushing up his kibbles but apparently he must have gotten one that was just a bit too big, or an odd size or something. So now, all kibbles will be reviewed for size/shape so this won't ever happen again. Uggh...poor Razzle!! Apparently, this is more common than we think. I have only witnessed it a few times, but it is never an easy thing to see.

I woke up at 5:30AM this morning to hear Razzle crunching away on his kibbles. I went to spy on him, and he saw me...but kept on crunching! He even came over to me and sniffed at me to let me know he knew I was there. Hee got to get up pretty early in the morning to pull a fast one on that hedgehog. I watched him eat: he ate a good amount of his crunchies - then back into his igloo for the day. He didn't run a whole lot overnight, but he did leave a lot of brown poos around. :)

I called his doctor today to ask what we should do about him throwing up....and she said to space out the meds a bit more. Give him the Pepsid first....then wait and give each medicine separately. I thought I was spacing it out, but I am going to space it out even more.

Another tidbit of interest: Razzle's doctor said that he prefers the temperature a little bit cooler than we thought. Most hedgies are comfortable around 75-80 degrees. Some hedgehogs will even attempt hibernation at anything less than that. We've been diligent about the temperature and making sure Razzle is always kept at hedgie-comfort zone of at least 75. However, in the hospital, they noted that Razzle did not like being near the heat. They had provided him with a heating pad, and Razzle stayed as far away from it as he could. So we were advised to keep it a bit cooler for Razzle - 70-75. It's been hot here (90s) so we have the A/C on low in Razzle's room and he does seem to like it a bit "cooler" at closer to 70 degrees. Steve was very thankful. :)

I was giving super squirmy Razzle his Pepsid tonight and he squirmed out of control and I accidently got some of his medicine in his eye!!!!!!! :-0 We called Animal 911 and they said he should be ok...but we could rinse his eye with saline solution. I put a few drops of saline in Razzle's eye (poor thing!) but he seems ok and his eye looks fine. Egads...

Surprisingly, this is the first time this has happened in all the time I've been giving Razzle his medicine. Poor baby...I felt so bad. I made him his favorite chicken, pears & cherries treat so hopefully he'll forgive me. Uggh. I still have more of his meds to give him tonight since I am spacing them out more. Hopefully it all goes smooth. My poor little prickly!!

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Well my little prickly pumpkin came home today! His kidney levels are better...not 100% back to where they should be, but enough. He was sent home with some new medicines (yippee.) We go back for a check-up in 2 weeks, at which time we'll have a better idea of what we are dealing with. Believe it or not, at this point, Razzle's kidney issues are more serious than even his heart condition. I think the reason it is more serious is that, if he does have kidney failure/disease, his health can go downhill real fast. His heart condition is a slower progression (though, as we have seen, it can cause many peripheral issues like lung infections, respiratory issues and is more than likely what is causing his kidney problems). Soooo...hopefully when we go back for his check-up, his kidney levels have gone back down to normal.

As far as that tumor that was found, that has NOT grown any bigger at all and is the least of our worries. Though, with the way things have gone over the past few months, that is subject to change at any time!!! Seems every other week our focus of worry is turned upon something else. There are more twists and turns to Razzle's story than a Sherlock Holmes novel.
Elementary, my dear Mum..

Right now, Razzle is resting peacefully in his igloo. He loves being home. He looks great. He feels great. That's the best I can ask for right now. I'm hoping things continue like this for a long, long time....

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hospital Stay = Day 3

I called the hospital this morning to find out how Razzle did overnight. They said that he was doing fine, though he didn't eat much. They did attempt to syringe feed him and got a little food in him, but he was so stressed out that they had to stop. At least he did eat some when I visited. He did eat mealworms this morning though. He is spoiled rotten with the mealworms now, and I'm sure Mr. Smarty-Quills has figured out that if he refuses his regular food and holds out long enough, he will be given wormies by the dozens.

This afternoon he had his blood levels checked again and good news: the kidney/liver functions that were much too high have gone down by 1/3. His poos are still green, but more formed. Unfortunately, they want to keep him at least another night to continue with the sub-q fluids (fluids injected just under the skin and then absorbed by the body). But he is doing well overall!! So we'll be going up tonight to visit. I'm going to bring some of his crunchies too in hopes he'll eat a familiar food.

I've been reading about kidney disease, and while there isn't a lot of information about kidney disease in hedgehogs (okay...there's NOTHING on kidney disease in hedgehogs) at least in people I've read that the blood tests determine the amount of urea nitrogen in the blood. This is called BUN (blood urea nitrogen) level. If this is too high (like Razzle's) it indicates that the kidneys are not properly doing their function of removing urea from the blood. It could be kidney failure. But other reasons why the BUN level would increase are: heart failure (yup); dehydration (yup again); and a diet high in protein. HOLD ON?? Perhaps this is different in people as opposed to hedgies, but I thought hedgies were SUPPOSED to have a high protein/low fat diet? Something else to ask the doctor. It's frustrating to know that the "ideal" hedgehog diet has not really been determined yet since hedgie domestication is a relatively recent thing, so it's really all a bit of a guessing game. Jeez, I hope I've been giving Razzle the right foods. What a sickening thought to think someday when more research is done that they determine we had it all wrong. Uggh...I can't think about that right now.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Update on Hospital Stay = Day 2

