Hamster diarrhea: 10 causes & treatment
Diarrhea is a serious problem in hamsters because it can quickly lead to dehydration, which can even be life-threatening.
Even an otherwise healthy hamster can die from diarrhea within two to three days.
It is therefore all the more important that you recognize the disease in your pet at an early stage and treat it accordingly. We show how this works.
In this article you will learn how to recognize diarrhea in your hamster and which causes can be responsible for it. In addition, we show you how you can treat and prevent it.
How can I tell that a hamster has diarrhea?
This question may seem unusual. After all, diarrhea can be clearly recognized by mushy, soft or thin droppings.
However, in hamsters with diarrhea, this can be more difficult. This is because the animals do not use a hamster toilet or a toilet corner.
Therefore, the feces can be found anywhere in the hamster home. In addition, it is often not directly noticeable because of the bedding.
Therefore, watch daily for other possible signs that your hamster is suffering from diarrhea.
sticky fur on the anus, belly or paws
noticeable, foul odor
loss of appetite
apathy or weakness
A sudden change in behavior always suggests a health problem. Therefore, pay more attention to it.
You should also check your hamster daily. Is the fur dirty or even sticky? Does it feel lighter or thinner?
Also check the bedding. Normal, healthy hamster droppings are about the size of grains of rice, slightly sticky to dry and firm.
If the shape or consistency deviates from this, it is a cause for concern.
However, as long as you know and recognize these signs, you can also act early to increase the chances of a full recovery.
10 Causes of diarrhea in hamsters
Several reasons can be responsible for diarrhea. For prevention and treatment, it is crucial that you know the trigger.
We will therefore show you which causes are possible.
Cause 1: Abrupt change of food
Hamsters are often fed with pellets, pellets or other ready-made dry food.
These variants are simple, smell discreet and pleasant, do not spoil quickly and are also inexpensive.
In addition, the sales promise that it is ideal as a complete food for the entire supply of your hamster.
However, if you then inform yourself more comprehensively about hamsters and notice that it does not correspond to a species-appropriate diet.
A change is then obvious.
But if you do it too fast, digestive problems are a typical consequence.
This is especially true if too much water-rich food is offered at once.
Therefore, always make changes gradually. This allows the digestive system to adjust.
Cause 2: Incompatible food
Hamsters can eat fruits, vegetables and greens in small amounts. Animal protein in the form of egg or yogurt is also usually harmless in moderation.
However, there are a number of foods that are not directly toxic, but are still incompatible, are very high in water content, or can be laxative in excessive amounts.
These include, for example:
Flesh of grapes
Cause 3: Spoiled food
Both dry food and fresh food can spoil, go rancid or ferment. Just as in humans, this can cause digestive distress and trigger diarrhea.
Cause 4: Mold or rot
If you offer fresh food and your hamster stores this in his roost as a stash, this can begin to mold or rot.
Dry food is similar if it has become damp.
Cause 5: Toxins
For hamsters poisonous food, plants but also cleaning agents can be ingested accidentally during an unsecured free run.
Among other things, these lead to symptoms of poisoning such as diarrhea, but can also cause bleeding and lead to the death of the animal.
Cause 6: Stress
Stress can also affect animals literally on the stomach.
Due to the hormones released during stress and anxiety, digestion is impaired and diarrhea occurs.
Cause 7: Worms
Internal parasites, so-called endoparasites, such as worms, can also cause diarrhea.
The abdomen is often bloated, while the weight drops quickly and the appetite is reduced.
Cause 8: Foreign bodies
Hamsters are rodents that like to wear their teeth on unauthorized and potentially dangerous surfaces.
Painted or otherwise treated furniture is one of them, as well as fabrics and walls.
In the process, harmful substances can be ingested on the one hand and small foreign bodies on the other.
One possible consequence is diarrhea. But it can also lead to constipation or intestinal obstruction.
Cause 9: Side effects of medication
If your hamster needs to be given medication such as antibiotics, this can affect the intestinal flora.
A potential side effect of this is diarrhea or at least soft feces.
Cause 10: Misaligned teeth
Misaligned teeth as a trigger for diarrhea? This sounds illogical.
Inflammations in the mouth, too long, broken or crooked teeth make it difficult to eat hard food.
As a result, affected hamsters prefer soft, water-rich foods.
This in turn directly affects digestion.
Wet-Tail-Disease – unknown, but dangerous
Wet tail disease is a diarrheal disease that occurs mainly in young hamsters.
It is an inflammation of the hip intestine.
The disease is contagious and life-threatening. However, the cause is unclear.
What are the risks if your hamster suffers from diarrhea?
Due to their size and low weight, hamsters can quickly become dehydrated during diarrhea.
In other words, they literally dry out.
As a result, vital processes can no longer run properly.
In addition, important nutrients are excreted in large quantities. The hamster not only loses weight.
The loss of minerals and insufficient macronutrients also affect the entire body.
In addition, the fur can stick together, making defecation impossible. It also attracts flies, which lay their eggs in droppings.
The hamster can receive significant sores from the hatching larvae.
What treatment is needed if your hamster has diarrhea?
First, it is important to determine the underlying cause of the diarrhea.
If your hamster merely ate a bit much fresh food in one day, no action is usually necessary. Just offer more dry food.
An immediate vet visit is necessary if the diarrhea:
lasts longer than one day
in very young, old or weakened animals
eating and drinking are completely stopped
there is a great loss of weight
you suspect that your hamster has ingested something toxic.
Depending on the cause, antidotes, dewormers or antibiotics may be administered.
In addition, a veterinarian can give vitamins and infusions as well as agents to build up the intestinal flora.
Accompanying treatment and aftercare
After persistent and severe diarrhea, the intestinal flora must first be rebuilt and stabilized.
Appropriate preparations can be found for this purpose in the form of solutions, powders or gels.
In addition, use a light diet and completely avoid fresh food for the first few days.
Make sure that your hamster has enough easily accessible water available. Ideally, this is located directly next to the sleeping house.
In addition, you must clean and disinfect the cage and free run, including all furnishings, in the event of an infection or parasite infestation.
It is not enough to change the bedding. Your hamster would only get infected again and get sick again.
Make sure your pet is kept warm and gradually offer fortifying foods, such as very small amounts of banana.
How can diarrhea be prevented?
You cannot always prevent diarrhea in your hamster. However, you should consider some points to keep the risk low.
Gradual change of food
Store dry food correctly
wash fresh food thoroughly
avoid potential poisonous substances and plants near the hamster home and free range
keep stress to a minimum
pay attention to hygiene
Check the hamster home and your animal daily for changes and dirt.
This way possible problems will be noticed early and can be treated quickly.
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