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Hamster Scratches Wound And Prevents Healing

Stopping a hamster from scratching or biting at his wound is a challenge for veterinarians and owners.

Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
Posted: December 18, 2014, 2 a.m. EST

hamster on hind legs
© I-5 Publishing
The thick neck of hamsters and other rodents make it difficult to place a collar on them to prevent them from scratching or chewing wounds.

Q: How do you keep a hamster from scratching at a healing wound?

A: That is not an easy question to answer! As veterinarians, we constantly are challenged by our hamster patients (and many of our rodent patients) by developing a means to stop these pets from chewing on wounds and sutures we may place in the skin. 

In a dog or cat, you have probably seen the Elizabeth collar or "dish” that goes around the neck to prevent them from chewing on wounds or sutures. Those collars do not work for the chubby-necked patients like rodents. There are many different homemade collars that we put on mice and hamsters, some are even commercially available, but it can be a challenge to stop them from going after a wound. 

With your hamster, the first thing I would say is this: Is the wound truly healing? If not, then it would be best to find out the cause of the wound and treat it properly. Once this is done, your hamster may then leave it alone. But if the wound is truly healing, again, it can be a real challenge to get your hamster to stop chewing at the skin edges. 

As veterinarians who work on exotic pets, we constantly are improvising to help our unusual patients, as there are not as many commercially available treatments and devices for our patients as there are for dogs and cats. By visiting a veterinarian, he or she may be able to develop a collar that will fit on your hamster to keep him from biting at the healing wound.

Like this article? Please share it, and check out:
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Posted: December 18, 2014, 2 a.m. EST

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