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Old 06-21-2022, 03:29 PM   #1
Tiffanyh
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Default Cushing's disease

Hi,

I was wondering if anyone has any experience with cushing's disease with their hamster?

I had Gus at the vets today and they think he may have it
I have to take a urine sample in tomorrow so they can get a good idea and rule anything out before starting treatment, however the vet advised me that treatment is quite expensive which is worrying.

She also told me that she saw a small amount of white discharge coming from his nose which I haven't noticed before as he must clean it off before I see him, she checked his breathing and said it all sounded clear so thought antibiotics weren't needed.

It's hard to tell his age as I adopted him from a hamster rescue and they guessed he was approximatly around 6 months just before I got him, which will make him around 18 months now give or take.

If anyone could let me know their experience with it, if they've had any, that would be great

Thank you!
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Old 06-21-2022, 03:44 PM   #2
Ria P
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Default Re: Cushing's disease

Have a look on the Forum under Hamster Healthcare.

There is a thread on Cushing's disease by Coco61.
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Old 06-21-2022, 06:26 PM   #3
Pebbles82
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Default Re: Cushing's disease

Hello. It's very difficult to diagnose and often misdiagnosed. The only way to get a clear diagnosis is via a blood test. Most vets can't do a blood test as it's a highly skilled technique due to hamsters tiny blood vessels.

Some of the symptoms of Cushings are the same as other conditions or generaly ageing (hair loss being one). If it's Cushings there is usually sore skin and scabs as well as hairloss.

I don't know what the discharge from his nose could be - he could have picked up a respiratory virus or something. I hope the antibiotics help.

I think I would look at it as general ageing. He may be nearer 2 than 18 months, and for a hamster, 18 months is considered to be oldish - the beginning of ageing.

The treatment is not particularly common either, but I can't see how your vet can prescribe treatment without a clear diagnosis. What other symptoms does he have? In some ways it's important to know if it's Cushings or not as Metacam is contraindicated with Cushings and can accelerate it/make it worse. I was very upset when a vet said she thought our first hamster had it and refused to prescribe Metacam as a result. I have since been told by another vet that there are other pain meds can be used if Metacam is contraindicated.

I think basically if he seems well enough in himself, just tlc and let him live out his life. And I think I would want a clear diagnosis. Other symptoms of cushings are swollen belly (also a symptom of any organ failure as they get older).
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Old 06-21-2022, 06:29 PM   #4
Pebbles82
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Default Re: Cushing's disease

There's also some info on it here that helps see the difference between Cushings symptoms and general fur loss.

cushing's syndrome
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Old 06-22-2022, 12:11 AM   #5
Tiffanyh
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Default Re: Cushing's disease

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ria P View Post
Have a look on the Forum under Hamster Healthcare.

There is a thread on Cushing's disease by Coco61.
great, thank you
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Old 06-22-2022, 12:25 AM   #6
Tiffanyh
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Default Re: Cushing's disease

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
Hello. It's very difficult to diagnose and often misdiagnosed. The only way to get a clear diagnosis is via a blood test. Most vets can't do a blood test as it's a highly skilled technique due to hamsters tiny blood vessels.

Some of the symptoms of Cushings are the same as other conditions or generaly ageing (hair loss being one). If it's Cushings there is usually sore skin and scabs as well as hairloss.

I don't know what the discharge from his nose could be - he could have picked up a respiratory virus or something. I hope the antibiotics help.

I think I would look at it as general ageing. He may be nearer 2 than 18 months, and for a hamster, 18 months is considered to be oldish - the beginning of ageing.

The treatment is not particularly common either, but I can't see how your vet can prescribe treatment without a clear diagnosis. What other symptoms does he have? In some ways it's important to know if it's Cushings or not as Metacam is contraindicated with Cushings and can accelerate it/make it worse. I was very upset when a vet said she thought our first hamster had it and refused to prescribe Metacam as a result. I have since been told by another vet that there are other pain meds can be used if Metacam is contraindicated.

I think basically if he seems well enough in himself, just tlc and let him live out his life. And I think I would want a clear diagnosis. Other symptoms of cushings are swollen belly (also a symptom of any organ failure as they get older).
I think that may be why she wants to do a urine test to check to see if it could be anything else first.

He does have a couple of little scabs but because he has lost that much hair under his neck (pretty much bald) and on his face I don't know if it's just caused by scratching when cleaning himself. She checked his belly, breathing and in his mouth and said everything sounded/looked good.

