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Old 10-05-2021, 04:44 AM   #1
Sara H
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Default Rescue hamster

Hi everyone, I wonder if you could please help.

I look to rescue a new hamster when I have a cage free which I usually find on Gumtree/Pets 4 Homes etc but on this occasion I saw a little guy advertised from a hamster rescue charity on Facebook.

The little guy Bob is a robo and just over a year old. The rescue advised they had taken him to the vets and he was in good health. As soon as I got him home I noticed that he had a slight head tilt and seemed to fall over when trying to get onto things. I messaged the rescue and they said they hadn't noticed anything, their vets said he was fine and it must have just happened when he got to me!

I let him settle in for a few days then I took him to my usual exotic vets. The vets said he seemed in good health but did have a head tilt and as we didn't know much about his past to treat him pain killers and antibiotics for a week.

After the week, he does still have the head tilt but seems a bit more stable on his feet however, I moved him into another room with my other two hamsters as he's been in my room for a couple of weeks whilst I monitor him. He doesn't like being handled but I picked him up today to just have a look at the little chap and noticed that he had a tiny mark next to scent glad where it looks like he has been biting so I put him back in his house, he then started biting his side and has drawn blood there too so I have given him some metacam just incase it is causing him pain.

Since he arrived he has been making a bed in one of his wheels every night and I just don't know if the self mutilation is caused by stress. He is a chunky little guy and his weight has been stable over the last 2 weeks, he has been eating and drinking and going to the toilet OK. The rescue had him for over 7 months so I just don't know if the move here, followed by me having to give him medicine everyday and then a move into another bedroom has stressed him out.

I know this is a very long winded post so apologies.
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Old 10-05-2021, 08:13 AM   #2
Lilafernim
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Default Re: Rescue hamster

Oh what a nightmare! I am sorry to you and the little hammie.

I’ll be honest I don’t know much about the head tilt, and maybe the biting is stress?

Mine used to sometimes make a bed in the corner and what helped her was I had two homes. One I made, but was a box home with a half roof on top and a ‘window’. And she loved this home I think because when they’re nervous, they may struggle to sleep and keep getting out of bed to check their surroundings so if they are stressed might be fed up of coming and decided to sleep somewhere with full visibility. So maybe adding a more open home would help?

I also had ‘green dome home safety home’ which was upstairs and completely cocooned her with full privacy. She went here if we were being too noisy. She seemed to stop sleeping outside the home once I had both options.

Also, for now, maybe just keep him away from your other hamsters if possible because he may still be getting adjusted and as some can be territorial it may be making him stressed also.

The best thing I know to do is leave them for a few days and only enter their home to hand feed them so they get adjusted to you.

Like I say I haven’t had much experience with this myself, so I can’t offer much. I’m just sorry this has happened to the both you, and hope things get sorted. You’re doing a good thing and I really hope it all works out.
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Old 10-05-2021, 10:32 AM   #3
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Rescue hamster

It doesn't sound right. He should be active and healthy. Robos can be born with a neurological condition - when they have that they tend to "stargaze" or spin in circles. Biting at his side doesn't sound normal either.

It's very difficult - you could either say to the rescue that you're not happy and want to take him back - and have them have him treated. Or you could keep him and see how it goes, but it's very unfair on you to have this worry and vet bills from the start.

Robos are so tiny they can very easily be injured - they need low height cages (they can climb bars and fall) and set up needs to be careful so they can't land on anything hard or sharp if they do fall - even from a low height.

It sounds like he needs investigations and that could be costly. If he does have a neurological condition, they can live out their lives quite happily.
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Old 10-05-2021, 12:19 PM   #4
Sara H
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Default Re: Rescue hamster

Thanks to you both for coming back to me.

I did speak to rescue and they just said there was nothing wrong with him and the vet had given him the all clear including any neuro conditions. I have asked them for a report which they said they would get but haven't as of yet! They said they would come and collect him but to be honest I don't want to upset him further.

He does run on both of his wheels and he lives in a Maxi Duna with everything at bedding level so he can't hurt himself. He doesn't spin or run in circles. He's actually quite big for a Robo and weighs 39g.

I could take him back to my vets again but its just so much for the little guy. I just didn't know wether to give him some metacam for a few days, try and handle him at little as possible and see if he settles.

I just want him to be healthy and happy and live a peaceful life.
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Old 10-05-2021, 03:46 PM   #5
Lilafernim
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Default Re: Rescue hamster

Iím not a vet, and if a vet has said itís okay, then I would assume it would be okay to continue on using metacam.

