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Old 12-03-2019, 02:17 PM   #1
AprilPearl
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Question Syringe feeding?

Quigley will be 2 years and 7 months old in a few days. Poor little guy really isn’t doing too well at all.

He gave up eating hard food a while back (it’s not his teeth I’ve had them checked twice - most recently this morning) so we’ve been feeding him Harry hamster crushed up and moistened with water and baby food. Unfortunately though, he has stopped eating much of that now. He sleeps virtually all the time and isn’t very mobile at all. He seems hardly to be able to keep his head up when I spoon feed him and takes a long time to eat not very much. Eating seems to tire him out and he has to take frequent breaks.

He also doesn’t wash himself any more which has led to him developing dandruff despite my best efforts at brushing him. And because he doesn’t move around much any more his nails over grew and I had to get the vets to cut them for me.

I’ve been thinking perhaps I should start syringe feeding him to perk him up? But, I have some questions:

1. Is there any special high calorie food that I can syringe feed? Quigley has lost a quarter of his body weight and I can’t afford to have him losing any more. Would oxbow critical care for herbivores work?

2. How often should I syringe feed? Perhaps every few hours? But I don’t want to stress him out by constantly waking him up.

3. Is there a specific method for syringe feeding hamsters? I (obviously) want to avoid choking him or accidentally squirting the food into his pouches.
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Last edited by AprilPearl; 12-03-2019 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 12-03-2019, 02:37 PM   #2
Vierville
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Default Re: Syringe feeding?

I'm so sorry your little friend is not doing well. He is a grand old age.

My only advice on syringe feeding is to please please be very careful that he doesn't aspirate or breathe in the food. It can happen with very weak animals and can result in choking or lung infection.

Very gentle introduction of food just into his mouth by syringe would be the best.

Wishing you and Quigley all the very best.
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Old 12-03-2019, 02:49 PM   #3
AprilPearl
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Default Re: Syringe feeding?

Thanks Vierville. I’m was worried about that too. I really don’t want to hurt him. I was going to ask about how best to syringe feed but I forgot - have now added that question on to my OP.
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Old 12-03-2019, 03:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: Syringe feeding?

He's an amazing age and I would ask him and lister closely for his whisper as to what he wants to do. If he is not wanting to eat, move or groom himself he seems to be finding life a trial. Does he ever come out and do normal hamstery things?
I personally would not force feed such an old hammy. His body is telling him what it wants for now and I would be watching for the time when they have clearly had enough.
I hope he rallies round for you after a little rest but wherever his path leads I hope it is gentle.
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Old 12-03-2019, 10:13 PM   #5
AprilPearl
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Default Re: Syringe feeding?

Thank you Souffle. I don’t think he ever does normal hamstery things anymore of course, I can’t be sure because he might be up and about while I’m asleep but from what I can tell he spends most of his time asleep. I don’t think he’s in any pain, he just seems very tired. He does still eat a bit but he doesn’t have the energy to eat much - trying seems to tire him out.

Poor little baby. I don’t know what’s best for him. I think he just wants to sleep so it would seem cruel to keep waking him up to force feed him... But I also don’t want to feel as though I didn’t do everything I could for him.
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Old 12-04-2019, 12:37 AM   #6
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Syringe feeding?

I am so sorry. Quigley is very old now. It does sound like he is dying to be frank. I agree it is not a good idea to try and syringe feed him. It is a difficult time and we almost wish they would just pass so they aren't suffering any more. You might need to think about whether to help him on his way because he will be suffering now. On the other hand if he is close to his time then he may pass peacefully in his cage. I would give it a couple of days before deciding what to do and as Souffle says, ask him.

I had this terrible dilemma with Charlie and I asked - how do you know when to help them on their way? And all the replies were - you will know and they will give you a sign. So ask him for a sign. If that doesn't help much then I would say it would be the kindest thing to do to help him on his way now, if he is still around in a day or two.

He is probably hanging on for you and it is very hard to let them go. But tell him it's ok to go.
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Old 12-04-2019, 12:40 AM   #7
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Default Re: Syringe feeding?

I have also heard it said - better too soon than too late (from Souffle ) and I personally now accept that, hard as it is for us, helping them on their way at the end is a kindness if they are suffering. They just go to sleep. I had to take Newt to be helped on his way and I perhaps should have done it a little bit sooner.

You could try putting some baby food on the end of a small teaspoon and see if he licks it off. If he doesn't then he doesn't want to eat and that is because he is dying and he is ready to go. So if you talk to him and tell him you love him and it's ok to go then maybe nature will take its course.

With Charlie - this stage took such a long time that I had to take him to the vets in the end as he was trying so hard to go but didn't and had a prolapse.
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Old 12-04-2019, 01:57 AM   #8
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Default Re: Syringe feeding?

I must agree with everything that Souffle and Serendipity said. This is the most difficult decision that any pet owner has to make.

We had a similar situation with our beloved little Admiral, he was also a good old age and had gradually stopped doing 'hamstery' things like running on his wheel until eventually he just slept all day and most of the night too (I get up many times a night and sometimes leave for work in the middle of the night and always check on the hams each time I wake up). Luckily for us he still had an apetite up until the day before he passed but he mostly slept.

When we noticed that he had not touched his fresh veggies and was just lying in his bedding quite unresponsive to anything and very weak we decided to take him to be helped on his way but he passed away before the vets opened that same day.

I think Quigley is at the stage our little Admiral was. You and your little guy are both in my thoughts.
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Old 12-04-2019, 07:16 AM   #9
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Default Re: Syringe feeding?

Quote:
But I also don’t want to feel as though I didn’t do everything I could for him.
You are doing everything you can for him xxx. It's that difficult road that when it comes to the time, has to be travelled alone. He knows you are there and you love him. They almost say goodbye to us before they go when they start retreating. If he takes a bit of food off a spoon then that is doing something for him.

Charlie got to the point where he didn't come out of his nest - although he would still drag himself to his nearby toilet. But began to be agitated by a spoon being put in front of him and just wanted to be left alone. Sometimes they will abandon the nest and choose a place to die. Charlie did that, but still didn't die - it was very hard and he was clearly suffering by then.

Just see how he is for a couple of days and just talk to him and tell him it's ok to go. You are both in my thoughts too.
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: Syringe feeding?

I agree completely with what Serendipity said. our little Admiral abandoned his nest in the last few days. We weren't sure if it was due to a period of very very hot weather we were having at the time but looking back it makes sense.

Also, I was on my way to work the morning our little one passed away and the plan was that when I got home we would take him to the vets to be helped on his way. As I left for work I opened his cage and gave him a little scratch and told him I love him very much and thanked him for being a part of our lives and assured him he would never be forgotten. I then left for work and 30mins later got a phonecall from my wife saying he had passed away.
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