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Joan
Joan, Vet Technician
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 17427
Experience:  Vet Tech for 35+yrs. Small Animals and Fish
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Devlin, so my ten year old daughter got a winter dwarf

Customer Question

Hi Dr. Devlin, so my ten year old daughter got a winter white dwarf female hamster mid September...
She nipped a few times very early on (like the first days we had her) but since then has been just fine...until last night. She was "strange" per my 10 year old and bit her, broke the skin, blood, the works.
We came home this evening after work school sports etc, and the hamster has died
:(
We have a second dwarf hamster in a separate cage. A neighbor if you will. They did not seem to get along to share a cage.
Second hamster seems fine for now.
My father (a retired critical care MD) is the least alarmist person I know, but right now he seems convinced the hamster could have had rabies.
I get it: she was nice and gentle, the suddenly went cujo on my Dtr and is dead the next day...
His rationale also is that we've only had her a bit over a month and "who knows" what she encountered prior to being purchased (from Petco). I get that too.
I'm Also a doc...the most I've found is
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

My name is ***** ***** I have been a Vet tech for 30+ years with special ineterest in small animals and Exotics.

Was the Hamster exposed to any wild animals or Bats?

Did the Hamster have any foaming of the mouth?

Joan

Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

The questions above if answered no means there is no way the Hamster could have Rabies. It would have had to be bitten by a Rabid animal. The Dwarf Hamster would not survive an attack by a rabid animal live long enough to incubate the Virus and pass it on. I suspect the Hamster was sick. Most likely was feeling poorly when your Daughter went to handle it. Dwarf Hamsters are predisposed to Diabetes and it could have been a seizure ocurring when your daughter was bitten. If this was the case that could account for the sudden death of the Hamster. This is some information about Rabies in animals: http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/ClientED/rabies.aspx You will see in the article, that is would be a very rare instance and circumstances would have to be extrodinary fr the hamster to be Rabid. Incubation time in an animal is 3-8 weeks, but in an animals the size of a hamster would most likely be much faster. I would do not think your Hamster had Rabies. The only way to Verify would be to have the animal tested and the Animal Care and Control would be the one to send the animal in for examination. If I have addressed your concerns, please take a moment to Rate my service 5 Stars.

Joan

Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.

How is your daughter doing? I hope I was able to put your mind at ease.

Joan