UPDATE! In case you missed it, I have great news for Panda Bear on our quest to treat/cure her diabetes.
For those that do not know, a month ago I lost my sweet baby Jigglypuff (russian campbell dwarf hamster) to compilations due to diabetes. After this occured, I learned how diabetes prone hamsters can acquire the disease if their food is not monitored for sugar content. I also learned that I can catch diabetes early in my hamsters if I test their urine for both glucose and keytones. I did just that on my other girl, Panda Bear, and found she too was diabetic.
I took her to the vet a few times to try to see what can be done. A hamster expert on the forum HamsterHideout tipped me off to the somewhat experimental use of a drug called Glipizide on hamsters, which has to be diluted and dosed very carefully. I brought this to the attention of my vet, and she was eager to find more about it.
Last week I had to have Panda's urine actually sent to a lab to be tested so that my vet can confirm the diabetes. The results came back at "3+ out of 4" for glucose, a very high reading.
So, my vet and I made a compromise to put Panda on the herbal remedy for 1 week, testing urine daily, to see if there was any improvement. If no improvement, she said she would hope that we could start Panda on Glipizide, provided she got the correct dosing information.
I saw no improvement, but noticed that Panda is peeing larger amounts, and more frequently.
So, today, I brought Panda in again for an evaluation. The vet was very encouraged because although the diabetes was worsening, Panda still appeared to be healthy enough for heftier treatment.
Unfortunately, my vet was never able to get a hold of the Vet from Rhode Island to talk about the dosing (the RI vet has had much success in treating diabetic hams with this medicine), but she instead researched about dosing for small birds who have similar (very fast) metabolisms, and that weigh around them same amount. So, we put Panda on Glipizide today.
So, we put Panda on .01 mL of the glipizide formula twice daily. It is a very small amount, but can be increased if needed.
According to MissPixy, if we do the dosing correct, we should see a sharp decrease in glucose in the urine after 1 week. After 2 or 3 weeks, if the dosage is still correct, we should observe no glucose in the urine anymore.
In effect, what we are doing, is kicking Panda's pancreas in the butt to get it to start working, to make more insulin, and to reverse the diabetes from the inside (as opposed to injecting insulin, or just treating outward symptoms, not the cause).
This is excellent news. Panda got her first dose in the office so I was able to see how it is correctly and most efficiently done. She was very good for the doctor, and when we were waiting, I took the most adorable pictures and video of her sleeping sideways curled up..
The vet is very optimistic and I am so pleased with what she has done. She kept posting on those online vet forums and communities, and EVERYONE wants to know whether it works for Panda, and if so, how to dose it to cure other hamsters. Panda is famous!!!!! It is an treatment in high demand if it works.
My vet told me this case of Panda Bear has been on her mind more so than any other case she has ever encountered... and I am sooo happy she is in agreement that Glipizide was the next appropriate step. I am so glad I stuck with her... she really did her homework.
If we had waited any longer, Panda's condition could have worsened to the point where she might not even be healthy enough to be put on treatment. This is what happened with poor Jigglypuff,
and is what happens with many hamster owners.
The trick with diabetes prone hamsters, is to buy those test strips when you get the hamster. Test their urine for glucose and keytones once a month. If anything starts to register, bring them in and start treatment.
Many many hamster owners are not aware of diabetes in hamsters, and only become aware of the disease when the hamster is too frail to be helped. I believe this is what happened with the vet in Skokie- she only encountered hamsters that were too sickly to do well on the treatment, and thus she had poor results.
I am so happy
I really hope to be able to report the decline in glucose, and hopefully a complete lack of glucose. I really really super hope this works.
And, my vet only charged me $12 for a tiny bottle that is good for a month. Yay!!!!!!!!!!