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Information for Hamster Owners:(under construction)
Diabetes in HamstersHow to test and control with diet.
Written by Kiko
Diabetes in campbell's dwarf hamsters is not all that uncommon. I just ended up with a diabetic myself. Other species of hamsters can get diabetes, but it is (thankfully) not very common.
Here are some signs to look for in a hamster that may have diabetes:
1. Purchase Keto-diastix test strips from your local pharmacy (if you ask the person behind the counter, they are sure to know what these are.) Basically, keto-diastix are a combination of ketostix and diastix. Ketostix test for ketone levels in a hamster, and diastix test for glucose levels in a hamster. If you are unable to buy keto-diastix, then try buying ketostix and diastix separately (that's what I have to do.)
2. Read instructions as to how to properly perform a test.
3. clean a plastic cage for the hamster. DO NOT PUT ANY BEDDING IN IT! Bedding can contaminate the sample. If you want, you can wash a few plastic toys for the hamster and put those in as well.
4. Leave the hamster in the plastic cage/container until (s)he pees. (Of course, if the hammy doesn't pee within about 20 minutes put him/her back and try again some other time. If your hamster isn't peeing within 20 minutes, chances are the hamster doesn't have diaberes. Generally, a hamster with diabetes will pee at least once in that time period, although there are exceptions to that :) )
5. After the hamster pees make sure to put him/her directly back into his/her normal cage- the pee sample needs to be fresh for testing. (plus you don't want the hammy running through it.) Simply follow the instructions on the sheet that comes with the keto-diastix test strips. (The same color chart applies to hamsters, so just use the color chart that comes with the strips.)
**If the results do show high ketones/glucose (or both) then schedule a vet appointment to make sure that the hamster doesn't have a urinary tract infection. The test strips will detect that too!**
Here are the possible results that could happen, and a brief summary of how to treat the hammy.
1- High Glucose and High ketone levels
Treat with fenugreek- do not exceed 400 mg per day
50 pedialyte 50 water in water bottle
2- High Glucose levels and No Ketones
Treat with fenugreek- up to 400 mg per day
Take all sugar out of diet
No pedialyte is needed
3- No Glucose and High ketone level
Use 50 pedialyte and 50 water solution
Add a bit of fenugreek into diet, due to presence of dextrose in pedialyte
*With any of these combinations- you'll want to incorporate a high fiber and protein, yet low fat diet!
*Only use the pedialyte if the ketones are high- when using pedialyte I would recommend using fenugreek along with it. This is because pedialyte has dextrose and that will probably end up raising the glucose levels in the ham.
*Harry Hamster Food or Hazel Hamster Food is preferable and recommended for a diabetic ham. Since there is yet to be a specific diabetic food sold commercially, this is the next best choice (someone could probably go rich making a hamster food speciafically for diabetics... *sigh*) Anyways, when the corn is picked out the sugar content is very low. Sometimes (when high glucose levels are present) the peas should also be picked out.
Incorporating fiber into diet- (easy ways to do so, pick one or a combination)
1- add timothy hay
2- add alfalfa
Incorporating more protein into diet- (easy ways to do so, pick one or a combination)
1- Dog biscuits (make sure they contain no garlic or onion powder.)
3- Tuna (in water, with water drained out... do not buy the tuna in oil.)
4- Plain Chicken broth (nothing added)
5- Plain Chicken Baby food (no spices, vegies, etc. added)
6- Egg White (avoid yolk when at all possible... although some hams will only eat the egg white if a small amount of yolk is left on. Also, boiled is preferred to keep fat content down. No spices added! If frying, keep oils to a minimun and use olive oil!)
7- Low fat cheese
8- low fat, unflavored (plain) yogurt
Veggies that are okay for diabetic hamsters-
-small amounts of romaine lettuce
-red and/or green peppers
-beans (not kidney beans, though)
Other treats for a diabetic hamster
-whole grain pasta
As with any treat, keep it to a "hamster-sized" portion!
Great forum to join if you have a diabetic hamster- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HoneyHams