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Denver ER Doc
Denver ER Doc, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1478
Experience:  Small Animal Medicine and Surgery Internship, Veterinary Acupuncture trained, Wildlife and Exotics
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Hi, my hamster has been sneezing and coughing almost constantly

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Hi, my hamster has been sneezing and coughing almost constantly when he's awake for a day. He has had it a few days but not so bad, and I have been working long hours and have had other things keep me from taking him to the vets and it is closed today, so I had a look yesterday online and read he may have a URI. I had leftover baytril from my other hamster so I gave him 0.1ml yesterday and today. Is there anything else I can do instead? And should I give him doxycycline instead, or ask my vet to prescribe it? I heard its better for resp problems. He hasn't eaten his banana or greens last night which is very out of character :(
Hi there,

I am Dr. Paul and am happy to try to help you. Can you please give me a bit more information?

What kind of bedding are you using?
How often do you clean the cage?
What kind of cleaner?

How old is the baytril? Has it expired? And do you have enough to give a 10-14 day course of it?

Any discharge from the eyes or nose? If so, what color?

Is he still drinking and eating some pellets?

Dr. Paul

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi, his box that he sleeps in has not been cleaned for a few weeks but he's very tidy and only really goes the toilet in his liter tray. I was going to clean his cage fully once he wakes up this evening. He is on carefresh bedding and he sleeps in kitchen roll torn into strips and carefresh underneath. The cleaner is a pet safe one as I work in a pet store so I get it there!
The baytril is just under 5 months old but has no expiry date on the bottle. There's definitely not enough for more than a week of treatment, but I heard it was a second rate treatment as it doesn't clear the organisms causing the URI like other gram negative and positive antibiotics. I thought he might have a cold at first when I googled it so I didn't think too much about it but a few days on he's really bad :( . I used Oust spray in my room quite a lot last week and also a candle fell onto a cotton sock and created a bit of smoke so I left the windows open for ages and it's quite cold here. I feel this may have brought the problem on. His eyes are actually sealed shut and wet looking along the seal, I can't be sure but it the crust appears to be slightly yellow, they are definitely a bit gunky and there might be a bit of fur loss around them. I can't see any evidence of eating what so ever, can this be because baytril causes appetite loss? I don't think he's been drinking since yesterday :(. He's hunched up sneezing and his ears are down,

OK, thanks for the information.

Sounds like quite a few things may have contributed to the problem. Dirty cage, smoke, aerosols, cold temperatures.

It is possible that the baytril is the cause of the appetite loss, but I doubt it is the only cause. More likely a combination of not feeling well, not being able to see his food (eyes crusted shut), and not being able to smell due to the discharge.

In the immediate timeframe, I would:

1) Keep the discharge cleared off of his eyes using a cottonball with warm water to gently wipe it away.

2) Clean his cage; the ammonia smell from a few weeks of urine will definitely irritate his nose and eyes.

3) Warm up the room.

4) Handfeed and give water by syringe if he still doesn't want to eat and drink once his eyes are clear.

And yes, I would probably look into switching antibiotics, or even adding doxycycline to the baytril as they are often used in combination for severe or resistant cases. This will require a trip to your vet as soon as possible. In the meantime, doing everything you can to keep the cage clean and warm, keep his eyes and nose clear of discharge, and encourage him to eat and drink are going to be your best bets for supportive care.

Hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Dr. Paul
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thankyou very much for the advice, I had already gone ahead and wiped his eyes with a wet cotton bud so at least he can see, they are gunking up every morning at the moment! I clean his litter tray every other day and he has a rat cage so it does need less frequent cleaning overall as its absolutely huge but I think I need to do his little boz/house more frequently incase there is old food etc and urine in there from when he sleeps, I hope it's not too late :(. I've cleaned his house and tried to get him to eat, I got half a ml of water down him but he's spluttering and sneezing etc so much that I didn't want to get water in his lungs so it was difficult. I've given him light cream cheese, banana, apple and sunflower hearts to try to tempt him, he seems interested but he doesn't eat them so it's strange! I'll get him to the vet first thing in the morning anyway. Thanks again for the advice, it's also really great to have two opinions as my vet isn't so small animal savvy!

Happy to help. Let me know if you need anything else.

Dr. Paul
Hi Sarah,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Glen Coco. How is everything going?

Denver ER Doc

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