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Old 12-04-2021, 11:19 AM   #1
kattsy
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Join Date: Mar 2017
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Unhappy Should i put my hamster down?

Good evening everyone

I'm writing this not to ask for someone to make this choice for me, but maybe share their own experiences

My almost 2yo Syrian hamster has been doing very bad for the last month. At the start of November, she started having episodes where she would breathe fast, even lay on her back, stumble around like she couldn't hold her balance anymore, and her body temperature was cold. She was like this for a day, and the next morning we took her to the vet. She was actually suddenly completely normal that morning. While at the vet, she just kinda froze up and started the same thing - breathing fast, wobbling etc. She also developed a new symptom that morning - one of her eyes was half shut. The vet told us, and I quote "Suspicion of a central nervous disease with seizure-like symptoms. (Encephalitis, inflammation of the inner ear to brain tumor).". She was prescribed medicine, as they told us that most likely she's old and there's nothing to be done. They can attempt to further diagnose her, but it would cost us hundreds of euros and most likely they can't help except give her meds. So we took her home, gave her meds and she actually got better. She was basically back to normal

About two weeks passed and it all began again. We continued to give her the prescribed medicine, but this time it seems like she's not going to get better. She looks skinny, her breathing is fast all the time, she basically only sleeps, she can't balance herself, her ears are down all the time.
Yesterday evening, she didn't even take her food anymore, which I usually scatter around her enclosure.

As there is probably not much the vet can help her with, knowing she's almost 2 years old, she might not survive any serious treatments, I'm not sure what I should do. Should I just let her be and die on her own, or should I take her to the vet to be put down? At this point, she doesn't do much besides sleep. If I was 100% sure she's in pain, I would put her down but I just don't know. All my past hamsters passed away in their sleep, and this is the first time I've had a hamster show symptoms of being sick, and I honestly am having a hard time deciding between letting her die on her own or putting her down
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Old 12-04-2021, 12:52 PM   #2
Ria P
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Default Re: Should i put my hamster down?

I'm very sorry to hear about your hamster.

I've not long ago been in a similar situation. My hamster was ill and there was no hope of her getting better. I had her put to sleep because i didn't want her to suffer and possibly die a slow death.
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Old 12-04-2021, 03:38 PM   #3
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Should i put my hamster down?

I think I'm with Ria on this one. And was in a similar situation recently. My hamster improved after a course of antibiotics. But relapsed again. At that point it would have taken days for any medicine to start working again and he was already suffering, so it seemed unfair to prolong the suffering. The main thing that helped the decision as well was he stopped eating - so he wasn't taking any medicine (he was on pain meds as well) as I was putting it in food and didn't want to force anything on him.

Your hamster sounds like she is suffering now. Her ears are down all the time - that is a sign she is in pain. They are very good at hiding pain. If she's not eating then yes it sounds like she may be nearing her time. But sometimes they can take a long time to die. If they have a strong heart. And during that time they are suffering.

I always ask for gas anaesthesia before they are put to sleep (not all vets do this). So they sleep peacefully and don't know anything about it. I think it's time to help her on her way.
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Old 12-04-2021, 04:14 PM   #4
kattsy
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Default Re: Should i put my hamster down?

Thank you for the reply
Since the vet doesn't work on Sundays, we decided to call on Monday, ask their opinion on the situation on ask if we can come in Tuesday morning. If they confirm she's doing bad, we're going to put her to sleep.
I was thinking today about how all she gets to do by now is sleep and how that's not living anyway, so keeping her alive is not ethical either way.
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Old 12-05-2021, 10:21 AM   #5
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Should i put my hamster down?

I think the main issue is that ears down all the time, usually means they really are in pain. I have seen it before. Another sign is sitting hunched (but sometimes it is just one thing or the other). You can sometimes tell by a drawn look around the eyes as well - as if they are pulled back from the corners so eyes looking a bit slitty and slanty.

But ears down all the time says to me she is suffering and needs to be helped on her way. I would suggest taking her tomorrow (Monday) and being prepared to have her pts that day. Their instinct is to hide away and try to die but death can take a long time.
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