A diabetic dwarf hamster will have all or some of the following symptoms:
1. Increased thirst, drinking excessively.
2. Peeing excessively, strong smelly urine with either a sweetish smell or a acetone (nail polish remover smell).
3. Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
4. Tiredness (sleeping more than usual) or excessive exercise or a combination of both at the extremes.
5. Irritability (only in some), unusual biting when the ham did not bite before.
6. Increased hunger.
To test your hamster:
1. Purchase Keto-Diastix (tests for ketones and blood glucose).
2. Dip the test strip into fresh urine.
3. Wait for results.
4. Compare results to chart on Keto-Diastix package.
5. Read package insert for more information to prevent false readings.
The following is a short guideline on how to treat diabetic hamsters.
HIGH KETONES, HIGH GLUCOSE
Treat with a hypoglycemic such as fenugreek seeds/powder–up to 400 mg or 25 seeds is safe. Use 50/50 Pedialyte/Water solution in water bottle. High protein, high fiber, low fat diet.
HIGH KETONES, LOW OR NO GLUCOSE
Treat with 50/50 Pedialyte/Water solution and high protein, high fiber, low fat diet.
NO KETONES, HIGH GLUCOSE
Treat with only hypoglycemics, plain water (no Pedialyte), and absolutely NO SUGAR (dextrose, maltose, corn etc.). High protein, low fat, high fiber diet. Hypoglycemics include fenugreek (easiest to obtain), glipizide (drug, needs prescription), buckwheat (comes in pasta, whole or flour form, doesn’t work as well as the other hypoglycemics), and spirulina (doesn’t work as well as the other hypoglycemics, very expensive).
Good protein sources for hamsters:
1. Tofu (firm or medium firm is best)
2. Roasted soybeans, unsalted
3. Chicken baby food (with broth, not seasoned)
4. Spirulina and/or seaweed called NORI (roasted laver, no salt or salt removed)
5. Boiled chicken breast or turkey
6. Egg whites with tiny bit of cooked egg yolk, boiled, scrambled, fried in small amount of olive oil
7. Flax seed
8. Low fat cheeses (not process)
9. Low fat, plain yogurt
10. Tuna in water, drained (not all hams like this)
Good veggies for diabetic hamsters:
Cucumbers, bok choy, romaine lettuce, brocolli, cauliflower, celery, kale, bitter melon, chinese brocolli, red peppers, green peppers, beans (except red kidney), legumes, regular mushrooms 1/4 teaspoon, every other day).
Wheatgerm, Weetabix cereal, any no sugar cereal, nutritional yeast. whole grains, multi grain bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta, buckwheat pasta.
Sunflower seeds, pepitas, pumpkin seeds, nuts.
Raisins, corn, sugars (maltose, dextrose, fructose etc.), fruit, red kidney beans, parsley, brussel sprouts, bean sprouts, sprouts of any kind actually, onions, garlic, citrus fruits, carrots, potatoes, white rice, white bread.
This list is by no means comprehensive.
Remember, just because your hamster has diabetes it doesn’t mean it is a death sentence. Your hamster can have normal readings and be exactly like a normal hamster – some diabetics have lived to 3 years! Always think positive!