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Dr. Barbara
Dr. Barbara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 1614
Experience:  Thirty years experience in small animal medicine and surgery.
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Hello, really hope you can help me....? My gorgeous Syrian

Customer Question

Hello, really hope you can help me....? My gorgeous Syrian hamster (Lillibet) was on her 18th day of (i believe) pregnancy yesterday... 2nd Litter (no probs with 1st at 5months..gave birth just coming into 16th day) Now 11months old... Although all normal signs were/are there..nothing was happening. So i rang the vets & to her dismay/unhappy/screeching like a 'Piglet' (bless her) he gave her an injection to try to help matters.. a) should he have done that please..? b) unfortunately he dropped her whilst he tried to examine her (although she landed on her feet) so he couldn't discover for sure if she was pregnant or not..? Also that's when she started 'Screeching' as if he'd hurt her tummy as she was ok til then..?!!? Now coming up to nearly the end of the 19th day (24 hrs & 4 hours since the injection) & nothing has happened..... Where & what to i do from here please..? Distressed Mum.. Sarah x

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Barbara replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Barbara :

Hi Sarah, Welcome to JustAnswer. I am a licensed veterinarian and I'm here to help you. I sure hope Lillibet is OK by now. . .eating and not in any pain. As you know, 19 days for gestation is long although on the end of what is considered normal gestation of 16 to 19 days. Do you actually know when she was bred? Has she shown any signs of labor, nesting, not eating, etc.?

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

Hi Barbara, thankyou for your reply... She is ok but 'Eyes' have been kind of 'cloudy/half closed' since the injection (33 1/2 hours ago) not as big & bright as usual. I bred her at 3.20am (give or take 10mins) early hours of the 23rd April. On Friday/early hours of Saturday (17th Day) she was shaking quite a bit..i pressumed it was time but to 'No Avail' she is eating @

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

Sorry, pressed wrong button... she has appeared to be eating more than usual for the last 4-5 days & can't seem to settle for any length of time which she's normally prity lazy..!! Bless Her. ye

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

Done it again... keep pressing return button (sorry) Yes been nesting & constantly licking her underneath... x

Dr. Barbara :

Sounds like she is pregnant but not in dystocia yet, and may deliver very soon. If she hasn't delivered by tomorrow, however, if you can find a vet that sees "pocket pets", they by palpation or an xray or ultrasound will be able to tell if she is even pregnant. Fertility in Syrian hamsters can end as early as 11 months I read. Sounds like your vet made the mistake of holding Lillibet high above the ground or even the exam table. This was either an oversight by an experienced vet, or more likely from the office comments, an inexperienced vet. If you'd like me to look online for a pocket pet vet in your area, please just tell me where you live.

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

Holding Lillibet now & she doesn't feel as big as she did..? Also have re-weighed her & she has lost 10oz since yesterday..? Normally she is 175... yesterday she was 210 & now 200..?? Yes, he held her at standing height..not even using the table!! :o( I live in Westbury.. Wiltshire but unfortunately i don't drive.... x

Dr. Barbara :

Any chance she did deliver in her cage and the babies are somewhere?????? Let me look online to see what I can find. . .

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

"No.. Bless You" In a total empty cage except for bedding, food & water...... x

Dr. Barbara :

Oh, darn. Perhaps she miscarried and ate the babies. . .but then she still should not have lost the weight actually. Is she still eating and drinking normally today?

Dr. Barbara :

I unfortunately am having no luck online. I can see there are a few clinics in your area from which to choose, but most don't seem to have an actual web page or don't give much info online. If you need someone there, I'd call around and choose someone who has experience with hamsters (or other small mammals).

Dr. Barbara :

Another thought is the actual babies would be only part of her pregnancy weight. . .so I suppose she could have lost the fluids of pregnancy, but still have eaten the babies and therefore have lost some weight. All conjecture of course!

