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Old 11-20-2016, 09:33 AM   #1
ackland77
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Default Hamster sleeping behaviour - Recently lost two in the space of a week! Very anxious

Hi!

Sorry this is going to be long!

I used to have two Syrian hamsters, the first bought October 9th (2015) called Chichi and the the other bought 13th January in 2016 who is called Jango. They were both girls (:

On November the 8th I noticed Chichi started to have a little bit of diarrhoea but was still eating, drinking and loved coming out to run around. I made an appointment at the vets on the 9th to get her checked over. The vet gave me antibiotics and told me to come back once they were over incase I needed to see a specialist exotic vet. The following day I had her out and gave her the medicine. She was eating and drinking and running around on me and my boyfriend. I checked on her at 10:30pm to make sure her bum was okay - which it was. At 12:45am I felt really weird so I went and checked on Chichi, she wasn't moving and had passed away.

From the 10th I kept a very close eye on my other hamster because we had NO idea what happened to Chichi and she would of only been around 13 months! I set up an appointment for jango to have a health check on the 15th November. During the week Jango was her usual self, she is very adventurous and loves her ball and wheel! She was eating, taking treats, running in her ball, loving cuddles. I woke her up at 5:55pm to get her ready for her 6:30pm appointment. I noticed she was being quite weird and not responding. She couldn't lift her head and when she tried to walk she would fall onto her side. Her bottom was also completely wet but there was no diarrhoea on her or in her cage.

We immediately drove to the vets and we saw a nurse because there was a mix up of communication as the vet saw another animal before us because the goddamn receptionist didn't report it as an emergency He took one look at her and said we need to put her down. Jango was around 10 months old!

I am completely devasted and literally shut down - I spoke to my mum later that evening and she said Jango may of had a stroke and could of recovered. That just made me feel awful.

I asked the nurse, vet and other veterinary assistant what had happened to Jango and they all said they'd need to open her up to see!

FAST FORWARD TO NOW!

On the 12th November we bought a Syrian hamster who is 9 weeks old

*i just want to say I didn't buy her to replace Chichi. I had seen Flump for weeks and was planning on buying her at the end of November if she was still there.

We've had her dead on a week now; the first few days she was running on her wheel for hours! She is very timid so I don't try and constantly try to pick her and let her come out by herself. I've noticed over the past 2-3 days she is sleeping a lot more and I barely see her. I usually wake up a lot to go for a wee, so at like 12:30, 2am, 4am times - which is the times she's was usually awake.

I don't know if I'm being too paranoid because I lost my other two without warning and I'm terrrified of her being in pain
I did check her bum yesterday and she was clear!


ALSO; all Syrian hamsters were bought from PetsAtHome

Anyone else experienced the same? Or can give me some guidance?
I really want to complain to Pets At Home because they were both so young
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Old 11-20-2016, 11:27 AM   #2
souffle
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Default Re: Hamster sleeping behaviour - Recently lost two in the space of a week! Very anxio

I'm sorry for your losses.
In hammy years they were not really so young. Wet tail would only affect a younger hamster so it wasn't true wet tail they had. The most common cause of death in younger females is a womb infection or pyometra and these hams don't really display many symptoms till they are quite ill however some of the things you describe do suggest it may have been this. It could have been a stroke howver hamsters with a stroke mostly will survive only if they get through the first 24hrs and if there is no damage to crital organ function like the bladder and bowel. Antibiotics can give some remission from a pyo but it does come back soon. Pet store hamsters are usually from mass breeders and they are bred in numbers and often don't have the best start in life nor are the parents health screened so you do see lines that are prone to problems and may pass away younger than would be hoped. I doubt you would have any success with a complaint as they were of a reasonable age to be honest but you could contact customer services and mention what happened and that you would hope to have had them both much longer.
With your current baby it may be that she is now a much more settled hamster and is getting into a routine with her own timetable. Keep vigilant with checking her and ensure she is drinking. Leave food hidden and on the wheel to see it vanished so you know she is getting up. Try and teach her to come out when you rustle the shavings and keep handling. It's been cold lately too so make sure she has plenty tissue bedding and her room is comfortable.
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Old 11-20-2016, 01:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: Hamster sleeping behaviour - Recently lost two in the space of a week! Very anxio

It must have been awful having two die like that. And I can quite understand your worry now you have another one - it was all a bit traumatic. But the main thing is - it was nothing you did. As Souffle says a lot of these things are due to genetics/breeding and conditions that female Syrians are prone to. So your new little hamster has just as much chance as any other hamster out there Our Syrian is a pet shop hamster and he is almost two and a half now! (Which is about 100 in human years).

