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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 21416
Experience:  I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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When he tries to move, he rolls over on his back, like he's

Customer Question

When he tries to move, he rolls over on his back, like he's had a stroke or spinal injury. He can move forward
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What sort of animal are we talking about?
Customer: Sorry, hamster
JA: Maybe I'm confused. I thought you had a problem with a pet. Is that correct?
Customer: Pet hamster
JA: What is the hamster's name and age?
Customer: Nibbles - maybe a year and 1/2
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Nibbles?
Customer: No, he just can't stay upright without rolling on his back. If I support him, he can drink and clean himself
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

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

How long has he been showing signs?

Does he appear wobbly, dizzy, or as if he doesn't know which way is up?

Any changes to his breathing?

Are his gums nice and pink (not white/pale)?

Can he eat with support as well?

Any chance of a fall or injury?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
We just noticed yesterday. He is wobbly and can sit still upright, but when he goes to move, his head tilts right and he rolls on his back. He can right himself to sitting, but cannot progress forward without rolling on his back. His breathing becomes labored. He is not eating by hand, but will drink if supported. I am unable to check his gums. He's got active movement of all limbs, but not coordinated to walk. He could have taken a fall in his cage, but not sure.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
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Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

Thank you,

Now when we see signs of this nature, we do have a few concerns.

Since hamsters rarely are allowed out on their own, we'd hope to put toxicities lower on our list of concerns for Nibbles. Instead, we'd be more concerned about an inner ear infection, inflammation vestibular system (which regulates balance) or possible brain lesion (ie bleed or swelling from a fall but also a possible mass, cyst or infection in the brain). Just to note, while a stroke is possible, these signs thankfully do not support spinal issues since he has normal limb movement.

With this all in mind, since we do have some serious concerns for wee Nibbles, we'd want to have a check with the local vet as soon as we can. That way we can treat the treatable with antibiotics and hamster safe anti-inflammatories. Otherwise, in the meantime, we'd want to use supportive care. If he is struggling to keep himself upright, we may need to make him a little nest to stay in where he can have better self-control. And if he isn't eating ( a real worry since they have little body reserves and we don't want a secondary gut stasis complicating this for him), we'd want to try hand feeding his favorite foods at this point. If he isn’t willing to eat, you may have to start syringe feeding this wee one. It is worth speaking to the vet about diets to syringe feed to your hamster. I tend to use Oxbow’s Critical Care feed for anorexic pocket pets. or Supreme Recovery diet. These are highly nutritious herbivore feeds that can be easily made into a slurry for syringe feeding. Else we can use veggie baby food with canned pumpkin and his pelleted diet crushed in to keep him eating.

As well, with his drinking if this is reduced then we can use pedialyte or diluted Gatorade (50% diluted with water). These will help replenish electrolytes and get some glucose into him as well.

Overall, Nibbles signs raise some serious worries Therefore we'd be best to have him seen to address as many of our concerns as possible but for the moment supportive care it key to help keep him from deteriorating further with this.

If you don’t already have an exotics vet, you can find one near you at If you are struggling, then also check @ or @ as these vets usually will see pocket pets as well.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.


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Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you Dr. B for your response. Since we are snowed in at the moment, I'm wondering if there's something comparble in human form we can try for vestibular problems, i.e. Dramamine, benedryl, etc.?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Also, 2 of the links you suggested bring up error pages. The rabbit one works. Just in case it's a typo. Thanks for your help.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

Good afternoon,

It is similar but we'd not want to use either of those for her. The doses these tablets are made for for use in people tend to be too high for us to dose hamsters. So, it would be better to avoid those and just hand feed her at this point. And I do apologize I was typing too quick for my own good last night and posted the old address for the AEMV. That should be & the guinea pig one is correct (

Best wishes,

Dr. B.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

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

Dr. B.