Posted: March 27, 2011, 5 a.m. EDT
Q: My hamster had a cold, so I cleaned his cage really well and gave him fresh water and food. I read online that a hamster owner should become very concerned if a hamster becomes lethargic and less active. The day after I cleaned his cage, he seemed to improve. His nose wasn’t as red and less runny. But today, I noticed he had a bloody nose. How can I help him? I know it comes with having a pet, but I really don’t have the money for a vet.
A: It is difficult to know exactly what is happening with your hamster. You may be seeing blood or it could be a discharge that is tinged to a reddish color due to porphyrin pigmentation.
If you cannot visit a veterinarian, then try to keep his cage as well maintained as possible. It may be that your hamster is sensitive to odors in the environment, which is causing irritation of his respiratory system.
Make sure that airflow is as good as possible in his cage. Also, be sure that the material in his cage is not aromatic. Make sure that urine is not allowed to soak into his cage bedding and that his bedding is changed frequently. Try to keep dust levels very low in his cage area.
If this is a respiratory irritation, he should start to get better as you improve his environment.
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