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Old 01-25-2010, 12:28 PM   #1
pruje
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Default Hamster pain signs

I had a hamster (Houdini, a Winter White Male) for a few years. He died over the weekend finally at about 2.5 years old. I knew he was sick and about to die, but didn't have him euthanized because he didn't appear to be in pain.

Now I am feeling a little guilty because I think he might have been in pain and I just didn't recognize it. I have always associated pain in hamsters with vocalizations like squeaking or chirping. He didn't do either and was very quiet.

But now that I think about it, he did go through a behavior change. A week before, he started to become very active, running around the cage a lot. He pawed at the edge of the cage like he wanted to be let out, and would climb on the bars. He did the climbing thing a lot when he was younger, but it was unusual for him to do it after he got older.

Even when I took him out of the cage he was agitated. He squirmed a lot and even bit me a little (not hard enough to draw blood, but enough that I felt it, and he never used tom bite at all). The only time he calmed down was when I petted him.

So I am wondering if all this agitation is the result of him being in pain. I'm not asking this because of guilt, but to know in the future what to look for. If I had known he was in pain I would have had him euthanized.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:37 PM   #2
souffle
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Default Re: Hamster pain signs

Hamsters do not really show pain I don't think but to my mind a hamster in pain does not run around at all. They tend to give up really and go to sleep, refusing food and water and will not allow you to touch them.
In my opinion you were right to leave him. Passing in his own home when he was not in obvious distress is by far better than the stess of being taken to the vets and travelling and the strange smells etc.
He did not bite you hard so he was not hurting a lot.
Never doubt your decision as any decision made from love is never wrong. You did what you felt was best for him and I feel sure his path was gentle.
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:42 PM   #3
pruje
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Default Re: Hamster pain signs

Yeah, that makes sense. I just want to make sure I don't miss pain signs in the future with my other hamsters. Thanks.
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Old 01-25-2010, 03:47 PM   #4
suga
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Default Re: Hamster pain signs

I don't think you missed anything either. You would know if they need assistance to pass.
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