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

Yep, eating lots & drinking. Definitely didn't eat the pups... a) stayed up all night for 3nights on the row incase she needed me at any point.. (i live in 1 room..so, always know what's going on.. as i have 4 in total.. Lillibet.. Alfie (dad) & 2 of the babies from the previous litter..... x

Dr. Barbara :

Very entertaining I'm sure. Do they have a pretty elaborate set up, or is your space too small for that?

Dr. Barbara :

Are there very many "pocket pets" in your area? If you know any of these people they would be a good source for a recommended vet. That's how I happened to become the "pocket pet" vet in my area.

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

They're 'My World' :o) "Get a life probably springs to mind..!!" ;o) i've had hamsters since i was about 12... i'm Now '40'.. they are 'Very' well looked after.. put it that way... some may say spoilt... x

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

Not that i know of or can find Barbara.... :o$ x

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

Although I've 'Loved' & 'Love' all my hamsters dearly..... 'Lillibet' is very special to me..which is why i can't bear the thought of anything happening to her because i didn't seek help. She was very nervous when i got her & i totally turned her around... she's 'Sooooooooooo Loving' sits on my lap for 30mins at a go..just having cuddles before she even goes in her ball.. She looks like a 'Mole' :o) x

Dr. Barbara :

Got any pics? She does sound precious in personality! As long as she is eating and drinking well and not losing any more weight, then she seems fine. It's just that "was she pregnant? Is she pregnant? and remotely of course I can't tell. If you stoke her abdomen, if she is currently pregnant you may be able to feel movement. Go very slowly and press in just a little.

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

I have 'Pics' on my mobile.. also with her last litter of pups :o) but haven't worked out how to put them on a computer yet.. (not very good with technology) could send them by mobile but obviously understand you may not want that..? I'm wondering if she's had a 'Phantom Pregnancy' as her tummy definitely seems to be shrinking slightly.. Have been convinced she was & could feel them moving.... x

Dr. Barbara :

I was just notified that they are having trouble on this site. I was able to get in through a link they sent me, but don't know if you

Dr. Barbara :

Well, if you could feel them moving that wouldn't be phantom. Tomorrow. . .let's see, I think it is 2307 there, so yes . . .tomorrow, I'd recommend that you call around and ask specifically if any of the vets in each practice have experience with hamsters or other small mammals. This would be nice to know "just in case". Also, I'd contact your local pet store to see whom they could recommend.

Dr. Barbara :

I too am very technically challenged! I did ask for another client how they could post from their phone. Let me go see if I can find that.

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

"Awwwwwww.. that would be nice..at least then you know who you are discussing" :o) Yes it is time wise... you not in the 'UK' then Barbara..? & i will ring round but because i can't drive & live in a small area..it could make it impossible.. as feel she would get very nervous if i took her on a bus or train...... x

Dr. Barbara :

Understood! But if you need to, have her in a covered box, so she doesn't see anyone or the lights outside her cage or box.

Dr. Barbara :

I'm in California. Did check for instructions, but apparently that client was ultimately able to transfer her picture to her hard drive. When I started on JustAnser, I signed a contract to not give out my phone number, so I'm sorry but I can't. Let's see: try sending your picture to JustAnswer.com and ask them to post the picture on: http://www.justanswer.co.uk/veterinary/7r7ti-hello-really-hope-help-me-gorgeous-syrian. Or perhaps just sending it to that address would get it to me. Now I am very curious. Of course, only if you have the time.

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

For my 'Beautiful Lillibet' i have all the time in the world :o) Totally understand Barbara. Will try & do that now.. 1 thing.. just got her out of her ball & all was normal & then out of no-where jumped around being scared.. Never has happened in nearly 10 months..? (could it still be to do with the vets....) x

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

Tried both e:mail addresses & unfortunately it just comes up failed...... x

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

Back in her ball..just won't settle.. thought about putting her back in her cage with all her toys but concerned to incase she does give birth... (although i totally believe she won't now) x

Dr. Barbara :

Well, she just might. I doubt the jumping around is due to her memory. To me it would indicate a pain, either possible labor, or perhaps she did get a small injury from her fall yesterday.