The main things to help them along with their health are - good diet, keeping warm enough (or cool enough in summer) and avoiding too much stress as they do get stressed by certain things and that can lower the immune system.

Sorry if you know all that already. But as long as you give her a good quality hamster mix and supplement with a bit of raw fresh veg every day or two, clean water every day, and plenty of torn up strips of toilet paper to build a big cosy nest, you are doing all a hammy needs. It's best not to disturb their cage layout if you can - once it's set up it's best left as it is as long as possible (ie until something breaks). Moving things around can cause them a bit of stress. Also leave the nest and hoard in tact if you can - you may need to remove some of the hoard if it gets pee'd on, but if it's dry it's ok left for quite some time. As with the nest. And as much depth of substrate as you can - minimum 3 to 4" deep but ideally 6" or more - this encourages burrowing and digging and also reduces the need for big cage cleans (usually the bottom half of the substrate stays dry when it's deep) so you can just spot clean the top substrate now and then and only need to do a full cage clean ever 2 or 3 months or so. Even then I only do "partial" cleans so as to reduce stress and leave familiar scent - so I'll do the substrate - keeping the bottom half and mixing it in with the new, but not clean the wheel or toys. Then another week I'll clean the week and only clean the toys occasionally if they really need it or are gathering dust! Using a potty litter tray also helps keep the need for cage cleaning down - if you put it in the area/corner the hammy has chosen to pee in. Our hammy only pees in his toilet - the rest of the cage stays dry.

ie always leave something familiar smelling when cleaning anything and avoid using scented products that can aggravate. A warm damp cloth is fine unless here has been illness or disease.

Another area is - contentment. A hammy that is tamed and familiar with you and has quality time with you, a bond with you, and out of cage time regularly, in a playpen or safe area fenced off, will have the health benefits of love, trust and bond with an owner. All these things will help - but at the end of the day genetics will play their part too. xxx

I've always given Charlie quite a bit of fresh food and a lot of people on here supplement their diet. He gets his hamster mix every day (he has Harry Hamster which contains everything needed and just about enough protein but extra bits of protein in the first year help - they need a lot of protein in their first year). Plus he gets a very small piece of fresh veg every day (broccoli, carrot, cucumber, sugar snap peas, baby corn, cauliflower - whatever we have in - just a tiny floret or a 1cm squared size piece (just for size - doesn't have to be square). I also put two other "extras" out and hide them in the cage - always in the same place so he knows where to look. These are either, half a brazil nut, half a pecan nut, a raisin, a small piece of apple or banana or cheese, half a cashew not (plain not roasted or salted), a few pumpkin seeds. And if we are having a roast chicken he gets a piece of that. You can also give them a little bit of scrambled egg or porridge on a teaspoon too! Scrambled egg, plain chicken and nuts are all good for protein and brazil nuts have something in that's good for the immune system so I give Charlie half of one once a week.

As much variety of set up and diet as possible can be good - in terms of extras and fresh food - but hamster mix should only ever be changed gradually to avoid digestive upset. And veg should be introduced slowly too. Say once every 3 days then every 2 then every day, over 2 or 3 weeks. Our hammy goes crazy for any fresh food - he loves his daily bit of veg - I put it in a different place to his hamster mix - on top of a little ceramic log he has.

Talking to them also helps them get to know you and I swear Charlie knows what I say! I explain things to him! I say sorry sometimes, we sing him little songs, and if any kind of upheaval is about to happen I explain to him in advance and he almost nods and then it seems to go smoothly They are quite sensitive little things I think and I felt terrible when we first upgraded Charlie's cage because I just plopped him into the new one cold turkey and he was a wreck for about 10 days. I've done things a bit more gradually since and treated him like you would someone you care for rather than something to be rearranged or organised. So his next cage change had some explanation, a couple of playtimes in the new one and then a gentler move. Just as an example.

I am sure you know a lot of this but it's just my take on - don't worry. Just give her good food, a good cage and lots of love and whether her life is shorter or longer she'll have had a good life with you. It's hard that one year of their lives is equivalent to 40 of ours and that they don't live for a very long time. But I also find it fascinating seeing them go through the stages of life. From little baby to naughty teenager to difficulty middle age, and the tolerance and gentleness of old age. In fact now Charlie is so old I worry more that he might have a slow lingering death rather than an unexpected sudden one. Either way - it's hard xxxx But you have lots of happy times ahead with your new hammy.

