In my last post I mentioned that Victoria, one of my show team Chinese had been affected by the dreaded skin split and whilst I hoped that Victoria would recover enough to return to the show bench to finish the year off, her fur remained ruffled a couple of months on and I made the decision to retire her. She was getting on for 18 months old and it would only have been a matter of time anyway.
A few days after I made the decision to retire Victoria, I had the shock that I really could have done without… the curse of the skin split had struck again and this time it was affecting my show team lead… Matthew was on two COMs and I had been hoping that he’d be in with a chance of becoming Metallica’s first champion but if he followed his mother’s footsteps with recovery then that was looking less likely. To start with things didn’t look too bad but a week on he took for the worse. This was not a normal skin split… his skin looked sore, the wound was raw and bleeding. It was a trip up to the vet for Matthew and he came out with antibiotics and metacam to help him heal. The chances of Matthew showing again were looking slim.
Matthew is recovering steadily but he will not be finishing off the show season for Metallica this year. His future will be re-evaluated next year.
Following a routine weight check on Lady May, I noticed that she had lost 5g and without any logical explanation such as increased exercise or loss of appetite, I increased the health checks I was doing on her and eventually an explanation became apparent. I hoped it was nothing serious but took her to the vet anyway. She was given antibiotics but her ability to eat reduced and I had to feed her the same soft foods that we’d fed to Meat. In less than a week, a tiny bump that was barely noticeable grew enough to stop my girl from eating the food she loved and in the latter stages, stopped her from being able to close her mouth. We went back to the vets and I was shocked at how much the wretched thing had grown and I knew then that this would be my last few moments with her. I said goodbye and Lady May, Dowager Countess of Metallica was put to sleep on 1st February 2016.
The oldest Metallica Hamster, Meat had visited the vet a few times in his life but was never phased by them. He was always as adorable with them as he was with us and even in his final vet visit in Thursday, he behaved impeccably.
It began last weekend when Meat started to drag his back legs and seemed very lethargic in his manner. It got to the point that we said goodbye to him on Sunday, thinking that he wouldn’t survive the night. He surprised us all when we checked on him on Monday morning and he was there looking up at us with that cute little face. His energy levels had picked up which we were delighted to see but he was still having problems walking. We thought it was best to see a vet but I knew that the prognosis was unlikely to be good.
I arrived a little bit early at the vet’s practice. The lovely receptionist asked me a bit about Meat and he even got the opportunity to show off how adorable he was to her. The vet called us in straight away and took a history of what had happened. After an examination I was told that Meat had a stroke but at his very advanced age, he would be unlikely to recover enough to give him much of a quality of life and the best option would be to put him to sleep.
I spent a few moments alone with Meat whilst the vet went to get the consent form during which Meat looked up at me with a certain calmness. Did he know what was going to happen? Was he thanking me for making the decision that he was clearly unable to make?
Meat was put to sleep at 10:11 am on 4th June 2015. Like the other Metallica Hamsters who have gone before him, he will be missed but always cherished in our memories.
Yesterday I took Meat to the vets to get his top incisor trimmed (again!) and I was going to ask the vet’s opinion on his eye which has a tendency to go sticky. I phoned up the vet that he’s registered with to book him an appointment on Wednesday afternoon for a Thursday appointment. They’re a very friendly practice and after they’d brought my details up they asked me what his name was. I told them and the receptionist said that wasn’t the kind of name that they were expecting me to say but I’m kinda glad that my boy has a unique name.
The visit itself went well, despite my concerns. There was a few dogs in one of the waiting areas but Meat and I were sent up to the quieter waiting area at the back of the practice. Meat was taken off to have his teeth trimmed but needed to be gassed for it. I was given the disclaimer about their being a risk with his very advanced age and was left waiting whilst they sorted him out. Whilst I was waiting I heard a very upset dog, yelping and pulling on its lead and it hadn’t even gone into a consultation room yet. I had no idea what was wrong with the dog but at times like this I’m glad that I’ve got hamsters. The worst that could happen is that a hamster could bite a vet and as painful as hamster bites can be, they’re nothing compared to what some other animals could do in distress.
Meat himself was brought back to me in his little carry case and the vet said he’d been very good. They’d trimmed his tooth and looked at his eye, for which he was prescribed eye drops. I got plenty of comments about how sweet he really was and had a chat with the receptionist about how he differs from the more common Syrian Hamster.