Health

Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot (sufficiently) absorb, use and store the sugars from food. The result of this is an increased sugar level in the blood. If you suspect your dwarf hamster has diabetes, contact the vet at all times.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition in which the glucose level in the blood is too high. Glucose is the main source of energy for the body’s cells. The cells burn the glucose and need it to function properly. Cells can absorb glucose using insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and, like glucose, is transported through the blood. When no or insufficient insulin is produced, glucose does not enter the cells and is not burned. This increases the level of glucose in the blood.
The symptoms of diabetes
  • Drink a lot 
  • A lot of urine 
  • Rapid weight loss 
  • Yellow nails
Drink a lot and a lot of urine
Drinking and urinating a lot is what you see in most cases. One of the first signs of diabetes is urinating a lot. For example, you can notice that the puddle corner is constantly wet. Hamsters produce about 7 ml of urine a day. A Dwarf Hamster with severe diabetes can urinate up to 75 ml per day. This is also accompanied by large amounts of drinking and you will probably have to refill the drinking water more often. This could be a sign that your dwarf hamster has diabetes. Incidentally, drinking and urinating a lot does not always indicate diabetes, it can also indicate a problem with the kidneys.

Animals with diabetes will also eat more. It can sometimes be difficult for hamsters to notice this, because “healthy” hamsters also hoard food.
Rapid weight loss
Keep an eye on the weight. Hamsters with diabetes, despite eating and drinking more than usual, will lose weight quickly. Weigh your dwarf hamster once a day if you suspect it has diabetes. If it has lost 10% or more of its body weight in a short time, it could indicate diabetes. It is important to know that the Russian Dwarf Hamster, for example, naturally loses weight in winter.
Yellow nails
Take a good look at your hamster’s nails. Thick yellow nails are relatively easy to see and often a sign of diabetes.
It is very difficult to discover diabetes through 1 symptom. Any of these symptoms can also occur in “healthy” hamsters. Do not rely on one symptom, but on all symptoms together.

Diabetes test
One way to demonstrate diabetes is to test the urine for glucose levels. There should be no glucose in the urine. You can buy test strips for urine analysis at the pharmacy. There are several test strips for sale where some strips only need to be held in urine for 10 seconds. The speed of discoloration also depends on the type of test strip.
You put a hamster in a clean transport cage and wait for it to urinate. It usually takes no longer than 20 minutes for a diabetic hamster to urinate. When the puddle is clean and contains no poo or food, you can test this with a sugar strip. Note that faeces and food traces in urine can give false test results. That is the reason to test only clean urine. Anxiety can also lead to a slightly higher glucose level in urine. If you suspect diabetes, it is best to test twice. So that you are sure of the test result. When you have a positive test result with a sugar strip, this can mean that the hamster has diabetes. But that does not always have to be the case. There are also other conditions that increase the amount of glucose in the urine. This can be, for example, a kidney disease or kidney infection.
My hamster has diabetes, now what?
Diabetes cannot be cured or treated with insulin in hamsters. It is best to feed a lean diet and therefore reduce the amount of carbohydrates and fats. The diet should be adjusted to contain more fiber and protein and less fat. Fiber is important because it slows down the absorption of sugar and therefore there is less need for insulin. It therefore has a positive effect on the glucose level.
Switch to a low-sugar diet, an example of which is the BunnyNature Dwarf Hamster Dream Expert (also suitable for diabetes-sensitive dwarf hamsters). There is no special diabetic diet for dwarf hamsters with diabetes. The food that is currently being used is modified degu and chinchilla food, but it is far too sparse for a dwarf hamster and therefore absolutely not suitable.
Switch to a low-sugar diet, an example of which is the BunnyNature Dwarf Hamster Dream Expert (also suitable for diabetes-sensitive dwarf hamsters). There is no special diabetic diet for dwarf hamsters with diabetes. The food that is currently being used is modified degu and chinchilla food, but it is far too sparse for a dwarf hamster and therefore absolutely not suitable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.