Hamster bleeds from the mouth: causes, treatment and quick help
When your hamster bleeds from the mouth, the excitement is understandably great.
But don’t panic: Life-threatening causes aren’t always responsible.
In this article we tell you 8 common reasons that can be responsible for blood in the mouth of your hamster. Of course, including treatment tips.
Why is my hamster bleeding from the mouth?
Bleeding around the mouth can occur due to injury to the gums or due to dental problems. However, internal bleeding and bulging of the cheek pouches are also possible.
In any case, veterinary treatment is required!
8 common reasons for blood in the hamster’s mouth
Cause 1: Teeth
The most common cause of bleeding from a hamster’s mouth is dental problems and resulting injuries.
Teeth that are too long
If the nail teeth are too long, they can cut or literally drill into the gums. Since there is a lot of blood flow to the gums, persistent or recurrent bleeding is not uncommon.
Because of the lifelong growth of the nail teeth, they can quickly become too long if there are no materials to wear them down.
The risk for excessive length also increases with age, as your hamster is no longer as active and gnaws less.
Therefore, an important preventative step is to provide suitable twigs, branches and bark as well as hay. This not only grinds down the edges of the teeth. Your hamster also gets a species-appropriate activity, which can also prevent bleeding from the mouth.
If the teeth are already too long, they must be shortened by the veterinarian. This requires a light anesthesia, during which the edges of the teeth are ground or chipped off. This also reduces the risk of the following problems.
Split teeth / tooth loss
Split teeth or even tooth loss can be caused by excessive length.
The nail teeth are then exposed to greater forces, the mouth can no longer be closed properly and both eating and drinking become difficult. The teeth may even be pushed into a misalignment because there is not enough space.
Other potential causes of a split tooth or even tooth loss include gnawing on inappropriate materials and falls. If your hamster repeatedly bites on bars or the tube of the water bottle, the tooth structure will not wear down. However, the metal is far too hard for the rodent’s dentition and can create damage.
If dropped on a hard surface, the teeth can hit the substrate or be knocked together, breaking off, splitting, or knocked out of the jaw.
Bleeding and pain are the direct consequences.
Even if the wound caused by the fall has healed, a broken and thus pointed tooth can still tear open the gums until they bleed.
In addition, the absorption of food and water becomes more difficult and inflammation can occur.
Since you do not notice a fall directly in every case, you should therefore check the teeth frequently and observe your hamster closely.
Blood on the mouth is always a warning sign and should be followed by an examination of the teeth and gums. Even if you don’t notice any changes, a visit to the vet is important to determine the cause and begin treatment.
If necessary, tips may need to be rounded off so that your pet does not have to rely on liquid feeding for the rest of its life or keep developing (bloody) injuries.
Cause 2: Injuries in the mouth
Teeth are not the only thing that can be responsible for injuries in the oral cavity. Bedding, splinters, shards, thorns, spines, awns or pointed twigs are possible causes, as is unsuitable food.
Since hamsters like to fill their cheek pockets, cushioning material for the nest and food are often very crowded.
However, pointed or sharp objects can pierce or cut the gums, tongue and oral mucosa as soon as they enter the mouth.
The resulting bleeding is not always directly visible – as long as it is very minor and the blood clots quickly. However, larger injuries or a disturbance in blood clotting can cause blood to be noticeable on the mouth.
A close examination of the mouth is essential.
Clues to the trigger are redness, swelling, and possibly the formation of pus.
As a rule, a hamster will not voluntarily hold still until you have been able to inspect the entire mouth area. Even if that is the case, a “missing” wound does not mean there is no cause for concern.
Therefore, see a veterinarian for a complete workup. This is the only way to ensure if and what therapy is necessary and advised.
Cause 3: Abscesses and ulcers
Even without visible injuries, inflammations, abscesses and ulcers can develop in the area of the cheek pouches and oral mucosa.
A weakened immune system further promotes these causes.
Again, it is noticeable that your hamster avoids its food. Especially hard food is left to the left.
Cause 4: Bulging cheek pouches
Just like in the mouth, inflammations, ulcers and abscesses can develop in the cheek pouches of your hamster. In addition, injuries can occur.
