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Old 12-06-2015, 02:22 AM   #11
racinghamster
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Default Re: Arthritis?

Fingers crossed Angie. x
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Old 12-09-2015, 02:17 PM   #12
Angie B
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Default Re: Arthritis?

We took Skittle to the vet at 5pm and I'm very happy to report that he was walking much better and the vet has therefore diagnosed that it's arthritis. He didn't do the x-ray, said there was little point if he's walking better (and not much point anyway as they tend not to operate on such tiny animals with such short lifespans in any case, which is fair enough) and discharged him.

We're to keep giving him the metacam for a further 2 weeks and then phone back to see what the next step is, i.e. whether or not to cease the metacam or keep him on it I suppose. I guess if we stop it, he'll become stiff again.

Filip (the vet) said he's carrying a bit of weight around his middle and back end so to try and get that off (okayyyy) which of course if his hind legs are now weaker he will struggle to carry any extra weight, which is fair enough. I'll cut his yoghurt drops into 4 if I can, but I'll not cut them out as that's mean!

So that's it! He's happy, so for now we'll just leave him be. Thank goodness it's nothing life threatening because on Sunday he was walking really, really badly and I had my doubts, but last night and tonight he'd loosened up an awful lot, almost normal, so that's such a relief!

Thank you all for your kind thoughts and advice, it is very much appreciated
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Old 12-09-2015, 11:23 PM   #13
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Default Re: Arthritis?

That's really good to hear, just easy on the yogurt drops then!
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Old 12-10-2015, 03:57 AM   #14
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Default Re: Arthritis?

So pleased to hear Skittle is faring better Angie, that is good news. Go with the pain relief/anti-inflammatory for a few more weeks and take some notes on his movements an overall health and report this back to the vet. Sometimes stopping the medication to see if symptoms return is done as sometimes the relief can be due to the drug, but it can also be worth considering if drug might cause him other issues but if he seems fine on it at this dose and doesn`t seem phased or stops eating or anything, just go with your vets best advice on this and good luck. x
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Old 12-11-2015, 04:08 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cypher View Post
That's really good to hear, just easy on the yogurt drops then!
Yes, I've cut them into 4 where possible, or 3, and he'll only have a tiny piece either daily or even every other day and then I'll swap a treat for one of the sugar free rabbit treats we have (we have 2 rabbits) so hopefully that'll help his weight. He's not overweight though at 195g I don't think, but still, I'm no vet and if it helps his back legs to lose a little bit then so be it. But of course we don't want him to lose too much else that won't be healthy either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by racinghamster View Post
So pleased to hear Skittle is faring better Angie, that is good news. Go with the pain relief/anti-inflammatory for a few more weeks and take some notes on his movements an overall health and report this back to the vet. Sometimes stopping the medication to see if symptoms return is done as sometimes the relief can be due to the drug, but it can also be worth considering if drug might cause him other issues but if he seems fine on it at this dose and doesn`t seem phased or stops eating or anything, just go with your vets best advice on this and good luck. x
Yes, we're watching him carefully when he's out, he tends to be stiffer when he's first out on the floor but I guess that's to be expected as he then kind of limbers up after a while and then he's off exploring! But we will keep our eye on him for sure. When I put him back of an evening I tend to put him in his top cage as he doesn't have to struggle up to get to his water bottle then and he can have a nap if he wants to before going downstairs as it were. He does have a water bottle downstairs, plus a bowl, but I don't think the downstairs bottle works and I've never seen him drink out of the bowl either! So it's just to make life a bit easier for him by putting him upstairs as he's generally thirsty after being out for 20 minutes or so on the floor. And of course running about he's tired so it's hard work getting up his tunnel for a drink so putting him basically next to his water is kinder I think.

The stupid thing nearly strangled himself last night . Got behind my curtains and by the time I got to him he'd somehow got snagged in the cords at the bottom of the vertical blinds, twisted it around his neck and couldn't get free, you know the knotted cord that keeps the blinds from swinging madly away? I went rather hot trying to free him, I kept my head but it was an adrenalin rush I can tell you - for both of us I think! I was quite relieved when I got him free and I think he was too! I don't know how he managed to do it and why he makes a beeline for behind my curtains I have no idea! I'm just glad I realised where he'd gone.

He's fast asleep at the moment, looks really cute all curled up
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Old 12-11-2015, 08:26 AM   #16
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Default Re: Arthritis?

