Hamster Hind Limb Problems

There are two main problems that can affect a hamster’s hind limbs. One is a term called Cage Paralysis and the other is Hind Limb Paralysis. Both have similar symptoms, loss of the use of the back legs to the point where they become stiff and the ill hamster has to  drag its back legs  . One is more serious than the other; that being Hind Limb Paralysis.
hamster

Causes of Cage Paralysis

The main cause of cage paralysis is a lack of exercise due to a small cage or little to no hamster accessories meant for exercise. Another cause of cage paralysis is hamster obesity. If a hamster doesn’t exercise and also  over eats, the hamster can become overweight, inactive and begin muscle and bone degeneration, which can lead to the loss of use to its hind legs. In severe cases, a hamster might not be able to move at all.

Treatment

Early Diagnosis: You can treat your hamster by providing it more space by increasing its hamster habitat with more tunnels, or habitat modules. A daily run on a hamster wheel or in a hamster ball will help keep cage paralysis away. Vitamin supplements, including vitamin D (helps absorb calcium) and E in the food or water can also help keep your hamsters healthy. If you already do provide this type of environment for your hamsters and your hamster still has hind leg problems, there is a chance that it is the more serious type of hamster illness, Hind Limb Paralysis.



Late Diagnosis: Treat the same as above but a full recovery might not be the outcome.

Causes of Hind Limb Paralysis

Hind leg paralysis can be caused by an injury to the spinal cord and nerves leading to the legs, a bacterial infection called Campylobacteriosis* or a hereditary trait found in males that gets passed down from a previous generation. In any case, the hamster can not use it’s back limbs.

*Campylobacteriosis is a spiral-shaped bacteria or infectious disease that causes diarrhea. A hamster’s own immune system can fight off this infection but it will also go after its own nerve tissues since they are similar in chemical makeup.

Treatment

Some cases of hind limb paralysis are treatable but some of the more serious cases can not be treated. You should let a veterinarian make the call to treat or euthanize the disabled hamster. With mild cases of injury or infection, treatments can help for a full recovery. In the case of an injury, painkillers and anti inflammatory can help ease the pain and swelling. In  the case of an infection such as  Campylobacteriosis, treat a hamster for wet tail disease.



6 comments on “Hind Limb Problems
  1. jasmin says:

    hi, I just got my hamster three days ago and he has not been eating or drinking water like he should also he started dragging his back legs I don’t know what to do to help him

    • admin says:

      First and importantly you need to make sure your hamster stays hydrated. You may need to get a small syringe and hand feed it water. dehydration can be fatal.

      You might want to reach out to the pet store you got your new hamster at and see if they have any other complaints similar to this. It could be a hereditary issue and in that case, the pet store should not be selling these hamsters.

      It also could be due to Campylobacteriosis as described above or an injury like a fall. The first is accompanied by diarrhea.

      Some hamster owners have described observing their hamster for a time have back leg problems but then that they got better on their own. A few thought it might have been due to poor handling of the hamster to the point the little hamster got bruised to the the point of swelling in the back legs. With some time to heal, the hamsters were again able to use their legs.

      If time or any of the treatments found here work, you might want to take the hamster to the vet.

  2. Tracy says:

    My hamster is sleeping 24/7 and I haven’t seen her come out for the past 2 days unless I physically get her out ? When I open her bed her eyes are closed and when she tries opening them they won’t open ?? I mean she hasn’t eaten and has a yellowie discharge from her behind ?? Any idea what it is ??

    • admin says:

      Is your hamster displaying any other issues? At first thought, it sounds like it might have a flu but it’s hard to tell without more information. Regardless, make sure the hamster’s cage is nice and warm and try to get it to drink some water. Dehydration can be a serious problem for hamsters that have diarrhea or wet tail. See this post for more info. Lastly, it may be that your hamster’s eyes are stuck shut. If the eyes have mucus or crust around them, you can use warm water and a soft cloth to help remove it. This could help resolve that issue.

  3. alexandra says:

    i have a hamster that is a male black bear male hamster. it has a pretty large cage with 2 tunnels one that just goes straight up and has a little hut up there and one that leads to a huge wheel for him to explore and run in i also have a normal wheel on the lower level.he has had no falls and has never gotten injured before but just yesterday he would drag his hind legs. He never used them just dragging them behind. His behind became very dirty and we are pretty sure from his waist down he is paralyzed he has gotten no better and it scares me because it looks as if hes getting worse. I gave him some medicine for wet tail today and i hope i did the right thing because i don’t want him to get it, and i heard you have to give it to them ounce you see any sighn of it. I have had 5 hmasters in the pass so i think i am raising them correctly because one lived all the way to 4 years and 6 months. it was actually my very first hamster:). And i just really dont want this hamster to die it means so much to me and my dad got me this one because when i had my last one named sugar it died of wet tail the second day i got it and we got sugar because my other hamster pastalito died because of wet tail and i couldnt treat it fast enought PLEASE HELP!!!!!!

    • admin says:

      I’m very sorry to hear your little hamsters is having problems walking. It’s good you are treating it for wet tail since that can become a more serious problem quickly. How have you been feeding your hamster? It might be that your hamster has weak bones and needs more calcium in its diet. People recommend scrambled eggs and broccoli bits. You might also want to remove the wheel if that might lead to it getting hurt. You can also add a heat pad underneath a part of your cage so it can warm up its joints. Don’t put it inside since it might get gnawed on and cause more problems than good.

      Continue to treat your hamster and observe it to see if anything seems to be getting better. It’s hard to tell but it might be a hereditary thing or metabolic bone disease. A vet can prescribe a thing called metacam to help ease the pain. It’s not always easy to take a hamster to a vet but some of them will not charge as much for such a small pet. Call around to find one that knows about hamsters.

      Best of luck and I hope your hamster gets better soon. Please let us know.

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