Topic: Is my dwarf hamster diabetic, please help!?
October 18, 2019 / By Stevie Question:
I'm not sure my dwarf hamster is diabetic. He has gained a lot of weight since I first got him and he loves to eat. I don't give him many treats and I only fill his food dish when there is only a small or no portion left. He excersises fine, he loves to run in his wheel and he is not irritable by all means.
Also, ever since I got him, meaning that it did not happen suddenly, he drinks a lot. His water usually lasts 5 to 6 days or occasionally less. His urine also smells horrible. It is very strong and has a disgusting kind of nutty smell to it. He also pees a lot because of all the water I'm guessing.
I'm worried because he has gained weight in little time.
Can comeone tell me if he has diabetes, if so how can i treat it or prevent it.
Also, can anyone tell me some feeding information, how much I should feed him (I usually fill his dish) and how often (I usually don't change his food until all of it is gone or theres barely any left)
And what kind of snacks are bad for him so I know.
10 points to most detailed and helpful answer. Thank you so much.
Quilla | 2 days ago
Caring for Diabetic Dwarf Hamsters
Adapted from information from the Honey Hams Yahoo group:
Common in dwarf hamsters, diabetes is characterized by above-normal blood
glucose levels. The body turns food into glucose, or sugar, to use as energy.
The pancreas, an organ near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to
help glucose get into cells. In a diabetic, the body either doesn’t make enough
insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugar to
build up in the blood.
Diabetes isn’t a death sentence. If you pay special attention to diet, your ham
can have normal readings and live a long, healthy life—some diabetics have
lived three years! Always think positive!
• Increased thirst; excessive drinking
• Excessive peeing; strong-smelling urine with either a sweetish or acetone (nail polish remover) smell
• Sudden weight loss or weight gain
• Tiredness (sleeping more than usual) or excessive exercise, or a combination of both
• Irritability (only in some); unusual biting when the ham didn’t bite before
• Increased hunger
Small Angels recommends testing your dwarf hamster’s urine to confirm the
presence and type of diabetes. To test the urine, follow these steps:
• Purchase Bayer Keto-Diastix (tests for ketones and blood glucose).
• Place hammy in clear plastic carrier with no bedding and wait for the
hamster to pee, then dip the test strip into fresh urine.
• Compare results to chart on Keto-Diastix package.
• Read package insert for more information to prevent false readings.
Diet is key to controlling diabetes in dwarf hamsters. Supreme Hazel Hamster is recommended because of its high protein content and the fact that it doesn’t contain molasses (which you’ll find in Hartz, Nutriphase, and Kaytee). But pick out the corn, smashed corn, and smashed pea pieces in the mix, which are the pieces in the bottom row of the picture at right. Dwarf hamsters need a high-protein food item everyday. The following are good protein sources:
• Boiled chicken breast or turkey
• Chicken baby food (with broth; unseasoned)
• Egg whites with tiny bit of cooked egg yolk, boiled, scrambled, or fried in small amount of olive oil
• Flax seed
• Low-fat cheeses (not processed)
• Low-fat plain yogurt
• Roasted soybeans, unsalted
• Spirulina and/or nori seaweed (roasted laver; no salt or salt
• Tofu (firm or medium firm is best)
• Tuna in water, drained (not all hams like this)
Dwarf hamsters also need fresh vegetables every day. Choose a variety from the following list:
• Beans (except red kidney)
• Bitter melon
• Bok choy
• Chinese broccoli
• Green pepper
• Red pepper
• Mushroom (1/4 teaspoon, every other day)
• Romaine lettuce
Whole grain foods are also beneficial as they help deliver glucose to the cells, and other foods carry other benefits for diabetics. Choose a variety from the following list:
• Cooked brown rice
• Cooked whole grain or buckwheat pasta
• Nutritional yeast
• Weetabix or any nonsugar whole grain cereal
• Whole wheat bread
Offer the following foods only in moderation:
• Pumpkin seeds
• Sunflower seeds
Avoid the following foods:
• Brussel sprouts
• Carrots (high in natural sugars)
• Fruit of any kind (high in natural sugars)
• Red kidney beans
• Sugars (maltose, dextrose, fructose, etc.—look for these
ingredients in commercial foods and treats)
• White rice
• White bread
These lists are by no means comprehensive. If you’re not sure about a food item, post a question to the Honey Hams Yahoo group. If you’ve tested your hamster’s urine, the following guidelines will help you tailor the hamster’s diet to his or her specific condition:
High Ketones, High Glucose:
Treat with a hypoglycemic such as fenugreek
seeds or fenugreek powder—up to 400 mg or 25 seeds is safe. Use a 50/50 Pedialyte/water solution in the water bottle. Follow a high protein, high fiber, low fat diet.
High Ketones, Low or No Glucose:
Treat with a 50/50 Pedialyte/water solution and high protein, high fiber, low fat diet.
No Ketones, High Glucose:
Treat with only hypoglycemics, plain water (no Pedialyte), and absolutely NO SUGAR (dextrose, maltose, corn, etc.). High protein, low fat, high fiber diet. Hypoglycemics include fenugreek (easiest to obtain), glipizide (requires a prescription), buckwheat (comes in pasta, whole, or flour form; doesn’t work as well as the other hypoglycemics), spirulina (doesn’t work as well as the other hypoglycemics; very expensive), nori (roasted laver seaweed), and mushrooms (1/4 teaspoon, every other day).
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