August 23, 2010

Common Hamster Health Problems

Filed under: Hamster Health,Overview — Dr. Amber Reed @ 1:27 pm

Hamsters are tough little pets but because they’re so small they’re illnesses tend to become more seriously more quickly.  Some of the most common signs of hamster illness include loss of appetite, lethargy, huddling in a corner, sneezing, wheezing, and diarrhea.  Whenever you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to visit your veterinarian immediately to avoid further complications.  The following are some of the most common hamster health problems.

- Respiratory Infections.  Infections of the respiratory system in hamsters can quickly lead to pneumonia which can be fatal.  Symptoms of respiratory infections include sneezing, discharge from the eyes or nose, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. 

- Regional enteritis is a highly contagious hamster disease that most commonly affects very young hamsters.  Characterized by a wet tail, the causes of regional enteritis are unknown but the disease has been associated with environmental issues that cause stress like overcrowding and diet changes.  Hamsters suffering from regional enteritis sometimes die very quickly but the typical symptoms include diarrhea (leading to the wet tail), reduced activity, loss of appetite, and a ruffled coat.

- Diarrhea may be a symptom of another infection or disease, but feeding your hamster too many vegetables or other fresh foods may also lead to diarrhea.  Determining whether diarrhea is a symptom of a more serious illness or if it’s caused by diet can be tricky.  Nevertheless, watch for other symptoms in addition to the diarrhea such as loss of appetite or lethargy.  Also, if your hamster is suffering from diarrhea be sure to provide him with plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

- Skin diseases are also fairly common in hamsters and they are normally caused by mites.  Ringworm and allergies also lead to skin problems which may subsequently cause hair loss along with typical signs of skin problem.  Rash, redness or flakiness of the skin, and lesions on the skin are all significant signs that your hamster is suffering a skin disease.

About Dr. Amber Reed

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