see it clearly

Hamster Illness

Determining hamster illness depends on a keen eye and acute and consistent observation. Hamsters are nighttime animals, which is probably opposite of you, so problems and conditions may go unnoticed. If they go unnoticed for too long, then serious medical conditions can arise that could be detrimental to your pet.

Basic Knowledge

Hamster Illness

Hamsters are healthy creatures by default. Unfortunately, many of the diseases and ailments that have afflicted the animals spawned when they became domesticated. They are small creatures, which makes symptoms hard to spot. The more easily seen symptoms are vastly changing eating habits, strange walking patterns (limps, dragging limbs), listlessness, and aggressiveness (like biting and clawing). If anything like that occurs, chances are that your hamster needs to be checked.

Besides visual symptoms, you'll need to occasionally check your pet for abnormal growths and weird bumps. Don't let these go unlooked by a professional because they could lead to a serious hamster illness.

Common Hamster Illnesses

Allergies. Just like humans, hamsters can be allergic to all sorts of external stimuli and being indoor animals exposes them to much more than on the outside. Look for coughing, sneezing, puffy eyes, and white flakes around the eyes. The best remedy is to remove the cause of the allergy, especially if something new comes in contact with your pet. If you can't determine what is causing the allergy, then take your hamster to a vegetarian.

Fungus. The worst fungus your hamster can be exposed to is Aspergillis. This fungus occurs in the part of the cage where the animal goes to the bathroom and areas where food is left untouched and stationary for long periods of time. At first, you'll see little white spots forming and eventually they will change to black. This is the point when the fungus becomes dangerous. The fungus will send airborne spores that slowly deteriorate the hamster's health if not treated immediately. Look for signs of sluggishness, constant diarrhea, wheezing, and abnormal swelling.

Bladder/Kidney Infections

A hamster illness that is similar to humans is infections of the bladder and kidneys. Symptoms are the same: blood in the urine, frequent drinking, and frequent urinating. You may also hear your little pet let out a tiny whimper when he or she pees.

Home Paralysis

This isn't as serious as it sounds. The paralysis can happen when the hamster is living in cramped quarters. This hamster illness is easily prevented by ensuring your pet has enough room to live and exercise. If you see your hamster losing interest in exercising or running around, then consider moving him or her to a larger home.


Hamsters can attract colds as quickly as humans can if the germs are potent enough. Sadly, if hamster colds are treated right away, then lung infections and even death can occur. Some basic remedies in the first few days are to let the hamster breathe Vicks or to let him or her drink a liquid concoction of warm milk and honey. If symptoms continue, then seek the counsel of a vet.


Mites cause this hamster illness. If you see hair falling out and scaly skin, veterinarian treatment is necessary. This disease often returns; but after a successful treatment, just make sure you keep the cage clean. Also, ask your vet if a special diet is needed.

Tyzzer’s Disease

This is a bacterium that can afflict hamsters that are stressed. The disease is very communicable and often untreatable. You can prolong a hamster's life, but treatment isn't guaranteed. If you have more than one hamster and fear this hamster illness is present, then have a veterinarian check all of your pets.

Wet Tail

This disease specific to hamsters is caused by changes in its environment, drastic diet change, or anything that could cause stress. Ultimately, the hamster has extreme diarrhea, which will cause dehydration if left untreated. At the first signs of Wet Tail, seek treatment. If caught right away, a special formula can regulate the stress. After a few days of experience Wet Tail, the hamster will die from dehydration.

by Heather Long