Like humankind, hamsters are highly susceptible to bacteria, so medical problems are unavoidable.
Many hamster illnesses can be easily solved if symptoms are detected timely.
However, there are general, specific, and even false signs that pet owners must know.
Being around your pet, you can tell whether he is in good or bad health. It is the early intervention that matters most.
The article below will make clear how to tell if you have a sick hamster.
Let’s keep on reading.
Signs of Hamster Diseases
Hamsters tend not to show signs of illnesses before you can realize. Therefore, you may risk seeing their health degenerated after the illnesses evolve for the worse.
It is necessary that you observe your hamster frequently. Pay close attention to what and when he eats, drinks as well as his sleeping habit.
His stool is also worth checking for signs of medical needs.
Once being infected with diseases, hamsters typically show some of these signs as follows:
- Appetite loss
- Hair loss
- Wet Tail
- Respiratory malfunction
- Rough hair coat
Lack of appetite
A healthy hamster tends to nibble continuously. Therefore, it will be abnormal if your rodent remains full all the time or he ignores his favorite food.
It is often difficult to measure the exact amount of food a hamster is taking into his body.
This is because these pets either hoard food in their cheeks or store treats in their nest.
Since they are prey animals, they enjoy gathering and hiding food for later consumption.
Nevertheless, if your hamster’s hip and bones become more visible, he may be suffering from pneumonia or other serious illnesses.
Health problems can lead to changes in hamsters’ bowel movements.
The wet tail may stem from diarrhea or matted fur around their back end.
Upon detecting a wet tail, you should take your pet to the vet’s clinic right away. This deadly disease is proved to kill within a week.
However, there is no need to worry too much. Moisture around the tail doesn’t always pose a grave threat, especially to ovulating female hamsters.
Such animals undergo a normal bloody discharge while gorging on greens may expose hamsters to temporary diarrhea.
You can tell if your hamster’s health is in good condition from his appearance.
As nature takes its course, a hamster’s coat will shed more or less due to his age.
However, significant hair loss is not a good sign. Patchy hair loss or thinning fur is indicative of lice, infection or mange.
If your squeaky little has a runny nose, he is likely to catch a cold. In this case, an immediate visit to the vet is necessary.
Since rodents expose to be weak with human germs, you should maintain a proper distance from them whenever you are sick.
Temperatures between 65 and 80 Fahrenheit can keep the living environment warm enough to keep your hamsters from a chill.
On the flip side, lack of moisture can be a common source of respiratory problems to these little animals.
Remember that abrupt changes in temperature facilitate the development of a respiratory infection. In addition, the respiratory tract may be irritated by several types of bedding.
Antibiotic use in hamsters
Given how their gastrointestinal tract works, antibiotics may lead to fatal toxicity in hamsters.
The list of antibiotics that should be avoided include penicillin, ampicillin, erythromycin, and amoxicillin.
Other warning signs
- Rapid breathing: Lethargy or change in breathing is a sign of heart disease.
- Swelling: Veterinary care is urgent in case of swelling appearing on the hamster body. Inflammation in the abdomen can be a serious sign of health condition.
- Excessive drinking: This may be a result of the liver, kidney, and adrenal diseases. If you are not sure, change the water daily so that you can closely follow the amount of water he drinks every day.
Misleading signs of illness
Hamsters may expose some unusual characteristics but not so much of concern.
Upon spotting such signs, evaluate them in relation to their overall behavior. If possible, consult your vet for a more precise diagnosis.
- Full cheek pouches: Hamsters enjoy carrying food in their cheek pouches, but their pouches are vulnerable to infection.
- Vaginal discharge: Female hamsters often experience heat at regular intervals of 4 days. They may have stringy and thick discharge for about a day.
- Large testicles: As male hamsters grow up, their testicles become bigger. If the size changes in parallel to the color change, this is a normal phenomenon. However, if you detect additional signs such as testicle color change or pain while handling, a worrisome condition may be underlying.
Nursing a sick Hamster
Before getting the vet’s consultation, you can take a few steps to alleviate the symptoms of your pet feeling unwell.
- Keep warm: As sick hamsters easily feel cold, you must keep his habitat warm enough by placing a hot water bottle under the cage. Or else, resting him on a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel may do him good.
- Supply enough water: Loss of appetite or tail wetness quickly makes the hamster dehydrated. In this case, continuously help him drink or get a fluid-replacement powder that is used by people with diarrhea. In case your hamster still refuses to drink on his own, pump water into a 1 mL syringe. Hole the end of the syringe with a fluid liquid to his lips. He may get some. Be careful not to flood his small mouth.
- Diet: You’d better refrain from feeding your pet on fruits and vegetables. These foods are likely to worsen diarrhea.
- Attention: It is advisable that you keep a close eye on your hamster so you can check the progress of his disease. Take notice of how much he eats and drink each day and when he plays. By doing this, you can take prompt actions once signs of aggravation arise.
Be more aware
Constant care is never redundant for the sake of hamster health.
Signs of sickness in hamsters can quickly disappear if they receive immediate treatment.
Therefore, you must get the hang of how to tell if you have a sick hamster so that you can know what to do next with your little friend.