Posted: September 27, 2008, 5 a.m. EDT
Q: My hamster is 2 years old and has a swollen tail and his nails have gone black. Do you know what is wrong with him?
A: This may be a sign of a serious bacterial infection that has traveled through the bloodstream to the peripheral areas of the hamster’s extremities. If bacteria are in the bloodstream, it may be lodged in the smaller vessels called capillaries and cause severe damage in those areas. The blood vessels may die and the tissue, such as nails, may die and appear black.
Toxins can do the same type of damage. If you can, visit your veterinarian as soon as possible. Toxins or bacteria can travel to other areas of the body and kill your hamster. Or the tissues that have already died can release their own toxins which can make your hamster very sick.