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Old 09-11-2020, 07:47 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 1
Unhappy Senior hamster health question

I have a male syrian black bear hamster named Ollie who just turned 2 1/2 years old last weekend. I have owned many hamsters before, but never had one who lived this long. About 2 weeks ago, I noticed he wasn't running on his wheel anymore and he has physically been going downhill quite a bit. He's much thinner and fur is falling out. He mostly just sleeps all the time and wobbles when he does walk around. I know this happens when hamsters age, but I really don't understand how the little guy is still alive because he is not drinking ANYTHING. I marked his water bottle with a sharpie and the line hasn't moved. He won't drink out of shallow dish (baby food lid) either. The last time he drank from water bottle was over a week ago when I put it up to his face. Yesterday, he did drink a tiny bit of water from a spoon I placed in front of him. Today, he refused to touch it. He will drink little bits of milk though. The strange thing is he is still eating some, though not very much. I've been feeding him sweet potato baby food, riced vegetables, lettuce, and small pieces of fruit to try to keep him hydrated. He also still eats some of his hamster food (corn, seeds.) I don't understand how he can still feel hunger but no thirst? He has a sand box that he pees in, and every day there are tiny little amounts of urine but nothing like when he was healthier. He used to drink crazy high amounts of water. Shouldn't he have passed by now? He looks awful, but doesn't seem to be in any pain. But I worry that maybe he is in pain and just not showing it? The only reason I think he is still alive is because I'm feeding him hydrating foods. Should I keep doing this so that he doesn't die of dehydration? Or am I only hurting him more by trying to keep him alive longer? Has anyone else ever experienced anything like this with an older hamster? Thank you for reading, I'd appreciate any advice!
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Old 09-12-2020, 01:19 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 2,210
Default Re: Senior hamster health question

Yes, I had this with my Star, about the last month or 2 of her life I gave her mushed up pellets every other day, a slice of cucumber cut into quarters every day, she got baby food with her medicine and some oats mixed in water a few times a week. She was probably about 3 years old. I don't think it is cruel as long as they are not in pain. She was wobbly on her feet for a long time, this got worse as she got older, i just made sure everything was on one level in her cage.
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Old 09-12-2020, 09:06 AM   #3
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Wales UK
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Default Re: Senior hamster health question

If he’s not showing signs of pain then I don’t think it’s cruel to continue with what you’re doing, if he’s really had enough then he won’t accept what you offer him, as long as he’s still eating something including fruit & veg or other wet foods he’s probably getting enough hydration or as much as he needs at this stage.
It can be hard to know when or if it might be time to stop but they usually let you know in some way, he is a really good age so I would suggest continuing as you are for now at least.
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