Bear Goes to the Vet

My girls each got pet hamsters for their birthdays this year.  K. named hers Bear Grylls after her favorite tv personality on the Discovery Channel.  Our Bear is a cute little female hamster with short hair and brown/black coloring resembling a chipmunk (not to be confused with the other Bear Grylls, who is a cute, decidedly male, human survival expert) .  She’s sweet and likes to be held and played with, and she’s never bitten any of us (yet).   I’m not into rodents myself, but my kids sure love their hamsters, and this one is pretty cute, as hamsters go.

This past weekend, we had a houseful of kids here on Saturday for an end of the season soccer party.  Bear was held and passed around among a dozen giggly and not-too-gentle 8-10 year old girls.  On Saturday night, we noticed Bear had a little blood on her paw.  I don’t know if she was handled too much or what, but her paw looked pretty banged up.  “Take her to the vet, Mom!” K. cried, consulting her Hamster Care handbook.  “She’s bleeding!”  We got her tiny paw washed off, and Bear appeared to have a small cut. We went online and googled “hamster bloody paw” to see what we could find out.  One suggestion was to check the animal’s cage for sharp edges.  We did that, and the cage does have a couple sharp places.  Another site suggested taking the hamster to the vet immediately or risk amputation or death.  That scared the crap out of my little girl, not to mention my wallet!

We decided to keep an eye on it for a few days before doing anything, but each day it looked worse- more red and swollen.  Bear started to favor her other front paw and wouldn’t run in her wheel, so today I called the vet, hoping to hear something like, “Don’t worry about it.  Just put a little Neosporin on it and it will be ok.”  Instead they said to bring Bear in immediately.

The paw was infected, requiring antibiotics.  $105. later ($45 for the office visit, $30 for an injection, and $30 for meds), we were sent on our way.   Seems like a lot for an $8. hamster, doesn’t it?  Not to be coldhearted, but at what point do you draw the line at how much you will spend on the care and keeping of a pet, especially one whose life expectancy is only about 2 years?  If the heart of my 9 year old daughter wasn’t involved, I’m not sure I would have spent the money.

This is not Bear, but it sort of looks like her:opal-2_2.jpg  

10 Responses

  1. I agree… but what do you do…

  2. I wish I knew where to draw the line — I spent that much a few times over for my daughter’s hamsters. Now she’s moved up to rats and fish, which seem a little less fragile. Or salvageable, depending on how you look at it.

  3. Loved your hamster post!

    “…That scared the crap out of my little girl, not to mention my wallet!”

    Man – did that one hit home. Check out the story I just posted about our bunny, Prudence

    We STILL have not gotten the bill. And we have to take her back to the hospital on Saturday for a follow-up. Help. I am afraid.

  4. Good for you! I know it hurts to spend that much but your little girl will learn that we take care of those we love.

    Love the name, Bear, too!

  5. Where *do* you draw the line? I’m wondering that very question right now…I have a tiny toy poodle who is bleeding me dry and only half way through his life expectancy. *sigh*

  6. It’s tough to draw the line even with bigger pets whose life’s are longer. I’ve spent $400 in the last 2 months between shots and another one whose had a UTI (these are cats) but they are my babies. A Hamster might be a different story but like you said…when your child loves it you HAVE to do everything you can to help.
    Try using to makes spaces in the code section ( as you write your entry)

  7. Bakinbit, I’m sorry but I don’t know what you mean.. try using what to make spaces in the code section?

  8. I don’t think I could stomach spending that much money on such a little creature- but they are so cute! and you hate to see them suffer… to make a line break, type “” as one word. I can’t do it here, or it would just make a line break and not be readable to you! Try it.

  9. Poor Bear! Hope he’s feeling all better now. Thanks for the warning about sharp edges on the cage. I’ll keep an eye on it.

    You were right to spend the $ though it’s hard to stomach. The best thing is you were able to demonstrate to your children is that love and caring come before money.

  10. […] 10, 2008 by lisamm Our weekend started on a sad note.  My daughter’s beloved hamster, Bear, died in her hands Friday morning.  At 7am, when K. checked on Bear, she was lethargic and […]

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