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Home > Hamsters Tips > Hamster Illnesses

Hamster Illnesses and Diseases - How to Take Care of Your Hamster

Pet Health   

Hamsters have their own illnesses and diseases - just like any other animal. To protect your pet hamster, it's important you know about the most common illnesses your hamster may get. This way you know how to care for a sick hamster.

This guide is going to help you discover the most common problems hamsters usually get. It's meant to be an information section only. If your pet hamster is visibly sick or ill, please visit your local vet and have it attended to.

Hamsters are little creatures that can get very sick rapidly and as with most diseases with any animals, the earlier you catch it and start treatment, the better the chances are that your hamster will make a full recovery.

So here are the most common hamster sicknesses...

Most Common Hamster Illnesses and How to Cure Them

Absceses
Abscesses are caused when a bite or scratch becomes infested, sealing over before the infection is gone. This wound then becomes a pus-filled lump that will require antibiotics to cure.

It sounds nasty, but the good news is that with veterinary care your hamster will likely recover quickly.

Allergies
We talked about the different bedding materials available to hamsters, and that some can cause allergic reactions in hamsters. Hamsters can also suffer from allergic reactions to things such as certain types of food, dust, cleaning solution, etc, so be on the lookout for allergy symptoms.

If you suspect the cause of the allergic reaction, the simplest thing to do is remove it from the hamster’s cage.

If the symptoms disappear then your problem is solved; however, if your hamster continues to show symptoms or displays a severe allergic reaction then you should seek veterinary help immediately.

Bladder and Kidney Infections
As with us humans, antibiotics will be required to treat this type of infection. Once treated, your hamster should recover quickly.

Make sure your hamster has access to plenty of water while on the medication, and it’s a good idea to clean the cage a little more often, and hamsters with this kind of infection are more susceptible to infection by the Aspergillis Fungus.

Colds
Interestingly, hamsters can catch colds from us humans, so if you’re suffering from one you should limit your contact with your hamster as much as possible. Cold drafts can also cause this illness in hamsters.

If your hamster is continuing to eat normally then it is likely he is suffering from a mild cold, and should recover on his own. Just make sure he’s got plenty of bedding to stay warm in, and that no drafts are blowing on his cage.

However, if he shows signs of a more severe cold (such us weight loss or wheezing) then you should take him to a vet immediately, as he will likely require antibiotic treatment.

Dental Problems
As we mentioned earlier, a hamster’s teeth grow continually throughout its life. If they aren’t kept trim they can grow to lengths at which it becomes very difficult for the hamster to eat.

If you notice wetness around the mouth, or the hamster dropping a lot of the food he’s attempting to pick up, it could be due to overly long teeth. A trip to the vet and a short stint under anesthetic to file the teeth down and he’ll be as good as new, although it may require multiple treatments to fully recover.

Diabetes
Although it can be found in any species of hamster, it’s most prevalent in Campbell’s Dwarf Hamsters.

If you suspect your hamster has diabetes you should consult a vet immediately for treatment and advice on your hamsters new, diabetes-friendly diet plan.

Ear Infections
As with humans, antibiotic treatment will be required to clear up the infection.

Eye Problems
Hamsters can sometimes catch eye infections which, if they persist, will need veterinary treatment. You may notice your hamster has his eye shut all the time – this can be caused by something stuck in his eye, such as a piece of bedding material.

If this is the case, gently wash the eye with lukewarm water and some cotton.

Strokes
If a hamster suffers a stroke, it usually occurs in the evening when he is active. Often confused with an ear infection, a stroke tends to leave a lasting head tilt long after the stroke has occurred.

Hamsters that have suffered a stroke can recover to a large degree, although they will need easy access to food and water in the early days after the stroke. In severe cases it may be necessary to hand feed and water the hamster until he regains enough mobility to help himself.

Cancers and Tumors
If you’ve ruled out that the lump you’ve found is not a scent gland or an abscess, you may be dealing with a tumor. Cancer is actually quite rare in hamsters, and occurs mostly in old age.

External tumors are usually quite treatable, with the hamster recovering nicely. Internal tumors are harder to diagnose and are often accompanied by other symptoms.

List of All Hamster Illnesses

Overall, here are the most common diseases and sicknesses that hamsters get. Knowing the names helps you be able to take care of your hamster better.

Abscesses
Allergy
Aspergillis Fungus
Bladder/Kidney Infections
Broken Limbs
Colds
Constipation
Dehydration
Diabetes
Diarrhoea
Diet Deficiency
Ear Infection

Euthanasia
Eye Problems
Fur Loss
Genetic Deformities
Heat Stroke
Hibernation
Hip Spots (Syrian Hamsters)
Impacted Cheek pouches
Loss of Limb
Lung Infection
Mange
Mites

Overgrown Nails
Old Age
Papova Virus
Rectal Prolapse
Ringworm
Scent Gland - Belly (Russian Hamsters)
Shock
Skin Infection
Stroke
Teeth Problems
Tumors/Cancers
Vaginal Bleeding
Wet Tail

Note: If you feel something is unusual with your hamster, it's highly recommended you take your hamster to the vet. You could be saving his life.

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