Razzle did well overnight. I spoke with the doctor this morning and she was reading me the notes on Razzle and it said, "Slept most of the night. Was not interested in eating." I said, 'Oh he did eat some when we came to visit! I asked him to eat and he did!'. ;) Just then, they were offering Razzle mealworms and the doctor said he was lunging at them and wolfing them down!! That's my boy! She said he looks good; looks bright and alert; calm. He's been resting comfortably. They will do more blood work to see how his kidney/liver functions are doing. He'll spend another night at the hospital. I hope he can come home tomorrow though. It just doesn't seem right to not have Razzle at home.
Went to visit Razzle tonight. I immediately noticed the new (bad!) attitude! Mr. Huff Butt Hufflemeister was in full-force letting me know without question that he was mad. Daaammmnn mad....
Look, see. I've had it up to here, see? I want out. Out I say!

I brought with me some mealworms, which Razzle lunged at. I mean, I barely moved my hand away in time. He ate several of them. I put a few in his baby-food as well so at least he'd have to eat some of it along with the worms.
I see you wormies!

Going in for the attack!

No more mealworms?? What's the big idea?

He looks much better - very feisty, plumper. He's still not eating a whole lot though. It seems all he wants is mealworms, but he needs to start eating regular foods. If it were up to Razzle, I think he'd be just happy on an unlimited mealworm diet. Normally he shouldn't eat so many worms, but right now he needs whatever nutrients he can get. And he is willingly (understatement!) eating the worms. He is still having green poos though since he hasn't eaten much.

After all his fighting and huffing around, he finally relaxed and we sat quietly for a while before I gave him kisses goodbye until tomorrow.
Ready for a nap

Good night Razzle. Please eat something during the night sweetie. I want to take you home!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Going to the Doctor today

I called Razzle's doctor yesterday and explained how he has been throwing up his medicines and has been lethargic the last couple days. She said to stop all medicine except for the Enacard (heart med) and if he is still lethargic, to bring him in.

When I pick Razzle up, he's squirmy as usual. But left alone, he very inactive. He also hasn't been eating much and he is noticeably smaller. I put out Maxi-cal (which he is apparently sick of now because he never touches it) and beef babyfood. He took a few bites of his beef baby-food and only ate a few kibbles. He slept most of the night. This morning I went to check on him and noticed a very clean cage. No poo anywhere? Lifted up the igloo and saw a huge, green jelly mess all over Razzle's back. He was on his wheel for just over a minute and in that time, he must have done his business and then walked on his wheel and the poo just plopped on his quills. Poor thing! So into the bathtub he went. The jelly poos are reason alone to bring him in today, but his lack of eating is also getting worrisome. So I am taking the morning off from work - possibly day - and taking him in for a check up. Fingers crossed for better news!!!!


You should know the drill by now - there's good news and bad news. Good news is, Razzle's heart condition at the moment is stabilized. Unfortunately, the reason his heart condition is fine is because there is no congestion around his heart/lungs because he is dehydrated. And while being dehydrated is great for the heart, it's not so good for the kidneys.

Razzle needs to stay at the hospital for at least the next couple nights to be monitored and given fluids. He is at risk for kidney failure right now. Good news is...he's not IN kidney failure right now: we are hoping by administering fluids that this is prevented. It could be just a kidney infection that is causing this. It could be the beginnings of kidney failure. We'll know more as he is monitored.

Razzle has been taking a diuretic so the excess fluid around his heart doesn't spill over into his lungs and cause breathing difficulties and/or a lung infection (like what he was hospitalized for last month). Yet the diuretic can stress out the kidneys since it has a dehydrating effect. Everything is so intertwined and it's quite a little balancing act, which accounts for all the ups & downs the past few months.

Razzle hasn't been eating/drinking as much over the last couple days for whatever reason and he also has thrown up his medicines a few times. This all could have led to the dehydration. His doctor said that it doesn't appear that he is in any pain or discomfort -- he's just a little tired and worn out. Once his fluid levels even out, he should get his ol' Razzy-ness back. Hopefully he'll get some food in him. We're going to go up to the hospital tonight and see if he might eat a bit for me. He's lost a lot of weight quickly. Just last week, things were headed in the opposite direction where I thought he looked the best he had in weeks. It's scary how quickly things change.

I just hope I can have Razzle home again soon....eating, drinking, pooping, wheeling. Doing all his hedgie things. He's bounced back every time so far...I hope he's still got more bounce in him. He's come so far despite all these obstacles. As long as there is a chance he can be happy and comfortable, we'll keep doing all we can for him. It's been a long and winding road, but we haven't reached the end.

