Posted: August 27, 2008, 5 a.m. EDT
Q: Is anything that you would recommend to work on regulating a hamster's stools to be normal again? My hamster Calypso doesn't appear to be passing stools as often as he was doing – and sometimes not at all. On occasion he has when he has been in his exercise ball. Could he be suffering from constipation? Is there anything I can give my hamster to help?
A: Sometimes, stool problems in hamsters are due primarily to the food they are fed. So the first thing to do is examine what your hamster is eating. Are you feeding a healthy diet? Are you feeding a high-quality hamster food? Is your hamster getting treats? Hamsters really do not need treats and these can cause digestive problems in some cases. Is someone else in the house giving your hamster treats that you may not know about? Does it have access to clean water all the time? Once you have checked that out, determine if your hamster may be chewing on articles in its cage or around the house that could disturb its gastrointestinal tract. The next thing to look at is supplements. Is your hamster getting supplements? If it is on a healthy diet, supplements are not necessary. Finally, if your hamster has received any medication recently, especially antibiotics, these chemicals can disturb its gastrointestinal tract to cause the signs you described.