Dr. Barbara :

Sorry that the picture wouldn't go through that way.

Dr. Barbara :

How does she seem now in the last few minutes?

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

Running around in her ball Barbara... like she doesn't have a worry in the world..!! she did let me feel her tummy but wasn't over comfortable with it.. normally i can 'Tickle Her' or 'Kiss' her tum but doesn't seem as keen..... x

Dr. Barbara :

Well, does sound like she is fine. Can't say why she isn't so keen about her tummy, but maybe that does bring back bad memories of yesterday.

Dr. Barbara :

Guess if all remains well with her and she doesn't deliver by tomorrow we'll just have to assume she wasn't pregnant. Disappointing, but the concern right now I know is for her well being. I do hope that this doesn't require for you yet another trip to a vet.

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

"Okay" not convinced (sorry, just being honest Barbara)... or could it be her body is 'Absorbing' the pups..? would that co-inside with the extra want for exercise & why she can't settle..? plus her tummy seeming to be delicate..... x

Dr. Barbara :

Really, as far along as she is (if she is) her body wouldn't just absorb the pups, but expel them. Please. . .I want you to be honest as I can't see her.

Dr. Barbara :

Does she have any discharge in the urogenital area? Is her tummy possibly bruised from her fall yesterday. . .can you see any bruising?

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

I'm known for being honest Barbara... Too much so apparently.. it's what i've read on the internet..? didn't know what to believe which is why i contacted yourselves..... x

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

No, doesn't seem to have any damage from yesterday except her nerves & not been any discharge..from what i understand it would be watery blood coloured..? x

Dr. Barbara :

Yes. . .normal discharge would be bloody and watery. . .more watery than blood.

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

I'm soooo tired Barbara & 'Lillibet' now gone to bed..should i do the same & see how she is in the morning..? x

Dr. Barbara :

I am about to go out for a Mother's Day dinner. I can imagine you are very tired as it is very late there and you have been up basically for 3 nights. Since she has settled down, you should too. I'll check back here when I get home. . .but won't write unless I hear from you. :)

Dr. Barbara :

Sleep tight!

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

"Arrrrrrh.. That's Lovely" different date to ours... Have a really nice time.. :o) "Happy Mothers Day" x Hope it's ok to contact you in the morning to clarify how she is.. (all crossed won't be any sooner) x

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

Sorry, just noticed.... first time she's gone to bed in about 5days & not covered her nest over..or gone gathering up the bits of it.. which on a normal basis she doesn't anyway..just plonks herself on it (making beds is not 1 of her better qualities... ;o) x

Dr. Barbara :

Good morning, Sarah! How's Lillibet doing this morning?

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

Hi Barbara.. hope you had a nice meal :o) sleeping..bless her.. So, thought best to leave her til this evening..? x

Dr. Barbara :

Had a great dinner. . .Thank you!

Dr. Barbara :

She's nocturnal, so sleeping during the day is normal for her (of course), If she looks normal in her sleep, then I'd just wait. . .hear from you later?

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

"Agree Barbara... Thankyou" will update you later when she's up & about.... x

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

Hi again... she's up & about & seems fine.. Am i ok to put her back into her own cage now..with all her toys etc... as feel she would be more at 'Home' as such..? x

Dr. Barbara :

I think I'd wait for 1 more day. . .just in case she is pregnant and very late in her delivery. . . or is she alone in her own cage anyway?

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

Yep, being 'Syrian' they can't share... would fight or even maybe kill another by accident.. 'Very Territorial..!!' x

Dr. Barbara :

Hi Sarah, Since she would be alone in her own cage, then I am sure it would be fine to put her back there, but keep a close eye on her of course.

Dr. Barbara :

My screen shows that you rated me as giving you poor service. May I ask why?