I just want him to be comfortable because I'd hate for him to be suffering, he isn't as active as he used to be but again I don't know if that's because he's unwell or because he's getting old. He's eating and drinking like normal, just when he's out for his free roaming he has a little bit run around then goes in a hide to go back to sleep
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Old 06-22-2022, 04:53 AM   #7
Pebbles82
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Default Re: Cushing's disease

Do you have a photo of him. Usually Cushings starts with flank fur loss. Ageing hair loss tends to start facially and behind the ears. Where are the scabs? Poor little thing. He should still be fairly active at 18 months.

If you look at Coco's thread, I believe it says there are two types of Cushings - one with overproduction of cortisol from the pituitary gland and one from the adrenal glands. It depends which type it is as to whether the medication works. The medication only works for one type of Cushings (not sure which!). But it might be worth a try if he is suffering with something.

However there are many reasons hamsters can get fur loss. Mites is one cause (and that does include scabs and sore patches). Has she tested for mites? They need to do a skin scraping for that, as the mites can only be seen under a microscope. The scabs are from them scratching the skin sore with mites in that situation.

Nutritional deficiency can also cause fur loss - if the hamster mix isn't the right balance or too low protein. Which hamster mix does he have?

One thing I would definitely do is start giving him Linseeds. They work wonders for skin and fur conditions - fur actually grows back and their coat gets thick and glossy. Hamsters also really like them. I put a pinch a day on a separate little dish and the hamster just licks them up. It will do no harm and it could just right things with the skin and fur (even if you don't know what it is).

Brown linseeds are the better one. They're not expensive and a bag lasts years! Holland and Barrett sell them or you can get them on Amazon. Give some every day. I've found hair has grown back within 2 to 3 weeks.

What is his skin like where it shows? Is it very wrinkly?

Last edited by Pebbles82; 06-22-2022 at 05:00 AM.
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Old 06-22-2022, 05:09 AM   #8
Pebbles82
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Default Re: Cushing's disease

There's also a good vet article on Cushings in Hamsters here. It mentions the urine test as a check. It's not as reliable as a blood test, but probably why your vet is doing a urine test.

Advice on Cushings Disease in Hamsters | Supreme Petfoods

I would also try the Linseeds for general skin and fur condition and a healthy supplement.
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Old 06-22-2022, 03:39 PM   #9
Tiffanyh
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Default Re: Cushing's disease

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
Do you have a photo of him. Usually Cushings starts with flank fur loss. Ageing hair loss tends to start facially and behind the ears. Where are the scabs? Poor little thing. He should still be fairly active at 18 months.

If you look at Coco's thread, I believe it says there are two types of Cushings - one with overproduction of cortisol from the pituitary gland and one from the adrenal glands. It depends which type it is as to whether the medication works. The medication only works for one type of Cushings (not sure which!). But it might be worth a try if he is suffering with something.

However there are many reasons hamsters can get fur loss. Mites is one cause (and that does include scabs and sore patches). Has she tested for mites? They need to do a skin scraping for that, as the mites can only be seen under a microscope. The scabs are from them scratching the skin sore with mites in that situation.

Nutritional deficiency can also cause fur loss - if the hamster mix isn't the right balance or too low protein. Which hamster mix does he have?

One thing I would definitely do is start giving him Linseeds. They work wonders for skin and fur conditions - fur actually grows back and their coat gets thick and glossy. Hamsters also really like them. I put a pinch a day on a separate little dish and the hamster just licks them up. It will do no harm and it could just right things with the skin and fur (even if you don't know what it is).

Brown linseeds are the better one. They're not expensive and a bag lasts years! Holland and Barrett sell them or you can get them on Amazon. Give some every day. I've found hair has grown back within 2 to 3 weeks.

What is his skin like where it shows? Is it very wrinkly?
I've attached a photo of the side of his face its worse at, you can see a few scabs, but he's completely bald under his neck and I've noticed more scabs on his body and thinning hair near his back legs. His skin is very wrinkly, I'm not sure if that's normal?

He had treatment for mites that ended in April, and his fur did seem to come back a little, but his hair loss wasn't as bad as it is now. I would've thought that if it was mites that the treatment he got would've got rid of them.
I don't know whether to get some more because I don't want to over dose him

He's on the puur hamster food, I used to mix it with the science selective but I haven't been able to get a hold of that one for a while. I've got linseeds for him, I scatter them about for him on his free roam which he loves
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Old 06-22-2022, 03:40 PM   #10
Tiffanyh
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Default Re: Cushing's disease

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
There's also a good vet article on Cushings in Hamsters here. It mentions the urine test as a check. It's not as reliable as a blood test, but probably why your vet is doing a urine test.

Advice on Cushings Disease in Hamsters | Supreme Petfoods

I would also try the Linseeds for general skin and fur condition and a healthy supplement.
Thank you, I'll give this a look
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