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Old 02-15-2020, 06:44 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: scotland
Posts: 59
Default concerned about elderly hamster

My male hamster Snowball is 2 and a half years old and I am concerned about him. He has difficulty walking and has been like this for a few months. His back legs are very thin and he walks with his back legs splayed out and sort of drags them behind him. when he stands he doesn't stand on his feet but the soles are upwards with his back legs splayed. His nails look a bit long. he has circling disorder too although hasn't been showing symptoms of this much lately. he chews cardboard boxes manically instead. he falls over a lot and I have to handle him with gloves as he bites. Something which started with his circling disorder. he still eats quite well and sleeps most of the time. Normal for his age. he appears content enough most of the time. I am just wondering though how long this can carry on? I don't want to take him to the vet as it distresses him and there is not much they can do for hamsters anyway. I have also noticed that he licks the plastic tub I put him in to get him out of his cage. Why? I s he picking up salts? Extra trace nutrients? Should I give him a salt lick or vitamin drops?
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Old 02-15-2020, 07:25 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 1,037
Default Re: concerned about elderly hamster

My 2 and a half year old has arthritis, thin/weak bag legs too and they splay out. I made sure her wheel was wide enough to accommodate this, and made sure everything was on one level in her cage. She has been to the vets re all of this and she is on pain medication. I think she is far more comfortable since on the medication. She also still has a moments when she just zooming around, but her back legs can't keep up with her so she falls over. As for how long hamster can carry on like this, every hamster is different, it could be months I guess. It has been about 4 months so far with Star but I'm not sure how much longer she will have, I just keep an eye on her and as long as she still has some quality of life that is all I can do. If things change I will seek the vets advice again.

Not sure about salt licks and vitamin drops, I don't think they are good for a hamster, maybe look into adding some extra treats like baby food, porridge or eggs.
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Old 02-15-2020, 07:31 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: scotland
Posts: 59
Default Re: concerned about elderly hamster

Hi. thanks for your reply. It sounds like Snowball could have arthritis too. He actually stopped using his wheelabout a year ago and I have removed it. I may take him to the vet and say I think it's arthritis and what about pain mediacation. Our dog had arthritis and had to be put down.
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Old 02-15-2020, 11:05 PM   #4
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Location: Wales UK
Posts: 24,018
Default Re: concerned about elderly hamster

It does sound as though your ham may be arthritic now, the pain meds, usually metacam can help them with any pain & make things more comfortable for them. I sounds as though he may possibly have had a stroke which isn't unusual in elderly hams. There isn't much you can do about that now but I agree asking your vet for advise now & making it as easy as you can for him to get around the cage is the best you can do.
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