How To Treat Hamster Diabetes?

How To Treat Hamster Diabetes
Diabetes in hamsters must be treated according to the methods mentioned here. Diabetes is a widespread disease that affects hamsters very severely. In this disease, the level of glucose is at a much higher level due to which the level of insulin is at a much lower level.

  1. How to Treat Diabetes in Hamsters? You can treat diabetes in hamsters by increasing the level of insulin, adding zero sugar in food and juices, decreasing the level of carbohydrates, increase intake of proteins and fibers, increasing walk, and healthy exercise time, and medicines.
  2. These treatment plans are necessary to follow; otherwise, if this disease enhances, it can easily affect and damage the other major organs of the body.

The improved level of glucose is dangerous for the hamsters in so many ways. So as you come to know about it, immediately start treatment and follow a special care plan that can help your hamster to fight with it. Diabetes occurs due to the improper functioning of the pancreases.

It occurs most commonly in the obese and lazy hamster. Obese hamster has layers of fat deposition due to which the functioning of pancreas remains completely disturbed. Pancreas starts abnormal production of insulin due to which, after a specific time, the level of insulin fallen completely, and glucose level rises.

From that time, the level of glucose remains enhanced, and hamsters become diabetic.

Can hamsters get diabetes?

Abstract – Selection for and against diabetes and subsequent inbreeding of Chinese hamsters started in 1963. Currently there are six inbred sublines that have greater than 85% incidence of glycosuria and two control inbred nondiabetic sublines that are essentially free of glycosuria.

At birth, hamsters from inbred sublines are considered prediabetic. There is phenotypic variation between diabetic sublines. Onset time, incidence of ketonuria, blood glucose, plasma insulin, glucagon and glycohydrolase levels vary from subline to subline, but pancreatic insulin and glucagon levels are consistently low and high, respectively, in all diabetic sublines compared with nondiabetics.

Experimental breeding data suggest a minimum of two homozygous recessive genes for diabetes. It is not known if the inbred lines are similar diabetic genotypes, but the probability is high that modifier background genes vary from subline to subline. Chinese hamsters have diabetes ranging from mild to severe.

  • Animals weighing 25 g can excrete up to 75 ml of urine containing 3 g of glucose per day.
  • Fasting blood glucose as high as 500 mg/dl and 10 mumol/ml of beta-hydroxybutyrate have been reported.
  • Gluconeogenesis is elevated, and some glycolytic enzymes are decreased in severe diabetes.
  • Low levels of renal acid glycohydrolase enzymes may contribute to glomerular capillary loop basement membrane thickening in diabetic hamsters.

Caloric restriction per se or reduction of dietary fat prevented onset of hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia in prediabetics. Morphologic changes have been observed in pancreatic islets, kidney, nerve, blood vessels, eyes, brain, and genito-urinary systems of diabetic Chinese hamsters.

Why is my hamster peeing so much?

Monitor His Urination – If your pet appears to be urinating frequently, keep an eye on his water consumption. Hamsters suffering from health issues like kidney problems may drink an above-average amount of water, and in turn will urinate more frequently and with less control. This is especially prevalent in older hamsters. Drinking more water than he used to could indicate a health issue.

Can pet diabetes be cured?

Diagnosing and Treating Diabetes in Pets Courage, a 10-year-old Dachshund with a graying muzzle, is usually fast on her feet—active and frisky despite her age. But soon after Thanksgiving, her family—siblings Michael and Donna and their parents—noticed Courage, or “Curry” for short, was drinking more water than usual, urinating more often and moping around the house.

  • Two days later, at the (AAH), Curry was diagnosed as diabetic.
  • Curry’s symptoms are common among pets with diabetes, a disease that occurs when a body does not make enough or respond normally to insulin, a hormone manufactured by the pancreas that controls blood sugar levels.
  • The precise frequency of diabetes in dogs and cats is not known and can vary depending on the breed, but it is seen in both species.

