How to Tell If Your Hamster is Sick ?
A sick hamster will suddenly become inactive, lose its appetite, become fearful, even a little aggressive. You may hear him sneezing, wheezing, maybe gets runny nose and eyes, diarrhea, hair loss or unkempt fur, limping or slow walking , curled up in a corner without moving or any sudden change in behavior.
before telling you how to know if your hamster is sick let me teach you how to choose a healthy hamster, how to take care of it and avoid it to get sick, how to know that your hamster is sick and what are the symptoms and especially what to do when your pet suddenly became sick?
Most Common Signs your hamster is sick?
It is difficult to detect signs of disease in a hamster in time, it is the role of the parents and not of the children to monitor the health of the hamster.
Hamsters hide their disease as long as they can, as Kristin Valdes, a veterinarian at the Chicago E A H said.
So once you bring the hamster home, you will have to watch it very closely and react to any sign of illness, because a sick hamster could die within 48 hours if it is not taken care of.
Here are the signs that your hamster is sick and the symptoms you need to watch out for:
- If your hamster suddenly becomes aggressive and won’t let you approach it as you used to…
- Runny nose or crusting
- Drainage from dirty eyes and eyelids e when eyes seem to lose their luster
- Dirty, curved or too long incisors.
- A sick hamster loses its liveliness and becomes rather limp…
- Lack of appetite and interest in food
- If your hamster produces songs and whistles when it breathes and sneezes
- The absence of defection or, on the contrary, if you notice that he has diarrhea.
- Fur that loses its shining and becomes dull or the appearance of areas with no hair.
- Reluctance to drink or excessive water consumption
- If your hamster bends its back when moving around
- Appearance of bumps or lesions on the body
- Wet tail and wet anal area
- The appearance of abscesses, not to take the cheeks full for tumors too.
- Weight Loss
- A Crooked Posture when moving around especially
- Excessive itching, when he scratches too often.
- The shivers
Is my Hamster Dying ?
Unfortunately, the signs that your hamster is at risk of dying are not so different from those of a simple disease, a hamster that stays in the corner of the cage, no longer eats, does not move, difficult breathing, wet tail … is a hamster that is not feeling well and you must take him to the vet.
If you think that your hamster is dying, look for the reasons that can cause the death of a hamster that may have put it in this state instead of looking for symptoms.
So what are the signs of a healthy hamster?
The first thing you should do when you go to buy a hamster is to go to the store late in the afternoon, to find the hamsters awake so that you can observe them and detect any health problems.
A Hamster that has just woken up may seem a little numb, it’s normal, but they quickly become very dynamic and start to circulate and look for food in the cage.
Spot the hamsters that move and seem more dynamic than the others, do not be mistaken, it is also necessary to detect the hamsters too agitated and eliminate them from your list, you will notice that they are rather stressed, they move in the cage but all along the walls and jump at the slightest noise or movement of your hand or that of the salesman.
A stressed hamster has a higher risk of contracting wet tail disease, a disease usually caused by stress, which is a fatal disease for hamsters.
After you have put aside the overly nervous and frightened hamsters and spot the attentive and nimble people around them it’s time to check for other signs of good health.
What to do when your hamster suddenly gets sick and you can’t reach the vet?
The first thing to do if you suddenly notice that your hamster is sick is to keep calm, there is absolutely no need to panic, stay focused and follow these steps, they can save your pet’s life:
- Carefully examine your hamster to try to know and detect the symptoms of its disease.
- If you have other hamsters in the same cage as the sick subject, you must immediately isolate your hamster in another cage and move it to a slightly warmer and quieter area.
- Provide your sick hamster with the food it likes to eat most and fresh water at room temperature and make sure that your hamster can eat and drink without any difficulty.
- If your hamster has diarrhea, just give it dry food and remove all the vegetables, fruits and vegetables, leave the water on.
- If your hamster has cowered on itself check if it is not constipated, and if so, remove the dry food, give it water and fresh food, a piece of apple for example and move it to a cool place if the place of the cage is too hot.
- Do not give any medication not prescribed by your veterinarian and avoid wetting the fur and skin of your hamster with anything, let him regulate his temperature.
- If your hamster lives in a group, check if it is not a combat injury, in this case you can give him first aid and keep him under surveillance.
- Change the litter in the cage if your hamster lives in a group, this will prevent the other members from contracting parasites transmitted by your sick subject.
- Keep an eye on your sick hamster until you can finally reach a vet and bring it in for a checkup.
Signs of a healthy hamster
The coat of the Hamster and its fur should be well furnished smooth and shiny
The hamster must appear very clean, remember to also check for signs of diarrhea in the anal area and its hind legs.
Run your hand over his body and check if there are no suspicious bumps, or lesions, Syrian hamsters have glands on the flanks and testicles more developed during the mating season, so do not be mistaken, at the same time see if there are no bald areas of hair.
