40 Hamster Health Issues: A Must Read for Hamster Owners

Hamster health indicators include playfulness, exploring, soft and shiny fur, healthy teeth, and clear eyes.

When they start showing signs of lethargy, appetite loss, heavy breathing, runny nose, watery eyes, and changes in behavior; it is time for a vet visit.

Common problems hamster owners face are: 

  • Recognizing early signs of serious medical issues
  • Mixing treatable diseases with the aging process (hamsters become senior rodents quite quickly)
  • Purchasing already infected hamsters  

That’s why we created this extensive guide on hamster health issues.

Our goal is to help you better understand symptoms, what to expect during vet visits, and what treatment options are available. 

Hopefully, this guide will help you and your furry baby enjoy a happy and healthy time together. 

check your hamster daily for health issues

Gastrointestinal Issues in Hamsters

Gastrointestinal issues affect their digestive system and can be symptoms of other health issues, we will list those below

Typical issues that affect a hamster’s gastrointestinal system include: 

  • Diarrhea
  • Protozoa Gastroenteritis 
  • Gastrointestinal Stasis
  • Proliferative ileitis
  • Tyzzer disease
  • Escherichia coli infection
  • Pinworms
  • Tapeworms
  • Wet tail
  • General Constipation
  • Intussusception

1. Diarrhea

Diarrhea in hamsters is characterized by soft and light-colored feces.

Diarrhea can lead to dehydration and nutrient depletion in hamsters, making them susceptible to further health issues.

Causes of Diarrhea in Hamsters

Excessive consumption of fresh vegetables. Veggies in moderation are great but a high water content can increase the water content in the hamster’s stool, leading to loose or watery feces. 

Excessive fiber intake can overwhelm the hamster’s relatively short digestive system; their bodies are not adapted to process large amounts of fiber so diarrhea is a body’s attempt to eliminate the excess. 

Intolerance or allergies: Certain vegetables (onions, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, etc.) may not agree with their digestive system.

Underlying Medical Conditions: Hamster diarrhea can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Wet tail, a severe and contagious gastrointestinal disease, is often associated with diarrhea.

Viral Infections.

Treatment for Diarrhea in Hamsters:

I excessive vegetable consumption is the cause of diarrhea, removing fresh vegetables from the hamster’s diet temporarily can help resolve the issue.

Your veterinarian can diagnose the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment, which may include medication or supportive care.

2. Protozoal Gastroenteritis

Protozoa, single-celled organisms in healthy hamsters may not have adverse effects, but young or stressed hamsters may develop intestinal infections and diarrhea.

Gastroenteritis is an intestinal infection characterized by inflammation of the stomach and intestines.

Protozoal infections in hamsters can be identified by testing the hamster’s feces, allowing the veterinarian to identify the specific protozoa involved. 

Types of protozoa commonly affecting hamsters include Giardia and Cryptosporidium.

Symptoms of protozoal infections in hamsters:

  • Diarrhea
  • Soft or loose stool consistency
  • Weight loss
  • Reduced appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Hunched posture
  • Rough hair

Causes of Protozoal Gastroenteritis in Hamsters

Protozoal Gastroenteritis is considered a zoonotic parasite, meaning it can be transmitted between animals and humans. 

The transmission of Giardia and Cryptosporidium typically occurs through fecal contamination of water, food, or environmental surfaces.

Treatment for Protozoal Gastroenteritis in Hamsters

A veterinarian will conduct a thorough examination and may request a fecal sample for testing. Once the specific protozoa are identified, medications to help eliminate the protozoa and alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms will be prescribed. 

Your veterinarian will guide you on any dietary adjustments or additional measures to support your hamster’s immune system during the treatment process.

3. Gastrointestinal Stasis/ GI stasis

Gastrointestinal stasis, also known as ileus or gut stasis, is a condition characterized by reduced or absent gut motility. 

This means that there is a slowdown of normal movement and function of the gastrointestinal tract, leading to a disruption in the passage of food and the normal flow of digestive processes. 

Symptoms of Gastrointestinal Stasis in Hamsters 

  • Decreased appetite or loss of appetite
  • Reduced or absent fecal production
  • Small and/or malformed fecal pellets
  • Lethargy and hunched posture

Causes of Gastrointestinal Stasis in Hamsters



Dental problems

Lack of fiber– can result in slower digestion and reduced movement of food through the digestive tract.

Intestinal parasites, such as pinworms and tapeworms,

Constipation, intestinal blockage, and intussusception (telescoping of the intestines) 

The use of certain antibiotics in hamsters, such as lincomycin, clindamycin, and penicillin, can lead to enterocolitis and alterations to the normal balance of intestinal microflora. 

Proliferative enteritis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the small intestine and subsequent diarrhea. It is more commonly found in hamsters with compromised immune systems and is caused by an infection with the bacteria Lawsonia intracellularis.

Treatment for Gastrointestinal Stasis in Hamsters

The treatment options for Gastrointestinal Stasis in hamsters can vary depending on the severity of the condition. 

A vet may simply prescribe fluid therapy to prevent dehydration and restore electrolyte balance.

In some cases, pain medications to alleviate discomfort and prokinetic drugs (cisapride and metoclopramide) may be needed depending on the severity of the condition. 

Dietary management includes easily digestible and high-fiber foods to promote normal bowel movements.

4. Proliferative ileitis

Proliferative Ileitis is a medical condition that affects the small intestine of hamsters and is caused by the bacteria Lawsonia intracellularis.

It is characterized by inflammation and thickening of the intestinal lining, specifically the distal ileum (part of the small intestine).

The infection can lead to a severe disease state, characterized by acute illness, fibrotic stricture of the ileum, and adynamic ileus.

Symptoms of Proliferative Ileitis in Hamsters

  • Wet or matted fur around the tail and belly
  • Low energy levels
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

Causes of Proliferative Ileitis in Hamsters

Hamsters that are stressed due to transportation, living in overcrowded cages, surgery or illness, or changes in diet are more susceptible to infection by Lawsonia intracellularis and the subsequent development of proliferative ileitis.

Proliferative ileitis is caused by the bacteria Lawsonia intracellularis, which infects the hamster’s small intestine, leading to inflammation and diarrhea.

Treatment for Proliferative Ileitis in Hamsters

The treatment options for Proliferative Ileitis in hamsters typically involve a combination of antibiotics and supportive care.

5. Tyzzer disease

Tyzzer disease is an infection caused by the bacteria Clostridium that affects the digestive system of hamsters, leading to severe abdominal pain and watery diarrhea. 

