Worried about hamster skin sores and abscesses? Not sure how to spot a hamster abscess or how to treat the sore? This guide will tell you everything you need to know about dealing with skin sores in hamsters.
Hamster skin sores and abscesses
First of all, before we share our tips, what are abscesses, exactly? In sort, abscesses are skin sores that have gotten infected, resulting in a closed wound that is filled with pus. The wounds appear as bumps that are painful to the touch. Most appear under the skin (although in some cases they can be found inside the cheeks or in the mouth). If abscesses are not treated, they can burst. This leaves open sores, which can become a very serious health concern. With this in mind, it is important to know what to look for, so that your vet can safely lance the abscess to drain it before it bursts.
Sores such as abscesses are incredibly painful and uncomfortable for hamsters, especially due to their small size. Left unchecked, abscesses can also be extremely dangerous, increasing the risk of further infection, and, in some cases, putting your little guy’s life at risk. Because of this, it is essential to understand abscesses in hamsters, so that you can easily spot them and treat them before they get worse.
Keep reading to find out more about identifying and treating skin wounds and abscesses in hamsters.
Similar to humans, hammies get small open wounds from scrapes and bumps. The sores look identical as well: raw, red, with possible bleeding. They can get them anywhere, but as they are low riders, hamster skin sores are more prevalent on the underside of the belly, face, and scent glands. Here are a few other ways sores may develop:
- When hamsters have housemates. One hamster is bitten, scratched, or wounded by another hamster. Hamsters should live alone.
- An injury caused by an object in the cage. Even a minor scratch can cause an abscess, which makes researching everything you place in your hamster’s living space even more important.
- Abrasive food material scratching the lining of the mouth or impacting a cheek pouch.
Symptoms and signs
The primary sign is relatively easy to spot: a bump on that’s not usually the first sign of a hamster skin infection. Cheek abscesses may be a little more challenging to notice. If your hamster looks like his cheeks are always full of food (similar to mumps), you may have an abscess on your hands.
Other symptoms include lethargy, not exercising and just an overall “down in the dumps” appearance. Trouble moving is common if the abscess is near the legs, trouble eating and drinking is common if the abscess is near or inside of the mouth. Depending on where the abscess is located, you’re likely to see different symptoms.
- Lethargy, not exercising, and just an overall “down in the dumps” appearance.
- Difficulty moving if the abscess is near the legs.
- Trouble eating and drinking are expected if the abscess is near or inside of the mouth.
What if the hamster skin sores get worse or don’t heal?
If a small open sore becomes infected, it’s called a hamster skin abscess. This happens when pus starts to develop underneath the skin. The pus turns into a bump, and the area around the lump begins to swell.
Treatment and prevention
After you wash your own paws, make sure that you’re cleaning any bites, scratches, or open wounds with a clean cotton ball/gauze pad and lukewarm water.
Hamster skin sores that don’t heal quickly and hamster skin infections require quick medical attention. Your vet may drain and flush the abscess and administer antibiotics treatment. Left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of your hammy’s tiny body and may be life-threatening.
Prevention is always the best medicine. Providing a clean, safe, and healthy living space is the best way to prevent any hamster skin sores. Next, we know they’re not always noticeable, but be on the lookout for any unusual wounds or bumps.
Hamsters are pretty hardy little creatures. But, because they’re pretty itty bitty, things can escalate pretty quickly when they develop an illness or get injured. Regularly, a should-be minor problem can become severe. This is why it’s essential to have your exotic veterinarian on speed dial. Additionally, performing routine checks on your hammy for any signs of disease, illness, or injury is helpful. The faster you notice that there’s something wrong with your hamster, the quicker you can treat it. While hamsters aren’t injury-prone, they can and do happen. Hamster skin sores may occur with any type of broken skin.
If you suspect anything is wrong with your sweet hamster, get them to your trusted exotic vet right away. This article is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment.
Now that you know what to look for, you know what to do if you spot any skin wounds or infections.
If you want more helpful advice on looking after your hamster, including tips on toys, accessories and accommodation, add a comment below to let us know!
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