September 11th, 2020, started out like any other day. I did Beanie’s morning routine as usual, and then sat at the desk in my pets’ room to sketch.
Soon Beanie emerged from her nest to gather her food, and when I heard her I went to say hello. As soon as I saw her I knew something was wrong.
Beanie appeared restless, pacing around her cage. Her nose was dripping wet, literally. She looked somewhat rabid. I took her out of her cage and put her into her paper-towel-lined carrier, and assessed her situation.
My Plan of Action
I decided it could be either the flu (Yes, hamsters do get the human flu) or a respiratory issue. I research hamster-related anything as a hobby. In my researching endeavors I’d learned a bit about such issues, so I had an idea of how to handle the situation.
First I cleaned out her 10 gallon tank (holding cell) and lined it with paper towels. I put in her plastic igloo (with shredded paper towels in it), a water bowl, and a food dish, then transferred her into it.
When I took her out of the carrier the paper towel inside was spotted with snot, and it was getting all over my hands.
By having paper towels as a lining I could easily monitor her. I could see how much she was peeing, as well as if her nose continued to drip.
I then retrieved my humidifier, eucalyptus oil, and heat dish. I set up the humidifier with the oil in it and the heat dish beside the small 10 gallon tank. Since the glass would get hot (which it did) from the heat dish, I cut a piece of cardboard and taped it on the inside of the hot glass to prevent burns. She could now move to the other half of the cage to get warmer if she needed. The humidity would assist with clearing her nose. The eucalyptus oil helps with relaxation and provides a nice smell.
Next I headed out to find organic thyme. Thyme is amazing at curing all sorts of respiratory issues or illnesses in general, and I needed to make some ‘Thyme Tea.’
When I returned with the pack of organic thyme plants I put some water on to boil while I washed the thyme. I then put a ‘piece’ of thyme in a mug and poured about 5 tablespoons of boiling water over it, then steeped it.
*10 Minutes Later*
I removed the thyme from the freshly made tea, and put it in the freezer to cool.
*5 Minutes Later*
I then put the cooled tea into a hamster bottle, replacing the water bowl with it.
Now, Beanie was still in her 10 gallon tank (holding cell), and I needed to fix up her actual cage. I didn’t want to keep her in the tiny 10 gallon tank for who knows how long while she recovered.
I cleaned out her cage, lined it with paper towels, put in the tea, a few toys, huts, and scattered food inside.
I left Beanie alone to rest for the day, and just checked in every hour or two.
That night Beanie awoke and emerged from her nest in the tank. She was already looking a lot better, and her face was dry.
I moved her into her bin cage, and kept the heat dish and humidifier set up near her cage.
When she explored the Thyme Tea she seemed to really like it (to my delight!), and kept going back to drink it. The tea was her only source of hydration I offered so she would drink it, but I don’t think she minded at all 😅
I didn’t take Beanie out to free roam for three nights, so she could rest. She was drastically improving, and after five days of treatment she was completely normal. To her delight, I returned her cage to normal that night, and the first thing she did was dig in her substrate.
Since Beanie’s encounter with the flu and her recovery she has been totally normal, and is living happily and healthily. I’m very glad it wasn’t too serious, and that she made such a quick recovery, especially since she’s quite old (about 21 months at the time). I acknowledge I am not a vet; the treatment I gave Beanie was solely based on my research, and may not work for everyone.
If you’re interested in more hamster-related content be sure to like this post and follow the blog, and I’ll be back on Tuesday with more small pet care, DIYs, recipes, cage setups, stories and more, have a ham-tastic day!