Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dwarf Hamster Tip of the Day.

No, I'm not starting a new thing on my blog. I'm posting this info for two reasons. One, I took this REALLY cute photo of Wasabi and wanted a reason to post it.
Two, I thought this info might be helpful for someone at some point.


My happy little hamster celebrated his 1st birthday and not long after that started to lose a lot of his hair under his chin and getting very skinny. He is a dwarf hamster, and everything I read on the internet said he was not long for this world. Many sites told me that they lived 1.5 years max and that the balding thing was normal for a dwarf hamster of his age.
Then one day I noticed that he could not take his treat out of my hand like he always used to. He seemed to be having trouble getting his mouth around it. I then gave him a cracker, and realized there was not a crunching sound coming from him. It kind of looked like he was gumming his cracker.
I called the Vet and she said that it sounded like he had a broken or overgrown tooth. Because of his age, and how skinny he had become in such a short time, it was dangerous to give him the anesthetics, but if I didn't get his tooth fixed, that would kill him too.
I made an appointment for a week out, and I decided to get him super healthy so he would survive. I fed him three times a day.
His diet was:
A small square of Hard tofu 2 times a day (Once in the morning and once after work
A teaspoon of either carrot or green pea and brown rice high quality baby food 3 times per day (You can only keep it in the fridge for 3-4 days and then you must throw out the rest. You do end up tossing a lot, but you don't want to feed your hammie baby food that has gone bad! I thought about freezing servings in an ice cube tray to make it last longer, but he got better before I needed to do this.)
Some all natural peanut butter (no sugar added) on my finger tip as a treat when he would normally get a snack.
Sometimes I would add a little instant oats to the carrots to make them less runny and give him some added carbs.
By the time he had his appointment, he had already gained some weight and was looking a lot more active.
He had his appointment, got his tooth trimmed, and the doctor said he popped right back awake afterwards. A perfect patient. It was only $56. People always ask how much it costs. That really is not a lot compared to what most vet visits are and it was totally worth it!!
After his appointment I kept giving him the same diet, but as his tooth started to grow in, and he started going back to his regular food dish more and became less interested in the food I was putting out for him. I still supplement about once every other day with baby food, and he demands the peanut butter as his daily treat, because he LOVES it, but he seems to be back to regular food for the most part.
He has gained all of his weight back AND His hair has all grown back! Turns out his baldness was not "Old age" but a proteins deficiency. With the tofu and the peanut butter, he got all the protein he needed.
It has been a month since all of this happened, and he has never seemed happier or healthier. No longer the skinny balding hammie, but an active fluffy happy hammie. This is not an old man on his way out. I have a feeling he will be with us for a very long time to come!
If you have a hammie in the same situation and need more specifics about the diet or anything, feel free to email me. It took a lot of internetting and separating fact from fiction for me to get all of this info together, I'd be happy to share with anyone that needs to know. I'm positive my hammie would have died if I didn't do all of this when I did it.

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