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help for respiratory emergencies


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#1 missPixy

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Posted 10 June 2003 - 05:58 PM

there's an herbal remedy i've discovered that really works for my hamsters when they get those deadly respiratory problems (clicking breath, difficulty breathing, runny nose, closed eyes...). it uses the fresh herb thyme, which you can get at any market. and if it's a weekend or late at night when your vet's not available(and it seems when my hamsters tend to get sick) this emergency treatment will get you past the danger zone til you can get to your vet for antibiotics.

the reason this works is because thyme is a natural antibiotic and decongestant. i found this remedy very late one night, when i found one of my babies in the middle of a very bad respiratory attack, and in desperation flipped through an herbal book i had. this was in the children's section of the book, and i knew at that point i had nothing more to lose. it worked!!

:idea:



what you'll need to have on hand:

fresh thyme
an eyedropper bottle, or oral syringe

when your hamster comes down with a respiratory problem, do this:

take about 10-12 sprigs of the fresh thyme and put them in a mug. boil some water.

while the water is boiling, make a little emergency nest for your hamster. get some more thyme leaves by stripping them from the sprigs and mix them into the bedding.

hold your hamster and massage him or her. make sure you keep them warm. mine are always cold to the touch when they get respiratory problems. take some more sprigs of the fresh thyme and start crushing it under your hamster's nose. this will help to start the decongestion process.

return to your tea. when the water boils, pour it to cover only over the thyme. stir it occasionally, and let it sit for about 5 minutes. after 5 minutes, put some paper towel over another, clean mug, and pour the tea into this new mug. the paper towel will filter out the leaves.

with your eyedropper or syringe, take up a couple of hamster mouthfuls' worth. let this sit for about 30 seconds or so until it is not hot (you don't want to burn your hamster's mouth). test by a few drops on your hand first.

give your hamster a few drops of the tea. continue massaging and crushing the thyme leaves under his nose. i have found that, after the tea, you will need to massage him and crush the leaves under his nose for at least an hour to ensure adequate recovery.

what do i mean by "adequate" recovery? i mean 1) your hamster doesn't feel cold anymore; s/he is beginning to regulate body temp on their own; 2) your hamster starts moving in your hand, and can walk a few steps, or even completely away from you; 3) his or her eyes start to open a bit.

until you see all three of these recovery signs, your work is not done. this remedy WILL NOT work in 5 or 10 minutes. you may need to bring your hamster to work with you or take the day off to stay with your hamster, until your hamster responds in the ways i've described. you'll probably want to monitor him or her for another 24 hours even after the recover signs happen, just to make sure there isn't a relapse.



some may object to holding the hamster and massaging him during this stressful time, saying it is better to just let him rest. i disagree. i have found the hamster's metabolism is so fast that, as quickly as they get sick, they can recover just as quickly if encouraged to metabolize it out of their systems. but only do this in conjunction with my above steps... you want to help him clear his respiratory passages and get warm, first.

i have successfully used this treatment with 3 of my hamsters and have not lost one of them since i discovered this. i only wish i'd learned about it sooner, because i could've save 3 more of my babies...

Edited by missPixy, 10 June 2004 - 02:36 AM.





#2 wiffy

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 06:20 AM

Wow I am impressed with this home cure
Thanks for sharing missPixy! Though my hamsters does not have respiratory problems b4 (misspixy, is that some sort like human's cold/flu you referring to ??? ) I will stock some of that tea coz u never know when an emergency will prop up.
:innocent:

#3 missPixy

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 05:06 AM

hamster boss, you are lucky your hamsters don't have respiratory problems! i would compare what my hamsters get to something more like pneumonia than a cold or flu, cause their lungs get ultra-congested. i've found out that pine and cedar bedding will cause lung irritations in hamsters and because i didn't realize until february of this year when i joined the hamsterific bb that i shouldn't use pine, i believe that is why i have some hamsters who go through this. i use aspen now, but according to my vet, once hamsters get these type of respiratory problems they tend to keep getting them because of scar tissue that builds up in the lungs... i give my lily some evening primrose oil once a week (he licks a bit off my finger) cause i've read that this has been used with success to counteract the buildup of lung scar tissue.

#4 wiffy

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 05:51 AM

I see, hope my hams will never get respiratory problems such as puemonia. Fortuntaely, I have been using Carefresh/Pet Preference for a long time. I used sawdust in the past when there aren't many alternatives but fortunatly this has not caused respiratory problems for my hamsters. One of my past hamsters once had a strange virus which caused his eyes lids stuck shut but I don't think that's respiratory-induced.