The bacterium Clostridium piliforme infects the hamster when it ingests feces from infected animals. Once infected, the bacteria replicate in the intestinal mucosa, leading to enterocyte death and infiltration into major organs such as the liver.

Symptoms of Tyzzer Disease in Hamsters 

  • Anorexia (lack of appetite)
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Rough hair coat
  • Abdominal pain
  • Hunched posture
  • Depression
  • Melena (dark, tarry stools)
  • Anal bleeding

Causes of Tyzzer Disease in Hamsters

The bacteria Clostridium piliforme is commonly found in the feces of infected animals. Hamsters can contract the disease by ingesting feces that contain the bacteria.

Treatment for Tyzzer Disease in Hamsters

Your veterinarian will observe the clinical signs and may perform additional tests, such as a PCR assay for Clostridium piliforme in the hamster’s feces, to confirm the presence of the bacteria.

Although Tyzzer disease has a high mortality rate, treatment typically involves the use of antibiotics to fight the infection. 

Your veterinarian may also prescribe mineral and vitamin supplements to help your hamster’s immunity and overall health. 

Supportive care, such as maintaining a clean and stress-free environment, plays a crucial role in the hamster’s recovery.

To prevent Tyzzer disease in hamsters, you can take the following precautions:

Clean your hamster’s cage and living area regularly.

Isolate sick hamsters to prevent infection.

Avoid overfeeding your hamsters with protein-rich diets.

Eliminate factors that may cause stress, such as overcrowding or unsanitary conditions.

6. Escherichia coli infection

E. coli is a bacterium that normally resides in the lower intestines but the overgrowth leads to health issues.  

E. coli infections in hamsters can manifest in diarrhea and stomach pains.

Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), can cause severe foodborne diseases.

The symptoms of E. coli infection in Hamsters

  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody diarrhea (in some cases)
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pains and cramps

Causes of E. coli Infection in Hamsters

The transmission of E. coli infection in hamsters occurs through the consumption of contaminated food and water, although it can also spread through unsanitary living conditions and even through the air. 

Poor hygiene practices, such as inadequate cage cleaning and improper handling of food and water, can contribute to the spread of E. coli infection among hamsters.

Treatment for E. coli infection in Hamsters

In many cases, supportive care includes maintaining hydration and electrolyte balance, dietary adjustments, and medications if necessary.

7. Pinworms

Pinworms are a type of gastrointestinal nematode that can infest hamsters’ digestive systems and cause complications.

Symptoms of Pinworm Infestation in Hamsters

  • Anal itching
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Reduced appetite
  • Lethargy (in severe cases)

Causes of Pinworm Infestation in Hamsters

Pinworms in hamsters are typically spread through contact with contaminated feed, water, or the feces of infected hamsters. 

The ingested pinworm eggs mature in the small intestine, potentially leading to symptoms and discomfort.

Treatment for Pinworm Infestation in Hamsters

The veterinarian will prescribe deworming medication specific to pinworms. 

8. Tapeworms

Tapeworms that infect hamsters belong to a category of endoparasitic flatworms, however,  some tapeworms that infect hamsters can also infect humans.

Tapeworms that affect humans and hamsters:

  • Taenia asiatica: also known as the Asian tapeworm, can infect humans. It is mentioned that infection with this tapeworm is limited to Asia.
  • Hymenolepis nana: Hymenolepis nana is a tapeworm that can parasitize mice, rats, gerbils, hamsters, and humans.

Symptoms of Tapeworm Infestation in Hamsters

  • Weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Intestinal blockage (occasionally)
  • Itching around the anus (less common)

Causes of Tapeworm Infestation in Hamsters

Tapeworms can be transmitted to hamsters when they come into contact with contaminated water and/or feed.

Treatment for Tapeworms in Hamsters 

Typically involves oral medications prescribed by the veterinarian.

9. Wet-tail

Wet-tail disease, also known as proliferative ileitis, is a severe gastrointestinal condition that primarily affects hamsters, particularly young ones. 

Symptoms of Wet-tail Disease in Hamsters

  • Diarrhea: The most notable symptom of Wet-tail disease is severe and watery diarrhea, often with a distinct foul odor.
  • Dehydration: Diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration in hamsters, which can be life-threatening if not addressed promptly.
  • Lethargy: Hamsters with Wet-tail disease may appear lethargic, have a hunched posture, and show a loss of appetite.
  • Wet and Soiled Tail: The name “Wet-tail” originates from the condition’s characteristic wet and soiled appearance of the hamster’s tail due to diarrhea.
  • Walking with a hunched back 
  • Excessive sleep 
  • Folded ears
  • Aggression

Causes of Wet-tail Disease in Hamsters:

Bacterial Infection: Wet-tail disease is often caused by an overgrowth of the bacteria Lawsonia intracellularis, which affects the hamster’s intestines, leading to inflammation and diarrhea.

The condition is often precipitated by stress, which weakens the hamster’s immune system and allows the bacteria to proliferate.

Stressful conditions such as overcrowding, poor hygiene, sudden environmental changes, or inadequate diet can weaken a hamster’s immune system and make them more susceptible to developing Wet-tail disease.

Treatment for Wet-tail Disease:

Supportive measures such as rehydration, antibiotics to combat the bacterial infection, and a quiet and stress-free environment for the hamster to recover.

If you have multiple hamsters, it is important to quarantine any affected individuals to prevent the spread of the disease.

10. General Constipation

Constipation in hamsters is a decrease in the frequency of passing feces or the absence of fecal production. 

Symptoms of Constipation in Hamsters:

  • reduced or absent fecal output
  • dry and hardened stool
  • abdominal discomfort 
  • lack of appetite

Causes of Constipation in Hamsters

Constipation in hamsters can be caused by the lack of fiber, inadequate hydration, ingestion of indigestible materials (e.g., bedding material), or underlying medical conditions affecting gastrointestinal motility. 

Treatment for Constipation in Hamsters

The veterinarian will evaluate if they should conduct tests such as blood work, urinalysis, X-rays, or ultrasounds to determine the underlying cause.

Dietary Modifications: more fiber-rich foods, fresh vegetables, and ensuring access to clean water to promote hydration.

11. Intussusception 

In some cases, constipation in hamsters may be a result of intussusception, where a portion of the intestines telescopes (slide or cause to slide into itself, so that it becomes smaller) into another segment. 

This condition may require surgical intervention to remove the affected part or create a bypass between the intestines.

