In yesterdays rambling post, I explained that my gorgeous white Syrian hamster had passed away after fighting a mysterious illness. Well for the sake of all my hammy friends and all those who are worried about their little fur-babies, I want to explain what happened and the tell-tale signs that something wasn’t quite right.
So I was having a routine evening cuddle with Cas and I noticed that he didn’t look quite right. His eyes were really bulging and he was veeeeery slightly tilting his head to one side.
Now don’t get me wrong hamsters can be very bright eyed but this was out of the ordinary for my little Casper who as you may know spent the majority of his time with them shut!
As you can see from the picture, his eyes look very rounded and almost protrude from his face.
He kept on blinking normally and his behavior hadn’t changed at all so all I really noticed was he looked a little different.
All I could really do at this point was monitor it.
Over the next week or so the tilt in his head became more prominent. It was affecting the way he walked about too.
My first thought – inner ear infection.
The inner ear affects balance and can be treated with antibiotics.
I took my poorly baby to the vets and he behaved as good as gold! Only wriggled a tiny bit when they were examining him.
I always feel like a horrible hamster-mummy when I get the tank out. But it’s the best thing to take them to the vets in. Small and nowhere to hide so the vet can get them and treat them with as little stress as possible in my opinion.
So the vet gave Cas a thorough examination. And as is usually the case with hamsters, the vet couldnt do very much at all for him.
Its the sad thing about such small critters in that they are so small treatments such as surgery are next to impossible.
Never the less, the vet gave me the verdict.
There was something wrong with Caspers brain. A swelling, possibly a tumor.
It was this tumor/swelling that was causing his eyes to protrude and causing his behavior to change in terms of walking lop-sided.
They gave him some antibiotics in the hope that it wasn’t as serious as they thought and that it was an infection of some sort. The hope was that the medicine would improve the swelling and make him more comfortable.
Unfortunately, after 2 weeks there was no improvement on his condition. If anything he had deteriorated. He was still eating and drinking but his breathing had become incredibly laboured and his eyes were starting to get a little weepy.
My poor fur baby was not looking healthy at all. 😦
I moved his cage into my bedroom and kept a close eye on him. Every available opportunity, he got cuddles and snuggles in warm blankets. I hand fed him water and moist foods to try and keep him as hydrated as possible.
As you can see from this picture, he really was starting to look unwell.
He had no energy at all.
Laying still and breathing was hard work for him.
He did manage to nibble at the food infront of him although it was never very much as his weakness was starting to really show.
It was at this stage I knew Casper wasn’t going to make it for much longer.
Watching him fight so very hard for life was torturous and my heart was genuinely breaking. I would put his tired body on my warm tummy and we would sit quietly together for hours and hours of an evening. He knew I was there and he knew I was watching him and he didn’t given up!
It was the third day of this very poorly Cas and I had booked a vet appointment. I didn’t want to let him go but it was cruel to let him struggle any longer.
It was on this very evening that he curled up on my tummy for the last time.
He was really struggling to breath.
He took his last breaths while being stroked and snuggled.
It was a very very sad time.
Even now, months and months later, I miss this little hamster so so much. He was the perfect pet, friendly, tame and just the cutest.
He has left an unimaginable space.
I am beyond grateful for this blog and all the memories I have captured and shared.
To re-cap Casper’s symptoms for you worried hammy-parents;
- Bulging eyes
- Tilted head
- Laboured breathing
I can’t stress enough, get to the vets! There is a million and one things that could cause the above. Chances are good with antibiotics! Its best not to waste any time.