In dogs, diabetes is more common in females; in cats, it’s slightly more common in males. “Most diabetic dogs are similar to humans with Type 1 diabetes; their pancreas is unable to make enough insulin,” explains Dr. Louise Murray, vice president of AAH.

  • In dogs, the most common causes are a dysfunctional immune system that damages the pancreas, or pancreatic injury that occurs due to an inflammatory condition called pancreatitis.” Dr.
  • Murray says canine diabetes can also occur as a side effect of medication, particularly steroids.
  • It can also result from certain diseases like Cushing’s or an excess of certain hormones, which sometimes happens when a dog is not spayed.

Diabetes in felines, on the other hand, is more similar to Type 2 diabetes in humans. Its most common causes in cats: obesity and an excess of carbohydrates in the diet, which exhaust the pancreas. It can also occur in cats with pancreatitis or who are given steroids.

Feline diabetes can be reversible with insulin administration, a high protein/low-carb diet and maintenance of a healthy weight, allowing the pancreas to rest and regain the ability to manufacture adequate insulin. But diabetes will recur if cats go back to an inappropriate diet. Unfortunately diabetes is not curable in dogs, and the vast majority of diabetic dogs require insulin injections for life once diagnosed.

However, addressing underlying causes, as well as spaying females and treating Cushing’s disease, can allow the diabetes to be more easily and successfully controlled. “Diabetic pets can have a wonderful quality of life if their owners commit to giving them twice-daily insulin injections and monitor them closely,” says Dr.

  1. Jill Pomrantz, an internist at AAH.
  2. After her diagnosis, Curry began receiving treatment is back to being her bubbly, high-spirited self.
  3. Donna, who has had experience with diabetic pets, administers Curry’s twice-daily insulin shots and monitors her glucose levels.
  4. I know this process is not fixed overnight, but she looks much better and is more energetic,” Donna says.

“The hardest part is not caving in to her pleas for treats all the time.” Curry loves celery, however, so that’s often provided as a substitute. Please visit our Pet Care section to learn more about diabetes in and, : Diagnosing and Treating Diabetes in Pets

How can I help my pet with diabetes?

Caring for diabetic pets – Dogs and cats with diabetes usually require lifelong treatment with special diets, a good fitness regimen and, particularly in dogs, daily insulin injections. The key to managing diabetic pets is to keep your pet’s blood sugar near normal levels and avoid too-high or too-low levels that can be life-threatening.

A high-fiber diet is often recommended. Daily exercise is strongly recommended. Consult your veterinarian about an appropriate exercise program for your pet, considering factors such as weight, overall health and age. Owners should consider spaying female dogs diagnosed with diabetes.


A high-protein, low carbohydrate diet is often recommended. Daily exercise is strongly recommended, although it can be challenging to practice a daily fitness regimen with cats. Your veterinarian may be able to help you develop a plan.

It is very important to maintain the proper insulin and feeding schedules recommended for your pet. It is also very important that your pet maintains a normal appetite while on insulin therapy, or you risk hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) if your pet is not eating and absorbing enough sugars to balance the insulin’s effect of removing the sugars from the bloodstream.

  1. You will also need to regularly check your pet’s blood and urine sugar levels.
  2. Regular examinations and testing performed by your veterinarian may be supplemented by at-home monitoring of your pet’s blood and urine glucose levels at home.
  3. Watch for the signs of an insulin overdose, which can include weakness, tremors or seizures, and loss of appetite.

Contact your veterinarian or an emergency clinic immediately if you observe any of these signs, and consult your veterinarian about what you should do in the meantime to help your pet until it can be examined by a veterinarian. As signs of an insulin overdose can sometimes be very similar to signs of an insulin underdose, it is important that changes in dosage and frequency of insulin injections only be made by a veterinarian.

Because older dogs and cats are more likely to develop age-related diseases or conditions, some of which could be confused with diabetes, regular examinations by a veterinarian can keep your pet healthy and detect problems before they become severe. If you have any questions about your pet’s health or management, contact your veterinarian.