Symptoms of intussusception in Hamsters

The symptoms of intussusception can vary depending on the location of the telescoping intestine. 

Common signs may include: 

  • abdominal pain
  • reduced appetite
  • weight loss
  • lethargy
  • diarrhea (which can be bloody)
  • protruding tubular structure from the anus in cases causing constipation. 

However, some hamsters may not show any signs at all.

Causes of Intussusception in Hamsters

Intussusception in hamsters is often associated with underlying factors that cause inflammation of the intestine, known as enteritis. 

Common causes of enteritis include: 

  • intestinal parasites (such as hookworms, whipworms, and roundworms) 
  • protozoal
  • bacterial, or viral infections (like Giardia, Salmonella, canine distemper, and parvovirus)
  • intestinal inflammation, pregnancy, poor diet, or insufficient water intake

Treatment for intussusception in Hamsters

The primary treatment for intussusception in hamsters is surgical intervention. 

Surgery aims to reduce or remove the telescoped intestine and reestablish normal intestinal function. 

However, the prognosis for hamsters with intussusception is generally poor, and successful outcomes are less common. 

12. Salmonella infection/ Salmonellosis

Salmonellosis is an infection caused by the Salmonella bacteria. It is usually spread through the ingestion of food and water contaminated with infected feces or urine.

Symptoms of Salmonella Infection in Hamsters

  • fever 
  • lethargy 
  • diarrhea 
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • dehydration
  • abdominal pain 
  • distended stomach
  •  rough body coat
  • abnormal vaginal discharge 

Causes of Salmonella Infection in Hamsters

Salmonella infection in hamsters is primarily transmitted through the ingestion of contaminated food and water. Contaminants are feces, urine, or bedding material infected with Salmonella.

Hamsters can also acquire Salmonella from their environment. They may come into contact with contaminated surfaces, such as cages, tanks, or litter boxes, where Salmonella bacteria may be present [6].

Hamsters can carry Salmonella in their intestines without showing any signs of illness. The bacteria can be shed in their feces (poop), leading to potential contamination of their surroundings.

Person-to-hamster transmission: Humans can inadvertently transmit Salmonella to hamsters through improper hygiene practices. If individuals do not wash their hands properly after handling animals carrying Salmonella or their environment, they can introduce the bacteria to the hamsters.

Treatment for Salmonella Infection in Hamsters

Treatment typically includes topical medications. However, the use of broad-spectrum antibiotic drugs and supportive therapy with fluids and electrolyte supplements may be considered in mild cases.

Respiratory and lung issues in Hamsters

Respiratory and lung issues in hamsters can be caused by bacterial and viral infections, as well as environmental factors. 

Infections can spread easily from one hamster to another, especially in environments where multiple hamsters are housed together.

Condition Types:

Bacterial Respiratory Infections: Bacteria such as Pasteurella and Streptococcus can cause respiratory illnesses in hamsters, leading to symptoms like sore throat and respiratory tract infections.

Viral Respiratory Infections: Viruses like acute viral rhinopharyngitis (common cold), influenza (flu), and murine parainfluenza or Sendai virus can also cause respiratory tract infections in hamsters.

Pneumonia: Pneumonia in hamsters is usually caused by bacterial infections, sometimes in conjunction with viruses or other infectious agents. 

Symptoms may include mucus discharge from the eyes and nose, respiratory distress, and general signs of illness. 

Respiratory and lung issues that affect hamsters include:

  • Sendai Virus (Parainfluenza Virus 1) Infection
  • Pneumonia
  • Common Cold

13. Sendai Virus (Parainfluenza Virus 1) Infection

Sendai virus, also known as Parainfluenza virus 1, is a highly contagious respiratory virus that can lead to pneumonia-like symptoms and, in severe cases, even death.

However, some hamsters may carry the virus without displaying any noticeable illness, acting as carriers. The infection is primarily respiratory and can cause respiratory tract infections in hamsters.

Symptoms of Sendai Virus Infection in Hamsters 

  • Pneumonia-like symptoms
  • Respiratory distress
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Nasal discharge

Causes of Sendai Virus Infection in Hamsters

Sendai virus infection in hamsters is caused by the Sendai virus, which belongs to the parainfluenza type 1 virus group. 

This virus primarily affects the respiratory system of animals, including mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and pigs. 

The infection can be transmitted from one hamster to another through sneezing or coughing.

Treatment for Sendai Virus Infection in Hamsters 

The primary approach to managing the infection is supportive care and providing a comfortable environment for the affected hamster. 

Supportive care may include:

Proper nutrition and hydration

Maintaining appropriate housing conditions

Minimizing exposure to other animals: Isolating the infected hamster from other hamsters to prevent the spread of the virus.

Symptomatic treatment: Depending on the severity of symptoms, the veterinarian may recommend medications or treatments to alleviate respiratory distress, such as nebulization or bronchodilators. 

However, specific treatments may vary based on the individual hamster’s condition and the veterinarian’s assessment.

Prevention is crucial in managing Sendai virus infection in hamsters. Isolation of infected individuals and strict hygiene measures, including proper cleaning and disinfection of cages and equipment, can help prevent the spread of the virus.

14. Pneumonia

Pneumonia in hamsters is a condition characterized by inflammation of the lungs, which is typically caused by bacterial infections, sometimes in conjunction with viruses or other infectious agents.

Symptoms of Pneumonia in Hamsters

Respiratory Issues: Hamsters with pneumonia may exhibit symptoms such as: 

  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Labored breathing
  • Apid or abnormal breathing
  • Nasal and Eye Discharge
  • Lethargy and Loss of Appetite

Causes of Pneumonia in Hamsters

Bacterial Infections: Bacterial pneumonia in hamsters can result from infections with various types of bacteria, such as Pasteurella pneumotropica and Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Viral Infections: While respiratory viral infections are rare in hamsters, they can occur and cause severe respiratory symptoms.

Treatment for Pneumonia in Hamsters

A veterinarian will examine your hamster and may conduct additional tests, such as bacterial cultures, to confirm the presence of pneumonia.

Antibiotic Treatment: Treatment for hamster pneumonia often involves prescribing antibiotics to target the underlying bacterial infection. The choice of antibiotics will depend on the specific bacteria involved and the severity of the infection.

Supportive Care: Alongside antibiotic therapy, a comfortable environment, ensuring adequate hydration, and offering easily digestible food to encourage eating.

Quarantine new hamsters before introducing them to your existing ones to prevent the spread of diseases.