- Eyes wide open, clear and bright
- No discharge or signs of crusting in the nose and eyes.
- A healthy hamster must have straight and clean teeth and incisors.
Signs of good mental and Behavioral health in a hamster:
Choose a docile hamster that is easy to hold in your hand, it may be that the hamster is a little nervous when you take it, but it should show signs of calming in the seconds that follow, this will prevent you from bringing an already stressed hamster home.
How to prevent your hamster from getting sick ?
You only need to provide your hamster with a healthy environment and optimal living conditions, a well cared for hamster rarely gets sick suddenly, so here’s how to ensure that your hamster stays healthy:
- Pay attention to its diet:
- The first rule is to never suddenly change your hamster’s diet and if you have to give him a new food, do it gradually.
- Ensure your hamster a good diet and especially a balanced diet, you must avoid spoiled food, sweets and confectionery and any sweet treats and not recommended for hamsters.
- Find the exact ration of food to give to your hamster, ask his veterinarian if you can’t do it, make your hamster eat daily a mixture of fresh food and protein supplements because a wild hamster is omnivorous and also eats insects and glasses … etc….
- No excess fat or seeds
- His food should always be served at room temperature, so remember to take it out of the fridge in advance.
- Also remember to eliminate the fresh food he hides in his litter every day, twice a day, especially when it’s hot.
- Install a drip trough in her cage or make sure you give her fresh, clean water every day.
Maintenance, environment, hygiene and handling of the hamster:
- You must know the habits of your hamster and react quickly if your hamster suddenly changes its behavior like when you notice some dysfunctional bowel movements.
- Your hamster should never be handled by your children without you being present.
- If your hamster falls out of your hands, you must inspect it immediately to prevent fractures.
- When your hamster comes out of its cage, make sure it is in a safe environment.
- If you have several individuals in the same cage, immediately separate the sick individual(s) from the rest of the group.
- If you have several cages, avoid placing objects from one cage into another, especially feeders and waterers.
- You must respect the instructions for cohabitation between hamsters that I gave at the beginning of the article about choosing the right hamster.
- Your hamster must have a cage that is spacious enough and adapted to its breed and hamsters needs so that it remains in excellent physical condition.
- Your hamster must be handled with care and you must avoid any source of stress, light at night and too much noise too.
- The cage must be installed away from draughts.
- The cage must be maintained daily, especially the feeders and waterers as well as the litter and a more thorough maintenance once a week, remember to change your hamster’s bedding also to avoid mold and the risk of intestinal infections.
- Your hamster must never be wet, if you are obliged to give it a bath, ask beforehand about the right method but this must remain an exception because the hamster does its toilet alone, you can brush the fur of your Syrian hamster without stressing it too much of course.
- Under no circumstances should you put perfume on your hamster, I tell you this because the females smell really bad during the mating season and you will be really tempted to put perfume on him, you must avoid this.
In which cases should you urgently take your hamster to a vet?
You must call your veterinarian whenever you have doubts about the health of your hamster, or you notice one of the symptoms described in the previous chapters, but here are the extreme cases that require you to take your hamster to a veterinarian as soon as possible:
- If you see that your hamster is lying on its side and can no longer move…
- If your hamster has great difficulty breathing and you see that it is suffocating…
- If you notice a nodule or some kind of bump that has formed under your hamster’s skin
How to Safely take your Hamster to a Vet ?
When you go to see a veterinarian, you must always take your hamster in its cage, so that the veterinarian can observe it in its usual environment and also avoid stressing it even more. But if you take your hamster in a box when you go to see a veterinarian, here is what you will take with you:
- Food and water, especially if it’s a long trip.
- A handful of its bedding
- A sample of excrement
Be prepared to answer these questions as well:
- The age of your hamster
- The exact food you give him, the type and quantity and the number of meals you give him
- The exact date the symptoms appeared
- Describe symptoms accurately
- Habits that have changed in your hamster…etc…
You should also be prepared to keep your hamster under veterinary supervision for a day or two if the disease is serious enough.
What to do when your hamster dies?
The death of your pet does not leave anyone indifferent, especially children who lose their hamster, so you must warn them on the very day of the hamster’s arrival in your home that these small mammals do not live very long, from 1 year to 3 and a half years, or even a little more, and children must know that the hamster could die at any time because it is a very fragile animal.
So you, as parents or older siblings, have an equal responsibility to prepare your children for this inevitable tragedy…
It’s more difficult when the hamster dies before it’s old, and if your hamster gets old, you can buy another good before it dies to ease the children’s grief a little bit.
If you follow these instructions, you will prevent your hamster from getting sick suddenly and without warning and in case of symptoms, you will be able to react quickly enough before it is too late and the situation becomes fatal for your adorable hamster.
Always be prepared to consult a veterinarian in case of emergencies, because prevention is not always enough, hamsters can always contract diseases and must be taken care of immediately.