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Old 10-30-2023, 10:13 AM   #1
Doris
Newborn Pup
 
Join Date: Oct 2023
Posts: 3
Default Cushings disease - thoughts on what to do?

Hello! I'm new to the forum but a pretty experienced Syrian owner. Apologies for the lengthy opener, but I wondered if anyone on here has any thoughts on this or suggestions... I know there are already a couple of pinned posts about this, both were incredibly helpful so thank you to the lovely people who shared.

My long-haired, 18-month boy Burt recently started losing his fur. I have experienced this in the past and successfully treated for mites, which never returned and the ham lived a long and healthy life. Burt however didn't respond to mite treatment and was evidently drinking A LOT more than normal. His fur was falling out very fast and he was by then almost bald with small, pin-prick size scabs on his back legs, saggy skin and his jaw drooping a little so his teeth seemed more exposed than usual.

I took Burt to the vet (no exotic pet vets around here sadly) who was very kind, sympathetic and willing to discuss my suggestion that Burt might have Cushings (she has a dog herself with the disease who is on Vetoryl), but said that they weren't able to take blood and that she had never treated a hamster for the disease. Without a blood sample, they would effectively be 'blind treating' Burt even if they were confident that it was Cushings, and that she wouldn't know what the correct dosage was without investigation.

Given that the mite treatment was ineffective, she prescribed Baytril for Burt to rule out a generalised skin infection and help clear up the scabs, and that if I felt very strongly about it, she would look into Cushings in hamsters (I should stress that she was VERY kind and genuine, it was just a bit of a grey area to her).

Nearly a week on the antibiotics and Burt has more, larger scabs on his back legs and his skin looks really dry and flaky so I have requested a follow-up appointment with a general small animal vet who has an "interest in exotics" in the hope that they might be willing to look into things a bit more or maybe have seen Cushings in hamsters previously. I am 99% certain that Burt has Cushings disease.

I have had hamsters live almost three years in the past, I feel strongly that Burt is too young to not at least try to get to the bottom of things... but is it unkind to push for further investigation? He lives in a Detolf PALACE and has never been hugely sociable, so taking him to the vet is quite traumatic. Given that he is eating well and seems comfortable, should I just resign myself to keeping him comfortable, minimising the risk of cuts and accept that eventually I'll probably have to say 'goodbye' and do the kindest thing for him? It's sad that there seems to be so little knowledge of and interest in treating hamsters compared to larger animals... Has anyone in the North of England had any success treating Cushings, or know of a vet that might help?

Sorry again for the essay... it felt good to vent a little if nothing else. I imagine there are lots of people here who will understand how helpless it feels <3

A few things about Burt:

- He is eating well, moving around normally and interested in his toys, treats etc.
- He is unlikely to have diabetes as he has always been on a high-quality, very controlled, low sugar diet
- He does not show signs of itching or discomfort (no scratching, rubbing etc.) though I have been occasionally applying a light amount of E45 cream (thinned with a little water) to soothe the flaky bits
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