Many hamster diseases are the result of incorrect housing conditions, which arise from ignorance of the owners.
Other diseases and injuries, on the other hand, can affect any animal, even if they live a species-appropriate life.
A sick hamster suffers silently and it is up to you as a responsible owner to recognize if it is in pain and where the problem lies.
In this article we will tell you which alarm signs you have to watch out for and why it is difficult to detect them at all.
Attention: Hamsters hide their pain
Did you know that when your cuddly rodent is uncomfortable or in pain, he naturally acts as if everything is fine and hides his pain?
But why does he do that?
Behind it lies his innate instinct to protect himself. Because the hamster represents a potential prey for many animals, especially if he makes a weakened and sick impression.
This suggests to its predators that it is a defenseless and easy victim.
The domesticated hamster is of course not exposed to this danger, nevertheless this behavior is still strongly pronounced. That’s why you need to watch very closely and pay attention to the slightest change in your scurrying pet’s routine.
What are the exact signs that your hamster is in pain?
There are several clues that indicate that your little rodent is suffering.
If you notice the following warning signs in your pet, your alarm bells should be ringing:
1: Neglect of grooming.
If your hamster doesn’t keep up with his daily grooming, if you notice sticky and unclean spots, this is an unmistakable sign that something is wrong.
The animal is very clean by nature and usually cleans itself several times a day.
However, excessive grooming, which results in bald patches on the body, does not bode well either.
2: Refusal to eat
If your hamster does not eat and/or does not drink water, he is not well. If, in addition, the area around his mouth is wet or he drools, the little animal is struggling with excruciating pain.
3: Condition of the eyes
Your cuddly pet’s eyes tell you a lot about his state of health.
Half-closed, cloudy and sticky eyes are always a danger signal.
If a secretion also runs out, your furry roommate is in bad shape. Also worrying is a discharge from the nose.
4: Behavioral changes
If your hamster suddenly becomes aggressive and bites, it could also be due to a painful illness or injury.
If his little body flinches when touched, something is most likely hurting him.
5: Movement is severely restricted
If he only sits still in a corner and does not engage in nest building or hoarding food, this indicates a disease.
If you notice a bent posture or if the back is strongly arched, the little animal is in pain.
Also a cause for concern are atypical movements, such as lameness, stiff gait, or even a labored crawl with the belly on the floor. It may even get to the point where your fluffy pet completely loses control of its musculoskeletal system.
Your hamster’s breathing can also help you tell if he’s in bad shape.
Here, his perception of pain can manifest itself in two ways: Either he breathes fast and shallow (panting) or you notice frequent deep breathing on his part.
7: Coat condition
Wet fur around the tail indicates a serious disease, but only affects kittens.
8: Self mutilation
Probably the most frightening way your hamster might behave when in great pain is by chewing on its own limb.
What kinds of diseases can occur in hamsters?
- Common are dental problems due to improper diet and lack of wear on the constantly regrowing incisors.
- Eye diseases can be caused by a bacterial infection or also by penetrated dirt particles.
- Injuries or blockages of the cheek pouches by wrong, not kind-fair or pointed food components cause problems for the busy rodent with the food intake.
- The most common disease in hamsters is diarrhea. Possible causes include either poisoning, improper diet, or bacterial infection.
- A hamster can also catch a cold, and this is not at all harmless in the little animal, as it can develop into a life-threatening pneumonia if not treated.
- Vitamin E deficiency is often accompanied by painful joint inflammation. You can read more about how to provide your cuddly pet with the necessary amount of this important nutrient below. In addition, we give you valuable tips on how to optimally care for your sick pet!
- By a well-intentioned “place in the sun” or at the heating you risk a heat shock with your cute fur bearer, with which finally his metabolism can collapse.
- You should not underestimate the danger of a bone fracture, especially when your dog is running free.
- Infestation with mange mites can even lead to death if left untreated.
- A serious and life-threatening disease, which however only affects younger hamsters up to the age of eight weeks, is the so-called “wet tail disease”, also known as “colibacillosis”.
- Tumor formation can affect any hamster, this is not related to postural defects. It is best to discuss with your veterinarian whether surgery is appropriate in this case.
- Diabetes can not only make humans sick, the hamster is also at risk by the administration of sugary food.
How can you help your sick hamster? 8 tips for the right behavior
Finally, we have collected 8 specific countermeasures that you can take when your hamster is in pain.
- Avoid additional stress at all costs, it is best to place the cage in a quiet area of the apartment. You can also cover it with a cloth, so your little patient feels safer.
- If your hamster is still drinking water, mix it with nutrients. You can get appropriate preparations from your vet or you can use carrot juice, fennel or chamomile tea. This will help revive his weakened immune system.
- Feel his body for bumps or possible injuries. But be very careful and gentle.
- You can take preventative measures to minimize the risk of injury when your dog is outdoors. It’s best to carefully remove all potential hazards beforehand and keep your hamster out of risky areas.
- Provide a healthy and balanced diet, eliminate fatty and sugary foods from his diet, and instead offer him food rich in vitamin E, such as fresh vegetables, cottage cheese and cereal germ (oats, wheat).
- If your animal roommate is dehydrated, use a disposable syringe to gently drip some water into his mouth, drop by drop.
- If your hamster is having respiratory problems, it is especially important to remove soiled bedding immediately, as the ammonia smell will further irritate his mucous membranes. A clogged nose can be wiped well with a damp cotton ball, allowing your little darling to breathe more easily again.
- In case of diarrhea, fruits and vegetables are counterproductive and should be avoided at all costs until there is an improvement.
Of course you’re worried and distressed when your fuzzy furbaby is struggling and in pain, but you’ll help the little guy the most if you stay level-headed and calm yourself.
Don’t wait too long to make an appointment with the vet and apply the above advice.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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