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Nicolette is having trouble walking and has little energy

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#1 rhapsody


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Posted 04 July 2010 - 03:15 AM

Something is wrong with my dear Nicolette. The past few days, I noticed that her energy level seemed to be very low - she wasn't running on her wheel, and she was very slow to respond to my presence. Normally she'd start begging for attention as soon as she noticed me, but lately its been hard to coax her out of her hideout. And her ears aren't as perky.

Then yesterday, I let her run about my bed, and it seems she can't use her left hind leg properly - as she walks, she lets that leg drag behind her. And she also can't scratch her head with it properly. In addition, she is having a huge amount of difficulty moving between sections of her cage and going up a tiny ladder (its a solid piece of plastic with grips and is two inches high with about a 45 degree incline). This is something she has never had trouble with before, but now it seems she can't push herself up with her hind feet.

I haven't dropped her, but a couple weeks ago I scruffed her so that I could clip her nails. Could this have been the problem?

Other than being listless and walking funny, Nicolette still has an appetite and is excited about her treats. And as far as I can tell, she is going potty just fine.


Edited by rhapsody, 04 July 2010 - 03:24 AM.

#2 missPixy


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Posted 04 July 2010 - 05:34 AM

she could have some arthritis activating in her hip/ leg.
maybe earlier she favored her good hind leg and so you
didn't notice.... but now maybe she woke up one day and
it reallllly hurt, so she stayed in bed. which just made it
worse. arthritis is one of those nasty catch-22 things,
where it hurts so you don't want to move, but if you DON'T
move it just gets worse.

when my dwarfs start having arthritis, i get them started
on metacam. this way, it helps them stay active and keeps
the arthritis at a minimum.

unless there was some way she could have twisted her
leg in something in her house? :scratchchin:

#3 rhapsody


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Posted 04 July 2010 - 11:53 AM

Eek, isn't Nicolette a bit young to have arthritis? She's just under a year old ...

Hmmm, maybe she sprained it getting off her wheel? Its not broken, but its definitely causing her pain.

In any case, I think I have to get her a nice single level bin instead of her current linked up modular cages.

#4 missPixy


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Posted 04 July 2010 - 11:39 PM

the only thing i'll say about single-level bins is: i know lots of
people on the site love them, but they don't mimic a hamster's
normal life in the wild. hamsters dig burrows, and climb. the
tubes of multi-level bins try to replicate that experience and
give more rounded exercise than just a wheel can provide.

in her current condition i agree she shouldn't be climbing (and
i'd forgotten how young she was, so i agree it most likely isn't
arthritis) but if you can diagnose what this is... maybe your
vet can see whether she pulled a her leg, or if it's just a muscle
sprain? the metacam will reduce inflammation.

#5 HoppingHammy


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Posted 05 July 2010 - 12:59 AM

Hmm, I had wondered if she sprained it somehow also. Did her cage have a level or something she could have possibly jumped off and hurt herself? Or perhaps twisted it while climbing metal CT cage bars?

Just a thought. :)

#6 souffle


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Posted 06 July 2010 - 08:11 PM

Can you look through the fur to see if there is any bruising or swelling around the leg area? Feel into the groin gently for any lumps.
We had a hammy fall off the roof of his cage (only about 12in) and bruise his leg badly hand become lame. With rest (remove wheel and anything he can hop on to climb) he did make a full recovery in about 10days but we could see a huge bruise under his cream fur!

#7 rhapsody


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Posted 07 July 2010 - 02:43 AM

Hmmm, Nicolette has made some improvement over the holiday weekend. She's far more perky and energetic, but she is still dragging her hind foot a bit. I think that she might have hurt herself going to the "basement" level of this cage:

Posted Image

You see that little ladder to leads down there? Sometimes she doesn't always use it ... and she is such a tiny little gal ... Oh, and her current set up doesn't have that lookout tower included in the picture - she's too tiny to manage vertical tubes properly.

Another factor might be that there are a couple small "drops" where the cages connect together - I put little "step-stools" there, but they sometimes shift around a bit. And also, there are extremely small gaps between the connectors and their respective cages. Once before, Nicolette got her paw caught in one of the gaps - she panicked and started thrashing around before I was able to free her. No harm was done then, but I wonder if she had a similar accident recently. Her current setup is the three cages on the left:

Posted Image

Anyhoo, I've checked the lame leg and I haven't seen any outward signs of injury BUT last night she managed to cut her other hind leg. *Sigh* I'm really not happy with her setup right now, but Nicolette really loves being able to "burrow" in her basement and I don't want to take that away from her if possible.

#8 mrsfish


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Posted 07 July 2010 - 03:55 AM

Hi Rhapsody,she might of had a stroke and this has affected her leg movement and if it was a stroke it possibly might leave a permanent weakness to that side,this would also explain her lethargicness and her non- responsiveness in the first few days, This is running along the same syptoms as if it was a human having a CVA(cerebral vascular accident)where the brain has a small bleed and is starved of oxygen.

It is more common in older hammies however does happen in the young,if it was a small stroke then she might recover most movement over time ,but if it was large I would off thought it would of killed her?.If your able can you gey her checked out by a vet?,as they should be able to diagnose it properly.

Hope this helps as there would be no obvious signs like cuts/breaks swelling etc.Tracy :goldfish: