Diseases in hamsters are often due to poor posture and stress. We have compiled a list of the most common hamster diseases for you.
Is your hamster tired, has lost weight, or can’t walk anymore? We briefly and concisely present the symptoms of the most common diseases in hamsters and explain how they are treated correctly and which ones can even be transmitted to humans.
Important: No matter what disease your hamster suffers from, always go to a veterinarian and get advice from them. If your hamster has contracted an illness, it needs rest. It is therefore essential to avoid stress factors such as:
- loud music
- temperature fluctuations
- tear from sleep
To promote a speedy recovery for your sick hamster, you should also heed the following tips:
- Constant room temperature: The room in which the sick hamster’s cage or terrarium is located should have a constant room temperature.
- Red Light: Point it at a corner of the hamster’s home. This allows the sick hamster to withdraw when it gets too hot.
Preventing and treating hamster diseases
By avoiding poor posture, you can prevent some hamster diseases. A healthy diet, species-appropriate employment, and a species-appropriate enclosure are fundamental.
Also, during the daily health check, check whether your hamster is sick or healthy. If you notice any abnormalities, take your hamster to the vet!
Typical diseases in hamsters
Below we present the causes, symptoms, and treatment of the most common hamster diseases. This includes:
- eye diseases
- Jaw congestion/injury
- bite wounds
- joint inflammation
- heat shock
Eye diseases in hamsters
There are two different eye diseases in hamsters: conjunctivitis and keratoconjunctivitis. Both eye diseases have different causes, present with different symptoms, and require different treatments.
Conjunctivitis results from a bacterial infection or abscess in the upper jaw caused by either tooth decay or a tooth root infection. Other causes can bite wounds and dust or dirt particles. There is swelling of the eyelids or even half of the face. Conjunctivitis is treated with eye drops or ointments.
Keratoconjunctivitis is more common than conjunctivitis. Since damage to the cornea is often found, the harmful effects of dust and dirt in the litter are very likely. Usually, only one eye is affected. The hamster first secretes a lot of tear fluid, after which the eye dries up. The eyelid may stick together, protrude, or even collapse. The vet will decide whether surgery is necessary or not.
Hamster cheek pouch congestion/injury
Cheek pouch congestion and adhesions occur in hamsters when they are fed chocolate, gummy bears, and other sweet foods. The hamster then has to go to a vet as soon as possible, who will clear out the cheek pouches again.
Hamsters can injure their cheek pouches if they put something pointed or sharp in their cheek pouches. Here, too, he has to go to a veterinarian who will turn his cheek pouches inside out to treat the wounds properly. If left untreated, inflammation of the cheek pouches can result in both cases.
Hamster bite wounds
Bite marks on hamsters often occur when unfamiliar hamsters are put together. For example, if a female is not ready to mate and a male is placed in her territory, he will try to drive the “intruder” away with bites. The injuries are often in the head, flank, or anus region. Be sure to take the hamster to the vet. This can take care of the bite wounds.
Diabetes in hamsters
This hamster disease does not show itself as easily as other diseases. Signs that the hamster has diabetes may include:
- increased body weight
- clouded eyes
- increased urination
The cause of diabetes is usually the wrong diet of the hamster. Too much sugar and fat in the hamster’s diet can lead to diabetes. However, only the veterinarian can diagnose it. Please note our tips on the right nutrition for hamsters.
Healthy hamster food
To prevent disease, your hamster should have a proper diet. Tasty and healthy hamster food can be found here:
Diarrhea is the most common in hamsters and can indicate many different diseases. Possible causes are:
- wrong diet
- a bacterial infection
- a poisoning
Since only the veterinarian can determine which disease the hamster has and how severe it is, you should have the hamster examined immediately.
Cold in the hamster
The hamster has probably caught a cold if it shows the following symptoms:
- he sneezes
- has a cold,
- loses weight,
- his eyes are watering
- whistling sounds are heard when breathing
Causes of cold in hamsters can be:
- poor hygiene
- and strong temperature fluctuations in the room
A cold should not be underestimated. If you find your hamster has a cold, be sure to see your vet. What initially seems harmless can sometimes develop into pneumonia.
Joint inflammation in the hamster
Joint inflammation in hamsters as well as other diseases of the musculoskeletal system can be caused by a vitamin E deficiency. To prevent this, you can offer your hamster food rich in vitamin E, for example:
- wheat and oat germ
- Cottage cheese and yogurt
- fresh vegetables
Hamster heat shock
If the hamster experiences heat shock, the little rodent’s metabolism collapses. The hamster becomes apathetic and his breathing is greatly increased. In this case, move the hamster to a cool place and cover the cage with a wet cloth.
To prevent heat shock in the hamster, you should make sure that the room temperature in which you house the hamster cage never exceeds 25 degrees. Because unlike in the wild, where the hamster returns to its den immediately if it gets too hot for it, in a cage or terrarium it has no way of escaping the heat. Hamsters also don’t have sweat glands to regulate their body temperature.
Hamster bone fracture
Hamsters usually break bones and other injuries when they run free. Therefore, make sure that the freewheel is designed to be safe and free from sources of danger. If your hamster has broken a bone and may not be able to walk anymore, you need to take him to the vet immediately. After taking an X-ray, he will determine how badly the hamster has injured himself and whether the broken bone can heal.
If your hamster has lice, you can tell with the naked eye. Lice leave eggs in the hamster’s fur that look like small scales. Lice cause severe itching in hamsters and can also be transmitted to humans and other pets.
So go to a veterinarian as soon as possible. This will give you the appropriate means to rid your rodent of the annoying little animals. The treatment is very long-lasting. Therefore, use a vermin-repellent litter, such as hemp litter, as a precaution. Find out what needs to be considered when it comes to bedding and hay.