Hamster Health Check

by Hamster Care

Taking care of a hamster requires dedication from pet parents to ensure that these small animals live healthy lives. In this article, we have done our research to let you know how to make a hamster health check!

Health Care

Hamsters are wonderful pets, but like all animals they can fall ill from time to time. This section of the guide offers advice on lots of different aspects of looking after your pet’s health, from undergoing home health checks, to veterinary visits.

To provide you with information on some hamster health complaints, we’ve collated guidance on checking your pets, as well as creating a list of some of the more common hamster illnesses. The list we’ve created here can be used as a reference so that you can familiarize yourself with a few key diseases, but it is not exhaustive, and so it’s wise to arm yourself with a full hamster health book for emergencies.

As with all pets, if you think something is wrong with your hamster, then we strongly advise seeking veterinary advice. If you’re unsure whether you can treat the problem at home or if you’ve made the correct diagnosis, then a vet will usually be able to help and put your mind at ease.

Hamster Health Check

As well as keeping an eye on your pet’s health on a day-to-day basis (by noticing out of ordinary behavior and obvious health problems) it’s a good idea to give your hamster a thorough health check once a week. Below we’ve listed some of the steps that you can use to help check that your pet is in good shape.

  • Check your hamster’s skin and nose

Is your hamster’s skin free of cuts and scrapes? Does your hamster have any dry pores and skin, or crusty patches? Does your hamster have any lumps, any red or swollen areas? Examining your hamster’s skin can tell you if it’s suffering from parasites, from itchy dry epidermis, bar rub, and from a tumor or infection. Your pet can be quite itchy, and to you its skin will appear red, flaky and irritated. Is one of them protruding from the head?

An issue with which many owners become unnecessarily concerned is the yellowness of their pet’s teeth. Are they watery or giving lots of discharge?

  • Check your hamster’s eyes

Do your hamster’s eyes open properly? Your hamster may be scratching itself a lot, and also rubbing its body on things around its cage to try to ease the itching. If your hamster has ear mites, then they’ll have a richly-coloured wax in their ears, and their pores and skin will appear quite crusty. Are they covered with crust or discharge? Is there anything in their eyes?

  • Check your hamster’s behind

Checking your hamster’s bottom can tell you a lot about a hamster’s health. Discharge, blood, faecal matter, or moisture could all be indicative of wellness problems such as infected wombs, bowel problems, and wet tail.

Hamsters, particularly Syrian hamsters, can be affected by the disease known as wet tail. This is a particularly painful condition which can often be fatal. It’s wise to check your hamster regularly for signs of this condition, to end up being able to get them veterinary attention as quickly as possible. Symptoms of wet tail include diarrhoea, a strange posture, and loss of weight. If you suspect that your hamster has wet tail, then it’s really important that you take your pet to the vet as soon as possible.

  • Check your hamster’s teeth

Are your hamster’s teeth of a relatively even length to the one next to them? Do they show any signs of chipping or bleeding? Does the area around your hamster’s mouth bleed or does it show any signs of having bled recently? Some of the most common dental problems involve tooth breakages and overgrown teeth. If you think your hamster has a problem with its teeth, then we advise taking your pet to the vet. Serious dental problems can protect your hamster from eating, which obviously could be life-threatening.

  • Check your hamster’s hair

Is your hamster’s hair in good condition, or are there bald patches? Does your hamster scratch a lot? Your hamster could be suffering from problems such as an injury, an infection or a parasite. Have a look at Common Hamster Illnesses And Symptoms to find out more.

  • Check your hamster’s ears

Are your hamster’s ears free of dry flaky skin? Do they have a lot of dark wax in them? Hamster’s ears can suffer from dry skin and ear mites, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on them.

  • Check your hamster’s nails

Are your hamster’s nails a good length? If they become overgrown, then they can start growing back towards your pet’s foot, and if left too long, they cause your pet lots of discomfort. If you need more information on trimming your hamster’s nails, then check out our ‘How To Trim My Hamster’s Nails’ page.

How Do I Check My Hamster For Mites?

