Posted: December 27, 2011, 6 a.m. EST
Q: My hamster’s stomach has gone rather big and hard, but he is still eating and drinking normally. I do not know his age because he was a rescue. What is wrong?
A: It is difficult to give you an answer regarding the enlarged abdominal area (the stomach) without seeing your hamster. This may be nothing more than weight gain if your hamster is less active or eating a higher calorie diet. Is it possible this is a female and she is pregnant? This could also represent an enlarged internal organ, such as the liver, the spleen or kidneys.
It is also possible that fluid has built up in the abdomen of your hamster from heart, liver or kidney disease. Finally, we worry about infections and cancer in older hamsters.
As you can see, many causes exist for the condition you are observing. Some of them are easily diagnosed just from the physical examination. Other conditions may need blood tests or radiographs for your veterinarian to give you an answer. As soon as there is an answer to what is causing this condition, you and your veterinarian can determine the best treatment plan for your hamster’s illness.
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