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Old 11-10-2017, 04:05 PM   #1
AlbysMum
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Default Alby's smoking problems & fleas!

I am new here and not sure where to post this, I'm guessing in this forum but if not I am really sorry!! Also, sorry if this is long - I am just a worried new mummy!

After moving in with my other half and spending a few months furnishing our London apartment, we decided that we were missing something fluffy from our life. We weren't allowed a cat or anything big but a hamster was okay. I've had 2 hamsters before who had long and happy lives, so I am familiar with how to take care of them.

We did a bit of looking around but one advert caught our eye. Someone was looking for someone to adopt their 10 month old very fluffy long haired syrian hamster. We fell in love with the photos and reached out. Within a day we agreed to meet them at their house to collect the hamster and his things. We soon discovered that they'd kept him in a small hallway of a tiny flat for the last six months. They hadn't even given him a name! So we called him Arby. Someone in the flat must have been a smoker because the place reeked of it. Even when we got the cage in the car we could STILL smell the cigarettes and realised the cage reeks of them. This is coming from an ex-smoker who's sense of smell isn't the best!

The cage size is decent but we have ordered a bigger one which will be arriving tomorrow. They provided us with food and a ball but the ball has broken. They seem to have decided that duct tape would hold it back together... except Alby's fur is very long and will probably get stuck to the tape... so I will go out and get a much nicer one tomorrow too. When we got him home we soon found out that he's actually very friendly, despite the woman telling us that they never really handled him. He allowed us to pick him up and have some gentle cuddles. We created a nice big fort for him in our large bedroom and let him roam for a while, playing with some toys we'd had delivered. He seemed ecstatic.

Alby actually smells as though he smokes 20 a day and I'm so glad we rescued him. I have brushed his fur with a small pet brush and wondered if it would disappear after a while of play time. Unfortunately he still smells of it. I cleaned the cage and put new carefresh bedding in while he roamed and it has improved a bit but he is still a bit smelly!! Will this take a few days to go away or is there a way I can help it to go? Also, I am considering taking him to a vet just to have a health checkup as I'm concerned being trapped in a room with smoke his whole life might have done something to his lungs. We watched him for a bit - his breathing is fine while he exercises and eats and I can't hear any abnormal noises but I am still worried.

My other issues include he is quite excessive about cleaning his fur. I don't know if this is normal for long haired hamsters as I've never owned one, but I watched him groom himself three times before putting him back in his cage. The woman provided me with flea ointment although he's never had fleas, but apparently gives it once a month to him? I don't know much about this and her English wasn't brilliant so when I asked if she could explain it was all a bit confusing?

Other than that he seems like a happy hamster who's been fed but ignored most of the time. He's happy to be held and even came to me and SO for a cuddle when we put him on our bed. Would you guys consider maybe just going for a check up to make sure he's okay? Or do you think all these things are normal and will pass? Also any advice on the flea ointment thing would be great... I've never had to do that for any of my hamsters so it's new to me!
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Old 11-11-2017, 05:10 AM   #2
SimonandSyril
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Default Re: Alby's smoking problems & fleas!

I'm so happy this hamster has been moved into such great hands. It is a great idea to have a vet trip as some hamsters are very good at hiding symptoms.You got really lucky that this hamster isn't absolutely terrified of everything taking in the fact that he had never been held or had any attention. Make sure you keep an eye out for heavy breathing and sneezing because that is a main indecation of lung problems.
Hope your hamster keeps doing as well as he seems to be doing right now.
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Old 11-11-2017, 05:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: Alby's smoking problems & fleas!

Well done for giving Alby the loving home he deserves.

I would imagine the smell will wear off with time, taking him to the vet could be stressful for him & unless he is showing signs of respiratory problems there won't be anything they can do so I would just keep an eye on him & see how he goes.

Hamsters don't get fleas & the treatment could be harmful for him, that may in part explain the excessive grooming, does he have a sand bath? I'm not sure if long haired hams are ok with sand (chinchilla sand, not dust) like others hams but I don't see why not & it could really help with getting his coat clean & free from odours or residues again.

They will often groom excessively when in a new place or after a cage clean, anything with new smells basically or with their scent removed, it's more about spreading their scent around so it could be partly that too.

I wouldn't bother with getting a ball, just bin the old one & let him play in the fort you made or any safe play area/playpen which will be much more enriching for him & give you more opportunity to interact with him.
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Old 11-11-2017, 06:50 AM   #4
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Default Re: Alby's smoking problems & fleas!

Hello Alby's mum and welcome to HC.
Firstly, good on you for adopting Alby, this little man so needed rescuing and he's found his forever home with you. I really hate reading about people who have no idea on how to care for hams, who get bored and decide to advertise.
There was an article in the news recently about pets and owners who smoke and that the pets breathe in second hand smoke just like we do if a non-smoker.
Hamsters have always groomed and the reason for his excessive grooming may be he doesn't like the smell and cleans to get rid. Over time this will go away. He's now in a loving, caring and smoke free home and he will so feel, smell and notice this. I would avoid a vet visit, let him settle, you'll notice an improvement.
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Old 11-11-2017, 01:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: Alby's smoking problems & fleas!

Congratulations on adopting Arby. He may have been effected by the smoking, but let him settle in and see how he is. Give him a few weeks, then if you want take him to a vet for a checkup do so. You could find out he is fine, which would be great, but if he has problems due to the smoking. You will know and can be prepared for any problems.
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Old 11-12-2017, 01:07 AM   #6
Ruth Edwards
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Default Re: Alby's smoking problems & fleas!

Perhaps there's a sand bath type thing that could help him lose the smell in his fur? Earth and peat are great at absorbing stuff, do you think a bit of John Innes soil-based compost in a sand bath might help?
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Old 11-12-2017, 01:33 AM   #7
cypher
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Default Re: Alby's smoking problems & fleas!

Ruth no compost of any sort should be used with hams, if from a reliable source then peat can be safe but I don't think it would be suitable with a long haired ham!
Just plain chinchilla sand as I mentioned before is the best thing.
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Old 11-13-2017, 02:16 PM   #8
AlbysMum
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Default Re: Alby's smoking problems & fleas!

Thank you everyone for your suggestions, the smell has disappeared now I think. So far Alby has been absolutely fine and appears to be a really happy, healthy hamster. So I am relieved but will be keeping a watchful eye on him as always. I threw those flea treatments away, I had a feeling they weren't necessary.

Alby's currently having cuddled with Daddy at the moment - happily nibbling on carrots!
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:20 AM   #9
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Default Re: Alby's smoking problems & fleas!

The others have said it all Hope he settles in well - he is lucky to have found you. Poor Alby smelling whiffy. It will wear off. I would also second giving him a sand bath - although our syrian doesn't bath or roll in it - just digs and pees in it lol. Tiny friends Chinchilla Bathing sand is the stuff to get (Amazon or viovet sell it). I get two at a time to save on postage and it lasts quite a while as I only use it in a litter tray. They will use a litter tray if you put it in the right place and it saves on cleaning which stresses them out. I have this corner one. You put it where he chooses to pee. If you put it anywhere else he won't use it. Alternatively you could just have a larger dish as a sand bath and he will probably use that as a toilet as well - if you put it in his pee place

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Supreme-Pet...a+bathing+sand
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