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Old 01-08-2019, 08:09 PM   #1
Bingo3699
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Exclamation Help! First time hamster owner, she is sick!

Hi. I am looking for advice and some positive reassurance.
My hamster, Bingo, is sick. We brought her to the vet, and they prescribed antibiotics and eye drops. They also administered a shot to kill Mites. After they tested her for the mites, they did not find anything, but they gave her the shot anyway to be on the safe side. Her left cheek is red with a rash, and her fur is disheveled. The most alarming factor is her left eye is extremely swollen. She is also sleeping a lot and not eating as much, though the eating has improved.
I am very nervous and I was wondering if anybody had any similar experiences with their hamster? What was the outcome? Thank you in advance.
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Old 01-09-2019, 01:55 AM   #2
cypher
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Default Re: Help! First time hamster owner, she is sick!

Sorry to hear Bingo isn't well, it may just be an eye infection which should clear with the antibiotics & eye drops.
Did the vet check Bingo's teeth? Sometimes eye or cheek problems can result from a problem with the teeth or pouch.
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Old 01-09-2019, 02:29 AM   #3
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Help! First time hamster owner, she is sick!

Hello and welcome. So sorry to hear Bingo is not well. How old is she and how long have you had her? As Cypher said, they can get dental problems and a dental abscess can affect the eye. That tends to be with older hamsters. Did the vet check her front teeth? The bottom ones continually grow and need to be kept shortened by chewing hard things which is why it's good for them to have a chew stick on the go and a hard hamster mix to eat. But even then, when they get older the bottom teeth can get too long and can even puncture the palate, leading to an infection - although I am sure your vet would have noticed this.

Apart from that, when they're older they can get tooth decay, like humans, in the back teeth and toothache, and this can lead to them eating less hard food and then their bottom teeth get too long. So they can need a tooth trim at the vets if this happens.

Or it may just be an eye infection. Hopefully the antibiotics will sort it. But when she yawns it would be worth having a look to see how long her bottom teeth are. They are supposed to be quite long, but you would be able to tell if they are too long - and then they can't close their mouths properly.
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Old 01-09-2019, 02:31 AM   #4
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Help! First time hamster owner, she is sick!

Just seen your other thread where you say you got her in July. Was she a baby hamster in July or an adult hamster you rehomed? Assuming she was a young hamster, then it's not so likely an old age tooth issue (although they can get tooth decay at any age).

An impacted pouch can also cause infection and affect the eye. Assume the vet checked that as well? A lot of vets don't know that much about hamsters - although good they tested for mites. See how she goes and if she doesn't improve, then maybe think about seeing an exotic vet - they know much more about hamsters and can give a diagnosis. If you google exotic vets in your area there is probably one nearby although it might mean travelling a bit further.

It may just be the effects of the injection and all the medication that is making her sleep more and off her food - plus it's cold weather at the moment. Just keep her warm and comfortable and talk gently to her and I am sure the odd stroke would be nice too.

Does she have a nice big cosy nest to keep warm in? Important to keep the room temperature good as well as they really can be affected by the cold. Just normal human warm temperature about 20 degrees. It can get very cold at night as well, when hamsters are at their most active and wanting to be out in the cage, so I have a little oil filled radiator on a timer in the room our Syrian is in, if it gets very cold. - It comes on for a couple of hours in the middle of the night.

Depends on your house, a modern house should retain the heat from the night before until the heating comes on next morning, but on frosty nights it can get pretty cold.
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Old 01-09-2019, 02:43 AM   #5
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Default Re: Help! First time hamster owner, she is sick!

Best not to do any cleanouts while she is poorly as well. It's usually recommended not to clean out too often anyway, and just "spot clean" the toilet area mainly. Not sure if you know about that, but it can be very stressful for a hamster to have everything cleaned at the same time, as it removes all their familiar scent.

They scent mark their cage, to find their way around and claim it as their territory. So best to clean things at different times - eg wheel one week, spot clean another week - any toys a different time (toys often don't need cleaning that often).

If you have enough substrate in, I only change the substrate about every 2 to 3 months with spot cleaning, and then best to replace some of the old clean and mix it in so it still smells familiar to them.

3 to 4 " depth minimum is good but more is good. So they can have normal behaviours like digging and burying hoards. They get very upset if you remove their nest and hoard so best to leave those unless they are peed on. If they are pee'd on then always replace the hoard with new food in exactly the same place and try to leave some of the old dry hoard.

