Keeping your Hamster Healthy

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Keeping your Hamster Healthy

General health care Common health problems Diabetes General health care You can tell if your hamster is feeling poorly by their behaviour.  If you notice a change in their behaviour or if they are not eating and drinking (or drinking too much) this could be a sign that they are ill.  Teeth - Hamsters do not have dental problems very often but their teeth should be checked to make sure they are not over grown or uneven. Your hamster’s bottom teeth should be longer than the top.  Your hamster will keep their teeth trim by gnawing and chewing so make sure you provide gnawing toys to help wear their teeth down.  If your hamster does suffer from overgrown teeth make an appointment with your vet to have their teeth trimmed. Cheek Pouches – Your hamsters cheek pouches can become impacted if a large item gets stuck in there.  As this can cause infection its advisable to make sure their cheek pouches dont always appear full.  Hamsters will spit out the contents of their pouches if they feel threatened or unhappy - people often mistake this for vomiting and think the hamster is ill. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. Nose - Your hamsters nose shouldnt be crusty or runny.  Hamsters can catch colds very easily so a runny nose could be a sign of a cold or respiratory infection.  Hamsters can catch colds from humans, so avoid handling your hamster if you have one.  If you are concerned that your hamster is not recovering from their cold should contact your vet. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. Eyes - Your hamsters eyes should be bright and clear, with no signs of runniness, redness, swelling or soreness.  Some hamsters can develop eye infections caused by dust and bedding that they kick about in their cage.  Eye gels are available to help treat this problem and you should contact your vet for anti-inflammatory and antibiotic treatments. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. Claws - Hamsters’ claws can become over grown.  Long claws can impede your hamster’s movement, cause pain and risk getting caught or pulled out.  If you are worried about your hamsters claws being too long contact your vet to have them trimmed. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. Skin and coat - Loss of fur, inflamed skin or flakiness can be caused by allergies or mites. It is important to seek your vets advice to rule out other illnesses in case there is an underlying cause for your hamsters poor skin and coat condition. Hamsters are usually free of parasites, but occasionally they can suffer from mites.  Signs of mites are scratching, brown matter in the ears, bald patches on the coat and irritated broken skin.   Our qualified staff at Petstop are licensed to sell a full range of anti-parasitic treatments, which you would normally find at your veterinary clinic. Dark discolouration on the top of the hips in Syrian (Golden) Hamsters is often mistaken for a rash or injury but it is actually this type of hamsters scent glands and is perfectly normal. If you have hamsters living in pairs or colonies and their skin and coat are in bad condition you should check them all over for any signs of injury caused by fighting or aggressive behaviour.  Small bites should heal well but more serious injuries will require a vet’s assistance. Long haired Syrian (Golden) Hamsters will need grooming once a week to keep their coat in good shape. Visit our Hamster Products section for a selection of Treatments for Mites Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. BackTo Top Common health problems Wet Tail – (Regional Enteritis, Proliferative Ileitis).  This is highly contagious and is often fatal.  It gets its name because the main symptom is diarrhea, and affected hamsters often have wet and dirty tails. The symptoms are lethargy, loss of appetite, poor coat condition and very fluid diarrhea.  The diarrhea causes the hamster to become dehydrated, so their eyes may appear dull and sunken. They may sit hunched up and be irritable because of the abdominal discomfort. If you think your hamster has Wet Tail you should take them to see your vet immediately. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. Diarrhea - Diarrhea can result from a number of infections or from changes in diet like eating too much of foods that are high in water, such as fruit and vegetables. Hamsters with diarrhea can quickly become dehydrated, so it’s important that they drink plenty of water. Stop feeding fresh foods, and don’t offer them again until the droppings are back to normal. If your hamsters diarrhea does not stop quickly or the conditions get worse you should contact your vet for treatment. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. BackTo Top Diabetes Some types of hamsters are prone to diabetes.  Russian Campbell Dwarf Hamsters, Chinese Hamsters, some lines of Winter White Dwarf Hamsters and Hybrid (Russian Campbell crossed with Winter White) Hamsters are all at a higher risk for diabetes.  Syrian (Golden) Hamsters and Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters are not prone to diabetes. Symptoms are increased thirst and drinking a lot of water, urinating more than normal, urine with a sweet or acetone (nail polish remover) smell, sudden weight loss or gain, tiredness (sleeping more than usual) and increased appetite. If you think your hamster may be diabetic ask your vet for advice.  Hamsters with diabetes can be helped by changing their diet.  They should not be fed sugary foods such as fruit or given honey based treats. By limiting the sugars in the food you are putting less stress on the hamsters body. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop Visit our Hamster Feeding Advice section to learn more BackTo Top