Do you think your hamster is diabetic?

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Diabetes is more common in Dwarf Hamster species (Campbells and Winter White Russian) than Syrian and Roborovski, though the later two can occassionaly develop this condition. You can help them avaoid it by feeding a diet low in refined sugar and high in complex carbohydrates.


A diabetic dwarf will have all or some of the following symptoms:

1. Increased thirst, drinking excessively

2. Peeing excessively, strong smelly urine with either a sweetish smell or a acetone (nail polish remover smell).

3. Sudden weight loss or weight gain

4. Tiredness (sleeping more than usual) or excessive exercise or a combination of both at the extremes

5. Irritability (only in some), unusual biting when the hamster did not bite before

6. Increased hunger

If you suspect your hamster has diabetes you can join the HoneyHams Diabetic Hamsters Yahoo Group where we can share what we know, what we fear and how we can help.

To test your little one:

1. Purchase Keto-Diastix (tests for ketones and blood glucose)

2. Dip the test strip into fresh urine

3. Wait for results

4. Compare results to chart on Keto-Diastix package

5. Read package insert for more information to prevent false readings

The following is a short guideline on how to treat diabetic hamsters, if you want more details please go to the HoneyHams website:


Treat with a hypoglycemic such as fenugreek seeds/powder--up to 400 mg or 25 seeds is safe. Use 50/50 Pedialyte/Water solution in water bottle. High protein, high fibre, low fat diet.


Treat with 50/50 Pedialyte/Water solution and high protein, high fibre, low fat diet.


Treat with only hypoglycemics, plain water (no Pedialyte), and absolutely NO SUGAR (dextrose, maltose, corn etc.). High protein, low fat, high fibre diet. Hypoglycemics include fenugreek (easiest to obtain), glipizide (drug, needs prescription), buckwheat (comes in pasta, whole or flour form, doesn't work as well as the other hypoglycemics), and spirulina (although this doesn't work as well as the other hypoglycemics and is very expensive).

Good protein sources for hams:

1. Tofu (firm or medium firm is best)

2. Roasted soybeans, unsalted

3. Chicken baby food (with broth, not seasoned)

4. Spirulina and/or seaweed called NORI (roasted laver, no added salt or salt removed)

5. Boiled chicken breast or turkey

6. Egg whites with tiny bit of cooked egg yolk, boiled, scrambled, fried in small amount of olive oil

7. Flaxseeds/Linseeds

8. Low fat cheeses (not processed)

9. Low fat, plain natural bio yogurt

10. Tuna in spring water, drained (not all hamsters like this)

Good veggies for diabetic hams:

Cucumbers, bok choy, romaine lettuce, brocolli, cauliflower, celery, kale, bitter melon, chinese brocolli, red peppers, green peppers, beans (except red kidney), legumes, regular mushrooms 1/4 teaspoon, every other day

Other foods:

Wheatgerm, Weetabix cereal, any no-added sugar cereal, nutritional yeast. wholegrains, multi-grain bread, brown rice, wholegrain pasta, buckwheat pasta

In moderation: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, nuts


Raisins, corn, all sugars, even natural or fruit based (maltose, dextrose, fructose etc.), and therefore also fruit of any kind. Plus all the usual things we should not give our little ones such as onions, garlic, carrots, potatoes, white rice, white bread etc.

This list is by no means comprehensive. If you have a questionable food post it to the HoneyHams group and someone will answer it, or post it here and I will do my best to help.

Remember, just because your hamster has diabetes it doesn't mean it is a death sentence. Your hamster can have normal readings and be exactly like a normal hamster - some diabetics have lived to 3 years

Article by forum member Babyboos

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