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Old 02-16-2024, 08:15 AM   #1
Petite
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Default Is my hamster ok?

I haven't been around on the forum for some time now, but would like to ask for some advice for my hybrid dwarf.

He is 2 years and 7 months old (I actually thought they didn't live that long) but he is showing his age. He drags his back legs when he walks, although still seems able to use his wheel in short spurts. He will walk up onto a bridge, but then fall down the other side, often head over heels. This doesn't seem to bother him as far as I can tell, and he is still keen to search for the treats I hide around his enclosure. I haven't seen any evidence of hunching, which might suggest pain, but I know that they can be good at masking this.

He also has a lump on one eye, which has been there for some time and has been very gradually growing. I haven't taken him to the vet yet, but have been keeping a careful eye on this. It doesn't seem to cause him pain, but he seems to be almost blind now.

I have never had a hamster live this long before, so it's all new territory for me. I'm dithering over whether to make an appointment for him or not, just to check that he isn't in pain, but I'm afraid given his age and problems that they might suggest putting him to sleep, which I am anxious to avoid. Of course, if they thought he was in pain, I wouldn't hesitate. He's a sweet little hamster and I don't want him to suffer.

Please, what would you do?
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Old 02-16-2024, 01:08 PM   #2
SKB_Hamsters
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Default Re: Is my hamster ok?

I would advise getting to the vet if he dragging his legs but even more urgently if he has a lump on his eye. Any eye issue is considered by a vet as an emergency. Plus they can prescribe some pain meds if he could potentially be in discomfort

In the meantime I would make his cage safer for him and remove anything he can climb onto a fall off especially if he failing onto his head.

Vets cant force you to put him to sleep but will advise it when it best for the individual. You don't have to make the decision their a then - you can go away and make the decision in your own time and set a date. I have had vets advise palliative care however these cases I have already decided it was best to let them go.

All the best to you and your hamster.
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Last edited by SKB_Hamsters; 02-16-2024 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 02-20-2024, 10:13 AM   #3
Petite
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Default Re: Is my hamster ok?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SKB_Hamsters View Post
I would advise getting to the vet if he dragging his legs but even more urgently if he has a lump on his eye. Any eye issue is considered by a vet as an emergency. Plus they can prescribe some pain meds if he could potentially be in discomfort

In the meantime I would make his cage safer for him and remove anything he can climb onto a fall off especially if he failing onto his head.

Vets cant force you to put him to sleep but will advise it when it best for the individual. You don't have to make the decision their a then - you can go away and make the decision in your own time and set a date. I have had vets advise palliative care however these cases I have already decided it was best to let them go.

All the best to you and your hamster.
Thanks for your reply, SKB_Hamsters, and apologies for this tardy response - we have been without internet connection for a wee while.

I don't think the eye is much of a problem, as it has been growing so slowly as to be scarcely noticeable, and it did not seem to be troubling him or changing his behaviour in any way. However, I'm thinking now that it does need looking at, although I don't imagine that they would want to do anything surgical with it given his age now.

He does walk in an odd way now, with a kind of wiggle to his behind-quarters, but (and this surprises me) he can still actually run on his wheel in short spurts, and still grooms himself, and enjoys the long tubes I have put in his enclosure (which are getting shorter as he chews them). But his clumsiness and falling do worry me.

I have already put his feeding bowl on the floor of the cage to make it easier for him. There is a ramp up to his water bottle that he can still manage, but I may move the water bottle too. It's a freestanding one, so could be sited anywhere.

I will make an appointment for him and post back again when he has been seen by the vet. Thanks again for your helpful comments.
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