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manuel_alarcon's avatar

What hamster disease causes difficult walking, erratic movements?

Asked by manuel_alarcon (299points) February 20th, 2011

One of my hamsters died the other day. She showed symptoms like erratic behaviour, eyes closed, difficult walking, and trouble breathing… what could be the cause? a virus? poisoning? unbalanced food? they eat only sunflower seeds

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8 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

The forums all say this:

“f you see your hamster acting in way that is not usual for him, then you need to determine if he is just acting odd or if there is a health problem. Generally, a hamster will act out of sorts when sick, so it is important to catch the problems early.” Source

Some specific medical issues

markferg's avatar

hamsters don’t live long, perhaps this is the end? My son had a hamster and he lived about 2 years. We gave him a true viking send off, with a real burning boat on the local river. We love to imagine him running around the feet of the Viking warriors in Valhalla.

thorninmud's avatar

We’ve had many gerbils, and that’s how they look during the last week or so of their natural lifespan: eyes half-closed, unsteady on their feet. When we see this we know it’s the end of the road.

thorninmud's avatar

Hmm…Looking around a bit more, if they’re eating only sunflower seeds as you say, that can cause problems:

“Sunflower seeds contain a whopping 47% – 49% fat. While they can contribute to a balanced diet alone they are a deficient food much too high in fats. Sunflower seeds and peanuts are all high fat foods that need to be restricted to a small part of their diet. High fat diets can shorten the life of a hamster. Although nuts and seeds are packed with valuable and much needed nutrients they are also very high in fat as well as calories. But the oils / fats they contain are mono and polyunsaturated types, the good fats, and these are less likely to promote clogging or hardening of the arteries than animal fat does. Although they are considered the good fats, no fat in excessive consumption is good. Sunflower seeds as the main ingredient part of the diet invite disease. High fat diets contribute to the same health problems in hamsters as it does in humans. Hamsters’ can become obese and have high cholesterol levels, suffer strokes, heart attacks, and other heart problems from a high intake of fat.

Many hamsters just love sunflower seeds this is because they taste better than the other seeds in their diet. Eating too many and only just theses seeds he may experience a condition called ketosis. This is because he may be eating too many of his favorite sun flower seeds and not enough carbohydrates. Sunflower seeds are high in fats and low in carbohydrates, you may think that because he is eating fat he will get fatter. Not necessarily, it doesn’t work like that. If you eat no carbohydrates and eat just fat you will not only stop getting fat but will actually get thinner. Sunflower seeds as the main ingredient part of his diet is unbalanced and may cause deficiency problems. If he is eating more fat (seeds) and less carbohydrates he may induce ketosis. Ketosis merely means that the body is using fat for energy. Although this does not mean he is actually losing weight it means the body is becoming a more efficient fat burner. So a once bonny hamster can use his body fat store very quickly appearing to lose weight”

Ladymia69's avatar

All of the hamsters I have had acted this way right before they died. I think it is the nervous system just coming to a halt. It’s sad.

manuel_alarcon's avatar

@ladymia69 yes, I see,... Its understandable in Olga, the first one to die… but now there is another one, a daughter, and was born just 2 weeks ago. We think maybe the bedding of the cage, or they are only eating sunflowers seeds. And sometimes my daughter forgets to feed them or give them water… maybe all those causes together empowered each other…

Ladymia69's avatar

You need to feed the hamster a balanced diet or it will not thrive…get good-quality hamster food from your pet store, and give the little girl some lettuce leaves and carrots, etc as treats. Do some research on the internet about what is safe for hamsters to eat and ideal conditions for them. Do you have more than one hamster living in a cage together?

Ladymia69's avatar

Here is a good website to start with. This is the page about feeding. Here is another good page and here is a place to ask an expert about your concern.

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