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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16244
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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I have a female Robo dwarf hamster about 10 months old and

Customer Question

I have a female Robo dwarf hamster about 10 months old and about two days ago I found her asleep so I went to wake her up to check on her because I had just gotten back from a 2 day family visit. Usually when She wakes up, she runs around and opens her eyes and is happy, but this time she took around 2 min to wake up completely and then she wouldn't move, she is breathing quite fast and although she is awake, she won't open her eyes. I usually have to hold her above a box or her cage to be sure she doesn't escape but now I can't sit her on the floor or my lap and she won't move. When she does move it is very slow and she seams unstable. I took her to the vet and they put her on oxygen and other meds, then sent me home with a sulfonamide antibiotic. I have beengiving her the prescribed amount when I am supposed to and giving her water with a dropper since she is unwilling to go to her water bottle in her cage. She isn't eating much besides a few bites of a cucumber I have her yesterday around 8:30 pm and I have been waking her up every 2 hours of so. I have a heating pad under half of her cage to be sure she can escape the heat of she needs. her most visible Simpsons are very fast/heavy breathing, not a lot of movement, won't open eyes even while awake, not eating or drinking unless forced upon, and limp body when I pick her up. The meds don't seam to be working and I'm very worried. Any advice?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 11 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Now I have to say that I am very worried about Kiwi.

Unfortunately, it sounds like we may have a pneumonia that isn't responding to her current treatment. In this case, the timing with the holidays is very unfortunate. This is because these little ones are so delicate and can deteriorate so quickly and we'd be worried she may not last over the holiday without further intervention.

In this case, we'd really want to think about having her back to the vets for oxygen to stabilize her breathing (and I suspect her activity level and eating/drinking would improve if she wasn't fighting for breath). As well, she may need to be put onto an alternative antibiotic (since what she has sounds to be resistant to what is being used), as well as potentially have her on bronchodilators and pet safe anti-inflammatories.

If there is any delay in doing this, I would note that if she sounds congested, you can try steam treating her. You can take her in the shower as you run a hot shower or use a nebulizer/humidifier to treat her. This may reduce congestion and ease her breathing. As well, while it can be difficult to feed hamsters in respiratory distress, I would note that if she will allow feeding, you can use veggie baby foods for ease of feeding her while sneaking fluid in as well.

Overall, Kiwi's respiratory infection sounds to be progressing here despite you doing everything right. Therefore, we can start the above for her but may need to think about having her seen again urgently to give her a chance to overcome this.

In this situation, it would be prudent to get your wee one to the emergency vet. To find your local ER veterinary clinic, you can check @ http://www.vetlocator.com/ or http://www.veccs.org/index.php?option=com_hospitals&nationid=1&Itemid=193

Please take care,

Dr. B.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 11 months ago.

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