15. Common Cold

Just like us, the common cold in hamsters can be caused by different infections.

Symptoms of the Common Cold in Hamsters

  • Runny Nose
  • Sneezing.
  • Nasal Congestion – difficulty in breathing through the nose
  • Watery Sticky Eyes
  • Respiratory Clicking Noises
  • Loss of Appetite.
  • Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)

Causes of the Common Cold in Hamsters

The common cold in hamsters is caused by infectious agents, including acute viral rhinopharyngitis (common cold), influenza (flu), Streptococcus bacteria (sore throats and strep throat), murine parainfluenza or Sendai virus (respiratory tract infections), and Pasteurella bacteria.

Treatment for the Common Cold in Hamsters

The primary focus of treatment is managing the hamster’s symptoms, potentially medication to treat the underlying cause. 

Supportive care, a stress-free environment, hydration and nutrition, and good hygiene are crucial for supporting the hamster’s recovery.

Skin Issues in Hamsters

Hamsters are susceptible to various skin conditions that can cause discomfort and affect their overall well-being. 

Factors that affect hamsters’ skin include:

Skin Diseases Caused by Parasites or Infections such as mites and ringworm

Poor Nutrition and Inadequate Living Conditions

Skin Inflammation and Allergic Reactions

Symptoms of skin issues include:

  • Skin Sores: open wounds on the surface of the skin, often appearing raw, red, and occasionally bleeding.
  • Dry and Flaky Skin: Older long-haired Syrian hamsters, particularly males, may develop dry and flaky skin, resembling dandruff. If left untreated, dead skin can accumulate and cause cracking, leading to potential infection and irritation

Types of Skin Conditions:

  • Mites 
  • Ringworm
  • Allergic dermatitis 

16. Mites

Hamsters can be infested with different mites, including fur mites, ear mites, nose mites, and tropical rat mites. Mite infestations can lead to skin irritation, itching, and inflammation.

The most common mite species affecting hamsters are Demodex criceti and Demodex aurati, which cause demodicosis (mange). 

Mites can also lead to secondary skin infections due to the hamster’s biting and scratching. 

Symptoms of Mite Infestation in Hamsters 

  • hair loss
  • Itchiness
  • red skin
  • irritation 

Some hamsters may exhibit hair loss without itching, while others may have both hair loss and itching

Causes of Mite Infestation in Hamsters

Hamsters can get mites from close proximity to other hamsters, such as from pet stores, breeders, or shelters. 

Some mites, like Demodex, may not show signs unless the hamster has an underlying condition It’s important to note that most hamster mites are specific to hamsters and other rodents and do not spread to humans.

Treatment options may include the topical application of medications like selamectin and the use of special shampoos containing 1% selenium sulfide. Vet-guided hamster cleaning can also help. 

Note: do not wash your hamster. Our guide and your chosen vet guidance should help you understand the hamster cleaning process

17. Ringworm

Ringworm in hamsters is caused by the fungi Trichophyton mentagrophytes and Microsporum species. 

Despite its name, ringworm is not caused by worms but is a fungal infection. 

Ringworm in hamsters can present in various forms, including:

Ringworm of the body: This type of ringworm causes a ring-shaped infection on the skin and can be similar to an athlete’s foot or jock itch in humans.

Ringworm of the scalp: This form affects the hamster’s scalp and can lead to hair loss and scaly patches on the skin.

Ringworm of the feet: Also known as “tinea pedis,” this type affects the hamster’s feet and may cause redness, itching, and discomfort.

Causes of Ringworm in Hamsters

The condition is typically transmitted from infected hamsters or through contact with contaminated objects such as bedding material.

Treatment for Ringworm in Hamsters

Your veterinarian may prescribe a liquid anti-fungal medication for easier administration to hamsters.

Dry anti-fungal shampoo or lotion can be used to cleanse the affected areas.

Note: do not wash your hamster. Our guide and your chosen vet guidance should help you understand the hamster cleaning process

18. Allergic Dermatitis 

Allergic Dermatitis is a general term given to animals, including hamsters, that experience itching, rubbing, chewing, licking, biting, scooting, or scratching themselves due to an allergic reaction

Hamsters can develop allergic reactions to certain substances in their environment, such as bedding.

Symptoms of Allergic Dermatitis in Hamsters 

  • raised, red patches of skin (hives)
  • eczema
  • itchy skin 
  • excessive scratching and self-trauma

Causes of Allergic Dermatitis in Hamsters

Allergic Dermatitis in hamsters can be triggered by direct contact with allergens in their environment, such as certain bedding materials or other irritants. 

Cedar wood shavings, for example, should not be used as bedding for small animals like hamsters.

Treatment for Allergic Dermatitis in Hamsters 

The veterinarian will perform a physical examination and consider the hamster’s symptoms and medical history to make a diagnosis.

Treatment options for Allergic Dermatitis in hamsters may involve identifying and eliminating the allergen or irritant from the hamster’s environment.

19. Alopecia/ fur loss

Fur loss or alopecia in hamsters can be a symptom of underlying health issues (kidney disease, cushions disease, mites, etc.), and it’s important to identify the specific cause to determine the appropriate treatment. 

Symptoms of Fur Loss/Alopecia in Hamsters

  • overall hair loss
  • patches of baldness
  • symmetrical hair loss
  • loss of hair around the eyes and mouth

Causes of Fur Loss/Alopecia in Hamsters

  • Manges caused by mites
  • Allergies
  • Infections
  • Hormonal imbalances ( Cushing’s disease)
  • Other serious illnesses 

Nutritional Deficiencies: A common cause of hair loss in hamsters is a lack of proper nutrition, particularly deficiencies in B vitamins.

Age: Hair loss in hamsters is often associated with aging. Older hamsters may experience hair loss due to a lack of protein or iron in their diet.

Treatment for Fur Loss/Alopecia in Hamsters

The vet should perform a physical examination, take skin samples, or order blood and urine tests to help diagnose the underlying cause. 

Treatment options for fur loss in hamsters will depend on the specific cause identified. These may include:

Medications: Antibiotics, antifungals, and steroids can be used topically or orally to treat skin conditions and inflammation in hamsters.

Allergy management: If allergies are the cause, identifying and eliminating the allergen from the hamster’s environment is crucial.

Parasite treatment: If mites or other parasites are causing the fur loss, appropriate treatments to eliminate the parasites.

Metabolic issues 

Metabolic disorders in animals involve abnormalities in various metabolic processes within the body, including the breakdown, synthesis, and utilization of nutrients. 