In addition, diabetic pets should be monitored for long-term complications such as cataracts, which commonly develop in diabetic dogs and cats. Other problems that can occur include hind leg weakness due to low blood potassium (hypokalemia), high blood pressure (hypertension), or lower urinary tract infections.

Can you get rid of type 1 diabetes naturally?

Diabetes Treatment Basics – The first thing to understand when it comes to treating diabetes is your blood glucose level, which is the amount of glucose in the blood. Glucose is a sugar that comes from the foods we eat and also is formed and stored inside the body.

It’s the main source of energy for the cells of the body, and is carried to them through the blood. Glucose gets into the cells with the help of the hormone, So how do blood glucose levels relate to type 1 diabetes? People with type 1 diabetes can no longer produce insulin. This means that glucose stays in the bloodstream and doesn’t get into the cells, causing blood glucose levels to go too high.

High blood sugar levels can make people with type 1 diabetes feel sick, so their treatment plan involves keeping their blood sugar levels within a healthy range, while making sure they grow and develop normally. To do that, people with type 1 diabetes need to:

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take insulin as prescribed eat a healthy, balanced diet with accurate carbohydrate counts check blood sugar levels as prescribed get regular physical activity

Following the treatment plan can help a person stay healthy, but it’s not a cure for diabetes. Right now, there’s no cure for diabetes, so people with type 1 diabetes will need treatment for the rest of their lives. The good news is that sticking to the plan can help people feel healthy and avoid diabetes problems later.

What color is healthy hamster pee?

Hamster Care A golden hamster is often a child’s first pet. They are small, quiet, gentle and relatively easy to care for. The name ‘Golden hamster’ refers to the wild-typecoat colour (agouti) while ‘Syrian’ is used for other colour varieties. ‘Teddy-bear hamsters’ are members of the same species, but have long-haired coats.

  • Their Latin name, Mesocricetus auratus translates to “mediumsized golden hamster”.
  • A hamster can provide plenty of entertainment and smiles whether purchased for you or your children.
  • Eeping a hamster as a pet can teach children responsibility and respect for other living creatures, and can remind us all that a simple life can be a happy one.

Description There are many types of hamsters available, and all make delightful pets. They are pleasant, charming and quite undemanding; although longhaired varieties require moreattention to grooming than short haired ones. Golden, Syrian and Teddy-bear hamsters grow to approximately 15-20 cm in length, while dwarf hamsters grow to 5-10 cm in length, depending on the breed.

Other breeds that are commonly seen include the Siberian and the Chinese (striped) hamster. Hamsters have cheek pouches that are quite large. They reach from the corners of the mouth all the way to the shoulder blades and are used to carry large amounts of food or bedding material back to the hamster’s den.

Domestic hamsters retain this instinct and will often attempt to empty their food bowl and hide it at another spot in the cage. When full, the cheek pouches appear drastically enlarged and you can feel the texture of the food pellets or bedding material through the skin of the cheeks.

Like all rodents, hamsters have “open-rooted” incisor teeth that continue to grow throughout their lives. The hamster should be provided roughage to gnaw on to prevent their incisors from overgrowing. Normal wear and tear from opening seeds and nuts or chewing their pelleted feed usually keeps their teeth trim, however mineral blocks, wood or crunchy dog biscuits may begiven occasionally for the hamster to chew.

Adult hamsters live solitary lives and will fight ferociously with others. They should never be housed with other hamsters as their territorial aggression can result in severe injuries to one another. Hamsters have 4 front toes and 5 rear toes. They have two scent glands on their backs, which are much more apparent on males than on females.

  • Hamsters can be sexed by comparing the distance from the genital opening to the anus.
  • The distance on males is 1-2 cm while on females they are very close together.
  • Adult males also have a more elongated posterior than females do.
  • Hamsters often pick a favourite corner of their cage to relieve themselves.

