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Bloated abdomen in hamster.

Species: Other
Breed: Hamster
Age: 2-5 years
Hi....our pet hamster buddy is extremely bloated. We have had him for a year and a half, and we got him from a friend who had him for a year. I noticed this approx a week ago. He was still eating,so I thought maybe he was constipated and gave him some apple. I didnt notice a change in his condition. I then thought that maybe he was dying as he is getting elderly for a rodent. Tonight, I noticed a lot of stool caked around his anus. I used a warm paper towel to remove most of it and then put him in a warm sitz bath (sorry, I am an RN ;) ). It seemed to make him feel better, he was very calm in the warm water. I then wiped his rear end again with paper towels and cozied him back up in his cage...I guess what I am asking is...#1 could he just be dying and this is just part of the process or #2 could he have been severely constipated which led to his problems? Plus, what do you give a hamster with constipation and did I do the right thing giving him a sitz bath and cleansing? thanks...this is my sons "baby"...wanted to help him understand the dying process or constipation issue, whichever it may be...Thank you so much for any info!
Melissa


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for an excellent question Melissa.

As you likely know, any hamster older than 18 months is considered very old. What this means is that there is a high chance that what is happening with Buddy is very serious.

There are a few possible reasons for a hamster to have a bloated belly. Unfortunately they are all quite serious.

One possibility is a tumor in his abdomen. The bloating could be from the tumor, or it could be from a cancerous tumor that is producing fluid.

Another possibility is if the little guy is heading into heart failure. Heart failure can cause fluid to build up in the abdomen.

Another possibility is if he has a cyst in his liver or bile duct. Unfortunately there is not much we can do if this is the case.

Some hamsters can have a bloated abdomen because of cushing's disease. This really is not common and I really don't think this is what is going on with Buddy.

It is not likely that he is bloated because of constipation. However, if you feel the sitz baths are helping then there is no harm in doing this.

If you are able to have a vet look at him they may be able to put a small needle into his belly and see if they can drain any fluid off. Whether there is fluid from a tumor or from heart failure, he may feel a little better if he has the fluid drained.

I think though, ultimately it may be time to talk to your son about the fact that Buddy is likely dying.

I hope that info helps and I hope Buddy is ok!

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you so much for your fast response. I truly appreciate it! I guess little sweet buddy is extremely old in Hamster years!! 3 years old!! I am thinking that we will let nature take its course and just keep him comfortable. I also may call my local vet Monday morning. Thanks again! God Bless!
Melissa


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're very welcome and God bless you and Buddy too. Feel free to post a response on Monday if you have questions after your vet visit.

Dr. Marie.



Customer reply:

I sure will :)
Melissa


Customer reply:

Just wanted to let you know that Buddy died sunday morning....it was for the best...thank you for your help and concern.
Melissa


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Awww...I am so sorry to hear that. Please be sure to tell your son that he was a good hamster owner and that you guys did all you could. Not many hamsters live to be this old!

Dr. Marie.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.