It's natural to feel anxious that one day you will find her ill or gone. I hope that settles down quite quickly. Your confidence in that area will grow as you get to know her and her personality and find out how robust or not she is. Looking forward to seeing photos.

The only other thing I'd say is - their environment can enhance their quality of life - so enough substrate, enough space, variety of levels and textures and toys in a cage to keep life fun and interesting, and plenty of hidey places and a nice big wheel Not sure what cage you have but something 80cm x 50cm to 120cm x 50cm is good. Charlie is in a 100cm Barney cage from Zooplus, but the 84cm Alaska cage is good too.
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Old 11-20-2016, 03:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: Hamster sleeping behaviour - Recently lost two in the space of a week! Very anxio

I'm very sorry you lost your two hammies

Pets at Home aren't the most ethical breeders, so the hammies there often do have quite a bad start to life.

My first thought when reading this was a diet-related issue! I'm sure this is none of your fault, but were you feeding Chichi and Jango the same food (from the same bag) and did you recently open a new bag? What food did they have? It could have been a batch problem.

As for being more sleepy the last few days, that's likely from a weather change or her just settling into her new home and being more comfortable when you're asleep. If you are concerned, I would take her to a vet.
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Old 11-20-2016, 04:03 PM   #5
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Default Re: Hamster sleeping behaviour - Recently lost two in the space of a week! Very anxio

If she is shy she may be avoiding coming out when she knows you're around. You could try putting a small bit of substrate on top of her wheel when you go to bed and see if it's gone in the morning If it has she's been using her wheel during the night. It is cold weather at the moment too so make sure she has loads of nesting material and the room is warm enough - we leave a little oil filled heater on overnight at the moment and have a snugglesafe heat pad on the side of the cage as well.
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Old 11-21-2016, 06:27 AM   #6
ackland77
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Default Re: Hamster sleeping behaviour - Recently lost two in the space of a week! Very anxio

Quote:
Originally Posted by souffle View Post
I'm sorry for your losses.
In hammy years they were not really so young. Wet tail would only affect a younger hamster so it wasn't true wet tail they had. The most common cause of death in younger females is a womb infection or pyometra and these hams don't really display many symptoms till they are quite ill however some of the things you describe do suggest it may have been this. It could have been a stroke howver hamsters with a stroke mostly will survive only if they get through the first 24hrs and if there is no damage to crital organ function like the bladder and bowel. Antibiotics can give some remission from a pyo but it does come back soon. Pet store hamsters are usually from mass breeders and they are bred in numbers and often don't have the best start in life nor are the parents health screened so you do see lines that are prone to problems and may pass away younger than would be hoped. I doubt you would have any success with a complaint as they were of a reasonable age to be honest but you could contact customer services and mention what happened and that you would hope to have had them both much longer.
With your current baby it may be that she is now a much more settled hamster and is getting into a routine with her own timetable. Keep vigilant with checking her and ensure she is drinking. Leave food hidden and on the wheel to see it vanished so you know she is getting up. Try and teach her to come out when you rustle the shavings and keep handling. It's been cold lately too so make sure she has plenty tissue bedding and her room is comfortable.
I guess I'm just at the stage of being angry. Considering I took Chichi in very quickly and the vet was like "Oh she's okay, no signs of wet tail; just going to give her some antibiotics and she'll be fine" and then she died a day later. It was an absolute shock and I wasn't expecting it because her behaviour hadn't changed.

It was the same with Jango; I had her out in her ball at 3:45pmish and by 6p she couldn't walk at all. I was just completely confused, upset and it was horrible to see. And to get 0 answers from the vets was even more frustrating The only reason I said she had a stroke was because it's more peace of mind for me, in the way I know how she actually died and not left utterly confused

Thank you though


Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
It must have been awful having two die like that. And I can quite understand your worry now you have another one - it was all a bit traumatic. But the main thing is - it was nothing you did. As Souffle says a lot of these things are due to genetics/breeding and conditions that female Syrians are prone to. So your new little hamster has just as much chance as any other hamster out there Our Syrian is a pet shop hamster and he is almost two and a half now! (Which is about 100 in human years).

The main things to help them along with their health are - good diet, keeping warm enough (or cool enough in summer) and avoiding too much stress as they do get stressed by certain things and that can lower the immune system.

