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Hamster: Common health problems

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Friday, 30 de January 2009

Hamster: Common health problems
Hamsters are resistant pets. If they are properly housed and fed with a good diet, they rarely become sick. However, diseases in small rodents can progress very quickly and become fatal in a short period of time.

If you suspect that your hamster is sick, you should take it to the vet and follow his advice. The regular procedure is to isolate the hamster and give it a heating source, like a bottle of hot water, to keep it warm. You should make sure the hamster is drinking water, even if you have to give it drop by drop, and eating as well.

Signs of disease:
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inactivity
  • Wet tail
  • Diarrhea
  • Huddling in a corner
  • Nose and eyes discharge
  • Unkempt hair

Common Problems

Abscess – Abscesses are quite common in hamsters. They can be caused by a cut or a scratch on the skin, where the pus accumulates, leading to swelling. Food with sharp ends that is stored on the cheek pouches can also scratch the skin and cause an abscess. You need to take the hamster to the vet so that he can drain the liquid and prescribe an antibiotic.

Respiratory Infections – Hamsters can also catch colds that if remain untreated can turn into pneumonia. Hamsters’ respiratory infection symptoms are very similar to those seen on humans: lethargy, loss of appetite and nasal and ocular discharges.

Wet tail – This is the most dangerous disease for hamsters and the most feared by breeders, since it affects primarily young hamsters. You shouldn’t mistake it for a regular diarrhea, but we can classify it as an acute diarrhea. The tail is permanently wet due to the constant discharges and it causes a bad smell. There is not a known cure for it still, although some hamsters were able to survive it, and it is highly contagious.

Parasites – Hamster don’t usually have parasites if you keep them in a controlled environment with all the care it needs. However, there are exceptions and these rodents can develop internal and external parasites. Ask the vet for some advice on a product that’s harmless for the hamster but that will kill parasites.

Dental problems – Rodents have teeth that don’t stop growing ever and they need to be grinded down. Overgrown teeth can perforate the skin on the other side of the mouth. Some hamsters need to have their teeth aligned because they can’t grind the teeth properly if they grow out of place. Clipping should be done by a vet.

Long claws – Older, less active hamsters don’t wear down their nails and thus they become too long. You can clip them with a scissor, but only the light area. Ask your vet for advice on how to do it.

Hibernation – Hibernation is dangerous and can occur when the temperature drops considerably. Put a hot bottle of water inside the cage to progressively warm the hamster and slowly wake it up from the hibernation.
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21.07
hamsterclub said:
Interesting article. Kind regards Nadia Vella http://www.hamster-club.com http://www.thehamsterbook.com