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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 18169
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My hamster started sleeping a lot during the summer and was

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My hamster started sleeping a lot during the summer and was not waking up until after I had gone to bed so he went from exercising in his ball or in a free run space from every other day to once a week. He has put on weight and now seems to be dragging his left hind leg and cannot move very well. He is not eating as much and is not weeing as much as he used to. I feel awful as I feel it is my fault. Should I take him to a vet to be treated?
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I'd like to help with your concerns about your little fellow's weight gain, dragging his left rear leg, eating less and sleeping more.
Please don't blame yourself for your fellow's lack of exercise. Hamsters are naturally nocturnal. Young hamsters are more energetic and are awake more during the day, but as they mature they stop that sort of behavior and start to adopt adult behavior. Many hamsters exercise less as they mature and don't have the symptoms that he is. If it has been very warm this summer then it would make sense that he is sleeping later, waiting until it is cooler to get up and get active at night.
That said the fact that he is eating less and gaining weight and is lame concerns me greatly. Hamsters are a prey species and as such hide their weakness or illness until they cannot any longer. By the time we notice differences in their behavior they are often very sick. I am concerned he may have a mass that is causing the symptoms that you are seeing. At 21 months he is an older fellow, as hamsters have a very short life span, often only 24 to 30 months. I do recommend that he see a veterinarian that is experienced treating hamsters.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your reply and I will take him to see a vet as I wondered if the cause was either, I think you call it 'cage paralysis' or whether he has a lump / mass as he literally falls onto one side if he overbalances and then struggles to get up. He is also struggling to climb his ladder in the cage and so I have moved his food so he can get to it.

Poor little fellow sounds like he is struggling. It is possible that he has injured himself too, but that really wouldn't explain weight gain with him eating less. I am glad that you are making accommodations for him, and that he will see a veterinarian soon.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Dr Kara


My hamster, Fudge, sadly passed away on Saturday morning which was upsetting but at least he is no longer in pain.


Thank you for your help as it helped me prepare for what I knew could happen and as he was our only pet, I will not need to applying for a monthly subscription but I was highly impressed by the service provided.


Many thanks again.



Michelle, thank you for the update on Fudge. I am sorry to hear that he passed away, but not surprised as he sounded quite sick by your description. I am glad that you were at least prepared for it, that makes it a little easier. Thanks again and take care, Dr. Kara.