Sorry if you know all that already. But as long as you give her a good quality hamster mix and supplement with a bit of raw fresh veg every day or two, clean water every day, and plenty of torn up strips of toilet paper to build a big cosy nest, you are doing all a hammy needs. It's best not to disturb their cage layout if you can - once it's set up it's best left as it is as long as possible (ie until something breaks). Moving things around can cause them a bit of stress. Also leave the nest and hoard in tact if you can - you may need to remove some of the hoard if it gets pee'd on, but if it's dry it's ok left for quite some time. As with the nest. And as much depth of substrate as you can - minimum 3 to 4" deep but ideally 6" or more - this encourages burrowing and digging and also reduces the need for big cage cleans (usually the bottom half of the substrate stays dry when it's deep) so you can just spot clean the top substrate now and then and only need to do a full cage clean ever 2 or 3 months or so. Even then I only do "partial" cleans so as to reduce stress and leave familiar scent - so I'll do the substrate - keeping the bottom half and mixing it in with the new, but not clean the wheel or toys. Then another week I'll clean the week and only clean the toys occasionally if they really need it or are gathering dust! Using a potty litter tray also helps keep the need for cage cleaning down - if you put it in the area/corner the hammy has chosen to pee in. Our hammy only pees in his toilet - the rest of the cage stays dry.

ie always leave something familiar smelling when cleaning anything and avoid using scented products that can aggravate. A warm damp cloth is fine unless here has been illness or disease.

Another area is - contentment. A hammy that is tamed and familiar with you and has quality time with you, a bond with you, and out of cage time regularly, in a playpen or safe area fenced off, will have the health benefits of love, trust and bond with an owner. All these things will help - but at the end of the day genetics will play their part too. xxx

I've always given Charlie quite a bit of fresh food and a lot of people on here supplement their diet. He gets his hamster mix every day (he has Harry Hamster which contains everything needed and just about enough protein but extra bits of protein in the first year help - they need a lot of protein in their first year). Plus he gets a very small piece of fresh veg every day (broccoli, carrot, cucumber, sugar snap peas, baby corn, cauliflower - whatever we have in - just a tiny floret or a 1cm squared size piece (just for size - doesn't have to be square). I also put two other "extras" out and hide them in the cage - always in the same place so he knows where to look. These are either, half a brazil nut, half a pecan nut, a raisin, a small piece of apple or banana or cheese, half a cashew not (plain not roasted or salted), a few pumpkin seeds. And if we are having a roast chicken he gets a piece of that. You can also give them a little bit of scrambled egg or porridge on a teaspoon too! Scrambled egg, plain chicken and nuts are all good for protein and brazil nuts have something in that's good for the immune system so I give Charlie half of one once a week.

As much variety of set up and diet as possible can be good - in terms of extras and fresh food - but hamster mix should only ever be changed gradually to avoid digestive upset. And veg should be introduced slowly too. Say once every 3 days then every 2 then every day, over 2 or 3 weeks. Our hammy goes crazy for any fresh food - he loves his daily bit of veg - I put it in a different place to his hamster mix - on top of a little ceramic log he has.

Talking to them also helps them get to know you and I swear Charlie knows what I say! I explain things to him! I say sorry sometimes, we sing him little songs, and if any kind of upheaval is about to happen I explain to him in advance and he almost nods and then it seems to go smoothly They are quite sensitive little things I think and I felt terrible when we first upgraded Charlie's cage because I just plopped him into the new one cold turkey and he was a wreck for about 10 days. I've done things a bit more gradually since and treated him like you would someone you care for rather than something to be rearranged or organised. So his next cage change had some explanation, a couple of playtimes in the new one and then a gentler move. Just as an example.

I am sure you know a lot of this but it's just my take on - don't worry. Just give her good food, a good cage and lots of love and whether her life is shorter or longer she'll have had a good life with you. It's hard that one year of their lives is equivalent to 40 of ours and that they don't live for a very long time. But I also find it fascinating seeing them go through the stages of life. From little baby to naughty teenager to difficulty middle age, and the tolerance and gentleness of old age. In fact now Charlie is so old I worry more that he might have a slow lingering death rather than an unexpected sudden one. Either way - it's hard xxxx But you have lots of happy times ahead with your new hammy.

It's natural to feel anxious that one day you will find her ill or gone. I hope that settles down quite quickly. Your confidence in that area will grow as you get to know her and her personality and find out how robust or not she is. Looking forward to seeing photos.

