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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11547
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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Our male hamster is 2 1/2. He is eating a little, drinking and his

Customer Question

Hi. Our male hamster is 2 1/2. He is eating a little, drinking and his fur looks clean. He has a lump which I'm assuming is a tumor. We noticed it a few weeks ago. Now his lower abdomen is very swollen and somewhat black and blue. I know he's near the end of his life, but we are struggling with whether or not to have a vet put him to sleep. What do you think? And if so, how is it done?
Thank you.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Anna replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome, Lynn. Thank you for requesting me. I'm sorry that you are at that difficult point in Squirt's life where you have to make that decision. I have been in that situation many times with various pets, and it is always hard and never gets any easier.
At age 2 1/2, Squirt is very old. He is not going to recover, but is likely to continue to deteriorate. You will have to look at his quality of life to decide when the time is right to put him to sleep. I can only give you things to consider. Is he able to sleep comfortably, or does he seem restless?
Does he enjoy his soft foods or do you have to coax him to eat?
Is he able to enjoy any of the activities he used to - his wheel, chew toys, climbing toys, etc.?
Is he able to breathe easily?
If the answers to several of these questions are no, it may be time. Putting a beloved pet to sleep is one last act of love we can show them.
There are two ways it can be done. If a hamster is well-hydrated, it may be possible to insert the solution into a vein. The hamster then goes to sleep, as if surgery we're going to be done. While asleep, death comes quietly. In a hamster that has been ill, it may not be possible to find a good vein. In that case, the vet will use a gas anesthesia to cause the hamster to sleep (again as if surgery were being done). Then the euthanasia solution is injected into the heart. This is painless because of the anesthesia.
If you have more questions, let me know in a REPLY. I hope that whatever you decide to do will go smoothly.