Just wondering about nesting material now I've mentioned impacted pouches. Sometimes people are sold "fluffy bedding" by pet shops and that is quite dangerous stuff - they pouch nesting material to move it around, and fluffy bedding can cause impacted pouches (and also digestive blockages and get tied around limbs and cut the circulation off).

So if you have any of that, then bin it! It's the one time you should remove the nest. Plain white toilet paper sheets torn into strips is the safest nesting material and they like it - a big pile of it somewhere in the cage (but not in the house itself as they like to forage for it). They take some and take it to their chosen nesting area and build a big nest with it. They often build very big nests in winter.
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Old 01-09-2019, 08:05 PM   #6
Bingo3699
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Default Re: Help! First time hamster owner, she is sick!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
Best not to do any cleanouts while she is poorly as well. It's usually recommended not to clean out too often anyway, and just "spot clean" the toilet area mainly. Not sure if you know about that, but it can be very stressful for a hamster to have everything cleaned at the same time, as it removes all their familiar scent.

They scent mark their cage, to find their way around and claim it as their territory. So best to clean things at different times - eg wheel one week, spot clean another week - any toys a different time (toys often don't need cleaning that often).

If you have enough substrate in, I only change the substrate about every 2 to 3 months with spot cleaning, and then best to replace some of the old clean and mix it in so it still smells familiar to them.

3 to 4 " depth minimum is good but more is good. So they can have normal behaviours like digging and burying hoards. They get very upset if you remove their nest and hoard so best to leave those unless they are peed on. If they are pee'd on then always replace the hoard with new food in exactly the same place and try to leave some of the old dry hoard.

Just wondering about nesting material now I've mentioned impacted pouches. Sometimes people are sold "fluffy bedding" by pet shops and that is quite dangerous stuff - they pouch nesting material to move it around, and fluffy bedding can cause impacted pouches (and also digestive blockages and get tied around limbs and cut the circulation off).

So if you have any of that, then bin it! It's the one time you should remove the nest. Plain white toilet paper sheets torn into strips is the safest nesting material and they like it - a big pile of it somewhere in the cage (but not in the house itself as they like to forage for it). They take some and take it to their chosen nesting area and build a big nest with it. They often build very big nests in winter.


Thank you very much for your reply! I appreciate all the advice! It was all very helpful and I will take it all into consideration going forward! The vet did check her pouches and she said she did not see anything wrong there. However she is not an exotic vet. We have her on the antibiotics and the eye drops. We have a different appointment this coming Friday night with a different vet who is an exotic vet. She is our trusted family vet, unfortunately she is a distance away. We are keeping Bingo comfortable and making sure she is taking the medicine until Friday night.
Is it possible Bingo could loose her eye? Have you ever heard anything about this and could give me any information about this?
Thank you again for all your information!!
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Old 01-09-2019, 08:06 PM   #7
Bingo3699
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Default Re: Help! First time hamster owner, she is sick!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
Just seen your other thread where you say you got her in July. Was she a baby hamster in July or an adult hamster you rehomed? Assuming she was a young hamster, then it's not so likely an old age tooth issue (although they can get tooth decay at any age).

An impacted pouch can also cause infection and affect the eye. Assume the vet checked that as well? A lot of vets don't know that much about hamsters - although good they tested for mites. See how she goes and if she doesn't improve, then maybe think about seeing an exotic vet - they know much more about hamsters and can give a diagnosis. If you google exotic vets in your area there is probably one nearby although it might mean travelling a bit further.

It may just be the effects of the injection and all the medication that is making her sleep more and off her food - plus it's cold weather at the moment. Just keep her warm and comfortable and talk gently to her and I am sure the odd stroke would be nice too.

Does she have a nice big cosy nest to keep warm in? Important to keep the room temperature good as well as they really can be affected by the cold. Just normal human warm temperature about 20 degrees. It can get very cold at night as well, when hamsters are at their most active and wanting to be out in the cage, so I have a little oil filled radiator on a timer in the room our Syrian is in, if it gets very cold. - It comes on for a couple of hours in the middle of the night.

Depends on your house, a modern house should retain the heat from the night before until the heating comes on next morning, but on frosty nights it can get pretty cold.
She was a baby when we got her in July, no more than a few months old.
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