Hamster mites are usually very small, and that means you probably won’t have the ability to see them on your hamster. However, you will be able to find the effects they are having on your pet’s skin.

Although you’ll be able to see these physical symptoms, the only way to really be sure that your hamster has mites is to ask a vet to check. The expert will have to take a small scraping of flaked-off skin from your pet, and analyse it with specialist equipment. If you suspect your hamster has mites, then seek veterinary attention.

To minimize the risk that their pet contracts mites, some owners take the precaution of freezing the bedding material before putting it in their hamster’s cage. Putting a sealed bag of bedding in your freezer for forty-eight hours will kill any mites present, along with their eggs. Just be sure to thoroughly defrost the material before you put it in your hamster’s enclosure, and make sure it’s not gotten wet – hamsters often nibble on their bedding and are susceptible to mold on items they ingest. Is there plenty of black or dark-colored material in your hamster’s hair?

How Do I Check My Hamster For Fleas?

Fleas are relatively large parasites that can be seen with the naked eye. To check your hamster for fleas, use two fingers to gently part its hair and have a look at the base of the hair shafts across its body. Do you see any fast-moving insects that can jump? If you do, it’s likely that your hamster has fleas.

Since fleas feed on blood, you may also analyse their droppings to identify them. Fleas will leave little black droppings that you can gently remove from your hamster’s coat. In the event that you put these droppings on a white paper towel and add a few drops of water, they will turn red. It is because they are made of digested blood. If you’ve seen the fleas and analysed the droppings like this then you can be fairly sure that your hamster is suffering from these parasites.

Be aware that fleas can be passed very easily from pets to owners. Unless your hamster has becomeen playing with others, it’s likely to have caught these pests from another pet in your house. To eradicate these parasites, you will need to treat all pets at the same time, but be careful – it’s dangerous to use one flea treatment on all house animals without checking whether or not the treatment is safe for each individual animal.

For example, flea treatments for hamsters have ingredients in them that are very harmful for guinea pigs. Thoroughly check the label – if it doesn’t mention that it’s safe for other pets, then we don’t advise that you use it to treat the household. To be on the safe side, it might end up being best to purchase different flea treatments for each of your different pets.

In order to prevent another infestation, we recommend thoroughly cleaning out your hamster’s cage to remove all fleas and eggs. It may also be a good idea to give it a good scrub with some hamster cage disinfectant and treat your hamster for fleas.

How Do I Check My Hamster’s Teeth

Your hamster’s teeth are very important, as your hamster’s diet largely consists of very tough foods. It’s a good idea to check your hamster’s teeth regularly to ensure that they’re in good condition.

The main things you’re examining are the lengths and shapes of your pet’s teeth. If one of your hamster’s top or bottom teeth is shorter than the one next to it, or the tooth opposite it has grown longer than the tooth adjoining it, then that first tooth may be broken. Healthy teeth will be of quite even length to those next to them (unless both look very stubby, in which case they may both have broken) and the opposite tooth won’t have grown into the space where the other tooth should be.

If the lengths of the two teeth vary drastically, then it’s a good idea to take your pet to a vet, as this injury might be painful or affecting your hamster’s ability to eat. Another sign your hamster has broken a tooth is that it has blood or scabs around its mouth.

Does your hamster have cataracts (grey areas in the attention)? Younger hamsters have pale teeth that will become darker over time, becoming quite yellow as the animal matures. Don’t fret if your hamster’s teeth are not as light a shade as your own – in fact, if an older hamster’s teeth suddenly turn white, then there may be an underlying health problem.

To help keep your hamster’s teeth in top condition, it’s a good idea to invest in a chew. These are usually made of a wood that’s safe for hamsters to chew and gnaw to their heart’s content. They are specially designed to be the perfect thing for your pet to wear their teeth down on – a hamster’s teeth with grow constantly throughout its lifetime, so it’s a good idea to give your hamster what it needs in order to regulate its own tooth length.

If you notice any changes in your hamster’s appearance or behavior, let us help you with this article about Common Hamster Illnesses And Symptoms.

By HamsterCare.Net

You Might Also Like

Leave a Comment