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Old 01-06-2019, 09:54 AM   #1
hamsterquestions
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Default Health issues (bloating) in relatively young syrian hamsters.

My previous hamster died within a week at 3 months old after a sudden bloating around the abdominal area as if there was a golfball (it looked somewhat like ascites to me). He bloated up more and more quite rapidly to the point that he was in pain and wobbled when he walked. We had taken him to the vet and they thought it could be a gut infection so he was given antibiotics which ultimately didn’t help. I cleaned his cage and everything thoroughly before getting a new Syrian hamster (female). Now, at roughly the same age she is starting to exhibit the same kind of bloating and I fear that she will endure the same fate. Would any of you have seen this in rodents before? Is it just bad genetics (they’re pet store hamsters) or is there a typical culprit? I take good care of them and I’m really not sure what I could be doing wrong.

I attached a photo of the type of bloating. Is this invariably fatal? (Ignore the spot in the middle; you can see the bloating just above the hips)
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Old 01-06-2019, 10:27 AM   #2
souffle
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Default Re: Health issues (bloating) in relatively young syrian hamsters.

I've seen quite a lot of this in some pet shop lines. It is often a rapid growing tumour although you can get it with heart failure and fluid gathering in the abdomen due to the heart being unable to circulate properly. I've tried and failed with one pet shop hamster with this. She has the same ears back, unwell appearance as this little one looks to have. Out vet thought she has either a kidney or bowel tumour but it did come on very rapidly and she only lasted about 4 weeks from starting it. Antibiotics did nothing and it wasn't operable. It may be worth having her scanned to see if there is anything in the womb or fluid in the abdomen but it is costly and she may not stand the anaesthetic.
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Old 01-06-2019, 11:17 AM   #3
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Default Re: Health issues (bloating) in relatively young syrian hamsters.

Thank you for your response!
I tried to think of all possible issues since it's now the second hamster having this. I've fed them oxbow pellets plus a small amount of seed mix daily and a dried mealworm or so. I will also feed some veggies (carrots, cauliflower etc) and I always google particular foods before feeding. From the way the bloating looks I don't think it's obesity, more like an internal issue....
They pee in the sand bath which I fill with oven heat-sterilized childrens play sand (brand new). The cage contains diy's but it's all safe I've made sure (popsicle sticks + non toxic hot glue + elmers glue) and nothing is chewed up anyhow.
My current hamster has been less active in general than my previous one who was addicted to the silent runner wheel in the cage. The bedding is also just recycled paper bits made specifically for rodents, which I replace about 7-10days. I change water regularly and rinse the bottle out too.
Is there anything here that's cause for concern? I'm just surprised both hamsters so young (3months) would display the bloating, but I suppose if it's breeding problems they could have a predisposition (they're both from the same pet store chain).
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Old 01-06-2019, 01:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: Health issues (bloating) in relatively young syrian hamsters.

There is nothing there that looks like a problem. Maybe an increase in the amount of seed mix would give more fibre and adding a pre biotic ( Harry Hamster food does have a prebiotic in it ) might help in some way if it is nutritional though I doubt this.
Here is Sparkle's story : Sparkle's last chance

The female looks to have swelling on both sides and it is over the womb horns (she looks like a pregnant female) There is a chance she might have a womb infection. Is there any discharge or does she smell slightly odd at all? A spay would possibly cure a pyometra but again it is pricey. They could see if there was pus in the womb with a scan. You might get a temporary remission also with an antibiotic.
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Old 01-06-2019, 03:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: Health issues (bloating) in relatively young syrian hamsters.

Soufflé knows most about these medical issues. My first thought was if your hamsters could have chewed or swallowed anything. What do you use for nesting material? Fluffy bedding has been known to cause internal blockages which could lead to infection and all sorts.

Souffle’s suggestion of a scan is a good idea.
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Old 01-06-2019, 04:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: Health issues (bloating) in relatively young syrian hamsters.

I use Boxo bedding which I've never read to cause problems (recycled paper).
Thanks for the feedback! I haven't noticed any discharge or strange smells or anything like that. My previous hamster was male so it could be they both ended up with different problems that led to the same swelling.
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Old 01-06-2019, 05:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: Health issues (bloating) in relatively young syrian hamsters.

Boxo is fine - I meant the stuff they actually build the nest with Any kind of swelling is usually serious. I hope your vet can help - scan sounds a good idea.
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Old 01-07-2019, 11:58 AM   #8
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Default Re: Health issues (bloating) in relatively young syrian hamsters.

gastric indigestion
It sounds like the similar issue with my last hammy - Tooby and I have link my post above and there were some suggestions from other users.
I have attached two photos of Tooby, from the similar angle you took the picture for your reference, one is when we first found out the abnormal area and the other one was taken 2 days before her passes.
And same with Souffle, Tooby only last 4 weeks from it starts. If I were you, I would ask for a scan (although the last vet we visited, they said it is too hard to do x-ray on Tooby), it may find out the reason behind maybe instead of trying out different treatment but still doesn't know what she is suffering from like Tooby.
P.S. Tooby was a pet shop hammy too
Sorry for my poor english, I understand your feelings. Stay positive, wish you and your hammy all the best and recover very soon.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Tooby_1.jpg (1.07 MB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg Tooby_2.jpg (1.43 MB, 3 views)

Last edited by tooby; 01-07-2019 at 12:03 PM. Reason: Reposting the link
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