Kidney Disease: can be caused by infections, toxin exposure, chronic dehydration, cancer, and amyloidosis. 

Liver Disease: Liver issues in hamsters can manifest as hepatitis, fatty liver disease, or other liver disorders. These conditions can be caused by infections, toxins, metabolic imbalances, or genetic predispositions. Liver disease can impact the metabolism of nutrients, detoxification processes, and other essential functions.

Diabetes: Diabetes mellitus, or sugar diabetes, is a metabolic disorder that occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or when the body becomes resistant to insulin, resulting in elevated blood sugar levels. 

Diabetes can lead to symptoms such as increased thirst, increased appetite, weight loss, increased urination, and lethargy.

Obesity: While not directly a metabolic disorder, obesity can significantly impact a hamster’s metabolism and overall health. Overfeeding, high-calorie diets and lack of exercise can contribute to obesity in hamsters. 

Obesity can lead to a range of health problems, including metabolic imbalances and an increased risk of other metabolic disorders.

Hormonal Imbalances: Certain hormonal imbalances can affect metabolic processes in hamsters. For example, adrenal tumors and thyroid deficiencies can cause disruptions in hormone levels, leading to metabolic dysregulation

20. Kidney disease

Kidney disease is a serious medical condition that affects one or both kidneys and can lead to kidney failure.

Symptoms of Kidney Disease in Hamsters 

  • Increased thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Weight loss
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Alopecia (hair loss)
  • Foul smell
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy or inactivity
  • Dirty or ruffled fur
  • Diarrhea
  • Wetness around the tail
  • Hair loss
  • Redness, lesions, flakiness, or scratching of the skin 

Causes of Kidney Disease in Hamsters 

It is difficult to specify causes for kidney disease in hamsters but common causes include accumulated proteins causing Amyloidosis, heat stroke, viral or bacterial infections, immune system disorders, high blood pressure, and other factors.

Treatment for Kidney Disease in Hamsters 

Strong antibiotics, fluid therapy, medication, and diet changes tailored to the individual hamster’s condition.

Kidney disease leads to kidney failure and no further treatment options are available or effective.

21. Kidney Amyloidosis

Amyloidosis is a severe health issue in hamsters that leads to protein buildup in the kidneys and other organs and kidney failure in hamsters.

Hamsters with this condition may not appear sick until their kidneys stop working.

Symptoms of Amyloidosis in Hamsters

  • loss of appetite
  • rough hair coat
  • hunched posture
  • accumulation of fluid in the body
  • depression

Causes of Amiliodosis in Hamsters

Amyloidosis in hamsters is caused by the deposition of amyloid (a dense protein) in internal organs, especially the kidneys. 

When protein reaches the kidney it prevents the body from functioning normally.

Treatment for Amiloidosis in Hamsters 

To diagnose amyloidosis your vet will run blood tests to check for proteins albumin and globulin as well as a high cholesterol level, and urine tests to check for abnormal amounts of protein.

There is no treatment for amyloidosis.
Supportive therapy can be provided in the form of fluids, special dietary requirements, and supplements.

22. Nephritis

Nephritis refers to kidney inflammation, which can occur in one or both kidneys. It can be caused by viral or bacterial infections, disorders of the immune system, high blood pressure, or other factors.

Symptoms of Nephritis in Hamsters

  • Increased thirst
  • Lethargy and depression 
  • Fever
  • Dry coat
  • Abdominal pain

Causes of Nephritis in Hamsters

Nephritis is caused by a bacterial or viral infection, high blood pressure, and immune system disorders.

Treatment for Nephritis in Hamsters

Medical treatment includes fluids, antibiotics, corticosteroids, or vitamin B complex depending on the cause and severity. 

23. Polycystic disease 

Polycystic disease in hamsters is characterized by fluid-filled (hamsters can develop one or more) cysts in the liver, pancreas, adrenal glands, sex glands (in males), ovaries, or the tissue lining of the womb (in females).

Cysts can grow and burst and at this stage, they are life-threatening. 

Symptoms of Polycystic Disease in Hamsters 

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdomen Hair loss

Causes of Polycystic Disease in Hamsters 

Hormonal issues, high-protein diets, infections, toxin exposure, chronic dehydration, cancer, and amyloidosis cause polycystic disease. It occurs in older senior hamsters.

Treatment for Polycystic Disease in Hamsters 

A vet can diagnose polycystic disease by palpating the hamster’s abdomen,  X-ray, or ultrasound. 

There are no specific treatments for the disease, female hamsters can potentially have surgery to remove reproductive organs, but unfortunately, overall outcomes are quite poor.  

24. Inflammation and Scarring of the Liver (Cholangiofibrosis) 

Cholangiofibrosis refers to inflammation and scarring of the liver, specifically affecting the bile ducts in hamsters. 

Chronic inflammation of the liver can result in the formation of fibrous tissue, leading to the condition known as fibrosis or scarring.

The Symptoms of Liver Inflammation and Scarring in Hamsters 

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness and weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Bruising or bleeding easily
  • Swelling in the legs, feet, ankles, and abdomen
  • Itchy skin
  • Redness on the palms of the hands
  • Spider-like blood vessels

Causes of Liver Inflammation and Scarring in Hamsters 

Infections, toxins, age, and other liver issues are highly possible causes. 

Treatment for Liver Inflammation and Scarring in Hamsters 

Treatment aims to manage the underlying cause of liver inflammation and prevent further scarring. 

This may involve medications to address infections, reduce inflammation, or manage symptoms and supportive care. 

25. Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s Disease in Hamsters occurs when the hamster’s body produces excess cortisol, a stress hormone. 

It is a progressive disease that can worsen if left untreated. While there is no simple test to diagnose Cushing’s disease in hamsters in the early stages, vets often rely on clinical symptoms to make a diagnosis.

Symptoms of Cushing’s Disease in Hamsters 

  • Weight loss
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Hair loss 
  • Muscle weakness
  • Changes in behavior: increased irritability, restlessness, or depression
  • Skin issues 

Causes of Cushing’s Disease in Hamsters 

Cushing’s Disease in hamsters can be caused by the overactivity of the adrenal gland, which sits next to the kidney and produces steroid hormones. The exact cause of this overactivity is not fully understood.

Treatments for Cushing’s Disease in Hamsters 

The treatment of Cushing’s Disease in hamsters may involve a combination of medical management and supportive care.

Treatment may include medications to regulate cortisol levels or address underlying hormonal imbalances. 

