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Old 08-31-2013, 08:24 AM   #1
AndTheSwiftCriedNews!
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Unhappy Smokey's very ill.

I came in on Friday night to find Smokey, my seven month old Winter White, lying still and unresponsive on his cage floor. Despite his brother Cloud being snuggled next to him, he was cold.

We took him out and warmed him in our hands. He seems to have lost a lot of weight very suddenly (considering I played with him just the night before and he was his usual shiny, happy self). He was floppy and lopsided. His breathing and heart rate were erratic and barely there. His eyes were all squinty. Every now and then he'd try really hard to get up and it seemed like he had a stroke, only half his body was working. When I found him I genuinely thought he was dead.



We gave him regular water and some water with honey in it. We thought it might be diabetes as he's a Russian dwarf and he'd been exercising excessively these past few days. I had actually been more worried about Cloud than Smokey, who was friendly and dapper. We had to keep trying but he perked up a lot and began to eat a little.



I popped him in a carrier by my bed with one of my socks and some shredded toilet paper for warmth. I gave him some dwarf hamster mix (he loves his mealworms) and filled a little dip box with regular water. I woke up ~hourly to give him some honeyed water, as that seemed to give him strength. He started licking my fingers to get it. I tried to arrange an emergency vet call out but I couldn't afford the £130 consultation fee.

Today I took him to the vets. They said it was unlikely to be diabetes as he wasn't drinking excessively. They were worried by how thin he was. He'd always been thin (I thought Cloud had been taking his food so had tried hand-feeding him his half a couple of times) but looked so much more so. He's frail and shaky. They said I had two routes:
1) Investigation: to get a proper diagnosis would entail taking blood. From such a small animal they would need to put him under general anaesthetic which is both risky and expensive.
2) Monitoring: I cancelled my weekend trip to London to keep checking on him and cuddling him. The vet said to see how he fares for the next 24 hours.

So here's my problem. He's slightly better, but he's still not my robust little baby. I can't put him back in his regular cage with his brother Cloud as he'll get bullied and not be able to get to his food and drink properly, which means he's stuck in his tiny carrier apart from when I take him out to cuddle and kiss him. It doesn't seem right to get him PTS as he's wandering around and being curious (just about) but he's so frail and shaky. I don't know what to do.

Please help.
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Old 08-31-2013, 08:42 AM   #2
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Default Re: Smokey's very ill.

Hi. It does seem as though something wrong has happened but whatever it was, he seems to have rallied round, even though he`s still not great. My advice for you right now would be to set up a storage bin or try and find a tank style cage from somewhere for him to set up home on his own to allow him to recover, if he`s going to. Keep his fluids up and keep him cosy. Plenty of nesting in one area. Ideally under a cardboard box with no floor and a large door cut into it. This will allow him a nice cosy, dark place to rest.

Is he eating his normal mix? If he`s trying but struggling a bit, try breaking it up for him with a pestle & mortar or anything you need to break up any larger pieces.

Dry porridge oats are enjoyed so try offering him a teaspoonful on his mix. You don`t say what he eats normaly so if you post what that is, we can add to it.

Really hope Smokey rallies. He could be losing weight because his cage mate has bullied him, or he may just have something internal going on. Did the vet advise antibiotics or were they happy to leave him and see if he comes round after the weekend?
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Old 08-31-2013, 09:03 AM   #3
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Default Re: Smokey's very ill.

I personaly think you should leave him in here as he needs all his energies put onto getting better. Might feel unfair; you are trying to save his life... Have you tried baby food ? Porridge ?
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Old 08-31-2013, 10:14 AM   #4
AndTheSwiftCriedNews!
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Default Re: Smokey's very ill.

Hi :3 thanks guys. He's on the Burgess dwarf hamster mix. I'm considering giving him some porridge but I keep hearing different opinions on whether it should be given dry/milky/watered down etc.

I don't think he's lost weight because of Cloud, he just doesn't seem to eat much. Like I tried putting more food in, feeding him on his own etc and no change.

Thanks so much, I hope he pulls through too.

<3
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Old 08-31-2013, 05:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: Smokey's very ill.

Sorry to hear that your hamster is feeling so unwell I have been nursing mine now for a week and its not nice to see them struggle. I can totally relate with the worry of vet bills as well. I reall y hope that he starts to feel better soon.
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Old 08-31-2013, 10:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: Smokey's very ill.

Guys, guys! He's chomping away on his regular food! He's not currently shaking and his ribs aren't as easy to feel. When I pick him up he runs all over me! I don't want to jinx it but I am so excited!
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Old 08-31-2013, 11:40 PM   #7
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Default Re: Smokey's very ill.

Such fab news. Hope he continues to get better. He's such a cutie
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Old 09-01-2013, 01:01 AM   #8
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Default Re: Smokey's very ill.

It does sound as though he needed one-to-one attention and fingers crossed he will bounce back. Feeding him extra food like dry porridge oats (just a half teaspoonful) over his normal mix and buy a bag of Canary mix from any pet shop as this will contain hemp seeds, linseed as well as mixed millets. Although I`m sure he already gets millet if you feed him the Burgess dwarf mix.

Will you be keeping him on his own now? I feel it`s probably best now in case living with Cloud, he may have been being mentally bullied rather than physically. It`s hard to say why he would go like this while Cloud is fine. And illness in one of a pair can lead to the fitter hamster starting to push his weight around for dominance if they sense their weaker counterpart is ill.

Let us know how Smokey is doing.
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Old 09-01-2013, 03:45 AM   #9
AndTheSwiftCriedNews!
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Default Re: Smokey's very ill.

Thanks, dry oats, got it!

I'm in two minds about what to do with housing. I've got a couple of days to decide. They have had fights to the point where I was thinking of separating them but I made some changes to their environment and they stopped before ever actually hurting each other. A lot of the time they spend cuddled up to each other or nuzzling, so I'm not entirely sure. I might see if I can divide the cage...

Thanks!
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Old 09-01-2013, 04:32 AM   #10
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Default Re: Smokey's very ill.

Things could have been at a stage where the squabbles you witnessed were the start of things to come and who knows, Smokey may have been the one becoming stressed (and this has resulted in his health lowering) as a result. If they were mine, I would honestly house them apart now and give them both their own cage and space. Especially Smokey who should recover if this was the case. If you can pick up a second hand Mini Duna or even a Zoozone 1 or anything you feel is adequate in the meantime for his to settle into. Look locally on Gumtree and other websites for a spare cage.

Dividing a cage isn`t always a good idea unless the hamsters are to be re-united and in this case, it does seem better just to house them alone now in case one of them was to fall ill again and you end up with the same scenario. If they have been separated for any amount of time, chances are you would be faced with grief trying to get them both to settle again anyway and it`s probably not worth the stress on either of them, especially wee Smokey since he isn`t in the best shape to combat his corner, so to speak. Stress could make him relapse.
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