Do hamsters have to go to the vet ?
No, hamsters don’t need to go to the vet regularly, it’s good if you have them examined by a vet the day you buy them, if not, these visits are too stressful for the hamster and it should only be consulted if there are real symptoms of illness.
Why shouldn’t you systematically take your hamster to the vet?
Stress is the number one enemy of hamsters and transportation or any sudden change in their habits can cause them this stress and all the diseases that go with it.
Taking your hamster to the vet for a simple suspicion may make him seriously ill when he had nothing before or his illness is not serious and did not require a vet intervention.
The other reason is that veterinarians specializing in exotic pets, especially hamsters, are rare and a general veterinarian may miss a disease because hamsters hide their symptoms very well.
Hamsters also do not have mandatory vaccinations , they don’t need shots , so they may never see a vet in their entire life.
When should a hamster go to the vet?
Hamsters need to be taken to the vet just in some serious cases, and the first reason is when you buy your first hamster from a pet store.
Hamsters from pet stores are usually hybrids, their parents are not selected as a passionate breeder would.
It is therefore recommended that you make an appointment with a vet the same day you buy your new hamster so that he can check him for any disease that the salesmen or the Pet Mill manager may have voluntarily forgotten to tell you!
The other reason that you will need to take your hamster to the vet is if you see any signs or symptoms of illness.
Here’s basically when you should take your hamster to the vet:
- If you notice that your hamster has diarrhea
- If you notice discharge from your hamster’s nose, eyes or ears
- If you find loose or liquid stools, blood in the urine or if it smells bad
- If your hamster has stopped moving and feeding
- If your hamster is limping, not grooming and bathing and has dirty fur
- If your hamster has head tilt, tilts its head to one side and turns in circles.
- If your hamster has a lump on its body, an abscess for example
- If your hamster’s teeth or nails start to curve or get too big
- If your hamster gains or loses weight in a short period of time and you have not changed its diet
- If your hamster falls out of your hands or cage while trying to escape and you notice signs of concern even after 48 hours.
There are other symptoms of hamster illnesses and an article in detail on this that I invite you to read and write down the symptoms on a sheet of paper and learn them so you can act quickly when you discover one.
When not to take your hamster to the vet?
Hamsters are hardy, if you buy a pure breed hamster, from selected and healthy parents (without hereditary diseases), your hamster may never see a veterinarian in its entire life
You should not take your hamster to the vet if you are not sure of the symptoms
Older hamsters should not be taken systematically to the vet if they only have a little cold or just a lack of activity, these are signs of old age in hamsters
How to avoid taking your hamster to the vet?
- Choosing a purebred hamster from a breeder
- Tame and potty train your hamster
- Install your hamster in a large, well-equipped enclosure
- Create your own seed mix and learn to feed your hamster properly
- Keep the cage clean at all times and use paper-based bedding to help keep your hamster clean
- Avoid stressing your hamster at all costs and respect its lifestyle.
Should I still be prepared for the vet?
Yes, you should always be prepared to take your hamster to the vet immediately if necessary. Hamsters are hardy, but certain diseases such as wet tail must be taken seriously and you should always have:
- The phone number of at least one veterinarian who consults hamsters
- Between $100 and $200 set aside for possible expenses and the purchase of medication
- A small pet carrier
- A small sample box to take some of your hamster’s bedding, stool and food (seed mix) to help the vet make a more accurate diagnosis.
Hamster First Aid Kit:
You must have a first aid kit for possible troubleshooting if your hamster needs a little treatment, like a scratch, an eye that does not open … etc.
The hamster first aid kit can contain :
- Sum 1ml Syringes to force feed your hamster or give him its medication or rehydration solution ( from the side of his mouth not directly from the front !) …etc without the needle of course
- Sum Q-Tips and Cotton Pads for small cleaning
- Baby food ( bananas, sweet potato ,blueberry and brown rice) , without fruits, for injured hamsters or elder ones who can’t chew their food or have injuries in the mouth…
- Pedialyte Electrolyte to rehydrate your hamster
- Critical care supplements for a hamster that can’t gain weight
- Fresh thyme in the fridge to disinfect any sores or relieve a respiratory infection by using it after infusion
- An electric heating pad when your hamster is getting sick ( he will get cold)
- Hand Warmers and cooling pads
- A Bene-bac Prebiotics (to give to your hamster before antibiotics to reduce the side effects on his digestive system)
- A small kitchen scale to monitor the weight of your hamster and to weigh its seeds for the seed mix
Finally, know that this kit is just for small care and when you can not immediately go to a vet or veterinary emergency center.
Final thoughts :
Hamsters are hardy and don’t need a vet if you learn to take care of them
An ideal, clean enclosure and a healthy diet with plenty of exercise will ensure that your hamster will never need a vet in its long life.