The only other thing I'd say is - their environment can enhance their quality of life - so enough substrate, enough space, variety of levels and textures and toys in a cage to keep life fun and interesting, and plenty of hidey places and a nice big wheel Not sure what cage you have but something 80cm x 50cm to 120cm x 50cm is good. Charlie is in a 100cm Barney cage from Zooplus, but the 84cm Alaska cage is good too.
Thank you; I really appreciate the detail you've gone into!

Flump has a massive cage (4 tiers) plenty of toys to keep her entertained, 2 wheels and lots of stuff to grind her teeth on. I've tried feeding her apples, cucumbers and a bit of porridge.. but she is super fussy :')
She's currently on Harry Hamster food with a few pellets mixed it and I'm going to get some more veggie foods to see what she prefers!

Oh my gosh I constantly talk to her haha! I tell her about my day, what we're going to do, how she's going to love her new playpen ect...

Like I said previously I guess I'm still angry at what happened to Chichi and Jango. They were literally my life and now they're both gone and I don't know why. But I love my new little Flump; she is super cute and I love how adventurous she is.
I brought her cage up into the bedroom last night and she was up ALL night.. nibbling and running for hours. So this really calmed my nerves and she let me handle her a few times and didn't jump away or flinch!



Quote:
Originally Posted by chesca_27 View Post
I'm very sorry you lost your two hammies

Pets at Home aren't the most ethical breeders, so the hammies there often do have quite a bad start to life.

My first thought when reading this was a diet-related issue! I'm sure this is none of your fault, but were you feeding Chichi and Jango the same food (from the same bag) and did you recently open a new bag? What food did they have? It could have been a batch problem.

As for being more sleepy the last few days, that's likely from a weather change or her just settling into her new home and being more comfortable when you're asleep. If you are concerned, I would take her to a vet.
Hi! They were both on Harry Hamster food with pellets mixed in. Yes it was from the same bag

Yeah I figured that but I was just super worried and needed to vent my feelings and get this angry and emotional mess out of my system :')
Thank you!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
If she is shy she may be avoiding coming out when she knows you're around. You could try putting a small bit of substrate on top of her wheel when you go to bed and see if it's gone in the morning If it has she's been using her wheel during the night. It is cold weather at the moment too so make sure she has loads of nesting material and the room is warm enough - we leave a little oil filled heater on overnight at the moment and have a snugglesafe heat pad on the side of the cage as well.
I moved her up into my bedroom last night to see if she preferred having company rather than being alone. I didn't like the idea of having her upstairs just yet as me and my partner haven't had the chance to bury our babies and they're in the spare bedroom So it was really difficult for me to accept her upstairs knowing they were still in the house - if that makes sense?

But she was up ALL night and loving every minute of it. I think I'm just being a bit paranoid and hopefully my nerves will calm down and I'll stop overthinking and panicking over her

Thank you!
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Old 11-21-2016, 07:12 AM   #7
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Default Re: Hamster sleeping behaviour - Recently lost two in the space of a week! Very anxio

I don't think the food was the problem then, as we regard Harry Hamster as an excellent food, here on the forum. It could have been something contagious.

It's sounds like your new hammy is just being a normal happy ham, that's still settling in.
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Old 11-21-2016, 09:52 AM   #8
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Default Re: Hamster sleeping behaviour - Recently lost two in the space of a week! Very anxio

If it were something contagious that somehow got into the food,simple things like using the same scoop for each hamster and letting it come into contact with contaminated things(bowls,the actual cages,etc)would be a potential reason for illness and eventual death to spread.
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Old 11-21-2016, 01:01 PM   #9
ackland77
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Default Re: Hamster sleeping behaviour - Recently lost two in the space of a week! Very anxio

Quote:
Originally Posted by chesca_27 View Post
I don't think the food was the problem then, as we regard Harry Hamster as an excellent food, here on the forum. It could have been something contagious.

It's sounds like your new hammy is just being a normal happy ham, that's still settling in.
I guess I'll never know D;


Quote:
Originally Posted by AmityvilleHams View Post
If it were something contagious that somehow got into the food,simple things like using the same scoop for each hamster and letting it come into contact with contaminated things(bowls,the actual cages,etc)would be a potential reason for illness and eventual death to spread.
There deaths were so different though
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Old 11-21-2016, 01:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: Hamster sleeping behaviour - Recently lost two in the space of a week! Very anxio

It might be unconnected.Just keep food as sterile as you can for future hamsters,preferably placing it into the bowl with disposable things such as coffee filters and not allowing for any form of contact between food and hamsters whether direct or indirect.
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