Whew, quick thinking and staying cool in a crisis! Glad he was okay. He sounds a bit kamikazee!

One thing you mentioned about the lower water bottle not being reliable. Due to the issues he`s having with mobility, I would always make sure a ground floor water source was easily obtainable in case one evening he can`t muster the energy to climb and gets dehydrated. Even a shallow ceramic dish or water placed on a wooden platform in a corner for example would suffice if you have difficulty getting a water bottle to hang or stand down there, although water bottle holders can be made from plastic drinks bottles and weighed down with a stone inside or some decorative pebbles, like this one in the image:

Easy and reliable:
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Old 12-11-2015, 01:38 PM   #17
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Default Re: Arthritis?

Yes, Racinghamster, he's got a bowl in his bottom cage, always has had to be honest even before his problems as I've never been sure that bottom cage bottle has ever worked. He knows the bowl is there as he's stood in it several times and I don't think he could tip it up because of the shape (it's wider at the bottom than the top) but I don't know if he's ever used it. He's sniffed at the water in it, but whether he's drank out of it remains unknown
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Old 01-03-2016, 12:47 PM   #18
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Hi, I thought I'd update you, if you don't mind .

I rang the vet last week, as Skittle had been on the Metacam for about 3 weeks at that point, and they wanted an update. Anyway, I spoke to the one vet - Georgia - who said to take him off the meds for a week to see how he went, which was fine, and then if he worsened to take him in for another check-up to make sure it was arthritis. As I'd left a message for the vet to ring, another vet (Claire) then rang me not realising I'd already spoken to a vet (still with me?!). Claire however said initially not to take him off the meds ... but then agreed it wouldn't hurt to see what he was like without them BUT if we felt he went downhill not to hesitate giving him the Metacam again. Claire also said that she was not overly concerned about giving such an aged hamster Metacam long term (Skittle's 22 months old) especially as it seems to help. So anyway, we stopped his meds last Wednesday.

He quickly slowed down and although still got about when on the floor we could tell he was slower and although not squeaking in pain he was obviously struggling a bit more getting up his tunnels, so last night my husband and I decided to give him the Metacam again. I phoned to speak to Claire today just to keep her in the loop but she's not in until tomorrow so have left a message. I'm going to ask her to do a repeat prescription too as I'm not sure how much Metacam's left in the bottle, it's only tiny so I can't really tell.

Claire is also well-aware that Skittle got quite stressed at the vet so doesn't really want him brought back in either. She was in a difficult position really - she didn't want to undermine her colleague (who I also have great respect for) - but she also didn't want to stress an already poorly and quite elderly hamster out for something which was a bit unnecessary really. And besides that, there's not much else they can do for arthritis anyway other than pain relief. She also didn't really see the point of taking him back in as there's not a fat lot else they can do. At present his quality of life is alright - he can get up/down his tunnels, he's eating, drinking okay and yes he sleeps a bit more and doesn't wake until nigh on midnight which is a tad inconvenient for us, but once he is out of his cage he's off like a wobbly rocket, bless him, nosing at everything. So until he starts to struggle, make pain noises etc, we'll do what we can to make him comfortable and enjoy life.

Anyway, that's the situation to date. He's only just back on the Metacam so it'll take a couple of days or so for him to feel the difference I guess.

Any ideas on how to administer it? He's took his raisin off me last night and then tossed it aside, flinging the liquid away, naughty boy! He can't keep doing that because he won't ingest the meds! He's never had baby food so I'm not starting that as he's too old. We have porridge and Ready Brek at home, can I make him some of that with water perhaps? He's never had either of those either though!

Thank you!
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Old 01-03-2016, 11:26 PM   #19
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Default Re: Arthritis?

I've always found porridge (I wouldn't use readybrek) & baby food the easiest way to administer meds.
It might be worth trying him with some baby food & porridge first to see what he enjoys before mixing it with the meds, a lot of older hams really enjoy these even if they haven't had it before so I wouldn't worry about them being new foods.
Good to hear he can manage ok & remain comfortable with the meds.
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Old 01-04-2016, 02:16 AM   #20
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Default Re: Arthritis?

Really pleased to hear a good report and that your vets are being so supportive. If you don`t have any in, Supreme Science Selective food is a biscuit form of food and smells like gravy! These biscuits can be broken up or softened in water and are made for hamsters, so using these could help with administering the Metacam, as well as the other suggestions of baby food, porridge, ready brek....all good ideas for variety.
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