Surgery or radiation therapy may be considered in certain cases. 

Eye Issues 

Common eye issues in hamsters include: 

  • eye infections
  • swelling of the eye
  • cloudy eyes
  • sticky eyes
  • redness around the eye

Medical eye issues in hamsters include: 

  • Conjunctivitis 
  • Protrusion of the eyeball

26. Conjunctivitis (pinkeye)

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the mucous membrane that lines the eyelids and covers the surface of the eyeball. 

Symptoms of Conjunctivitis in Hamsters 

  • Redness and swelling of the conjunctiva
  • Watery or thick discharge from the eye
  • Squinting or blinking excessively
  • Itching or rubbing of the affected eye
  • Eye sensitivity or discomfort
  • Crusty or stuck-together eyelids
  • Conjunctival tissue appearing pink or inflamed

Causes of Conjunctivitis in Hamsters

Infections, irritations, injuries, and dental issues are common causes of conjunctivitis. 

Treatment for Conjunctivitis in Hamsters

Veterinarians may prescribe antibiotics or antiviral eye drops or ointments to help alleviate the infection or inflammation.

27. Protrusion of the eyeball/ Bulging

The condition is often referred to as exophthalmos or proptosis( Bulging) of the eye. It is a painful condition and veterinary assistance is necessary.

Symptoms of Eyeball Protrusion in Hamsters

  • Bulging or protrusion of one or both eyeballs from the eye socket.
  • Localized swelling around the affected eye.
  • Irritation or discomfort
  • Clear discharge from the affected eye

Causes of Eyeball Protrusion in Hamsters

Eyeball Protrusion in Hamsters can be caused by glaucoma, allergies, trauma, cancers, and other health issues including dental issues.

Treatment for Eyeball Protrusion in Hamsters

Depending on the cause, the veterinarian may prescribe medications such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, or ophthalmic ointments to alleviate the underlying infection or inflammation.

In some cases, the veterinarian may attempt to manually reposition the protruded eyeball back into the eye socket, but this should only be done by a trained professional under anesthesia.

Pain management should be included in treatment. 

Bone, Joint, and Muscle issues

Issues with bones, joints, and muscles, in most cases, happen due to injuries. Hamster fights, falling, or getting stuck are the most common reasons hamsters end up in vet clinics. 

28. Lameness

Lameness refers to a condition where a hamster experiences difficulty or pain while moving, typically due to an issue with its limbs or joints.

Types of Lameness in Hamsters:

Musculoskeletal Injuries: strains, sprains, fractures, or dislocations

Arthritis: Older hamsters can develop arthritis, which is inflammation and degeneration of the joints.

Symptoms of Lameness in Hamsters

  • Limping: Hamsters may exhibit an abnormal gait, favoring one limb or showing difficulty in moving.
  • Reluctance to Move: Hamsters with lameness may be hesitant to move, run, or use certain limbs.
  • Pain or Discomfort: They may show signs of pain or discomfort when their affected limb or joint is touched or manipulated.

Causes of Lameness in Hamsters

Strokes can result in temporary or permanent lameness in hamsters. 

Before experiencing a stroke, hamsters may exhibit signs of exhaustion, unsteadiness, swaying or falling over while walking, and eventual collapse following a period of activity. 

Cage paralysis –  inadequate exercise due to a small cage or a lack of hamster accessories designed for physical activity.

Hamster obesity has been identified as a contributing factor to cage paralysis.

Treatment for Lameness in Hamsters

The veterinarian may prescribe pain medications or anti-inflammatory drugs to alleviate discomfort, depending on the severity and cause of the lameness.

29. Broken bones

Fractures, which are also commonly referred to as broken bones, occur during climbs or when hamsters become trapped in the cage. 

Types of Fractures in Hamsters:

Tibia/Fibula: Fractures of the leg bones, specifically the tibia and fibula, are common in hamsters.

Metatarsals: Fractures involving the metatarsal bones of the feet 

Radius/Ulna: Fractures of the forearm bones, the radius, and ulna,

Carpals: Fractures of the small bones in the wrist area, known as the carpals

Phalanges: Fractures involving the small bones of the toes or fingers, called phalanges,

Cervical Vertebrae: In some cases, hamsters may experience fractures in the neck region 

Symptoms of Fractures in Hamsters

  • Painful Swelling in the affected area
  • Abnormal Angle of Bones.
  • Reluctance to Move
  • Visible Wounds
  • Dragging of Limb

Cause of Fractures in Hamsters

Broken bones, including fractures of the back, can occur when a hamster’s leg becomes trapped in wire exercise wheels or wire/mesh caging materials and drops or falls from significant heights, such as tabletops

Hamsters may also sustain broken bones from fights with other hamsters or altercations with cats or dogs. 

We also get reports about hamsters jumping off ledges, beds, couches, or other high surfaces.

Treatment for Broken Bones in Hamsters

To assess the severity and location of the fracture, the vet will conduct a physical examination and X-rays. 

Depending on the type and location of the fracture, the veterinarian may recommend immobilizing the affected limb by applying a splint or cast. 

In some cases, pain medications or anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to alleviate discomfort. 

For more severe fractures, surgery may be necessary to properly realign the fractured bone pieces. 

30. Paralysis

Paralysis in hamsters can manifest in different forms:

Cage Paralysis: a condition where a hamster loses the use of its hind legs and may become stiff. 

The hamster will drag its back legs and have difficulty moving. The exact cause of cage paralysis is not well understood, but it may be associated with spinal trauma or muscle disorders. 

Treatment options for cage paralysis are limited, and depending on the severity and underlying cause, it might not be possible to treat the condition.

Hind Leg Paralysis: is characterized by the hamster’s inability to move its hind legs, starting with limping and progressing to complete loss of movement. 

Hind leg paralysis can have various causes, including spinal trauma, bacterial or viral infections, myopathies, or deterioration of bones and muscles due to a lack of certain nutrients. 

The treatment for hind leg paralysis will depend on the underlying cause and severity. In some cases, early intervention with veterinary care may improve the chances of recovery.

31. Dental Problems

Condition Types and Specific Issues:

Overgrown Teeth: Hamsters have continuously growing incisor (front, gnawing) teeth throughout their lives. If these teeth are not properly worn down, they can become overgrown, leading to issues such as malocclusion (misalignment of the teeth.

Causes of dental problems in Hamsters

The main cause of dental problems in hamsters is the natural growth of their teeth. Malocclusion can also be caused by genetic factors or trauma.

