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A very long shot (hamster health care question), and a WWYD?

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We have a very sick hamster here :( She's a big Syrian, and we suspect she has Cushings disease, which is not good but usually isn't that terrible until the very end. However, she currently has scabs and sores all over her little body  :crying: She finished two weeks of one antibiotic, and during that two weeks the first sores healed a good part of the way, but a whole bunch more started and grew. The vet has on her a second antibiotic (she's one week into a three-week course), but there doesn't seem to be any improvement so far. I suspect the vet is throwing cheap solutions at the wall and seeing if anything sticks, but I know she has our best interest in mind. We're also giving her probiotics.


Anyway, has anyone come across this before? Does anyone have any suggestions on treatment? I can't create her topically because she licks or scratches off everything I try. Anything I put on her wounds seems to make her itch more. I know we can't cure the Cushing's, but I just wish we could get her skin healing and get her more comfortable.


And here's the WYYD. I feel like it's maybe time to let her go, but I'm having a hard time making the decision. She's definitely sleeping much more than she was, and I can see she's having some muscle wasting (mouth hanging open when she looks upward--that will get worse as time goes on), and when she's awake she's definitely itching and biting at her skin and wounds a good bit. She looks awful, and she smells kind of funky now too. But also, when she's awake, she's still mostly her old self. She runs around, and tries to jump and climb like she used to. She can still run around plenty fast and can jump and climb on lower surfaces (like from couch to lap and vice versa). She still seems to be eating lots of food, and she's definitely eating plenty of treats the way she used to. 


I just don't know what to do. I don't want to give up on her too soon, but I also don't want her to suffer needlessly. DH is no help here, as he thinks rodent pets are disgusting, so I don't really have anyone to think this through with. If you've read this far, thank you.

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Ah, poor baby. It is really hard to watch them suffer but I think if it's just the scratching a lot and she seems happy then I'd keep trying.  Don't they sell a topical spray for itchy dogs/cats that can be licked off?  Also her food might be causing either an allergic reaction or could be making it worse.  I know a particular red food dye causes our chihuahua to itch like he has fleas.

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Lotramin and Tinactin were perscribed for our dog when he began having those issues. Vet thought it might be a low grade fungal infection. Both can be licked at eithout issue. The Lotramin is a cream and it is stronger, but easier to remove. The Tinactin is a spray and apparently does not taste as good as the Lotramin.


I do not know if that helps. It took three weeks with the dog to kill all of it, but patches would diminish in a week so we knew it was working. Good Luck!

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We had a hamster like that.  Poor thing.  We did put him down.  


He was born in our house.  Dh's co-worker gave us a knocked up hamster.


The entire fiasco was actually quite comical, but for another thread.


This particular hamster was the one no one wanted because he wasn't friendly, even though he was held as a baby.  He would bite if picked up.  But he developed (I think) mites.  His hair fell out, he had scabs, and he had more ear wax than a human!   The boys had just been watching Harry Potter so they named the poor thing "Scabbers"  :lol:


Anyway, we tried ointments, listerine in a bottle (read online it was supposed to help but he hated it,) etc.....nothing worked.


I hope you find something for your little guy.  We finally just gave up.

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Thanks everyone. We've been sort of jokingly calling her Scabbers too, though the whole thing breaks my heart. She's a very sweet hamster, really a part of the family (well, not for DH, I guess!). We can't have any larger pets because he's allergic, so we say she's like the family cat. She's very intelligent and has a great personality, and I'm the one who hangs out with her at night so she can get some exercise and interaction. If she's sleepy, you can put your hand over her and she'll crawl up against your neck and go to sleep.


We're all pretty connected to her, which is making this whole thing harder, unfortunately. It's also complicated by the fact that I nearly had two different gerbils put down because I was agonizing over their suffering when things looked really hopeless, and both went on to make complete recoveries  :huh: So I'm making myself a little nuts over this. 


Honestly though, is it too much to ask for a family pet to just peacefully pass away in their sleep? We had two gerbils develop horrible tumors, another die after much suffering in which his teeth kept falling out, and we lost another after he escaped his cage and chewed through an alarm clock wire. We thought we had more time with this pet (she's only 18 months old), but now she'll suffer on to her end as well *sigh*


I had gerbils and hamsters growing up and I don't ever, ever remember any of them dying in these kinds of ways. What the heck is going on these days? Argh! 


I didn't think of irritation from the food, thanks for that. It's a pretty healthy blend, but some of the kibbles are colored, so I'll find something else today. And actually, you made me remember that this food is a different brand than we used to buy, because we found bugs in the old food. So maybe there's some correlation. Wouldn't that be nice?! I'm already using a spray for wound care/dry skin, but it just makes her worry at the actual wounds more, I think. I'll see what the vet says about something for itchy skin. And we have some lotrimin cream too--maybe I'll try that one of the more dry/less scabbed spots and see if that helps. 


Thanks for the ideas and commiseration, everyone. 

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