Hamster urine is milky white and it is normal to find a white stain on the cage bottom that is very difficult to remove. Washing the area lightly with soap and water is sufficient to eliminate odour. It is not necessary to scrub off the white stain. The normal lifespan for a hamster is 18-24 months.

Proper care and attention will ensure that your hamster will live a happy and healthy life. Hamster-Proofing Hamsters are able to flatten their bodies considerably, and can fit through amazingly tiny holes. Anything a hamster can fit its head through can be a potential escape route. It is best to play with your hamster in a sparsely furnished room with few objects that he can fit under, or in.

Hamsters may climb inside a piano or a sofa and be difficult to retrieve. If no such room exists, a child’s empty wading pool, or some similar arrangement can be used to confine the hamster. Clear plastic exercise balls can be bought that you can place the hamster in to allow him to run throughout your home.

Stairways, however, should be blocked off to prevent a fall and you should never leave the hamster in the ball for more than 20 minutes. The intense exercise and lack of water may lead to exhaustion, hyperthermia and dehydration. Hamsters love to explore underneath furniture and rugs. It is important to note where the hamster is at all times when he is loose to avoid losing him, or accidentally stepping on him.

If a hamster does become lost, placing a handful of bedding from his cage in a quiet dark corner (perhaps on the floor of a closet) along with some hamster food will usually attract him to this spot. Be mindful of any possible use of rodenticides around your home.

  1. If poison baits have been placed for mouse control, your hamster (or other pets) may encounter them and be poisoned themselves.
  2. If you suspect that this has happened, estimate the amount that your pet has eaten, and rush your pet as well as the package the poison came in to a veterinarian immediately.

Training and Handling It is best to bring home a young hamster. Upon introduction to a new home, a hamster should be given a few days of peace and quiet to become accustomed to the new smells and activities. After this adjustment time, the hamster can be picked up gently and slowly, never lifting him more than a foot above the floor in case he wriggles free and falls from your hands.

  • Be especially hushed, slow and gentle during your first few interactions to reassure the hamster that he is safe.
  • Issing sounds” tend to frighten hamsters so resist the urge to smooch your fluffy little friend.
  • When sleeping, a hamster is easily startled and may be inclined to bite defensively.
  • Shuffling your fingers in the shavings will wake the hamster and then he will permit handling.

Be sure to wash any food scents off your hands before handling your hamster to avoid an accidental nip. A well socialized hamster will allow anyone to handle him, he will be secure and less likely to startle at unfamiliar sounds. He will learn to anticipate play-time and often will climb eagerly into his exercise ball for a run.

Some hamsters can even be taught to perform simple natural behaviours for a food-treat reward. Housing The bigger the cage the better, but it should be no smaller than 120 square inches. It should have bars no more than a half inch apart and should be lined with paper or wood chip bedding. Hamsters enjoy running in an exercise wheel and empty paper towel tubes or tree branches can be left in the cage to provide surfaces to climb on, or hide in.

Modular plastic tubing can be purchased from pet stores to create tunnels that branch off the hamster’s cage that he can explore on his own. One mistake people sometimes make though is to build tall vertical drops that can injure a hamster if it loses its footing and falls through the tubing.

Never stack the tubes vertically more than a few inches; instead make only gradual inclines. Diet Hamster seed mixes are available at pet and grocery stores. Unfortunately, picky eaters may select only the tastiest seeds resulting in an unbalanced diet; therefore a pelleted hamster food is the best choice.

It should contain at least 16% protein and 5% fat. They usually accept a broad range of treats, but it is best to provide dry breakfast cereals, fresh fruit and vegetables. Only rarely should a hamster ever get treats like peanut butter or cheese. Water should be available at all times.

  1. A hanging bottle is a good choice, but must be checked regularly to be sure that it is not clogged.
  2. A water dish can be used, but it must be changed daily to remove debris.
  3. Health Abnormal wear on the continuously growing incisors can lead to a problem known as malocclusion where the teeth fail to meet and will begin to overgrow.
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This will lead to difficulties eating, and eventually the teeth will puncture the roof of the mouth or lips. If this is not noticed and treated early, the angle of the root of the teeth may become irreversibly altered and the hamster could require monthly teeth trims for the rest of its life.

