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Old 02-09-2021, 04:01 AM   #1
TullamoreDew
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Default When is the End? The Hardest Decision

Hi there,

I am a newbie to this page and am really sorry if i haven't posted this in the right place! but am really desperate for some advice. I have a gorgeous two year old (roughly- he was a rescue) Syrian Hamster called Tullamore Dew (Tully) and over the last few months has been showing signs of aging.

Around a month ago, he began to lose a little weight, a little fur and just seemed to look 'older'. He had a slight shake/wobble when walking and standing up but was still keen to come out and play and eat his favourite snacks.

However, last tuesday, i spot cleaned his cage (i know older hamsters don't like to be fully cleaned out) and noticed he was in a permament 'half asleep' state. After i was finished i watched him for quite a while and he seemed very disorientated but eventually went back to sleep.

However, over the last week, i have noticed that he sleeps almost all day and night (only comes out maybe once or twice to wee) and have a tiny munch on food. He is in a large plastic bin cage and when i used to take the lid off, he used to wake up and look up at me, however, i have realised now he may not be able to hear or see me or may just be in too deep sleep to realise. Its really hard to see. Furthermore, he is wobbly more when he walks and occasionally falls which is heartbreaking to see (his cage is very safe as i have adapted it so its safe for him- moving his food and water next to his bed).

My question is (and i know its a very personal decision) but, when is the time to get him put down? I really would rather avoid this as he seems to peaceful just sleeping but i also realise that he doesn't really have a very good quality of life anymore. He doesn't climb or eat his favourite treats. I thought a week ago he was on his last legs and wouldn't last the night but a week later, he is still here (which is great, but almost heartbreaking to see).

I know he won't 'recover' so per say because he is just old and its clear he is an elderly hamster but my question is, how long do they live just sleeping and minimally eating? He seems ok just cosied up in his bed but i need to be honest with myself and figure out whether i am just being selfish keeping him around when he is 'existing' more than 'living' if that makes sense.

I love him so much and have told him he can leave and cross the rainbow bridge whenever he feels like it but he seems content just to stay and sleep here on earth side longer. I really hate the thought of him being in pain though but am not sure if he is when he is just sleeping.

I have emailed my local vets asking for advice too but i wanted to ask on here as well as i know the forum is full of kind and compassionate people who know lots about little hams.

Thanks for taking the time to read this 🐹
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Old 02-09-2021, 05:20 AM   #2
Amethyst_ice
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Default Re: When is the End? The Hardest Decision

Hello and welcome

He sounds like he has had a very happy life with you and is certainly in his twilight days.

When they age, they do eat less and sleep more. Is he manageing to groom and still go to the toilet ok?

You could offer some softer foods such as boiled egg, rice, chicken and baby food and some veg mashed up.

Personally, if he was just looking old and not in pain I'd enjoy my days with him. You have already adapted his cage for him so sounds like you are doing lots already
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Old 02-09-2021, 05:39 AM   #3
Ria P
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Default Re: When is the End? The Hardest Decision

When my beloved Syrian was near the end of his life last October i spent as much time with him as possible just sitting by his cage and gently talking to him.
I wanted him to know that he was not alone and that he was loved right to the end and beyond.
He was wobbly and incontinent and spent nearly all his time asleep in his nest. The last couple of days he didn't get up at all and looked like he was sleeping until he stopped breathing and then he was gone.
There comes a time when living becomes excisting but he is still there so cherish the time you have left with him.

I wouldn't hesitate to have a hamster put to sleep who is suffering and in pain or in danger of facing a traumatic end but if that is not the case and a hamster is just old and slowly fading away i would let nature take its course.

It is a very sad time when they are about to leave us.
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Old 02-09-2021, 06:37 AM   #4
LunaTheHamster1
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Default Re: When is the End? The Hardest Decision

It's great you contacted your vet. My syrian girl went like this over a period of time, falling over, eating and drinking less- i just think of it as a little old lady in an old peoples home. She was on pain meds and I did everything I could to make her comfortable which sounds like what you have done.

In her last week I kept thinking she was just going to go in her sleep, she was such a fighter and not making it easy on herself. But, when her breathing got bad, that's when I took her to the vets to help her on her way and be put to sleep. It was the right call as she was staring to get fluid in her lungs, so not a peaceful way to die.

I think you will know when/if he needs a helping hand.
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Old 02-09-2021, 10:15 AM   #5
TullamoreDew
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Default Re: When is the End? The Hardest Decision

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst_ice View Post
Hello and welcome

He sounds like he has had a very happy life with you and is certainly in his twilight days.

When they age, they do eat less and sleep more. Is he manageing to groom and still go to the toilet ok?

You could offer some softer foods such as boiled egg, rice, chicken and baby food and some veg mashed up.

Personally, if he was just looking old and not in pain I'd enjoy my days with him. You have already adapted his cage for him so sounds like you are doing lots already
Thanks for replying!

