Hamsters develop Diabetes Mellitus!!

The Honey Hams Email Support Group!

Diabetes is found all too frequently among our beloved pets. 
 Let's share what we know, what we fear and how we can help!

Jun 24, 2003
New email group for diabetic hamsters
Jane Landis started this email list and it is called Honey Hams!
If you need help with a diabetic hamster or think that maybe your
hamster has developed diabetes please join this email list!
You will gain  knowledge, support and friendship
from the Honey Hams Email List and 
from Jane Landis. JOIN today!

Jane Landis on Diabetes in Hamsters
Are you seeing more diabetes in hamsters then a few years ago?
Is diabetes more prevalent in a particular breed of hamster?
What kind of food is a diabetic hamster fed?
What is the lifespan of a hamster?
What is the youngest diabetic hamster you have encountered?
Do you administer insulin to hamsters?
How do you manage diabetes in a hamster?

Can hamsters blood be tested for glucose like in other pets?
from Jane
(The reason I'm talking about urine glucose is I can't blood test hams, and
since they don't get insulin, it would be a useless precision at great risk
to a one or two-ounce dwarf hamster -- not so for dogs and cats on insulin.)

Three of my most recent little loveys to arrive came in with such high
urine glucose the strip fairly snapped to the darkest color rather than
creeping up there over a few seconds.  One was already in ketoacidosis.  A
week later, all their urine glucose values were down 75%, and the one with
ketones had that level drop 75% in just the first few days.  Between that
and being treated for a UTI that developed this week, she's a whole new
little girl, and I thought she was something pretty special to begin with!

My point is that ketones are rotten poison, and you can even see that in a
sweet little fluff with a prey animal's instinct never to show pain or illness. 

from the Pet Diabetes Dictionary found at www.petdiabetes.com

What is ketoacidosis: 
A life-threatening condition in which ketones, which result from the breakdown of fat
for energy, accumulate in the blood stream and the pH of the blood decreases. 

Ketoacidosis is when the body has an insufficient supply of insulin it cannot
metabolize carbohydrates.  Because of this inability to metabolize carbohydrates, 
the muscles become starved for glucose needed to provide the energy for work. 
In order to get that needed energy, the muscle breaks down fat.  Fat, when 
metabolized produces the by-products called Ketones, which are normally 
excreted in the urine.  If the body is unable to clear the ketones through the kidneys, 
they build to toxic levels and eventually lead to ketoacidosis. At the same time the 
body is producing ketones, it is not using glucose. The kidneys, through the production
of urine, must  remove both.  The higher the ketones and unused glucose levels,
the more urine must be produced and the body will become dehydrated. 

Read more about Jane Landis & her Rescue Hamsters

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