For this reason it is important to provide gnawing materials like mineral blocks or wood. Hamsters are susceptible to several species bacteria that can cause diarrhea. This is often referred to as ‘Wet-tail’ and can quickly lead to dehydration; therefore it is important to contact your veterinarian if this is suspected.

Some of the bacteria that cause diarrhea in hamsters can infect humans as well, so extra attention should be paid to hand-washing if you suspect that your hamster is sick. Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart that is seen in hamsters. If he becomes lethargic with an increased respiratory rate and tires easily, heart disease may be suspected.

  • Hamsters over one year old are known to develop a kidney disease called Amyloidosis.
  • This is often associated with increased quantity and odour of urine.
  • A hamster’s cheek pouches may sometimes become impacted, especially if the hamster’s incisors have overgrown.
  • This can lead to infection, so if you have noticed that your hamster has not emptied one or both of his cheek pouches after a few days he should receive veterinary attention.

Hamsters and Other Animals Hamsters are a natural “prey” animal. Dogs that have been bred for rodent control and most cats may not be able to resist the instinct to attack a hamster. As well, the hamster’s aggression and territoriality requires that it live singly in its own cage.

Hamsters may require medical care. Have you planned in your budget for emergencies? •f you rent, have you checked to be sure you will be allowed to keep a hamster? What will you do with your hamster during vacation time? Hamsters generally live to be 2 years old. Are you prepared for this commitment? Young children should not be left unsupervised with hamsters. Do you have the time to spend with the children and their pet? Will you teach them to handle the small animal gently and carefully? Do you have other pets to consider before taking a hamster home? Are there allergies in your family? Will a hamster fit into your home and lifestyle?

Checklist Housing

Roomy cage Exercise wheel Food bowl Water bottle or bow Exercise ball Hamster-proofed play/exercise area


High quality pelleted rodent food Mineral blocks or other gnawing surfaces Breakfast cereals (for treats and training)


Wood chips or shredded paper bedding Shredded paper towel for a soft sleeping corner Cardboard tubes to hide in and explore Good book on hamster care A small soft brush for longhaired hamsters

Vet Care and More

Emergency medical care Vacation care

Reposted with permission from Canadian Federation of Humane Societies : Hamster Care

How often do hamsters need a bath?

How often should I give my pet a sand bath? – Sand baths are essential for chinchillas and can be offered daily. Although a minimum of 2-3 baths will suffice, especially in colder drier weather. Hamsters and Degus will benefit from a sand bath several times a week. How To Treat Hamster Diabetes

Can I get sick from hamster pee?

How is LCMV transmitted to humans? – The house mouse, a wild rodent found near and in homes, is the primary host of this virus. Humans can develop LCMV infection from exposure to rodent urine, droppings, saliva, or nesting material of infected rodents.

  • Virus transmission can also occur when these materials are directly introduced into broken skin or into the nose, eyes, or mouth or by a bite from an infected animal.
  • Pet rodents, such as hamsters and guinea pigs, can become infected with LCMV after being in contact with wild rodents at a breeding facility, pet store, or home.

Human infections from pet rodents are rare.

What causes pet diabetes?

What Can Make a Dog at Risk for Diabetes? –

Age, While diabetes can occur at any age, it mostly occurs in middle-aged to senior dogs. Most dogs who develop it are age 5 or older when diagnosed. Sex, Unspayed female dogs are twice as likely as male dogs to have diabetes. Chronic or repeated pancreatitis, Chronic or repeated pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) can eventually cause extensive damage to that organ, resulting in diabetes. Obesity, Obesity contributes to insulin resistance and is a risk factor for pancreatitis, which can lead to diabetes. Steroid medications, These can cause diabetes when used long-term. Cushing’s disease, With Cushing’s disease, the body overproduces steroids internally, so this condition also can cause diabetes. Other health conditions, Some autoimmune disorders and viral diseases are also thought to possibly trigger diabetes. Genetics, Diabetes can occur in any breed or mixed-breed, and it seems genetics can play a role in either increased or reduced risk. A 2003 study found that overall, mixed-breeds are no less prone to diabetes than are purebreds. Among purebreds, breeds vary in susceptibility, some with very low risk and others with higher risk. Some that may be at higher risk include miniature Poodles, Bichons Frises, Pugs, Dachshunds, Miniature Schnauzers, Puli, Samoyeds, Keeshonds, Australian Terriers, Fox Terriers, Cairn Terriers, and Beagles.

What are the symptoms of diabetes in pets?

The early signs of diabetes in dogs include: –

Frequent urination (polyuria) Drinking more water than usual Excessive appetite (polyphagia) Sudden unexplained weight loss Vomiting Recurrent infections Poor coat Seizures Weakness/Lack of Energy

Does insulin lower blood sugar?

Insulin delivery options – Insulin doesn’t come in pill form because the digestive system would break it down before it had a chance to work. But there are several choices for insulin delivery. Your doctor can help you decide which fits best with your lifestyle and treatment needs. Options include:

  • Shots or pens. Insulin can be injected into the fat just below your skin with a syringe and needle or a penlike device that hold insulin with a needle attached. How often depends on the type of diabetes you have, your blood sugar levels and how often you eat. It may be multiple times each day.
  • Insulin pump. An insulin pump pushes small, steady doses of rapid-acting insulin into a thin tube inserted underneath your skin. These doses are delivered repeatedly throughout the day. There are several different kinds of insulin pumps available.

Insulin therapy can sometimes be demanding, but it’s an effective way to lower blood sugar levels. If you have any trouble with your insulin regimen, such as difficulty avoiding very low or very high blood sugar levels, be sure to talk to your doctor to see if any adjustments need to be made.

Can I use a human glucose meter on my dog?

The results of the present study indicate that human glucometers are suitable devices to measure blood glucose concentration in dogs with an acceptable accuracy, beside requiring minute blood volumes and yielding results within few seconds.

How do you know if your pet has diabetes?

Diagnosis – Your veterinarian can do simple tests to check for diabetes, including testing for excessive glucose (sugar) in the blood and urine. Blood tests can also show other indications of diabetes, such as high liver enzymes and electrolyte imbalances. The sooner diabetes is diagnosed and treatment begun, the better chance the pet has of a normal life.

What animals Cannot get diabetes?

Bears don’t get diabetes. Understanding why could some day revolutionize treating the disease in humans A grizzly bear at Washington State University’s Bear Research Center in Pullman, Washington. The captive population of bears is helping scientists learn about insulin resistance in hibernation and how that compares to insulin resistance in diabetic people.

“During this period, they can even put on up to about nine pounds per day, in some cases,” said Blair Perry, a post-doctoral researcher in the School of Biological Sciences at the Washington State University in Pullman.But it’s the unique adaptation and the biological changes it triggers within bears during hibernation that most intrigues Perry.To cope with the rigors of fasting for months on end, bears develop resistance to insulin, a hormone critical to regulating levels of blood sugar in bears and humans.”When blood sugar level increases, insulin also increases, essentially telling cells there’s plenty of sugar here, take it in, use it for energy,” Perry said.”Insulin resistance is a condition where those cells no longer respond to insulin.”Insulin resistance can be an early indicator for the development of type 2 diabetes, a chronic disease that can damage the kidneys and other vital organs if left untreated.

But bears, unlike people, do not develop diabetes. The seasonal insulin resistance they experience during the winter actually ramps up their ability to burn fat. Perry and his team have discovered, They act like a switch, essentially telling cells to turn off their sensitivity to insulin when they hibernate and to turn back on in the spring when they emerge from their dens hungry for food and opportunities to mate. The Washington State University Bear Research Center in Pullman, Washington, has a population of captive grizzly bears that are helping scientists learn about insulin resistance in hibernating bears and how that compares to insulin resistance in diabetic people.