However, I would keep in mind that if his actions are due to stress, not illness, then it would just cause side effects.

Metacam can damage the liver and kidneys with long term use, and also can cause incoordination which would worsen his problem.

Iím really sorry youíre left with this on your shoulders, as it is not fair.

Personally, I would maybe give them half a dosage of the metacam so it doesnít exhibit as many side effects. Iím only thinking this because when we get really stressed I think we can become confused and if we were to have paracetamol, it might make us drowsy but it does not solve the stress. Iím not saying that there isnít an illness but as the vets said heís all clear its bizarre, so maybe er on the safe side of caution.

I think just focus on letting him settle and giving updates to the adoption centre, so if anything progresses it shows in calls that you had told them this and it was immediately after leaving their care.

And maybe like I said try small doses of metacam and if it continues, find a new long term solution as using medication for so long is not exactly ideal.
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Old 10-06-2021, 04:52 AM   #6
Sara H
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Default Re: Rescue hamster

The rescue centre did say they would get me a report on his last health check but haven't so I have chased them again today. I am not sure there is any point giving them an update as they keep saying he was totally fine before he got to me so I can only presume there is something they are not saying or he has had some type of trauma whilst travelling.

I stayed up until 12pm last night to make sure he was up and about on his wheel and he has been out for some food and water this morning so I am going to just try and leave him be for the moment and see if he improves at all.
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Old 10-06-2021, 07:24 AM   #7
Ria P
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Wink Re: Rescue hamster

Fact is that he is a lot better off living with you than going back to the rescue.
I have also taken in an ill hamster in the past and would do it again.

Anybody who is willing to rescue a hamster needs to be prepared that the hamster may have been made homeless for a reason other than kids getting bored, fighting when kept as a pair, people not having the time etc and may, in fact have a disability or illness. That's my point of view anyway.

You may never find out the truth and i would simply accept things for what they are and take it day by day.

No reason why this little hamster can't have as good a life as possible. Should the head tilt or any other ailment make his life unpleasant in the future than he'll be lucky enough to have a caring human on his side who knows what to do for the best.

If you are worried that he may be in pain or discomfort then you could speak to your own vet and suggest to try a daily maintenance dose of metacam to see if it makes any difference.
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Old 10-06-2021, 10:56 AM   #8
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Rescue hamster

Agree - as you say you wouldn't want to upheave him again now. But it leaves bad feeling when you adopt on trust following an assurance that there are no issues (or at least that no issues were revealed). And it has cost you in vet bills and worry.

I am not sure what else a head tilt could be other than a dislocation - and assume you couldn't tell that without x rays. It sounds like you think he is in pain - hence the metacam presumably. Has he bitten at all? That can be a sign of pain. On the other hand he sounds to be hamstering along and using his wheel.

I don't think a short course of metacam would do any harm but if he's on antibiotics, I'd give probiotics for a while after he finishes them. Dr S from rat rations is one Cypher used to use - I've used benebac for small animals - available online in the Uk and recommended by vets in the US. As antibiotics can affect their gut lining quite badly. A short course again should be fine but it can help to have the hamster specific probiotics afterwards.

Agree about giving a half dose of metacam and seeing if it makes much difference. Although that could be tricky! The dose must be tiny for a robo even at full dose
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Old 10-06-2021, 11:50 AM   #9
Ria P
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Default Re: Rescue hamster

You could present the rescue with your vet bill and ask them to pay it unless they can proof that the hamster had a clean bill of health from their vet.
I wonder why they took him to the vet in the first place unless it is a policy and part of the adoption procedure.
You could also say that you are going to seek advice from the citizens advice bureau if they don't come up with either.

It won't affect the Robo to follow up this side of the transaction. Did you collect him or did they deliver him to you?
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Old 10-06-2021, 02:11 PM   #10
LunaTheHamster1
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Default Re: Rescue hamster

Sorry to hear that you are going through all of this, I do know that a head tilt can be a sign of an infection and even after the infection has gone the hamster can still be left with a permanent head tilt. Obviously as I am not a vet and haven't seen your hamster so I can't say 100% this is what is going on with your little hamster, but just thought I would let you know it may be a possibility, and infections can come on quickly so he may have left the rescue in 100% good health. Obviously your vet will be able to guide you more. Goodluck and i hope your hamster is ok and goes on to live a good long life with you. .
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