#5 missPixy

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 06:14 AM

the eyes "weeping" can be a sign of allergic reaction to bedding or some other eye infection. if your hamster is having a respiratory problem, you will also hear the labored breathing and congested sound in the lungs. hamsters often also open their mouths to breath when they get these respiratory attacks.it comes on pretty fast too. just this week, my Lily was fine at 11pm at night: playing with his housemate, running on the wheel, very alert. the next morning at 7am he was in a corner of his house, eyes closed, body temp cold and trying to breath. i used the thyme tea remedy and he is recovered now.

#6 hammyluver

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 09:25 AM

thanks for the info misspixy!:) if only i had known before my hamster got respitory problems and had to be given back. i printed out the page and i'm gonna save it in case one of my other hammies gets respitory problems

#7 superhamster

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 07:41 AM

missPixy, could you tell me more about this click breathing? I think my previous teddy bear hamster had it :candle: :'( .

#8 missPixy

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 08:29 AM

superhamster... the click breathing is somethig you can hear if you pick up your hamster and hold him or her close so you can listen to the sound of breathing. the sound is the phlegm buildup in the lungs. bedding such as pine and esp. cedar will irritate a hamster's respiratory passages & make them vulnerable to any infection at all, which in turn creates the congestion inthe respiratory tract.

hamsters can also have respiratory problems if you bathe them. they're very sensitive to temperature xtremes and bathing both stresses them (which in turn compromises their immune systems) and chills them.

i've also had hamsters show symptoms of respiratory distress when the humidity became very high...

#9 superhamster

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 09:44 AM

My teddy bear hamster lived for only about four months before I heard the clicking sound while he was breathing. It happened pretty fast. Back then, I was using a pine/cedar mixture I bought from the store. I was changing over to aspen. I did not know about this board back then. With BabyHam, I now use and will continue to use aspen.

I also printed and saved this page. Thanks missPixy.

#10 missPixy

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 08:40 PM

superhamster~~i am so sorry for your teddy bear. :'( cedar is a particularly irritating bedding & many hamsters will show allergic symptoms almost immediately.... i'm glad you switched to aspen! aspen doesn't release chemicals into the air of your hamster's house. long live babyHam!

#11 wiffy

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Posted 30 August 2003 - 01:06 PM

hi missPixy, is thyme available as an essential oil? coz I have an electric vaporisor ... if I burn the thyme oil to diffuse the smell in an air con room, wld it be as effective?

#12 missPixy

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Posted 30 August 2003 - 01:23 PM

hamsterBoss, i haven't seen thyme as an essential oil... doesn't mean it isn't sold, tho. i know for example that lavender, also an herb, is of course sold as an essential oil.

i'm not sure if the vaporisor would work the way the fresh thyme does. plus remember part of the treatment is making an actual tea from the thyme itself so you can administer several drops via oral syringe to the hamster. also while the tea is brewing/steeping, i take some of the sprigs and crush them directly under my hamster's nose and mouth to hasten the decongestion. on occasion while the tea is brewing, i've held my hamster near the steam from the tea so some of it could find its way to my hamster's nasal passages... this would be like your vaporiser. but i dont think it would be as effective as crushing the herb leaves directly under the hamster's nose & mouth.

altho once you'd given the hamster the tea & crushed the herbs under his nose, you could turn on the vaporiser for a while to help continue the decongestion process while s/he recuperates...

#13 Mimi_Gabor

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Posted 31 August 2003 - 01:08 AM

Miss Pixy, can there be any allergic reactions to sawdust?
I bought it withought thinking as it was the only one in the store?

#14 missPixy

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Posted 01 September 2003 - 05:14 AM

mimi_gabor, yes: sawdust can definitely irritate a hamster's lungs. do you know what kind of sawdust you bought? is it pine? pine or cedar sawdust would be very irritating, and constant use of such bedding over time will cause breathing problems for your hamster.

what kind of bedding do you normally get? i don't think a 1-time use of this will cause too many problems (unless your hamsters happen to be very allergic to it, which can happen. but you would know if your hamster was having problems; you'd hear that clicking sound as they inhaled/exhaled, and they would be acting very lethargic and sick. also they'd have runny eyes and/or nostrils.

#15 Terri Mc

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 09:03 AM

Thank you Miss pixie :nurse: for posting that herbal remedy. My poor Pinky :hamster2: was suffering from weepy eyes, and a stuffy nose, unknown to me until I picked her up to do the crushing thyme under her :worried: nose. She purked right up, has ran in her hamster ball, and on her wheel. I haven't done the hour of crushing thyme but I will do that soon as I'm done. I wanted to thank you, and the rest of the wonderful people here for letting me see that this really works. I think you guys saved her life! She (Pinky) hadn't played for 2 days and I was beside myself when I had a hard time waking her today after work. The vets couldn't tell me what I could do for her. Besides pay 50.00 for an office call, that they said "we're not sure we can help her". I'll try to post again in a few days, but I really see a change for the better in her. And the contact solution helped too! ;)