Gerbils & Hamsters/Hamster nose bleed and increase water intake
I have a male syrian hamster that is about 1 1/2years old.
This morning my hamster was bleeding from inside its nose.
I have also noticed that he has been drinking water a lot lately for I had to refill the water dispenser quite often and a lot more frequent than before. His food intake has also increased and his feces are much bigger than before and urine has different odor to it.
He became less active and I just assumed it was due to his old age but after observing several symptoms, I am now very worried.
Thanks for your question.
Unfortunately, whenever there is an increase in water consumption this usually means that there is a problem brewing. Hamsters of this age or older are prone to getting tumors and an increase in water consumption can be an indicator of this. Hamsters can also develop diabetes which has the same symptoms, and their urine starts to smell sweet.
It is easy to test for diabetes - if you can get hold of a diastix (you can either get this from a vet or from a chemist). Put your hamster in a plastic tray and wait for him to urinate. Test the urine - if the diastix shows an abnormal glucose reading then he is likely to be diabetic.
If this is the case or if you suspect this could be the problem, then it is worth taking precautions immediately. Don't feed any sweet foods such as dried or fresh fruit, or any hamster treats that may contain honey. Instead, give a standard dried hamster mix, some fresh vegetables and a mixture of sunflower seed, linseed, sesame seed and pumpkin seed. This mix of seeds help regulate sugar levels. If necessary put in two bottles of water to make sure he always has plenty to hand.
If, however, this isn't what is wrong, then it would be worth getting a vet to have a look at him to check to see if there is any tumor or infection. Infections can be treated with antibiotics, but tumors, sadly, can't be treated as such. If they are slow growing then sometimes a vet will prescribe pain relief and you can wait until the tumor is causing problems, but sometimes they are fast growing and there is little that can be done, in which case the vet may suggest euthanasia. The fact that your hamster has a nose bleed makes me wonder if this is more likely to the cause of the change in his behaviour.
I'm sorry I'm not giving you good news. If you don't know of any vets it is worth phoning one or two to find out if they specialise in small animals. It is also worth checking their fees as some vets offer a much reduced rate for a small animal.
I hope you get on OK.