Heís eating a tiny bit of soft food and drinking limited water-) no where near as much as Ďnormalí. Heís going to the toilet once/twice a day but less pops then normal (I assume this is from him eating less but I think you are right, to leave him all cosy.
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Old 02-09-2021, 10:21 AM   #6
TullamoreDew
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Default Re: When is the End? The Hardest Decision

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ria P View Post
When my beloved Syrian was near the end of his life last October i spent as much time with him as possible just sitting by his cage and gently talking to him.
I wanted him to know that he was not alone and that he was loved right to the end and beyond.
He was wobbly and incontinent and spent nearly all his time asleep in his nest. The last couple of days he didn't get up at all and looked like he was sleeping until he stopped breathing and then he was gone.
There comes a time when living becomes excisting but he is still there so cherish the time you have left with him.

I wouldn't hesitate to have a hamster put to sleep who is suffering and in pain or in danger of facing a traumatic end but if that is not the case and a hamster is just old and slowly fading away i would let nature take its course.

It is a very sad time when they are about to leave us.
This sounds very similar- except for the fact he stumbles out of his bed to wee in his little wee spot. Itís really reassuring to hear of a hamster quite similar. My only worry is that I donít know if he is in pain but all the while he is sleeping, I think he is ok.

Just out of curiosity- do you remember the time frame much? E.g how long it was from your ham sleeping and wobbling a lot more to eventually passing away?

Thanks for replying
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Old 02-09-2021, 10:24 AM   #7
TullamoreDew
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Default Re: When is the End? The Hardest Decision

Quote:
Originally Posted by LunaTheHamster1 View Post
It's great you contacted your vet. My syrian girl went like this over a period of time, falling over, eating and drinking less- i just think of it as a little old lady in an old peoples home. She was on pain meds and I did everything I could to make her comfortable which sounds like what you have done.

In her last week I kept thinking she was just going to go in her sleep, she was such a fighter and not making it easy on herself. But, when her breathing got bad, that's when I took her to the vets to help her on her way and be put to sleep. It was the right call as she was staring to get fluid in her lungs, so not a peaceful way to die.

I think you will know when/if he needs a helping hand.
She said something similar to these replies- to just monitor him and you will just Ďknowí if he needs to be put down- it seems a big weight at the moment and a big worry but I know t is the cycle of life 😔. I am montoring has breathing as sometimes it seems quite shallow but then eases out again but if he sounds wheezy i will take him in straight away.

Thanks for much for understanding and relying to me 😊
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Old 02-09-2021, 01:03 PM   #8
Ria P
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Default Re: When is the End? The Hardest Decision

Quote:
Originally Posted by TullamoreDew View Post
This sounds very similar- except for the fact he stumbles out of his bed to wee in his little wee spot. Itís really reassuring to hear of a hamster quite similar. My only worry is that I donít know if he is in pain but all the while he is sleeping, I think he is ok.

Just out of curiosity- do you remember the time frame much? E.g how long it was from your ham sleeping and wobbling a lot more to eventually passing away?

Thanks for replying
He declined quite rapidly within two or three weeks, lost a lot of weight and became weaker and weaker but was still trying to do his usual hamster stuff.
I knew that his end was near about a week before he died and the last five days or so he was very wobbly and slept most of the time.
At that point i also asked myself if it would be kinder to have him put to sleep but he had made it very clear that he wanted to die in his coconut and that's exactly what he did a couple of days later.
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Old 02-09-2021, 07:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: When is the End? The Hardest Decision

How long is the question. It can vary. With our first hamster it was the length of time that finally made me take him to the vets to be helped on his way as he seemed to be dying but didn't actually die and it went on for days and I decided he must be suffering. I think he was actually unconscious when I finally took him but I saw he had a prolapse and was worrying he was suffering.

So yes you will probably know. It sounds like she is still doing hamstery things and our last Syrian was like this right up to the night he died. He would stay in his nest most of the time but came out for his softened food. Then one night didn't take the food and he'd gone.

Look for signs she might be in pain. Ears down all the time. Sitting a bit hunched up. Any signs of suffering as mentioned above like breathing difficulties. Otherwise just keep her comfortable and talk to her now and then.
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Old 02-11-2021, 02:17 AM   #10
TullamoreDew
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Default Re: When is the End? The Hardest Decision

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ria P View Post
He declined quite rapidly within two or three weeks, lost a lot of weight and became weaker and weaker but was still trying to do his usual hamster stuff.
I knew that his end was near about a week before he died and the last five days or so he was very wobbly and slept most of the time.
At that point i also asked myself if it would be kinder to have him put to sleep but he had made it very clear that he wanted to die in his coconut and that's exactly what he did a couple of days later.

Ok, its sounding quite like Tully- they are little fighters aren't they! Thanks for letting me know that, its reasuring to have a rough time span for these things but i will take him in if he seems to be hanging on a bit too long or is in pain
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