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Old 01-31-2021, 12:53 PM   #1
yasmin_the_hamster
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Unhappy Obsessive digging - hurt paws, ripped nail

Yasmin: 3 months, 150 grams, syrian

So I have done something incredibly stupid and I feel very, very sorry for it. Yasmin is living in her Detolf, and I build her new cage (200 x 55 x 100 cm, 50cm bedding, Allspan Classic). At 1 in the morning today, I put her in her new cage, without any prior adjusting. I put there just a bit of her old bedding into her house. She started digging straight away.

I thought, whe will adjust quickly, since she is young. I did not hear any burrowing during the day, so I though she is sleeping in her burrow and did not wake her up. But at 17, I founf her with paws from blood, digging again obsessively. She must have been frightened and very stressed, which I feel very guilty about.

We took her immediately to emergency vet. She has 3 paws bruised and 1 nail missing.

I was searching through the cage and I did not find a single spot with blood, where she could rip her nail off or hurt her paws. It must have been from obsessive digging, which lasted for hours, or at least that is what I thought. Vet told me the bedding (I took a sample with me) is so soft, that it must have been something hard like cork or wood. But I could not find any blood on her toys and I do not even think she stopped digging and went to her toys or to her house. I put a photo of her house in attachment.

My vet told me that her wounds are clean and that she will heal on her own, I just need to monitor her. She walks normally and doesn´t seem to be in pain, however, hamsters never show pain. Otherwise, she is healthy. She went to sleep straight away in her old Detolf.

I have a couple of questions - how to heal her paws? Vet told me, she will heal on her own. I took away her wheel and sand anyways.

My second question is - do you think it is possible that digging hurt her so much? Or do you also think it must have been something harder than the bedding?

Thank you for your help.
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Old 01-31-2021, 01:24 PM   #2
yasmin_the_hamster
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Default Re: Obsessive digging - hurt paws, ripped nail

ALso, I have checked the corners on the bottom of the cage - I did not find any blood there neither.
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Old 01-31-2021, 03:29 PM   #3
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Default Re: Obsessive digging - hurt paws, ripped nail

Could she have gotten to the bottom of the cage, but kept on trying to dig, so that she was clawing really hard at the bottom of the cage? I once had a hamster that got a terrible chunk out of his tail, I never found any blood or anything that he could have scraped it on, but it never happened again. (I'm not saying that it will never happen again with Yasmin.)
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Old 02-01-2021, 12:56 AM   #4
Ria P
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Default Re: Obsessive digging - hurt paws, ripped nail

This may be a silly question and doesn't answer yours but i'm curious. Why did you move her when she was living in a detolf? Did you think she needed even more space?
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Old 02-01-2021, 01:41 AM   #5
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Default Re: Obsessive digging - hurt paws, ripped nail

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Originally Posted by Ria P View Post
This may be a silly question and doesn't answer yours but i'm curious. Why did you move her when she was living in a detolf? Did you think she needed even more space?
Yes, she did not seen very happy in Detolf. She is very active young hamster, so she always wanted to go out and if she couldnt, she was chewing bars obsessively. I could tell she was bored or stressed or both. Also, she usually loves digging and I wanted to give her more bedding to create burrows, something like plueschraupe and other german owners have. Detolf does not allow to put there much bedding or toys, unless you do an increased lid, but I didnt want her to get to the metal bars to be chewed on. I have read some studies on space and depth of bedding, also german recommendations, and found out of course, the more space and bedding, the better. However, since she moved to such a bigger place, I should have make her adapt first.
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Old 02-01-2021, 01:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: Obsessive digging - hurt paws, ripped nail

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Originally Posted by Ria P View Post
This may be a silly question and doesn't answer yours but i'm curious. Why did you move her when she was living in a detolf? Did you think she needed even more space?
Do you please also have some ideas on her hurting her paws and/or healing them?
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Old 02-01-2021, 06:50 AM   #7
Ria P
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Default Re: Obsessive digging - hurt paws, ripped nail

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Originally Posted by yasmin_the_hamster View Post
Do you please also have some ideas on her hurting her paws and/or healing them?
Sorry no, i don't have any other ideas. It does sound like she was frantically trying to escape from her habitat and dug so much on the glass that she had abrasions on her paws.

If you have a look on the German Hamster Forum under Gehegevorstellung you will see that their very large enclosures also have a lot of enrichment and overhead cover to make the hamster feel secure and save. You can create different levels in a large tank and do all sorts of interesting things.
I think that Yasmin feels very exposed in the new tank which would make her very scared.

Most hamsters also need out of cage time and some need more than others. Trying to get out of their cage and telling us by bar chewing may not be caused by boredom only. They simply want to get out to explore the world beyond their habitats.
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Old 02-01-2021, 07:30 AM   #8
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Default Re: Obsessive digging - hurt paws, ripped nail

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Originally Posted by Ria P View Post
Sorry no, i don't have any other ideas. It does sound like she was frantically trying to escape from her habitat and dug so much on the glass that she had abrasions on her paws.

If you have a look on the German Hamster Forum under Gehegevorstellung you will see that their very large enclosures also have a lot of enrichment and overhead cover to make the hamster feel secure and save. You can create different levels in a large tank and do all sorts of interesting things.
I think that Yasmin feels very exposed in the new tank which would make her very scared.

Most hamsters also need out of cage time and some need more than others. Trying to get out of their cage and telling us by bar chewing may not be caused by boredom only. They simply want to get out to explore the world beyond their habitats.
Please, do not get me wrong. I take Yasmin out every night for at least an hour, if I can than longer, and she has a whole room to explore (and I keep an eye on her always, since she is so wild). I will have a look on the page that you recommended. I want to be sure this will never happen again.

Since I do not have camera, I sometimes record Yasmin during the night and hear the recording later on. By chewing a lot I mean chewing the bars for the big part of the night. That is why I decided she needed more enrichment. Of course, I could put her in the bin. However, I do not think that having no bars to chew on solves the stress that hamster feels, that leads to chewing in the first place.

Thank you for your opinion. I will be slowly introducing it to Yasmin after she heals in a manner of several weeks, as a playpen. I will also make adjustments as you suggested.
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Old 02-01-2021, 07:33 AM   #9
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Default Re: Obsessive digging - hurt paws, ripped nail

Quote:
Originally Posted by NibblesTheHam View Post
Could she have gotten to the bottom of the cage, but kept on trying to dig, so that she was clawing really hard at the bottom of the cage? I once had a hamster that got a terrible chunk out of his tail, I never found any blood or anything that he could have scraped it on, but it never happened again. (I'm not saying that it will never happen again with Yasmin.)
It seems like the most probable option. Corners inside are siliconed and smooth and I did not find any damage on it, nor on the glass. Maybe she was just clawing the bottom of the cage and did any damage to it.
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Old 02-01-2021, 08:07 AM   #10
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Default Re: Obsessive digging - hurt paws, ripped nail

It can be very difficult to find out what a hamster wants and you are doing everything you can to keep Yasmin happy.
I can see that now.

It may be a good idea to use white Kaytee clean and cozy, if available in your country, while Yasmin's paws are healing because it is a very soft substrate and good for burrowing as well.

Had another thought. When i move my hamsters into a bigger cage, i set it up as close as possible to the old set up using the same items and adding more things a bit later. That way they can find their way around and don't get too upset.
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