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· she-mayor of Whoville
298 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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!!!!!!!!!!


· she-mayor of Whoville
298 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Unfortunately I have no good news to report, 3 weeks later.

After a week of .01 mL twice a day, we moved Panda's dosage up to .02 mL twice a day.

With no improvement in drinking, peeing, and glucose in urine, week 3 we moved panda up to a whopping .05mL once a day.

My vet is still trying to get a hold of the vet in Rhode Island who had so much success with Glipizide.

Perhaps we made the solution incorrectly. Or perhaps I am doing something wrong diet wise. I'll have to see what my vet comes up with when we make contact today.

In good news, Panda has not deteriorated at all, and she's been very good for momy for medicine time. She gets a nice chunk of ricotta cheese after her Glip and she doesn't bite or anything.

In fact, she's gotten so good about being still when I scruff her, that I wonder if I could cut her tiny paw nails this way!

What is bad, is the damage is probably taking place inside with her organs. All the drinking and peeing and processing her body is doing daily, I'm sure it's taking a toll on her little organs.

It's possible that all this time, the Glip has prevented her from getting worse in her condition. That's why I'm not going to give up on it just yet. But what we have not seen is a drop in glucose in the urine, or a reduction in drinkng/peeing.

Send good vibes to Panda and I, we need it. Hopefully Panda can hold on for a bit longer so we can figure out how to help her best.


· she-mayor of Whoville
298 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Update.. I tested her urine glucose early one morning, to find there was much less glucose at that time.. It got me super excited and I thought this meant it was starting to work.

Sadly, I keep testing, and it's gone back to being the highest level of glucose the strips can read. So, perhaps it was just time of day, or it was so early that I read it wrong, but... *sigh

And now, we have a further complication. 2 days ago after I gave Panda her medicine (I have to wrap her up like a burrito in a tissue to keep her still sometimes), i noticed the tiniest bit of blood on the tissue.

And, yesterday, I saw blood on my hands again after handling her, still a very small amount, but def. blood, and not urine blood. I looked at her bottom area and saw a little dried blood in between her lady bits and her anus :/

Looks like there's something going on internally. Could be a urinary tract infection, because with the diabetes, she is drinking and peeing A LOT which could easily cause a UTI, but it could also be a sign of a tumor, or a sign that the organs are breaking down.. And i really dont think it was blood in urine. it looked like .. just blood. :/

Her behavior is still upbeat, and she looks healthy. But the blood, even though the tiniest amount, is alarming.

Please please keep Panda and I in your thoughts. I am taking her in on Monday to be felt around, possibly do a urine and feces culture (is this the right word), also the vet will feel around for possible tumors... we are also going to talk about what to do now, since the Glip is still not taking the effect we want to see.

The expert said with some hams, it took months of Glip treatment before it kicked in, but I'm so worried with her new problem that things are going downhill.


· she-mayor of Whoville
298 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
New hope for "New Hope for Diabetic Hamsters"

Lol sorry I am excited.

I went to the vet to day to talk about Panda Bear's bleeding (no visible blood since I posted above) and the lack of progress with the glucose in the urine.

It was magically the right time and the right day, and my vet remembered to try to call the vet from Rhode Island to talk about how to best treat Panda. Remember, this vet from RI has had a decade or so of success with treating diabetic hamsters in much worse condition than Panda is in.

She got a hold of the Dr. after being put on hold for 10 minutes. I almost jumped for joy.

The vet from Rhode Island got the background information on Panda's case, and recommended a different drug (similar, the precursor to the drug we're using) and told my vet how to mix and dose it correctly based on Panda's weight (fatty, 60 grams!!)

Soon I'll get a call from the pharmacy to pick up the perscription, then I must hand it off to my vet. They will only charge me for the compound (?), and no further fees (I really like my vet). Then, by tomorrow, I'll have Panda's new medication and switch treatment.

We cannot say for sure that the Glipizide had NO effect. For all we know, the Glip prevented the sudden weight loss (evident in early diabetes.. Panda is rather far along time-wise but not symptom-wise), and has kept her just healthy enough to hold on and keep being on treatment. There would be a point at which she could become no longer healthy enough to continue treatment, as the drugs are harsh, and could cause hypoglycemic shock, and death.

Jigglypuff was at this point. We did not do Glipizide (I was not yet aware of it being an option) but we did put her on the herbal remedy. Jigglypuff was barely over 30 grams (half the weight of current Panda) and just looked miserable. She was drinking and peeing so much that she stopped grooming or trying to find a different place to pee than her nest. So her bottom area was always pee soaked, and she just looked so scrawny and "ratty" (please forgive the term, rat-lovers)... She was beyond help. She died at the vets office after her abdomen got blocked up due to her organ systems failing. They failed because of the stress that diabetes puts ALL organs through. Jigglypuff had had enough.

Panda is a totally different story. I found out she was diabetic by testing her urine one day after buying the test strips. It alarmed me and I immediatly sought help from the hamster forum expert (whose vet I just got in contact with today). About one week after disocovering the glucose in her urine, Panda started showing the drinking/peeing signs. She was always a big girl, and drank slightly more than what would be considered normal, but it was like clockwork how I tested the urine, and THEN she started drinking excessively.

Other than those 2 symptoms, You would never know Panda was ill. She is so happy, healthy, energetic when she's up, feisty, *****y, all those.. she is hilarious and I love her and I'm trying my best to do right by her, and to do right by Jigglypuff, whom I miss and wish I was more informed about her condition before it was too late. It makes me think of the probably 5-10 hamsters I've had in my life who died of the same cause. :/

Not this time.

Go Panda!
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