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Wednesday, September 17, 2008
When To See A Vet

Catya
Catya is a judge with the California Hamster Association. She shares her experiences in hamster ownership from a high school student's perspective.

Click image to enlarge

Teddy and Scooter in younger days.

Photos Courtesy Catya
Another image of Teddy. A wise hamster owner once said to me, "We don't know why these little souls stay so briefly, but those of us who've found such joy in them certainly know why them come."

Hi, everyone! It’s hard to believe that this is the ninth installment of “Growing Up Hamster,” but here we are. And, as always, I’m very pleased to see the insightful comments that you post. Last time, Jana asked how to tell when it is time to take a hamster to the vet. That’s an excellent question, one that even expert hamster owners struggle with sometimes.

With my first few hamsters, I was very overprotective of my hamsters, worrying about the slightest changes in their behavior — that’s fairly normal for any beginning hamster owner. I was also afraid to do any advanced care myself, such as trimming their nails if the hamsters stopped doing so themselves, feeling them to check for tumors, and other things. But as I’ve grown more experienced in the hamster care world, I’ve learned to do some of these things at home without needing a vet’s help. One of the most important things I’ve learned with experience, though, is how to tell when I’m out of my league. If a hamster has a problem that I can’t fix, I turn to a professional.

One way I learned how to take care of sick hamsters was by reading information online. There are some good hamster websites, if you know where to look, such as SmallAnimalChannel.com, and there are others that have good advice as well. It’s important to be informed before a problem develops because with an animal this small, health problems can get very serious very suddenly. When a hamster needs to see a vet, it needs to see a vet right away.

Finding a vet who treats hamsters was challenging. In many vet offices, they’re referred to as the “exotics vet,” but you still have to make sure that he or she treats hamsters and not just birds, lizards or mountain lions (This actually happened to me … but that’s another blog). A good vet is worth his or her weight in gold. I was reminded of that today when I had to take two of my little buddies to see the doctor.

I’m so glad to have found a place where I can really trust that my friends are in loving hands. Many times the vet is able to discover what is wrong and prescribe medicine or treatment that puts a sick hamster back on its own four feet. Of course, there are days when it’s simply that time, and there’s nothing more that a vet can do. At times like that, you really get to see the caring side of your vet. Today was one of those days, and I feel really blessed to have a vet who is sensitive and sympathetic, and truly cares about her patients and their people.

 

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When To See A Vet

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What kinds of questions should I ask the vet to see if they know about hamsters? Is there a list somewhere of hamster vets?
Ronald, Cerritos, CA
Posted: 9/19/2008 2:25:17 PM
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