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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11061
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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He is hamster 7 months old and was acting fine but I came

Customer Question

He is young hamster 7 months old and was acting fine but I came home from work and he is on his side barely breathing
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What is the matter with the hamster?
Customer: He is shallow breathing, won't move
JA: Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the hamster. What is the hamster's name?
Customer: Mouse, he is breathing very shallow. He has been eating and drinking. Last night he ran on his wheel
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Mouse?
Customer: He is always active and happy and nothing has chamged
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Anna replied 1 month ago.
Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in pocket pet health. I'm sorry to hear that Mouse has suddenly become so sick. I'm working on some information for you, and will post it as soon as I have it typed up. I'll be back in just a few minutes.
Expert:  Anna replied 1 month ago.

Thank you for waiting. From what you have described, Mouse is in serious trouble. I'll give you a couple of first aid measures to take, but he will probably need to be seen in person by a vet.

Mouse may be dehydrated or hypoglycemic. Put a few drops of maple syrup, Karo syrup, or honey in his mouth. Do this one drop at a time. If he is totally unresponsive, just smear a drop on his gums. Repeat this once per hour. Get some Pedialyte (made for human infants and available in discount stores and pharmacies). Use a syringe to put one drop at a time in the side of his mouth. Don't put it straight down his throat as that can lead to aspiration into the lungs. For the first hour, give some every ten minutes, after that, once per hour. These measures may keep your hamster alive long enough to take him to a vet.

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 'member' and use 'member' as your password ***** well.

Expert:  Anna replied 1 month ago.

You are probably also wondering what might have happened. One of the most likley possibilities is that Mouse was injured. Something may have frightened him and he ran into the side of his cage or a toy. That can result in head or spinal injuries. If this is what happened, only time will tell if he can recover.

Diabetes can also lead to lethargy and even a coma. Diabetes is not unusual in hamsters.

There are no diabetes medications for hamsters, so diabetes is usually treated by changes in diet. Diabetic hamsters are fed a quality seed mix, alfalfa, carrots, cooked potatoes, and boiled egg. You can read more about diabetes in hamsters here:

If Mouse is a Campbell's dwarf, it's even more likely that he has diabetes. There is an inherited form in the Campbell's, which usually strikes young adult males. This link will tell you more about that:

There are other less common possibilities, such as an inherited form of heart disease called cardiomyopathy. If you can check inside his mouth or the pads of his feet, look to see if the skin there is white or blue colored. That means blood is not being circulated well. That is often the result of heart disease or anemia.

Finally, make sure he didn't get too hot or too cold. Both can lead to these symptoms.

From all these possibilities, you can see why a vet visit is needed. The vet can listen to Mouse's heart and lungs, do a blood test that would diagnose diabetes, and check for injuries. If you have more questions, just let me know. I hope Mouse will be able to recover from this.


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