Hamster health and hygiene issues
One of the cutest and easiest to care for pets is a hamster. Since they are small, they don’t need a rigorous care regimen to keep them content and healthy. Hamsters are also very active as pets and have very rigid schedules. When your hamster is healthy, it is typically fairly simple to determine because they tend to fall into patterns of repetition like this. If your hamster deviates from their usual pattern, watch them carefully to determine if they show any symptoms of an injury or another illness. Animals in general, including hamsters, can have a wide range of health issues.
Common health problems your hamster may experience
- Abscesses – hamsters can be quite prone to developing abscesses. This is a lump of pus that gathers in the skin, causing pain and discomfort, as well as swelling. They can form as a result of minor cuts and scrapes, both on the body and inside the pouches within their cheeks. Abscesses can be treated at the vets, and if your hamster has one, you should take them in immediately.
- Pneumonia – and other respiratory conditions should also be watched for, as these can occur quite easily in hamsters. Symptoms include sneezing, discharge from the eyes and/or nose, wheezing, difficulty breathing, decreased activity, and loss of appetite. It is important that respiratory conditions are treated at the vet quickly so that they do not become life threatening.
- Wet tail – is a highly contagious illness, and is most commonly found in recently weaned hamsters. It is likely a bacterial infection, and it can prove to be fatal very quickly if they are not treated immediately. Symptoms can include diarrhoea (which causes the wetness around the tail), lethargy, loss of appetite, and a ruffled coat. The disease is also associated with stress, crowding, and sudden changes in diet.
- Parasites – it is also important to check for parasites in the skin, such as mites and fleas. These can cause a number of health issues if they are left untreated, and they should be examined over regularly – especially if you have other animals in your home that go outside (like cats and dogs). Fleas and mites can trigger irritation to your skin and also anaemia, and worms can result in rapid weight loss despite eating a lot more than usual.
Keeping your hamster in the best health
Always take the time to ensure that your hamster is receiving the best care and is in the best health possible. The following is a list of some of the most important things you can do to ensure they are performing at their peak:
- Ensure that they eat a healthy and balanced diet
- Make sure they always have access to fresh water
- Keep their home clean and tidy for them at all times
- Ensure they have enough space in their cage so that they can exercise
- Handle them regularly
- Always keep a close eye out for potential issues
Hamster daily routine
Although hamsters may not require much to live happily and healthily, there are a few daily chores that must be completed. While everyone does things a little differently, here are the main tasks that you should undertake every day:
- Give them fresh water and wash their water bowl/dripper
- Give them their food in a freshly washed bowl
- Ensure they have a wheel and toys to keep them entertained and active
- Clean out their cage and put fresh bedding down for them
- Make sure you take some time to give them cuddles and general affection
If you want more helpful advice on looking after your hamster, including tips on food, toys, accessories and accommodation, add a comment below to let us know!
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