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Old 06-14-2022, 03:30 PM   #1
Petite
Senior Hamster
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Scotland
Posts: 501
Default Losing appetite

I'm a bit concerned about my dwarf, Enigma. He's around a year old, and for the last few weeks his appetite just hasn't been as it usually is.

I'm feeding him on Harry Hamster, and every second day I dispose of any uneaten food and leave fresh. The next day I top it up - except that often it needs very little topping up. I also give him some fresh veggies most days (cauliflower, broccoli, etc). He is keen enough when he sees these, but then has a brief nibble and leaves them, sometimes coming back later, sometimes not. He hasn't had any food that he is unaccustomed to recently. As treats I give him a couple of sunflower seeds each day, and he gets occasional millet seeds or a whimzee.

I don't generally weigh him, but I can tell by looser skin around his middle that he seems to have lost weight. I also think that he is a little less active, and more docile than usual. Is this natural ageing, or should I be worried?
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Old 06-14-2022, 04:00 PM   #2
Ria P
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Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Wiltshire, UK
Posts: 7,103
Default Re: Losing appetite

Have you checked his teeth?

I think he's too young to show signs of aging and weight loss is reason for concern, in my opinion.

Millet and sprays to nibble on you can keep in his cage all the time, same with a whimzee. You could give him some dried mealworms to see if he eats them. Dwarfs usually love them. A bit of boiled egg now and again as well.

Unfortunately, dwarf hybrids are prone to allsorts of ailments. I'm taking my foster dwarf to the vet tomorrow.
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Old 06-14-2022, 05:16 PM   #3
Pebbles82
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Default Re: Losing appetite

I wouldn't worry too much about the hamster mix - it's hard to tell how much they eat and they often just eat from their hoards. If he doesn't eat the veg I'd be concerned - but it's common for them to nibble a bit and come back to it later.

Weight loss is a concern though at a year old, as Ria says. I think you should start weighing him weekly. My vet said even losing a few grams can mean something. So you can see if he is losing weight actively. You just need those flatbed electronic scales then it's easy. I put them on the floor or table on a book (needs to be on a flat surface) with a bit of tempting food in the middle, then zero them. Hamster walks on to get the food, you read the scales. At the moment I put them in the playpen (on a book on the floor). If they're on carpet etc they don't read correctly - hence needing the firm surface.

Is he showing any other signs of not being himself? Ears down?

Agree - get his teeth checked (or check them yourself). For fattening him up generally try giving a pinch of hemp seeds daily (high calorie and full of vitamins and minerals so healthy) and nuts as a treat 2 or 3 times a week. Half a shelled walnut for example. See if he gets excited by special treats like that as well - most hamsters love walnuts. Or blueberries.

If it's not his teeth then he may have something going on inside and you may not be able to do much about it. I think the first thing to test for is diabetes.
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Old 06-15-2022, 02:56 PM   #4
Petite
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Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Scotland
Posts: 501
Default Re: Losing appetite

Thank you so much for your replies. No, I haven't checked his teeth. I'm afraid I have learnt during my hamster-keeping years to be very wary of their teeth! I'm not too sure what to do or how to do it. I totally agree I should weigh him weekly, and will do this tomorrow as that will probably give me a clearer idea what, if anything, is going on.

Enigma hasn't shown any interest in the millet - but that could be my fault as I have distributed them rather sparingly, so they may be getting stale.

I have flatbed electronic scales. The first time we used them (a hamster ago) they were fine, but we haven't been able to get them to work since then. I will have another look. If they are still not working, I can use the kitchen scales. They will be slightly less accurate, but at least I will be able to tell whether the trend is up or down.

His ears aren't down except when he eats, and they have always been down then, right from first having him. But he doesn't seem himself, and is not so interested in his surroundings.

He has always been quite a chunky hamster, but he's definitely looking a little less chunky now. Our only pet shop is actually mostly a garden centre, and I don't think I could buy hemp seeds there - their pet supplies are very limited, and I can't even buy paper bedding there, but have to buy it online instead. But I will have a look over the next couple of days, and get him some walnuts and blueberries too.

I haven't noticed him drinking more. Isn't that a sign of diabetes? What else should I look for?
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Old 06-16-2022, 02:03 PM   #5
Ria P
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Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Wiltshire, UK
Posts: 7,103
Default Re: Losing appetite

Are you able to handle him and get him in a hold to check his teeth? You just need to pull the fur at the back of his neck back a bit and then you should be able to see his teeth. Scruff him but support his body.

One of my dwarfs suddenly grew a very long tooth that stopped her from eating properly. The vet shortened the tooth under gas.

You can test him for diabetes yourself with keto diastix available online. He would be drinking and peeing a lot though.

Did you change the battery of your scales and it still wasn't working?

I don't really know what to advise aside from getting him checked by a vet. Do you have a hamster knowledgeable vet on the island?
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Old 06-16-2022, 04:28 PM   #6
Pebbles82
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Default Re: Losing appetite

I was going to say the same about changing the batteries on the scales . Ours stopped being accurate and changing the battery did the trick - they're fine now.

I think best option is a vet check. They can check the teeth at the same time. I know it's upheaval for him and a bit of stress temporarily, but if you can't check the teeth easily it's the best option. It's not easy, and especially with a dwarf I imagine. Some people say - wait till they yawn then have a good look - but sometimes they don't yawn much! I am not keen on scruffing as it can distress them. And you still end up not getting a good look.

You can test for diabetes yourself by buying ketodiastix and dipping them in a bit of his urine. Diabetes can have varying symptoms. I suspect it's his teeth probably. Even if his front teeth look fine, he could have toothache in his back teeth and then they struggle to eat hard food. A year seems a bit young for that but they vary. It can be a time when they start needing some soft food, as well as the regular hamster mix - and possibly the vet could prescribe metacam as well, in case there's something else going on (pain relief and anti inflammatory). Which is probably the best option at this stage.

I just bought linseeds and hemp seeds on amazon.

I get the Linwoods shelled ones as they're soft and fluffy - they just lick them up. The whole seeds might need crunching. Holland and barrett sell these

Linwoods Shelled Hemp, 225g : Amazon.co.uk: Grocery
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