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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
Hi!

I just got my new hamster yesterday. Pair of Teddy Bear Hamster. I am wondering, how would I know if they have diarrhea? What is the color of it? Because I noticed yesterday that when we went home from pet shop, I saw a white liquid at the cage. And when we got home few hours later, I cleaned the cage and then I saw the white liquid again (it looks like milk). I am used to have a dog and cat pet but this one is new experience for me. Me, my Husband and Son loves it. And also, I enjoy reading this website, it is very informative. BTW, I am from the Philippines.
Vanj, International
Posted: 3/25/2015 4:00:37 PM
Hi,
I just got my winter white hamster yesterday. He hasn't been eating or drinking his water. All he wants to do is make tunnels under the bedding. He is sneezing, and rubbing his face a lot. When I try to take him out of his cage and put him in his play pen, he stands on his back two legs, and doesn't move around. He's not very active above ground.

Is this normal, or did I get a sick hamster?
Kendra, Hartland, WI
Posted: 2/1/2015 7:15:50 AM
I came home after a weekend away and my Hamster was wet. I thought the bottle may have leaked on him, but it smelled like urine, so I washed him and dryed him with towel and let him run in hos ball to dry off fully. He keeps giving little squeaks and now the front half of him is all wet and matted. Please help me figure out if my hamster may be ill.
Louise, Birmingham
Posted: 8/18/2014 6:34:46 PM
I came home after a weekend away and my Hamster was wet. I thought the bottle may have leaked on him, but it smelled like urine, so I washed him and dryed him with towel and let him run in hos ball to dry off fully. He keeps giving little squeaks and now the front half of him is all wet and matted. Please help me figure out if my hamster may be ill.
Louise, Birmingham
Posted: 8/18/2014 6:33:31 PM
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