Treatment for dental problems in hamsters

The treatment for dental problems in hamsters depends on the specific issue diagnosed by a veterinarian. 

For overgrown teeth, the vet may need to trim them down to alleviate pain and restore proper alignment. 

In severe cases, the veterinarian may need to perform dental procedures such as extractions or filing. 

32. Tumors and Cancers

Condition Types and Specific Issues:

Skin Tumors: statistically are cancerous in hamsters

Lymphoma: cancer of the immune system.

Adrenal glands and Reproductive organs tumors are statically benign in hamsters. 

Symptoms of Tumors and Cancers in Hamsters

  • Skin growths
  • Lethargy and Depression
  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea (or bloody diarrhea)
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Hair loss
  • Increased thirst
  • Excessive grooming

Causes of Tumors and Cancers in Hamsters

The exact causes of tumors and cancers in hamsters are not fully understood. However, factors such as genetics, diet, environment, age, and sex may play a role. 

Treatments for Tumors and Cancers in Hamsters

The treatment options for tumors and cancers in hamsters depend on g the type and location of the tumor, as well as the overall health of the hamster 

Surgical Treatment: For external tumors located on the skin, surgical removal is often the best treatment option to eliminate the tumor. However, surgery for internal tumors can be more challenging due to the small size of hamsters and their tiny internal organs.

Chemotherapy: In cases where surgery is not possible or to complement surgical treatment, chemotherapy may be considered. Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to disrupt the cell cycle and kill cancer cells.

No Treatment: In some cases, benign tumors that are not causing any harm to vital organs may not require treatment. The hamster can continue to live its normal lifespan with regular monitoring and appropriate care.

Heart issues 

Research has shown that hamsters can develop alterations in cardiac function, including decreased mean arterial pressure and musculocutaneous blood flow, as well as cardiac remodeling.

Common heart issues in hamsters include:

  • Atrial thrombosis
  • Congestive heart failure

33. Atrial thrombosis

Atrial thrombosis refers to the formation of blood clots inside one of the upper chambers (atria) of the hamster’s heart. 

Atrial Thrombosis in Syrian Hamsters: Atrial thrombosis is a condition that occurs in up to 70% of older Syrian hamsters, with blockages often found in the left side of the heart.

Symptoms of Atrial Thrombosis in Hamsters

  • Clinical Signs: Hamsters with atrial thrombosis may exhibit clinical signs suggestive of heart failure, including tachypnea (rapid breathing), tachycardia (elevated heart rate), and cyanosis (bluish discoloration of mucous membranes).
  • Associated Lesions: Necropsy findings may include a swollen, firm, and mottled white and red left atrium, as well as pulmonary edema and pleural effusion in hamsters.

Treatment for Atrial Thrombosis in Hamsters

The veterinarian may prescribe medications to address specific aspects of the condition, such as heart failure, and help manage thrombosis.

Regular check-ups with the veterinarian will be necessary to monitor the hamster’s condition, adjust treatment if needed, and provide ongoing care

34. Congestive heart failure

Congestive heart failure refers to a condition in which the heart is unable to pump blood effectively, leading to fluid accumulation and poor circulation. 

Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure in Hamsters

  • Respiratory Distress: labored breathing or difficulty breathing
  • Elevated Heart Rate
  • Cyanosis: The hamster’s skin may develop a blue tint
  • Edema: Accumulation of fluid in the abdomen

Causes of Congestive Heart Failure in Hamsters

The most common cause of congestive heart failure in hamsters is an issue with heart muscles, which impair normal blood pumping.

Amyloidosis is a condition where waxy translucent deposits accumulate in the organs and tissues of hamsters.

Treatment for Congestive Heart Failure in Hamsters

Although there is no effective cure for congestive heart failure in hamsters, your veterinarian may prescribe medications to help manage the condition. 

Cardiac glycosides, such as digoxin, may be administered to improve heart muscle contraction and restore normal circulation. Diuretic agents like furosemide might also be prescribed to help reduce edema.

Multy-system health issues  

35. Lymphocytic choriomeningitis

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis is a viral infectious disease caused by the Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), which belongs to the family Arenaviridae. While LCMV is primarily associated with house mice, it can also infect hamsters and other rodents, including pet hamsters.

Symptoms of Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis in Hamsters

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis can manifest in different ways in hamsters, including:

  • Flu-like Illness: LCMV infection in hamsters can initially present as a flu-like illness with symptoms such as fever, body aches, lack of appetite, headaches, sore throat, cough, and chest pain.
  • Pregnancy-related Complications: If a pregnant hamster is infected with LCMV, it can lead to congenital LCMV infection, which is associated with high mortality and morbidity in offspring.
  • Fever
  • Stiff neck
  • Malaise
  • Lack of appetite (anorexia)
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Symptoms typically appear 1-2 weeks after exposure to the virus

Causes of  Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis in Hamsters

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis in hamsters is primarily transmitted through contact with infected rodents, including mice and hamsters. 

Exposure to dust or food contaminated by the gray house mouse or hamsters, which harbor the virus and excrete it in various bodily fluids, including urine, feces, semen, and nasal secretions

The virus can be present in their urine, feces, or other body fluids. Hamsters can become infected by inhaling contaminated dust or by consuming food contaminated with the virus.

Diagnosis: Veterinarians can diagnose Lymphocytic choriomeningitis in hamsters through a combination of clinical signs, history of exposure, and laboratory testing. 

Laboratory tests such as ELISA and PCR can help detect the presence of LCMV or specific antibodies in the hamster’s blood or other body fluids.

Treatment for  Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis in Hamsters

There is no specific antiviral treatment available for LCMV in hamsters. Supportive care is typically provided to manage the symptoms and allow the hamster’s immune system to fight the infection. 

Other Hamster Health Issues 

36. Allergies

Food Allergies: Hamsters can develop allergies to certain foods, such as specific grains or proteins. Allergic reactions to food can manifest as skin problems, digestive issues, or respiratory symptoms.

Environmental Allergies: Hamsters can be sensitive to environmental allergens, including bedding materials, aerosols, cigarette smoke, perfumes, and air fresheners. 

These allergens can cause respiratory problems in hamsters

Skin Allergies: Mite infestations, such as ear mites, nose mites, and tropical rat mites, can cause allergic reactions in hamsters, leading to skin inflammation and itching.

Causes of Allergies in Hamsters 

Sensitivities to Specific Substances: Hamsters may develop allergies to certain food ingredients, bedding materials, aerosols, or other environmental irritants.