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

It's nothing personal to you Barbara.. as you seem like a 'Really Lovely' person.. x but the website portrays that you are going to receive 'Expert' advice from a 'Vet..' & just feel that is not the case.. otherwise i wouldn't need to tell you that a 'Syrian' Hamster have to be on their own.. no matter what cage they are in.. i repeat.. Honestly, nothing personal to you & feel disturbed myself that this has been the outcome.. x Also been nearly 5hrs before getting a response to something i needed advice on before 1.30am in the morning...

Dr. Barbara :

I am sorry. I am a vet, and do know that adult hamsters cannot usually be housed together. But every now and then I have run into that very unusual hamster pair, and just wanted to make sure Lillibet would still be housed separately. Actually, I was all set to be shocked if she wasn't housed alone. . .

Dr. Barbara :

I'm also sorry that I wasn't here on line when you needed. The time difference is difficult as my past 5 hours have been dealing with appointments and business here. :(. Anyway, thank you for being honest. . .this is the best!

Dr. Barbara :

You and Lillibet please take care,

Dr. Barbara :

Barbara

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

"Thankyou for your reply Barbara.." I believe i understand what you're saying... 'Maybe' (i feel) you come across alot of people that don't know what they're doing or take the time to find out how their pet/pets should be cared for/loved etc... Maybe that has caused a miss-understanding between us..? i 'Promise' you i do.. & this has been the first occasion in approx 28 years where i have had to seek this kind of help..? (hope that makes sense...) x

Dr. Barbara :

It does. Believe me, I have learned a lot about hamsters (and rats, mice, chinchillas, ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, sugar gliders. . .I'm sure I must be missing some) over the years as I have researched and researched and researched. . . Also, have run into so many people who have no idea how to care for their little pets and in the worst cases bring them to us too late. You obviously are one who has learned about hamsters and provide a wonderful diet (I'm assuming) and environment for them.

Dr. Barbara :

I am really glad that you have been honest with me. If we could have met in person, and not had the delay of time zones and my business, then you could have looked me in the eye and said, "Are you kidding me? House hamsters together? What planet are you from?" And I would have been able to share my experience with you about the odd hamsters that did get along immediately, and you wouldn't have had the long delay of no comment from me.

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

"Totally Agree" :o) & Yep, sure do..!!" give them bits of 'fresh veg' twice a week... either carrot (not too much cos of sugar content) cucumber.. broccoli.. or apple & through believing 'Lillibet' was pregnant (still completely puzzled by it..!!) she also had bits of chicken & boiled egg whites for her protein level... Maybe she was onto such a good thing..she was just stringing me along..!?! ;o) Hee.. 'Lillibet & Alfie' got along straight away..there was 'No' stopping them..!! ;o) They do 'Kiss' through 'Alfie's' bars of his cage when i hold her there.. But have stuck to the rules to be on the 'Safe side...' x

Dr. Barbara :

Totally agree! Don't really know how these hamster pairs ended up together. . .maybe they grew up together and "puberty" never got in the way. Either I have forgotten, or didn't ask at the time. . .I'm usually so concentrating on the diagnosis or dosing meds. . .this is always all consuming because nothing is made for small critters! By the way. . .what kind of syrian is Lillibet? And what is your male?

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

All i know is they're 'Syrian' both shorted haired... 'Lillibet' is dark..dark..dark.. brown.. as in nearly black i spose & 'Alfiebum' (as i call him) is kinda 'Caramel' color with white/grey tummy & white under his chin and arms... :o) x

Dr. Barbara :

Syrians do come in many colors and color combinations and are short, medium and long haired. So much better, I think if they are short haired . . .much easier to keep clean and our grooming is not necessary. So what color babies did you get?

