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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22616
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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I am hamster sitting and weve had him 2 days..he seemed ok

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I am hamster sitting and weve had him 2 days..he seemed ok but seems to be wobbly on his feet and wont go in his little bed thing...

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

Does he seem lethargic or lass active?

Is he eating and drinking?

Does he seem normally aware or mentally dull?

Any chance of a fall or being dropped?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello..thanks for coming back to me...yes he is less active,,,he doesnt seem to be eating/drinking,,,,dont know about the awareness aspect,,,,he hasnt had fall or drop only landed a bit heavy when being put back in cage....

I am so upset weve had him before and done nothing different...

Thank you Pat,

First, I have to say that I am concerned about Graham.
The sudden onset wobbliness can be seen with brain based issues (the most common being bleeds to swelling secondary to trauma) and weakness due to anorexia. So, if Graham is not eating or drinking; then the latter is suspect for those signs.

Now his signs are vague. Lethargy, anorexia, and secondary weakness/wobbling can be due to a range of issues. And as a prey species, they don't tend to give us many clues until their situation is advanced. Therefore, we need to be proactive if he is at a stage where he isn't trying to hide that he feels so unwell. Therefore, the best thing to do is to contact his owner now and get permission to have him seen by their or your vet. That way we can pinpoint the trigger for his signs and get him treated to address this as soon as possible.

Otherwise, in the meantime, we must start supportive care to address his anorexia. Now the local vet will be able to dispense hamster critical care diet for syringe feeding. Though there are some short term options we can use. First, if he is very depressed and dull, we can give him a small dose of honey. The sugar in honey will help raise his blood sugar if it is very low. Afterwards, we can use veggie baby food (ideally crushing his food pellets into it) as a short term syringe feeding option. This will just get some nutrition and fluid into him to counter these side effect signs of wobbliness.

As well, if he is not drinking, we need to carefully syringe fluids as well. You can do this with water, but I tend to advise using a paediatric rehydration formula or diluted Gatorade (dilute it 50% with water). These have the advantage of having some sugar and electrolytes in them and thus can get a bit of energy in as well as fluids. Dose-wise, he will need 4.8ml per 100 grams of his body weight per day. This total obviously needs to be divided into a few feeds over the day.

Finally, we do want to keep him warm. To do so, cover his cage on 3 sides to keep warm air in. If you are sure he'd move himself (which sounds debatable), you could put a heating pad under half of the cage. But if there is any chance he would not and instead let himself overheat, then that would have to be used with great care.

Overall, the signs you are seeing with Graham are most suggestive of weakness secondary to anorexia. Therefore, we need to use the above to counter that. But since this can be a sign of a range of infections, organ issues, and even tumours (depending on his age); we'd also want to consider updating his owner and discussing having him seen by their vet at this stage.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need as this is how I am credited for assisting you today. Thank you! : )

Dr. B. and 4 other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you....

I have spoken to his owner who tells me that he is about 3 yrs old and she has noticed he is beginning to show signs of age , so is probably age related ....has really upset me....

Thanks again for your advice..

You are very welcome,

Oh dear. If he is that old, then it is quite possible one of those 2 latter issues afoot. Still, I would advise the above supportive care to keep him from just wasting away in front of you and considering taking what action the owner would prefer for him (which may not be a nice job for you I am afraid).

Please take care,
Dr. B.