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Anna
Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 9349
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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My hamster is not moving but she is still warm and is breathing.

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My hamster is not moving but she is still warm and is breathing. What can I do?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Anna replied 4 years ago.
Hello,

I'm sorry to hear that your hamster isn't doing well. You have apparently done a great job of taking care of her because she is the equivalent of a human in their 80's.

As hamsters get older, they become more prone to some diseases that can't be treated. The symptoms you're seeing are common with these illnesses, so that is definitely one possibility for what is wrong. Some of their organs can become embedded with minerals. They can develop cardiomyopathy and heart failure. Cancer and strokes become quite common. You can read more about hamster old age here:

http://www.hilltopanimalhospital.com/hamsters.htm

I'm afraid that your hamster most likely has one of these illnesses of old age. If after reading about the diseases of old age, you decide that's what's wrong, all you can do is keep her comfortable. You're already doing a good job of that. Of course, there's a possibility that this may be something treatable. To be sure, you'd need to make an appointment to see a vet. After an exam, the vet can determine if your hamster can be treated. If so, the proper treatment can begin. The following links will take you to directories of vets who treat small rodents. At the first site, you'll come to a log-in page. Sign in as 'Guest' and use 'Guest' as your password XXXXX well.


http://www.rmca.org/Vets/index.php?action=list


http://www.ratfanclub.org/vetref.html

If your hamster is a Syrian (teddy bear, golden, fancy) and your house got cold last night, she may ahve gone into hibernation. Hamsters will go into hibernation when they feel chilled. Even a few degrees drop in temperature overnight can cause it. It's not good for them to hibernate and wake up repeatedly, as it's hard on their bodies, so you do want to try to prevent it. Your hamster should be in a room where the temperature evenly stays around 70 degrees. If you don't have a room like that, you can buy one of the heating pads that are made to go underneath reptile cages. Most pet stores carry them. It would be put under the hamster's cage to maintain even warmth. The best way to warm a hibernating hamster is in your hands. As they come out of it, hamsters can shake violently. If your hamster is hibernating, it will take about 30 minutes to an hour of warming in your hands to bring her out of it.

If you have further questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I do hope it will turn out that your hamster is only hibernating.

Anna



Customer: replied 4 years ago.
She is a Russian dwarf hamster. Do they hibernate. Do you think she would be in pain?
Expert:  Anna replied 4 years ago.
It's extremely rare for dwarf hamsters to hibernate. Temperatures have to get very cold to cause that, so no, she probably isn't hibernating. Since she is just lying there and not moving, I doubt that she's in pain. There's no way for us to be certain of that, though. If it worries you, you could take her to a vet to be euthanized. Local animal shelters sometimes offer euthanization as a public service at little or no cost, too. However, if this were my hamster, I think I would just let her be. If she's feeling anything at all, the trip to a vet would just cause additional stress. I suspect that she is only semi-conscious, and not in pain.

I'm sorry not to have better news for you. It's always painful to watch a beloved pet grow old and frail. The biggest drawback to these small pets is that they have such a short lifespan.

If I can offer you support in any other way, let me know.

Anna

Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 9349
Experience: 40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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