So another possible source of bleeding from the mouth is right next to it in the form of the cheek pouches.
A risk factor for the problems mentioned is unsuitable feed. If this becomes very sticky due to the combination with the saliva, it can no longer be removed from the cheek pouches. The cheek pouches stick together and bacteria, fungi and viruses under the coating can spread in a very short time.
Pain and pressure from the inflammatory processes can be significant disruptive factors, as can the adhesions.
Your hamster will then begin to repeatedly clean out his cheek pouches.
At best, this will loosen the stuck food. At worst, the cheek pouches turn inside out. Here they are exposed to a variety of injury possibilities. Existing ulcers or abscesses can bleed and become further infected.
New wounds and bleeding may be added.
Treatment by the veterinarian cannot be avoided.
Even then, however, you must be patient. Because the therapy and healing takes some time, especially with already advanced infections and damage to the tissue. Rinsing of the cheek pouches and abscesses as well as the administration of medication are necessary.
In addition, the cheek pouches must be expertly relocated back inwards.
This is the only way to prevent further injuries and to avoid restrictions in eating and drinking. After all, these are another consequence of adhesions or wounds, in addition to bleeding and infections.
Cause 5: Fighting
If you keep several hamsters in a cage or hamster home, fights may occur.
Insufficient space, inadequate retreats, and competition for food and water are possible triggers.
Except for certain dwarf hamster species and very young animals as well as mother and offspring during the first four months, hamsters are solitary animals. Only when they are ready to mate do they go in search of conspecifics or lay scent trails so that they can be found.
However, if the animals cannot avoid each other and retreat to their own territory, fights are often inevitable.
Some conflicts sound dangerous as the animals squeal, squeal and hiss. However, such sounds are usually so-called comment fights. They serve to clarify which animal is dominant and which is inferior.
As soon as the inferior hamster gives up, the fight is usually over. However, it can also become much more serious. Rodents may scratch, bite, pull out fur, and also suffer bleeding wounds.
Blood from the mouth can therefore come from such an injury to the tongue, gums or oral mucosa, or the hamster may have ingested blood during a bite.
In the case of minor scratches, care is usually not necessary. However, for deeper wounds or severe bleeding, you should consult a veterinarian.
In any case, separate the animals to avoid further fights and injuries.
Cause 6: Feeding
Although the shock of seeing blood-red liquid on your hamster’s mouth is great, you should consider other possibilities besides injury.
Beet or red berries may have been fed and it is simply the juice of the food.
Nibble sticks or finished grain foods that contain dyes may also produce a reddish liquid when mixed with water or saliva.
Nevertheless, check the mouth area!
But also examine the nest. Perhaps red coloring foods were stored here that the hamster ate days after feeding.
Cause 7: Grooming
Blood on the hamster’s fur or around its mouth does not always actually come from the animal’s mouth.
Since rodents are very clean animals, they clean themselves often and thoroughly. So if they have a bleeding injury elsewhere, they may lick the blood and subsequently have it on their paws or face.
Therefore, check the mouth first and then the entire body to rule out or find wounds and treat accordingly.
In case of bladder infections or kidney problems, the cause can also be found in bloody urine.
Cause 8: Obsessive-compulsive disorder, boredom and lack of exercise.
As a rodent, your hamster has one passion above all: gnawing.
The animal makes no difference between healthy hay and metal, plastic or an electric cable. If this is accompanied by boredom due to lack of exercise, an obsessive-compulsive disorder can develop.
Despite sufficient available and suitable nail material your hamster gnaws and bites for example so long into the bars, until the gums are bloody or dental problems develop.
Even pain will not stop the animal.
In addition to treatment by the vet, you will need to change the form of housing in these cases. Offer your hamster a larger cage or preferably directly a hamster home that has no bars.
Provide him with a safe running wheel where excess energy can be dissipated. Thicker bedding on the floor for digging, a sand bath and variety in the furnishings are also useful.
When choosing, also make sure that toys and furnishings are made of the right materials. Plastic and metal are unsuitable, can lead to injuries and bleeding from the mouth.
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