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Common problems with hamsters

hamsters common problemsThe key to keeping your pet hamsters healthy is to provide them with a varied, natural diet to boost their immune system and a clean and spacious living accommodation.

Common health problems in hamsters include:-


Providing the correct type of bedding will help to keep your hamsters free from parasites. Symptoms of a parasite infestation could include hair loss, red, irritated skin, severe dandruff, small scratches all over the body and visible lice.

If your hamster is showing any of these signs, you should consult your vet.

Wet tail

Wet tail is often brought on by stress such as a change in surroundings or the presence of another animal in the hamster’s environment. A build-up of bacteria in the cage can also cause wet tail, so regular cleaning is very important.

Symptoms of wet tail include watery diarrhoea, loss of appetite and sudden weight loss, lethargy and a very strong smell of faeces.

Wet tail can prove fatal within days and unfortunately it does not respond well to treatment. Even so, you should take your hamster straight to the vet.


Tumours are fairly common in the elderly hamster. They can grow very quickly because hamsters have a fast metabolic rate. Mammary tumours are the most common and are the most likely to be cancerous.

When you handle your hamster - and you should do this regularly - check for unusual lumps and bumps on its body. If you are at all concerned, take your hamster to the vet.

Long nails

As your hamster gets older, it’s likely you will notice that its nails grow rather rapidly. Placing items such a fruit tree wood for it to climb on can help to file the nails down but your veterinary nurse will be able to trim the nails if necessary.

Always keep an eye on your hamster if it is housed in a mesh cage: elderly hamsters can get caught up in the bars if their nails have grown.

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