|Posted on December 3, 2010 at 1:15 PM|
Preparations for Kingswinford show last weekend were interrupted by discovering that Dobby the Chinese hamster had diabetes. Dobby was drinking excessively so I used a dipstick on his urine which showed lots of sugar. Diabetes was confirmed by the vet. Dobby will stay forever at Vectis as a treasured pet.
Dwarf hamsters should never have sugary treats or fruit and veg with high sugar content, such as carrots. It is important to check the hamster mix contains no added sugar (usually int he form of a syrup) as some commercial ones do. I use Harry Hamster food which has no added sugar. Diabetic hamsters do not have blood tests or finger prick tests like humans may do. Instead their diabetes is monitored through watching how much they drink and measuring sugar levels in the urine. This is far less stressful to the animal.
After finding out he had diabetes, I put Dobby onto a low carbohydrate, low fat and high protein diet. He also had access to fresh water at all times and was given a larger water bottle. Unfortunately Dobby continued to deteriorate on diet alone so he returned to the vet and was started on medication yesterday to lower his blood sugar. I am lucky that the fabulous team at Unicorn Vets in Southampton are knowledgable about dealing with small animals. We're starting out with a dose every other day and I'll keep an eye on his fluid intake and the sugar levels in his urine.
If his diabetes stabilises so he no longer has sugar in his urine and returns to drinking normal amounts he may enter a show one day. He certainly deserves to have an article written about him for the NHC Journal in the New Year.