hamster nose Blocked nose in hamster: 10 causes & treatment

Blocked nose in hamster: 10 causes & treatment

A blocked nose in a hamster is an immediately recognizable sign of illness that you should definitely pay attention to.

But other causes such as foreign bodies in the airways can also be causative.

The 10 most common reasons for a blocked hamster nose, including the appropriate treatment, we tell you in this article.

Let’s go!

Blocked hamster nose – What are the possible causes?

The triggers for a blocked hamster nose include foreign bodies, tumors, infections and allergies as well as other diseases and injuries. Therefore, finding and treating the cause is usually not possible without a veterinarian.
Causes of a blocked hamster nose

When your hamster suffers from a stuffy nose, your first thought is probably a cold or allergy.

However, the possible reasons are much more diverse in practice.

Accordingly, the search for the cause can be time-consuming and tedious. This is further complicated by the small size of your hamster.

Even examinations at the vet are complicated and require both tact and patience.

Cause 1: Bleeding

Hamsters can also suffer from nosebleeds.

From a simple irritation to serious illness, there can be numerous causes. Bleeding leads to a blocked nose when a large amount of blood clots in the nose.

There may be partial or complete blockage of the affected nostril.

Treatment by you is not possible in these cases.

Since the blood is not a foreign body but can become very hard, sneezing is often not possible.

Loosening or removal must be done by a veterinarian. You will also need to have the cause of the nosebleed investigated.

Cause 2: Inhaled foreign bodies

Small foreign bodies, such as sand, small stones, thorns or broken pieces of twigs can be inhaled, get into the nose while eating, sand bathing or playing.

They irritate the nasal mucosa, cause swelling and possibly even injuries and associated inflammation.

Bloody or purulent discharge in conjunction with a blocked nose are therefore possible.

Unless a piece of the foreign body is still protruding from the nose and can be removed with tweezers, a visit to the veterinarian is also unavoidable in this case.

During an examination it can be determined if and which foreign body it is. However, the removal is often more difficult. Therefore, anesthesia is usually necessary.

If an injury and infection have occurred, the subsequent administration of medication is necessary. This allows the disease to subside and the tissue to regenerate.

Cause 3: Teeth and infections in the mouth

When the hamster’s nose is blocked, suspicion rarely falls on the teeth, jaws and oral mucosa.

Yet problems in these areas can spread surprisingly quickly to the surrounding tissues, producing cold-like symptoms with discharge from the nose.

Swelling, redness and difficult breathing are also possible.

Potential causes include:

teeth that are too long, causing injury
Infections of the jaw

If the lower nail teeth have grown too long, they can cut open the gums in the upper jaw or even drill into them.

Germs get into the resulting wounds, causing inflammation and damaging the tissue. In this way, a canal can develop from the upper jaw to the nose. Bloody or purulent discharge from the nose is possible, along with swelling and difficult breathing.

In addition, your hamster will have great difficulty eating and drinking.

Treatment at the vet is necessary immediately in these cases!

For one thing, the teeth must be shortened immediately. Otherwise, worse injuries will occur repeatedly and increasingly, while your pet will degrade and weaken due to the lack of food.

So early therapy is crucial.

The shortening of the teeth must be followed by treatment of the infection.

This can be a lengthy process.

The duration and chances of success depend on the severity. In the case of rather superficial injuries, healing takes place more quickly than in the case of very pronounced abscesses or injuries to the bone.

In addition to excessively long nail teeth, dental damage, inflammation and suppuration of the tooth roots and gums can also be responsible.

In any case, a veterinarian must be consulted to find and treat the cause.

Cause 4: Cheek pockets

The cheek pouches of hamsters are surprisingly large and expandable. They extend from the cheeks to the shoulders, making them a great target for injury and inflammation.

If food becomes stuck in them and cannot be removed by the hamster itself, or if wounds are caused by hard, sharp-edged or pointed food or objects, infection can spread throughout the body.

The formation of deep and suppurated abscesses is also possible. Due to the proximity to the nasal cavity, the associated swelling can manifest itself in a “stuffy” nose.

The formation of deep and suppurated abscesses is also possible. Due to the proximity to the nasal cavity, the associated swelling can manifest itself in a “stuffy” nose.

In addition, the hamster eats worse or completely refuses hard food.

The health condition of your animal is already in danger due to the low or suspended food intake. This is especially true because of the peculiarities of the digestive tract.

Prolonged starvation can be accompanied by significant problems that can lead to death.

Just as with teeth and gums, the only thing that will help you and your hamster is examination and treatment by a veterinarian.

