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Signs Your Hamster Is Sick

Know the signs of an ill hamster.

By Audrey Pavia
Posted: March 31, 2008, 5 a.m. EDT

Syrian hamster lying down
Hamster Peanut/Courtesy Tiffany Ann Deschamps
Knowing the signs of illness in hamsters might give you more time to help if your hamster falls ill.

A healthy hamster eats well, grooms itself, runs and plays normally, and has a full, shiny coat and bright eyes. Hamsters are sturdy little animals, but poor care, an incorrect diet or an unhealthy environment can all cause illnesses. Illness can also result from poor genetics or old age. The following signs indicate that your hamster may be unwell:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Inactivity
  • A dirty or matted coat
  • Red or flaky skin
  • Lumps beneath the skin
  • Excessive itchiness
  • Sneezing
  • Runny eyes or nose
  • Dull eyes
  • Wheezing or labored breathing
  • Shaking or shivering
  • Wetness in the tail area
  • Diarrhea


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Signs Your Hamster Is Sick

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Reader Comments
my hamster's eye is swollen and has a black like little ball under her eye and it is pretty bad so ya but also she is quite slow now and is not to interactive her eye has gotten worse and worse everyday it started to give out puss and suff she is an albino hamster and her name is snowflake you mentioned in your article about bumps and stuff well she has a bump under her mouth and it's green. i am so so so so worried and i need your help your article didn't really help me because of the fact that she doesn't have that problem and i want to take to the vet but i don't have the money i would like to know what i can do to help
Victoria, Fort lauderdale, FL
Posted: 5/6/2015 4:00:31 PM
We have a hamster, and noticed today that his eyes are matted shut. it there anything that we can do for this and possibly what ay have caused it.
Susie, Okanogan, WA
Posted: 4/29/2015 7:09:49 PM
Hi I got a hamster on Tuesday fir my birthday and from I got him he has not been drinking any water and he is losing his appetite for his food. I think his ill he is always shivering and my house is not to warm ir cold. Please can you answer me back as soon as possible because I'm extremely worried about him thank you.
Sherise, Leeds
Posted: 4/17/2015 9:27:33 AM
so i have a winter white hamster. She is lying still in her food bowl lying motionless but is breathing, she used to have consecutive breaths but now it is shortened, it looks like normal breathing but a little bit smaller that usual. She was running around in her wheel today, i don't know if she is dying slowly or sick.

Please help!
Mariyah, south jordan, UT
Posted: 4/10/2015 10:19:44 PM
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