So, my Syrian hamster (not siberian ) is something over 2yrs and 2 months old as I got him back in April of 2011. He's done very well as max age for hamsters is 3yrs and more often 18months to 2 years. He was definitely adult when I got him so probably at least 12 weeks old then or more. He's always had a skin problem where he loses some of his very smart black and white fur on one side. I've always fed my hamsters table scraps as well as dried food, but I have wondered if the protein has been causing this fur loss and so recently reverted to just feeding him the pet shop 'hamster food'.
This morning I found him curled up on the top deck of the cage and I was sure he was dead, but as I stroked him, he started moving, but very haltingly and with major tremors. I refilled the water bowl and he drank some but it didn't make any difference. He'd stop shaking while I was touching him and he did seem very cold. I tried him with some currants, thinking the sugar might give him a boost, but he wasn't interested. Now, hamsters in the wild do eat grains but they also eat insects and grubs which is why I've always fed mine meat scraps.
So I figured if he was on his last legs and he didn't want sugar, maybe he'd go for some fat. Tried some cheese and that was it, he started nibbling. Still unsteady, still shaking, but eating. Put some chicken in as well, but he seemed focused on the cheese and eventually took himself back into his nest with much more stable movement and smaller tremors.
He's just come out and he's back to his normal active self and also happy to carry on eating cheese. So whatever it was, the fat appears to have got him through it. Looks like he'll be around for a bit longer.
Also, even on his last legs, he does not like being held and managed to bite me to inform me of that! Maximus Hadrian Hamster is living up to his fierce namesake!
Me, My Father and The Alzheimer's - http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread84213.html