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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22615
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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Our little white hamster is 2.5 years old now and over

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Hi - our little white hamster is 2.5 years old now and over the last 2 days has really slowed down. He didn't eat last night and is very, very lethargic this morning and can't seem to open his eyes.
Is he just getting old and his time has nearly come, or should i take him to the vet?
He has tried to nibble on a grape and sniffed the water that i put in-front of his nose, but didn't take any.
Thanks for your help.
Hello & welcome, Fiona. I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today. In regards ***** *****'s signs, both are concerns. We can certainly see our hamsters slow down with old age; though to see him show an appetite decline suggests that we are more likely seeing an infectious agent preying on his elderly immune system or that he may have an underlying organ based issue that is coming to a head. With this in mind and with how quickly these wee ones can deteriorate, we do want to be proactive here. Especially since going off food can lead to deterioration no matter the underlying cause (treatable or not). Therefore, a check up at this point would be ideal as it would allow us to pinpoint which issue is present and potentially treat any infection that may be lurking here.Otherwise, we'd want to start supportive care to avoid him wasting away. To do so, you will want to keep handfeeding favourite foods at the moment. If he isn’t willing to eat properly, you may have to start syringe feeding. It is worth speaking to your 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. And it is much easier to use then trying to create a balanced critical care diet at home. Though for the short term, you can use veggie baby food.If he isn’t drinking well and you are concerned that he might be becoming dehydrated, you can try and encourage him to drink by offering fresh water, as you have. But I would also consider seeing if he would take some pedialyte or diluted Gatorade (50% diluted with water). These will help replenish electrolytes and get some glucose into him. You can also give pedialyte via dropper of syringe. A typical dose for animals is 4.8mls per 100 grams of body weight per day (obviously divided over all day drinking). This is just an average but will give you an idea of how much fluid he should be taking in over the course of a 24 hour period (this will also include the amount of water in the food you are feeding). Furthermore, we do want to make sure he isn’t getting chilly. By keeping them comfortably warm. you can make a safe warmer for your little one from a clean sock filled 2/3rd full with uncooked white rice. Tie it closed and microwave (approx 1-1.5 min). Make sure to shake it before adding it to the cage, to allow the heat to distribute. Make sure its not too hot (as we don’t want to burn him. If it cools, you can re-warm as required). Alternatively, a heating pad under half the cage (so he can move away if he gets too warm) or a heat lamp can be used. Whichever you technique, you use monitor the temperature closely, since we don’t want to overheat him (and we cannot be confident he would move himself if he grew too warm). Overall, these signs can be age related. Though with how quickly this has come on for Betty, those other issues would be a concern. Therefore, we'd want to start supportive care but it would be ideal to have his vet check him over in case this is infection based and thus something we can treat and clear for him. Please take care,Dr. B. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. **Afterwards, I would be grateful if you would rate my service by clicking on the "Rate my Expert' button at the top of the page as this is the only way I am credited for helping you. Thank you for your feedback!: )
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