Heartbreak & Empty Bellies

I was contemplating not even posting today.
Yesterday was a very painful day.

After finding another 2 bubbies dead in the nest (leaving us with 6), we googled the symptoms.
The last few babies had very bloated tummies; discoloured and swollen beyond recognition.
After reading about potential ‘milk fever‘ – an infection in the mothers milk that takes affect between 7-14 days usually – we put an emergency call in to the vet to see if Eve and the remaining pups could be checked out.

So at 6:30pm, off we traipsed – cage, nest, pups and all.

Eve sat on the opposite side of the cage, quite clearly petrified.
When the vet put her hand into the nest, Eve didnt fight or fend. She just sat in the corner, minding her own business. This worried the vet initially anyway. I cant remember her exact words but neglectful was in there somewhere.

She picked out a very poorly looking bub. The poor guy was clinging onto life!
She said it wasnt ‘milk fever’ as the bellies were discoloured suggesting a problem with the livers.
She put the little guy down 😥

I then asked her to check the rest of the babies as some of them showed signs of a yellowing belly.
She picked out 2 babies that had poorly tums and the remaining 3 were given the all-clear.
The poorly two were then put down, to spare them the suffering.
A tough decision but sadly necessary.

The vet then advised that the remaining 3 babies should be hand-reared as Eve wasn’t up to the job unfortunately. The healthy three wouldn’t have stayed so healthy for long as they had empty bellies.

So here are the survivors.
Hand-rearing these three is no small feat.
As they are still under 10days old, the next couple of days are critical to their survival meaning round the clock attention.

  • Hourly milk feeds (with a pipette).
  • Hot water bottle changes to maintain a cozy temperature representing the a mummys belly placed underneath the cage.
  • Cotton buds dipped in warm water, stroked on the belly to encourage weeing and pooping.

So yes every hour from 7:30pm onwards I sat with a pipette and some kitten-milk, feeding three squealing, squirming babies.
Never have I felt more responsible for anything in my entire life!!
I even downloaded a NightLight App for my iPad so that I can see them throughout the night without having to wake up the sleeping boyfriend!

As hard as it now is to see Eve vacantly scour her cage for a sign of life, we are now doing the best for the babies. I would love to say Eve can provide the best care for these 3 babies, but she’s just not got the knack of motherhood yet. Maybe after the loss of a few, she gave up? We will never know the reason for such drastic abandonment, but for now as long as I can keep these three fed and happy – I think something good will have come out of this whole experience.

I think we have three boys.
From the photo above from left to right:
Ralph, Monty (short for Montana – competition winner), a nameless one (We are working on it! :P)

Sorry for the depressing posts. Hopefully we can see this as a blessing?

Categories: animals, General, Hamsters, Love, Pets | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Heartbreak & Empty Bellies

  1. I’m really sorry. This must be awful for you to have been dealing with. All I can say is, that at least you know now that you did the right thing by taking them to the vets. It means you’ve saved three. You can only do your best now trying to be mummy for these babies. Fingers crossed. As for Eve, I’m no expert but I think that a thorough cage cleaning and disinfecting would probably help her to move on to normal hamster life again, as it will remove the scent of the babies. Good luck xxx

  2. Whoa! You were very smart to be proactive with the poorly pups. Good luck with the hand rearing. I hope it isn’t too long of a time that this hourly care is needed. I’m afraid you will be looking poorly next!! Keep us posted. xo

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