How to Treat a Sick Hamster
- The first thing you should do is separate the sick hamster from the rest of its roommates. This should only apply to dwarf breeds because the larger Syrian breeds shouldn’t be housed together in the same hamster cage. The last thing you want is to spread any illnesses to the other healthy ones or have an injuried hamster get stressed out with too much activity going on in its cage.
- The next thing to do would be to heat the treatment habitat to 70-85*f (21-29*c) and make sure there are no drafts. You can use a heating pad or a heat lamp. Make sure the sick hamster has a way to escape the bright light as in providing a hamster house to hide in and make sure not to over heat the habitat. This heat treatment will make the hamster more comfortable and less stressed. Stress typically leads to a lowered immune system.
- While your hamster is in isolation, it’s time to clean its normal living habitat. Begin by putting on some gloves (or washing your hands thoroughly afterward) and removing all the waste. It’s not often that a human can get sick from a hamster illness but you should be careful when dealing with any animal waste since airborne particulates can potentially get into your system and make you sick (Warning: hamsters can spread rodent meningitis or fungal infections. Pregnant women should avoid contact with hamsters). Next remove and replace the bedding, food and water. Sanitize all of the surfaces by using a diluted soapy water mixture or a 10% bleach solution. (1/4 cup of bleach to 2 1/4 cups water); rinse these surfaces well. residual bleach vapors can be toxic to anyone especially a small pet in an enclosed space.
- Finally, you might need to get veterinarian care if the sickness or injury doesn’t get better with your treatment efforts. Getting the appropriate medication in a timely manner is important so seek out a vet sooner than later.
Read more about specific illnesses and injuries and their proper treatment in the hamster illnesses section.