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Robert Hubner/Washington State University / Robert Hubner The grizzlies at the Washington State University Bear Research Center came from Yellowstone National Park and other wilderness areas where they grew too comfortable to the presence of humans and were given “a second chance,” according to Perry.

They are now cared for and monitored year-round by a team of veterinary staff, scientists and students. “So through training and reinforcement with food, we’ve trained these bears to be able to interact in safe ways with researchers They can present a paw through an opening in the fence so that we can take a blood sample or give them exams,” Perry said.

Perry and his team took blood samples and cell cultures from the grizzlies at the research center during the summer when the bears were active and during the winter when they hibernated. They also took samples from bears who were coaxed out of hibernation for a period of two weeks using honey water, a favorite treat of theirs.

When the researchers exposed the cell cultures taken during hibernation with blood taken when the bears were active, the cells switched on their sensitivity to insulin, in effect, waking up from hibernation. Perry and his team used genetic techniques on the blood samples to pinpoint eight key proteins that change gene activity within the cells to make them sensitive or resistant to insulin.

  1. But it’s not just bears that have these proteins circulating in their blood.
  2. These eight proteins are also proteins that are present in humans and some of them, for example, are known to play a role in the regulation and response to insulin in humans,” he added.
  3. Understanding exactly how these proteins trigger metabolic changes in bears may eventually lead to new treatments for diabetes and possibly, how to prevent the insulin resistance that gives rise to a disease which is projected to affect one in five people in the U.S.

by 2025, “We have a lot more shared at a genetic level with bears than you might expect,” Perry said. “If we can figure out how they’re able to turn off insulin resistance, essentially make things work as they did before they went into hibernation, make that same thing work in human tissues, we might be able to develop new medications that can help humans to overcome insulin resistance, (and) avoid that progression down to type 2 diabetes.” Blair Perry spoke to “Think Out Loud” host Dave Miller.

What is the most common illness in hamsters?

Published: 23 Jun 2022 | Last Updated: 23 Jun 2022 01:01:11 New research from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has revealed the 20 most common disorders in pet hamsters. Of these, the most popular include “wet tail”, bite injuries from other hamsters, overgrown nails and/or incisors and traumatic injury. Gibby – Photo Credit: Lisa Haycock Hamsters are popular pets worldwide, often being the first pet that a child will own as their own. Despite this popularity, there has been very little research into the health issues of these beloved rodents kept as pets to date.

  • Often purchased by parents as short-commitment pets, hamsters are brought to the vets less frequently than other companion animals such as cats and dogs.
  • They can also often be difficult to handle and may ‘hide’ signs of illness to protect themselves due to their prey status.
  • These factors have made it harder to get good data on their overall health until now.

Previously, owners and vets largely had to rely on personal experience, small research studies and anecdotal reports. However, the RVC’s new VetCompass research fills these critical knowledge gaps, meaning this new information can be used to improve future treatment and care of hamsters.

The study, the largest in the world to date, was led by the RVC’s VetCompass programme and investigated anonymised veterinary clinical records of a random sample of almost 4,000 hamsters. The three most common hamster species were Syrian (golden) hamster (73.5%), Djungarian (winter white dwarf) hamster (13.8%) and Roborovski hamster (6.4%).

From a list of the 20 most common disorders across all hamster species, the most common disorders were “wet tail” – (diarrhoea or liquid discharge) (7.33%), bite injuries from other hamsters (5.88%), overgrown nail(s) (4.13%), overgrown front teeth (3.98%) and traumatic injury (3.80%).

The average age at death across all hamsters was 21 months (1.75 years). Awareness of the typical ages at death of pet hamsters under veterinary care can help veterinarians build realistic expectations for hamster owners and may also help owners accept the animal welfare benefit for euthanasia when recommended by their veterinary surgeon.

