Hamster Medicine




Hamster MedicineHamster Medicine, chinese dwarf hamster hypothermiao last week during my introduction of Mouser the Chinese Dwarf Hamster, I asked you to remind me to tell you the story of Jonathon’s near-death experience (despite the shame it brings me as a representative of the veterinary technology profession!). o last week during my introduction of Mouser the Chinese Dwarf Hamster, I asked you to remind me to tell you the story of Jonathon’s near-death experience (despite the shame it brings me as a representative of the veterinary technology profession!). staff-safariOctober 28, 2011Hamster MedicineBy Katherine Dobbs, RVT, CVPM, PHR

So last week during my introduction of Mouser the Chinese Dwarf Hamster, I asked you to remind me to tell you the story of Jonathon’s near-death experience (despite the shame it brings me as a representative of the veterinary technology profession!). Jonathon was our first dwarf hamster, so at least I can add that to my list of excuses…plus, we didn’t learn much hamster medicine in school!

The reason we ended up with a hamster to begin with was because my daughter wanted a pet “to sleep with,” and our dog was not a good candidate at the time. So we compromised with a pet “near her bed,” and put the hamster house on her nightstand.

Jonathon
Jonathon the hamster.
When Jonathon was about 6 months old, Katie found him lying still in his cage one evening. Knowing very little about hamsters at the time, I couldn’t imagine what was wrong. So we simply got him out and snuggled with him, Katie using a knitted scarf. We proceeded to take pictures of him for remembrance (see photo), and the tears began. I tried to be a good mom, and let Katie experience her emotions of grief while supporting her, and crying myself of course.

After a little while of this snuggling in the scarf, Jonathon actually started to look a little better. Curious, but we were still holding on to hope. We continued to snuggle, and he continued to get a little more perky as the minutes passed. In fact, I was beginning to wonder if it was really Jonathon’s time to go. Of course, my technician brain was racing…what in the world could be happening here?

Then the pieces started to fall into place. Jonathon’s hamster home was on the nightstand, next to Katie, and also next to a bedroom window. It was mid-winter, in Wisconsin, where kids still have to go to school in 35 degrees below zero wind chill! Jonathon was looking better as we held him, snuggled up to us in a knitted scarf. It finally dawned on me…the little guy had hypothermia! Sure enough, once he perked up enough so we knew he was on the road to recovery, we moved our little space heater into the room and pointed it at the cage.

By the next morning, Jonathon was fit as a fiddle! Who knew hamsters could get hypothermia? Well, I guess I should have known. I’m glad I finally figured it out, but perhaps it shouldn’t have happened at all.

It’s funny, though, being in the veterinary profession leads us to mentally dissect a situation, especially with our own pets, and imagine the absolute worst case scenario. My mind was thinking of all sorts of metabolic disorders, oncological disasters, and death and doom before looking at the clues around me and coming up with a logical interpretation.

We have to be ever vigilant that we start with the facts with any patient or client at work, and of course with our own critters at home. They say a great mind is a shame to waste…well sometimes great minds also have to remember the simple stuff!

Oct. 28, 201110/28/2011 9:53 AM
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