Exposure to Allergens: Hamsters can come into contact with allergens through their diet, environment, or interactions with other pets or humans who may carry allergens on their skin or clothing.

Treatments for Allergies in Hamsters

If a specific allergen is identified, the primary approach is to eliminate or avoid exposure to that allergen. This may involve changing the hamster’s diet, using different bedding materials, or removing irritants from the environment.

In the case of skin allergies caused by mite infestations, topical medications prescribed by a veterinarian can help alleviate inflammation and control mite populations.

37. Swelling

Swelling in hamsters can be indicative of various conditions, and it’s important to identify the specific issue to provide appropriate treatment. 

Here are some condition types related to swelling in hamsters, along with their causes, treatments, and additional information:

Abscesses: Abscesses are pockets of infection that can develop when a hamster gets a skin wound from fighting with a cage mate or getting scratched by sharp bedding. 

The wound becomes infected, leading to the formation of an abscess. Treatment involves taking the hamster to a vet, who will examine the abscess, possibly take a sample to identify the type of bacteria present, and prescribe appropriate antibiotics.

Internal Swelling: Swelling in the abdomen or other internal areas of a hamster’s body can indicate a more serious condition. It’s crucial to seek veterinary care for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. 

The underlying causes of internal swelling can vary and may include tumors, organ enlargement, or other pathological conditions. The veterinarian will assess the hamster’s overall health and may recommend imaging tests, such as X-rays or ultrasounds, to determine the cause. Treatment will depend on the specific condition identified.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Inflammation of the small intestines in hamsters may be associated with the use of certain antibiotics. 

Antibiotics like lincomycin, clindamycin, ampicillin, vancomycin, erythromycin, penicillin, and cephalosporins, which have activity against gram-positive bacteria, can be fatal for hamsters and may contribute to intestinal inflammation. Prevention involves avoiding the use of these antibiotics unless necessary and under veterinary guidance.

Dental Issues: Overgrown teeth in hamsters can cause swelling and discomfort. If a hamster’s teeth are not worn down naturally through chewing, the veterinarian may need to trim them occasionally to prevent complications such as drooling, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Regular dental check-ups are essential to ensure proper dental health in hamsters.

38. Tularemia

Tularemia is a rare bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis, which can affect various mammals, including hamsters. 

Tularemia in hamsters is characterized by a rapid spread of the bacteria and can lead to severe complications such as blood poisoning. 

Symptoms of Tularemia in Hamsters

  • fever 
  • rough hair coat
  • bleeding in the lungs 
  • enlarged liver, spleen, and lymph nodes 

Hamsters infected with Tularemia often die within 48 hours of becoming ill.

Causes of Tularemia in Hamsters

Tularemia in hamsters is caused by the bacteria Francisella tularensis. 

Transmission to hamsters can occur through tick or mite bites, direct contact with infected animals, or contaminated water or food sources.

Treatment for Tularemia in Hamsters

Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for Tularemia in hamsters. 

Since Tularemia is contagious to humans and can have serious health implications, infected hamsters or hamsters that have been exposed to infected hamsters should be handled with caution. 


Preventing Tularemia in hamsters involves reducing the risk of exposure to the bacteria. This can be achieved by practicing good hygiene, such as regular handwashing, wearing gloves when handling potentially infected animals, and keeping the hamster’s living environment clean and free of pests.

Tularemia is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transmitted from animals to humans. Therefore, if you suspect your hamster has Tularemia or if you develop any symptoms after contact with an infected hamster, it is crucial to seek medical attention and inform your healthcare provider about the potential exposure to Tularemia.

39. Actinomycosis 

Actinomycosis in hamsters is caused by the bacteria Actinomyces bovis. The bacteria gains entry into the hamster’s body through wounds present in the mouth.

Symptoms of actinomycosis in hamsters 

  • Coughing
  • Hemoptysis (coughing up blood)
  • Tachypnea (rapid breathing)
  • Respiratory distress
  • Subcutaneous soft tissue masses
  • bald patches
  • crusty and flaky skin
  • redness

The transmission of actinomycosis in hamsters can occur through contact with infected animals or humans, as well as from contaminated objects like bedding. Hamsters that spend time outside their cages may also be exposed to the fungi present in the home environment.

Treatment for actinomycosis in hamsters typically involves the use of antibiotics prescribed by the veterinarian. 

The specific antibiotics and duration of treatment will depend on the severity of the infection and the individual hamster’s condition. In some cases, lancing and flushing of abscesses may be necessary. 

Pain management may also be included in the treatment plan.

40. Overgrown nails

This condition occurs when a hamster’s nails become excessively long. Overgrown nails can cause discomfort, and pain, and may lead to complications such as nails folding inwards, curling sideways, or growing into the hamster’s paws.


Hamsters’ nails naturally grow over time, but improper nail wear, such as limited exposure to hard surfaces or lack of climbing opportunities, can result in excessive nail growth.

Older hamsters may experience more rapid nail growth.


Trimming the nails is the primary treatment for overgrown nails in hamsters. It is important to approach nail trimming with caution to avoid injuring the hamster. 

If you are uncomfortable or inexperienced with trimming hamster nails, it is recommended to seek assistance from a veterinarian. 

hamster nail maintenance

Preventative Measures for Hamster Health Issues

hamster is a doctor.

If you followed our guide carefully, you know that most hamster health issues are preventable. 

To know more about hamster care you can read our Hamster care guide

Three main factors will make or break your hamster’s health:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Clean and safe living environment
  3. Exercise and mental stimulation
  4. Vet visit if you notice changes and symptoms 

Proper Nutrition

A healthy diet is essential to hamster health. 

Hamsters require a diet rich in protein, fiber, and vitamins. 

Avoid feeding your hamster sugary or fatty foods, as this can lead to obesity and digestive problems. 

Provide your hamster with fresh fruits and vegetables, and ensure they always have access to clean water.

Clean and Safe Living Environment

Regularly clean your hamster’s cage, replace bedding, and provide toys and hiding spots for mental stimulation. 

Always ensure your hamster’s environment is free from hazardous items, such as wires and other potential choking hazards.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Hamsters are active, and they require mental stimulation and exercise to stay healthy. 

Ensure your hamster has access to an exercise wheel and provide them with toys that encourage physical activity and mental stimulation.

Vet visits

A vet should be your go-to for any advice. We understand that every owner needs mental preparation and that’s why we are here, however, don’t replace your vet with internet content. 

Early detection of any health issue can change the course of illness. 

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