my dwarf ham, Katie

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my dwarf ham, Katie

Post by scaredymouse on Fri Aug 12, 2016 9:15 pm

Katie was one of the rare occasions where I purchased a new hamster at the pet store. I was actually there to get my first Syrian, but little Katie was next door doing a cute little dance and we made eye contact, so I had to bring her home. Those are the rules! Anyway, she's gorgeous and feisty and she's my most affectionate ham.

Well, it has become evident that she is diabetic. You can imagine that diabetes is very difficult to deal with in a hamster. Most vets don't even know how to deal with it and I'm sure it would cost a small fortune to treat. Luckily, I have a friend who runs a rescue and she has experience with treating this in hamsters. So with her guidance, I am going to attempt to try to treat Katie on my own. That means regular urine tests, daily weights, special diet, monitoring water intake, and twice daily insulin injections. Apparently, you can buy insulin and syringes at walmart without a prescription. I know because I did that today!

She's only a year old, and untreated diabetes is not a good way to go. So, wish me luck as i attempt to save Katie! Of course, it all depends on whether or not Katie wants to go down this road with me.

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Re: my dwarf ham, Katie

Post by CinnamonPearl on Fri Aug 12, 2016 9:43 pm

Oh, wow, that's a huge undertaking! Maybe you can also ask her vet for advice on doing it? I don't know much about treating diabetes, but it must be hard without being able to monitor insulin. What'll the urine tests be for, monitoring insulin or blood sugar?

Edited to ask: How do you even tell when a rodent has diabetes?

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Re: my dwarf ham, Katie

Post by scaredymouse on Fri Aug 12, 2016 9:55 pm

luckily, i'm a nurse, so i feel like i'm as qualified as one can be going in to this. the urine tests monitor glucose levels and ketones in the urine. the main symptoms that became obvious was the extremely large amount of water she has been drinking and the huge, saturated pee spot- like 2 handfuls of completely saturated bedding in just 5 days. additionally, there is a strong, sweet smell to the urine. in fact, there is so much sugar in her urine, that it has attracted fruit flies (yuck). these symptoms led me to test her urine which confirmed my suspicious, her sugar was off the charts.

the insulin dose gets adjusted based on the glucose in the urine and the amount of water that is consumed in a 24 hour period. the rescue that i'm working with also has a nurse that cares for the critters and they have hammered out this treatment protocol with a vet, so i'm confident that we will be providing top notch care even though I will not be working with a vet. it allows me to put the money I would have needlessly spent, towards rescuing/caring for more animals. there isn't anything a vet could tell me that hasn't already been outlined to the people i'm working with and the medication doesn't require a prescription. and there are no tests that the vet can do that I can't do at home.

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Re: my dwarf ham, Katie

Post by CinnamonPearl on Fri Aug 12, 2016 9:59 pm

Wow! Scaredy, you're a superhero. What do you use to test urine?

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Re: my dwarf ham, Katie

Post by Rodents rock! on Fri Aug 12, 2016 10:05 pm

Wishing you all the best with Katie's care. I believe she is in good hands!
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Re: my dwarf ham, Katie

Post by Peachy on Fri Aug 12, 2016 10:10 pm

Katie is so lucky to have you. Smile When the vet and I talked about Sunshine's possible diabetes he mostly talked about diet. Interesting discussion!

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Re: my dwarf ham, Katie

Post by Artistwolf on Fri Aug 12, 2016 10:36 pm

Wow! I didn't even know you could do all that for a hamster. I thought you just had to put them on a very strict special diet. You're amazing... Your animals are so so lucky to have you!

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Re: my dwarf ham, Katie

Post by scaredymouse on Fri Aug 12, 2016 10:43 pm

I use test strips to test the urine, they are called keto-diastix. Luckily, diabetic hamster pee a lot so it's pretty easy to get a sample. but you have to put them in a container with nothing in it and just wait for them to pee, then dip the stick in the pee. I put a little water bottle in there and a bowl of food but it's pretty lame for the hamster. Katie's like, "why are you punishing me?"

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Re: my dwarf ham, Katie

Post by CallaLily on Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:21 pm

Katie is lucky to have you. I hope all goes well with her treatment.

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Re: my dwarf ham, Katie

Post by MouseLover on Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:56 am

Aaw poor Katie! I have heard that dwarfs can be prone to diabetes, particularly hybrids (which most pet shop dwarf hams are) Sad

Your treatment plan sounds amazing! I hope things go well for you both - Katie sounds like she's in great hands Smile I can't believe you can buy insulin without a prescription though... that could be so dangerous in the wrong hands Shocked

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Re: my dwarf ham, Katie

Post by scaredymouse on Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:08 am

I know right? But on the flip side, a person could die over the weekend if a doctor didn't call in a prescription or the patient lost their insulin or ran out. but why just insulin then... how come we don't have heart medicine or anti-seizure meds over the counter then, too?

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Re: my dwarf ham, Katie

Post by CinnamonPearl on Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:35 am

Maybe there are substances in those meds that make them easy to abuse. They should be more readily available, but many meds aren't over the counter for a reason.

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