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Danielle, Animal Care Expert
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 246
Experience:  10+ years experience with rodents and rabbits, 7+ years experience with freshwater fish and reptiles
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wheezing hamster

Resolved Question:

I went to feed my hamster, Mojo (SyrXXXXX XXXXX-hair, 2yr. old), awhile ago and I noticed immediately before I even took off the cage top that he made a weird barking sound (kind of like the croup), but only once. But he is also wheezing and I can tell that he is congested although he doesn't have the runny eyes, crusty nose, etc., and he did eat his dinner. I also gave hime a mixture of lukewarm milk, water, and honey (which he drank a little of), put a cottonball w/Vick's vapor rub near him, but not within reach, and closed off the A/C vent in his room per advice I saw online. I love my little this just an allergy/slight cold or something more serious. And I hate to add this in because I'd do anything to make him better, but taking him to the vet is out of the question, my fiance' already put his foot down on that idea (he's a bit of a penny pincher/I'm a homemaker). Any advice?
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Danielle replied 11 years ago.
Unfortunately it sounds as though your hamster has an upper respiratory infection. This is common rodents, and really must be treated by an experienced vet. With an upper respiratory infection, they will not always have runny eyes or a crusty nose. I just finished treating my rat for a URI, and her only symptoms were wheezing and a little sneezing. The vet ruled out allergies and diagnosed her with a URI, and prescribed some antibiotics, which cleared her right up.

If it is an upper respiratory infection, which it very much sounds like it is, they are very deadly, and a hamster cannot heal on his own without proper antibiotics.

As I mentioned above, unfortunately, your only course of action to get him well is to get him to a vet that treats rodents.
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Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Relist: I still need help/opinion
I took Mojo to the vet today; he didn't rule out an allergy since I always use Aspen bedding(although I recently bought a different brand; regular used brand wasn't available), but he is treating it like an URI with SULFATRIM PEDIATRIC SUSPENSION/
1 drop every 12 hrs. for 7 days. Does this sound right?

And both times that I've given it to him today he acts like it's the most repulsive taste EVER...very dramatic hamster, too much like me. I tasted it, not that bad or as bad as he makes it out to be.
Expert:  Danielle replied 11 years ago.
That sounds very right.

Most vets will prescribe Baytril or Sulfatrim, which is also known as Bactrim, for a URI. Bactrim is a very strong, broad range antibiotic, and one which works quite well in combating an upper respiratory infection.

The taste is pretty horrific. I know at the pet pharmacy that I used to work at, for Bactrim and Baytril, we'd add medicine flavoring (similar to the ones for humans) to them to make them more appealing to the animals.

I would not recommend adding any type of liquid to the medicine yourself though, so that you don't create a reaction that makes the antibiotic less effective.

Either way, he definitely needs the medicine, so hopefully he'll warm up to the taste of it.

Good luck, I'm glad to hear he's on some good medicine and on the road to recovery. Hopefully he'll be feeling better in no time!
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