This information is especially important to help children understand the typical natural lifecycle of pet hamsters. Other key findings of the study included:

The most common causes of deaths were “wet tail” (7.9%), abdominal mass (6.4%), cancer (5.4%) and difficulty breathing (4.0%). Compared to other types of hamster, Syrian (golden) hamsters had higher risk of 7/20 (35%) common disorders and lower odds of 1/20 (5%) common disorders groups. Disorders with highest risk in Syrian (golden) hamsters compared with hamsters that were not Syrian (golden) included: female reproductive disorder (x 5.19), urinary system disorder (x 5.04) and appetite disorders (x2.68). The disorder with the lowest risk in Syrian (golden) hamsters was traumatic injury (x 0.34). The average lifetime disorder count across all hamsters was one disorder although the Syrian (golden) hamster had a higher number of disorders than the other two species.

These results can contribute to an improved understanding of common diseases in pet hamster species and will help veterinary professionals guide owners in the care of their pet hamsters and appropriate euthanasia decisions. Further education of vets is encouraged to enable better understanding of the welfare and treatment of hamsters under veterinary care in the UK. Photo Credit: Vicky Baldrey Dr Dan O’Neill, Associate Professor in Companion Animal Epidemiology at the RVC and lead author of the paper, said: “Hamsters can make good pets for both adults and children but until now, very little was published about their health.

Parents can now help their children with realistic expectations of how long their hamster may live and what are the most common conditions to look out for to protect the health of these delightful little creatures,” Dr Vicki Baldrey, co-author and Lecturer in Exotic Species and Small Mammal Medicine and Surgery at the RVC, said: “This research will not only help owners of hamsters to identify common signs of ill health and optimise diet and husbandry, but also helps us focus our teaching and continuing education materials on the most commonly seen conditions.

This will ensure vets are as well-equipped as possible to deal with these charismatic and much-loved pets. Kate Kim, veterinary surgeon and co-author of the paper said: “Due to the limited information on companion hamster health, very little is taught on their care in vet school. Photo Credit: Vicky Baldrey Justine Shotton, BVA President said: “Hamsters can make good pets but it’s important for their specific welfare needs, such as being nocturnal, to be understood and met and that both owners and vets are aware of the common signs of ill health, so they know when medical intervention is needed.

Can rodents get diabetes?

BB rats – BB rats were derived from outbred Wistar rats. Spontaneous autoimmune diabetes in a Canadian colony was first identified in 1974 and lead to the creation of two founder colonies from which all substrains have derived, one inbred (BBDP/Wor) and one outbred (BBdp) ( Mordes et al,, 2004 ).

  1. Diabetes resistant BB rats have also been bred to act as controls.
  2. BB rats usually develop diabetes just after puberty and have similar incidence in males and females.
  3. Around 90% of rats develop diabetes between 8 and 16 weeks of age.
  4. The diabetic phenotype is quite severe, and the rats require insulin therapy for survival.

Although the animals have insulitis with the presence of T cells, B cells, macrophages and NK cells, the animals are lymphopenic with a severe reduction in CD4 + T cells and a near absence of CD8 + T cells ( Mordes et al,, 2004 ). Lymphopenia is not a characteristic of type 1 diabetes in humans or NOD mice ( Mordes et al,, 2004 ) and is seen to be a disadvantage in using the BB as a model of type 1 diabetes in humans.

  1. Also, in contrast to NOD mice, the insulitis is not preceded by peri-insulitis.
  2. However, the model has been valuable in elucidating more about the genetics of type 1 diabetes ( Wallis et al,, 2009 ), and it has been suggested that it may be the preferable small animal model for islet transplantation tolerance induction ( Mordes et al,, 2004 ).

In addition, BB rats have been used in intervention studies ( Hartoft-Nielsen et al,, 2009 ; Holmberg et al,, 2011 ) and studies of diabetic neuropathy ( Zhang et al,, 2007 ).