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

Then there's 'Ollie' & 'Binkie' the 2 pups i kept from the 1st litter.... were 8 months old 'Saturday' just gone 11th May.. Bless them.. x

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

There was 4 girls (darker than the boys) & 4 boys.. more kinda 'Alfie's' colour with a bit of darker patches from Mum... 'Binkie' was the 'Runt..' half the size of the others & only had 1 ear up for sometime.. and still is small but turned out to be a 'Superb Little 1..!!' FAR more switched on than 'Ollie..' But "Hey.. She's female..!!" hee.. (he's just confused..doesn't appear to have a clue what's going on..his face says it all... Completely puzzled look with 'Big Ears..' ;o) Soooooo 'loving' though.. Bless Him.. x

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

"Oh" also.. decided to put her back in her cage..with all her toys etc.. keeping an eye on her but so far so good.. :o) x

Dr. Barbara :

How cute "Superb Little !"! How big is she now. . .an adult now? How many hamsters do you have now? This is fun! I do really like people who are so into their pets! By the way. . .how is Lillibet doing now?

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

Not sure you've received all my last messages Barbara... there was 3 'Paragraphs..?' x

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

"Tiny Girl..." ;o) Half the size she's meant to be.. (as such) but she's sure got a brain on her... :o) x

Dr. Barbara :

No, I got just one paragraph!

Dr. Barbara :

I've had hamsters and loved them! But really got into ratties as I was raising my daughter. Loved our little Squeakers the most. She'd run all over our home and would come when we called. Also, got along with out cats, our dog and our rabbit!

Dr. Barbara :

I think you are nocturnal like your little guys and girls there. . .yes????

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

"I 'Love' all Animals" no doubt the same as you... Unfortunately the only thing that puts me off 'Rats..Mice..Gerbils.. etc..' is their tails..!! Hee.. i get 'sick' to death of people saying... : "They're 'Rodents'..which means they carry lots of desease & they should all be killed etc..etc.." makes my 'Blood Boil..!!' So, i took 'Alfiebum' down the pub..everyone 'Loved' him :o) but i got asked to take him home cos he wasn't a 'Dog..!!' So, not allowed.. although he was in my arms..never put him down anywhere but it's ok to have a dogs in there that lick their bits & rub their bums on the carpet & some 'Slobber' Hmmmmmmmmm.. Don't get me wrong though.. i'd 'Love' to have a dog but can't have 1 where i live but you understand what i mean..?? So, did you not get my paragraph about 'Lillibet' then..? x

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

k00000000000000000000000000000000cc3oyy///////////////////////////////////////// Sorry about that Barbara.. 'Lillibet' ran over the keyboard... so, thought i'd send it you anyway... (must be her way of sending her love..!! Hee) now in her ball... x

Dr. Barbara :

Wondered....but I love that! How about I've also seen and spayed an opossum! Many people are put off by rats and mice and opossums because of their long tails!

Dr. Barbara :

How could someone allow a dog and not a hamster????? Geez! We're watching the show "Doc Martin". He's the doctor of Portwenn. Is this a real place? Do you watch this show?

JACUSTOMER-3akwz77s- :

"Blimey..!!" Hee.. They're quite 'Big' aren't they..?? And 'Exactly..' Just people with opinions that haven't got a clue what they're talking about..!! I can think of many words for them but wasn't brought up that way Barbara.. ;o) x Yes, really enjoy 'Doc Martin..' is this the first time you've watched it..?? is a real place but not it's real name... it's down in 'Cornwall' somewhere.. (as far south in 'England' as you can go..) my parents know exactly where.... x

Dr. Barbara :

Very fun! Yes, we really are enjoying "Doc Martin". I've seen it on TV just a couple of times, but my neighbor had a DVD set that she loaned me with several discs of this show. . .really like it!!!!! Actually, I usually really enjoy films and shows from England. Haven't been to the British Isles ever, but do plan to go someday. I am 1/2 Welsh and 1/2 "other British Isles, with a little French thrown in. How about you. . .all English?

Dr. Barbara :

Hope you're asleep!!!!! I'm off to bed. Have to work tomorrow, but will most likely check here before that.

Dr. Barbara :

Good morning Sarah! How's Lillibet doing today?

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