YOUR HAMSTER'S HEALTH
Keeping your hamster fit and healthy
It’s best to check your hamster over daily, and to weigh them every week too. If you check them regularly, you’ll bond better with your hamster and hopefully catch any problems early. Your hamster is normally asleep during the day, so it’s best to do your checks in the evening or first thing in the morning.
Common health problems
Wet Tail is a bacterial infection that causes severe diarrhoea. It’s most commonly seen in young Syrian hamsters. Stickiness of the bottom and tail area is a sign. Your hamster may also appear as though they have stomach-ache by hunching over. If your hamster has these symptoms, take them to the very immediately. Wet Tail is highly contagious, so make sure you wash your hands and clean out their cage thoroughly.
Syrian hamsters can be susceptible to diarrhoea. This can be caused by feeding too much green food, fruit or stress. Try to make sure the bulk of the diet is a good quality complete food, such as Burgess Hamster, Gerbil and Mouse Complete Food.
As with all rodents, hamster’s teeth are always growing. This means they can become overgrown if they aren’t able to be ground down. Provide gnaw blocks, gnaw sticks or safe wooden toys for our pet to chew on.
Hamster health check
If you feel like your hamster isn’t behaving like normal or their eating and drinking habits have changed, seek the advice of your vet. Because of their small size, a hamster’s health can quickly deteriorate if they become poorly.
Behaviour: You know your hamster best. Check if their behaviour is normal and they’re active and playful in the evening. Sick hamsters may be quiet and withdrawn, or could be irritable and bite more frequently.
Cheeks: Check for lumps in your hamster’s cheeks. This could be an impacted cheek pouch or an abscess. Lumps in the cheek may cause your hamster’s eye to close
Eyes: Your hamster’s eyes should be bright and not runny, watery or sticky/crusty with discharge
Fur: Check for any patches of hair loss, this could mean your hamster is chewing their fur or they’re rubbing against their cage. This could be a sign that your hamster is bored or their bedding is too rough. Hair loss can also be linked to nutritional or hormonal problems
Mouth and teeth: Check that your hamster’s teeth aren’t overgrown and they aren’t misaligned or chipped. Losing weight and a loss of appetite could be a sign of dental problems
Nails: Like with their teeth, hamster’s nails continuously grow. Playing with their wooden toys and in their sand bath should keep your hamster’s nails short. However, you should still check that they’re not overgrown – if they are, your vet can clip them safely
Nose: Make sure that your hamster’s nose is clean and dry and they aren’t sneezing
Neutering your hamster
Generally, you don’t need to neuter your hamster as they either prefer to live alone or like to live in same sex groups.
Female Syrian hamsters are prone to Pyometra, an infection of the uterus. Neutering can help with this – it’s best to get the advice of a vet with experience in rodents.
DO YOU NEED MORE ADVICE?
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If you should have any concerns about the health of your pet, always consult a vet.