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Dr. Andy
Dr. Andy, Medical Director
Category: Pet
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Experience:  2003 Graduate
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My name is ***** ***** and Im concerned about my hampster

Customer Question

Customer: My name is ***** ***** and Im concerned about my hampster
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Pet
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thursday night our hampster was acting normally. Sat evening we noticed the problems. His head is bobbing up and down as if routing, but he is having troubles walking. He walks in circles and falls over. He seems very skinny and bright pink skin. We are not sure how old he is as we got him from the SPCA, but we have had him for 2.5 years. He is drinking water and still goes through his food dish. I have dumped his food and given him new food as well as changed his water bottle. He appears to still have energy as he is crawling through his tubes in the cage. I'd say his legs are still working well just keeps rolling over when he walks. is he sick or dying?
Expert:  BestFriendsVet replied 1 year ago.

Hi, I'm Dr. Vaino. At first glance this sounds like a possible vestibular problem. When you say bright pink skin, do you mean no hair?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
he doesn't appear to be loosing hair, but when you move the hair the skin is bright pink
Expert:  BestFriendsVet replied 1 year ago.

Bright pink is normal for a hamster. Vestibular signs are a result of imbalance that happens, typically, with an infection in the inner ear. It sounds to me like some antibiotics might be something to try.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
is there anything over the counter i can give him or do i need a vet?
Expert:  BestFriendsVet replied 1 year ago.

I think you need a vet. If there is an ear infection, the vet can discover this by sampling the ear with a q-tip and examining the sample under a microscope. If this is the case, typically topical otic (ear) antibiotics are needed, which are not available without a prescription. I would be careful of using anything with a corticosteroid in it, however, as a hamster is a very small animal and the corticosteroids can be absorbed into the body, which can cause a hormonal imbalance. A vet with experience in small rodents will know this, though.

Expert:  BestFriendsVet replied 1 year ago.

If things are severe enough, systemic (whole body) antibiotics may also be needed, but again, make sure you chose a vet with experience in small rodents so that the correct antibiotic is chosen. Certain antibiotics can be harmful to these species.