Abscesses, in particular, are very difficult to detect for the layperson and due to their location in the cheek pouches. Therefore, a light anesthesia may be necessary to make the diagnosis and start the therapy.

If there are stuck food residues in the cheek pouches, these must also be removed and the mucosa cleaned.

Cause 5: Injuries to the nose

Blunt force trauma, such as a fall, can cause bruising and swelling.

Usually, not only one nostril is affected.

Swelling of the face is also possible. Your hamster is sensitive to touch and for this reason may neglect grooming in this area, for example.

Scratching, fighting or inappropriate objects in the hamster’s home can also cause cuts, scratches or tears in the nose area. Even if they are on the outside of the nose, they are not always immediately visible due to the dense fur.

If an infection occurs, the nose may become swollen shut on one or both sides, making it difficult to breathe through the nose.

The advantage of external injuries is that they are relatively easy to find and treat.

If necessary, thorough disinfection and application of ointment are sufficient to promote healing.

In the case of injuries to the nose, diagnosis and treatment are more complex and difficult. In both cases your hamster will have to visit the vet.

Cause 6: Tumors

Benign and malignant growths can occur anywhere in the hamster’s body.

The respiratory tract is no exception. The larger the tumor, the more severe the restriction of breathing.

Depending on the location of the growth, it is comparatively easy to see. With the naked eye, however, it can be mistaken for a swelling. If it is located deeper in the nose, even an examination by a veterinarian without appropriate aids may be unsuccessful.

Treatment is not possible in every case.

Since tumors occur especially in older animals and can be cancerous, the risks of surgical removal must be considered above all. In addition, the growth may have already spread internally.

Often, therefore, there is unfortunately nothing left but to keep the quality of life as high as possible.

Cause 7: Infections

Respiratory infections in hamsters are not always as easy to take as a cold in humans.

However, the signs are similar. These are:

stuffy nose
reddened eyes
difficult breathing
loss of appetite
Decreased activity

In this case, hamster nasal congestion stems from increased secretion and swelling of the mucous membranes.

If the symptoms do not subside on their own after a few days or are very severe, you should consult a veterinarian. Treatment with antibiotics may be necessary.

Providing soft food, such as cooked vegetables or porridge, can also be useful if your hamster loses appetite or has trouble swallowing. As an addition to regular food, it also helps to build up.

Apart from that, by offering a red light lamp and inhaling with herbs, you can provide relief from symptoms, increase well-being and promote healing.

However, there is also a risk that the mild respiratory infection may develop into pneumonia. The treatment of this is more difficult and protracted.

To avoid such a development, you should consult a veterinarian early on.

Cause 8: Allergies

Initially difficult to distinguish from a cold or an infection of the respiratory tract are allergies.

Here, too, the eyes are red and may water, sneezing and a stuffy nose occur.

Responsible can show up:


Allergies can occur suddenly and at any age.

Initially, the symptoms are usually mild and harmless. However, if the allergens in question are not removed, the severity can increase.

You can determine if it is an allergy by placing your hamster in a clean environment that is low in allergens. If the condition improves within a few hours or a day, the exact trigger is not yet known, but other causes for the stuffy nose can most likely be ruled out.

If you are still unsure, if the symptoms are very severe or if your pet’s condition worsens, you must urgently consult a veterinarian. This is because a blocked hamster nose can develop into respiratory distress and a life-threatening condition within a short period of time.

Cause 9: Insect bite

Insect bites rarely occur in hamsters, but they are certainly possible.

Less dramatic are mosquito bites, which are accompanied by itching and swelling, but also quickly subside.

In the case of bees or wasps, on the other hand, the nose can become so swollen that breathing is considerably restricted.

A sting site is usually easy to recognize. In addition, the swelling is so severe externally that some of the possible causes of the stuffy nose can be ruled out.

If there is respiratory distress or if the puncture becomes infected, again the veterinarian must be consulted for treatment.

Cause 10: Water in the lungs

Whistling, accelerated or labored breathing and shortness of breath are not always due to a stuffy nose.

In some cases, heart failure is also responsible, which promotes the accumulation of fluid in the lungs.

Although the sounds made when breathing are similar and noticeable, sneezing, redness and swelling are absent. There is also no watering of the eyes. Coughing may occur, however, and also stems from the restriction of cardiac function.

Treatment is by appropriate medications.

Diuretics and tablets to support the heart are the common choices. In addition, adjusting diet and increasing endurance exercise can have a positive effect on heart health.

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