Just got home from visiting Razzle at the hospital. My first impression was that he looked good! He looks bigger (probably from the fluids they administered) and seemed pretty spunky when I picked him up. He was his typical squirmy self! He had a bowl of water and two bowls of yummy-looking treats in the aquarium tank with him. I asked him if he could show me how he eats his snacks, and he went over to a bowl and took several enthusiastic bites!! We were thrilled! Then he went over to his water bowl and drank quite a bit of water!!! Wooohoooo!! But, you know Razzle can never let us get *too comfortable* thinking all is well, so after eating he promptly plunked down in exhaustion right there near the bowl. That didn't look good. :( He's just so tired. I'm sure it's due to the fact that he didn't get his sleep today; then being poked and prodded, given fluids, blood wonder he's wiped. We stayed for about a half hour or so and I told Razzle he was going to be coming home very soon and will be able to sleep in his igloo with his favorite blankies.....then we had to let Razzle get his much needed sleep. He's doing ok it least much better than the last hospital stay where he had to be in oxygen and he wasn't eating. So I'll call the doctor first thing in the morning to see how he did overnight and hope to get some promising news. Come on Razzle! I know you can pull through again my little prickle pear! :)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

And the pendulum swings...

Oh Razzle. It just wouldn't be like you not to make us worry.

After his record run, Razzle has been taking it easy. Things have been quiet. Not much running on the wheel. Snacks went uneaten. But, after such a marathon run, a rest was well deserved.

But tonight I went to give Razzle his medicine, and again, he threw up. Terribly. Right after, he did a couple jelly-green poos. SIGH. Not good. So a call to the doctor is in order tomorrow morning. Theories this time are: perhaps I should let him run around a bit and do his business before I give him medicine. Maybe his stomach is too full and that is why he is throwing up? Theory on the green poo: we did get Razzle a special treat yesterday - LIVE mealworms. He ate several of them. Razzle has not been eating his snacks and can still stand to put some weight on him, so I probably gave him way too many worms. :(

I'm hoping that's all it is. As far as the throwing up of medicines, that is very worrisome. We'll see what his doctor says about that....

*hoping for better news soon*

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Record Run!

For over a year now, we've been recording Razzle's running time/mileage with a nifty odometer we (Steve) hooked up. It was a feat in mathematical wizardry figuring out how to calibrate the odometer to accurately calculate the mileage for the small diameter of a hedgie wheel! Luckily Steve was able to figure it out since I am by no means a mathematician.

Back in "the day", Razzle would run an average of 4 miles per night. His all-time record was 7 miles. His running time diminished greatly shortly before we discovered he had a heart condition. And his running time diminished even further after his surgery.

He still runs, however. It may just be for a couple minutes. It may be just for 0.05/miles. He has not even run as much as half a mile since about February.

Last night didn't start out being a great night. I gave Razzle his medicines, this time spacing them out since we've had some issues with him throwing up. He was fine until I gave him his last one, Nystatin (used to treat the overproduction of yeast in his stool). Immediately after administering the Nystatin, Razzle threw up. It is just so terrible to see him throwing up, especially since there is nothing I can do. I also can't help but look on in fear as I'm sure this violent action is not good for his heart. There will be no more Nystatin. He should be all set with it anyway, but obviously it's just too harsh for him.

But Razzle is one tough dude....he didn't let some nasty medicine ruin his night!! He just shook it off and went right over to his food bowl! He also ran THE MOST he has run since his heart diagnosis. He ran a whopping 0.48 (shattering his previous record run of 0.22) and ran for almost a HALF HOUR. Before I went to sleep, I heard Razzle running on his wheel and called out some encouraging words, "Good boy Razzle!! You're doing a great job!" I would wake in the middle of the night and still hear him running! He also ate a ton of his crunchies - moreso than usual - and made just a big ol' mess everywhere. I think he may have been celebrating his friend Geoffrey's birthday!! :-) It was really promising to see him with more energy. I hope this means he's feeling better and maybe his heart condition is improving. *fingers crossed*

Keep up the good work Razzle!!

Nobody behind this wheel but us teeth!

Excuse me waiter, but there isn't a bug on my plate...

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Geoffrey's Birthday!

One of Razzle's friends has a birthday today - a very special hedgie named Geoffrey! He turns TWO today!!
Click here to see a photo of the adorable Geoffrey!!


Saturday, June 2, 2007

Razzle Romper Room

The recent muggy weather has been noticeably affecting Razzle. The humidity definitely is not easy on heart disease patients. Last night, Razzle plopped down for quite a while, obviously pooped. He didn't run at all on his wheel and was generally quite lethargic.
Hot & Hazy Chicago:

Hot & Hazy Razzle:

We've also had some issues lately with Razzle throwing up his medicines. Until this past week, I had never witnessed Razzle throwing up, and it's not a sight that sat well with me. There was nothing I could do but leave him alone. I'm not sure if it was the combination of the drugs or the fact that they went down his throat too fast...but it happened again tonight, unfortunately.

So tonight for something special I put together his play-pen with toys and hiding spots and places to play.
Razzle's Play Land:

So far, he seems to be enjoying it!

I plan to let Razzle have the entire night in the playpen so he can enjoy total freedom running around. I hope to see evidence in the morning that a good time was had!