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Old 05-03-2019, 09:31 PM   #1
Natasha95
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Default Dwarf Hamster Behaving Strangely

I'm really worried about my hamster. She's hasn't wanted to come out of her cage in weeks, she's really jumpy and runs away and hides when she sees me, and she's barely touching her food. I don't know exactly how old she is, but probably about a year and a half, or maybe just a little over a year. Is this normal old-age behavior, or should I take her to the vet?
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Old 05-04-2019, 06:16 AM   #2
mangoandmimi
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Default Re: Dwarf Hamster Behaving Strangely

Is there anything physically wrong with her or just the behaviour change and apparently not eating? I assume she was tame beforehand. Their temperament doesn't tend to change like that just due to old age. Can you think of anything in her surroundings that has changed these few weeks - new pets, cage move, new setup/cage etc.
Would be a good idea to weigh her frequently to see if she is losing weight if you aren't already. As it may be that she is eating from her hoards and only taking a little extra. It wouldn't hurt to take her to the vets if you do think something could be wrong although if she looks ok in herself it may not be too helpful.
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Old 05-04-2019, 09:47 AM   #3
Natasha95
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Default Re: Dwarf Hamster Behaving Strangely

I can't tell if there's anything physically wrong with her because I can barely catch a glance at her before she runs away. She was tamed beforehand. I'm wondering if she's being extra jumpy because she's injured or feeling sick. I know hamsters, as prey animals, like to hide their injuries so they're not so vulnerable. I also can't think of any changes to her environment. I spot clean her cage sometimes, but I haven't done any full clean-outs lately. I haven't moved her cage. The only thing new in her cage is a new paper towel roll because she completely chewed up her old one. I did notice that one of her hoards was smaller than it was before, so I hope she is eating from it. I wish I could pick her up and give her a quick health check, but she's basically been in hiding for a few weeks.
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Old 05-04-2019, 09:50 AM   #4
Natasha95
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Default Re: Dwarf Hamster Behaving Strangely

One thing my aunt pointed out is that her cage is in the same location as the hamster who passed away from an upper respiratory infection in February. I keep my hamsters' cages on the floor so it's easier for them to come out to free roam for a while, and she thinks maybe the carpet fibers are getting to them. I think I should move her back to the non-carpeted room she was in before.
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Old 05-04-2019, 10:00 AM   #5
Natasha95
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Default Re: Dwarf Hamster Behaving Strangely

Ok, so I moved her to the other room now, and she came out from under her bedding when she noticed the movement. I was able to get a better look at her, and her body looked normal, but her head and neck looked skinny.
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Old 05-04-2019, 10:12 AM   #6
Natasha95
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Default Re: Dwarf Hamster Behaving Strangely

She did, however, eat all the food I gave her last night, but that wasn't much (just some peas, some sweet potato baby food, and a couple of mealworms).

Last edited by Natasha95; 05-04-2019 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 05-04-2019, 10:58 AM   #7
mangoandmimi
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Default Re: Dwarf Hamster Behaving Strangely

If she has lost weight and is looking a little skinny then it sounds like there may well be something wrong. Try and do a teeth check if you can - if you can hold her then flipping her on her back should give you a clearer view of them. Even if she hates it it is important to give them a check over so do the best you can. The teeth should be in line and not too long or there will be eating problems. What does she weigh?

Last edited by mangoandmimi; 05-04-2019 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 05-05-2019, 01:13 AM   #8
Natasha95
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Default Re: Dwarf Hamster Behaving Strangely

I don't have a scale to weigh her, but I did make an appointment with the vet for Monday. I also saw her tonight, and she was climbing up the side of her cage like she usually does when she wants to come out, so I put my hand in to pick her up, and she jumped out of my hand and ran away. I don't understand why she's suddenly afraid of me, but I hope I can get her out of her cage on Monday to take her to the vet without stressing her out too much.
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Old 05-05-2019, 07:31 AM   #9
mangoandmimi
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Default Re: Dwarf Hamster Behaving Strangely

It is strange, hopefully the vet visit goes well and doesn’t stress her too much.
Don’t think I read the carpet bit properly - if they are vacuumed and the area isn’t dusty I can’t see why being on the floor would be a problem. With a uri you’d probably expect to see other symptoms too, squeaking, clicking noises or sneezing etc.
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Old 05-06-2019, 10:29 AM   #10
Natasha95
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Default Re: Dwarf Hamster Behaving Strangely

Update: The vet did stress her out a lot, but she did really well and didn't bite, until they gave her an IV fluid shot under her skin. She didn't like the needle. They had to do it because she is really skinny. She weighed 47 grams, which I think is within the normal range for dwarf hamsters, but on the lower end. They couldn't find anything wrong with her, but they're testing her urine for diabetes or a kidney infection. I'll let you know if they find anything.
Thank you so much, mangoandmimi, for reading all my concerned rants here all weekend!
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