Treat a Sick Hamster

How to Treat a Sick Hamster

If your hamster is ill or injured, there are things you can do to treat it. After you observe the behavior of your sick pet and note the signs and symptoms, you can go about treating it for those ailments. It’s worth mentioning that the best treatment is illness prevention. That being said though, no amount of hamster care can guarantee your little pet won’t ever get sick of injuried in it’s 2-3 year lifespan.

Related: Common Illnesses | Signs and Symptoms

Treatment Basics

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Veterinarian Care for Hamsters

It’s important to find a veterinarian early on before you ever need to treat a sick hamster. Not all vets have the expertise to cure hamster illnesses and injuries. Therefore, it’s important you look around to find one that can. It might sound crazy to need a veterinarian for a pet hamster but it’s the right thing to do if you have a sick or injured one on your hands. No one likes to see an animal suffer; no matter how large or small it is. You might think it will be too costly to take your sick pet into the vet but some vets won’t charge as much to cure and treat sick hamsters as they would dogs or cats. It’s wise to ask in advance if the vets would work with you in terms of vet fees. Sometimes all you might need is some professional advice or a broad spectrum antibiotic. Try not to use the cost of a vet visit in determining your treatment methods.


Medicating your Pet

It’s never wise hamster care to medicate your sick pet yourself with home remedies or medicine made for humans. You can easily give an overdose that poisons and kills these little guys. If you get medications from your vet though, it might not be easy to get your ill hamster to take its medicine. Some tips for administering treatment of a reluctant patient include: mixing the meds with it’s favorite food or using a syringe to slowly feed any liquid medicines that it won’t drink on it’s own. Be careful when performing this treatment method though, so as to not induce choking on the liquids.

Djungarian Hamster

Little Dwarf Hamster Type

Read more about specific illnesses and injuries and their proper treatment in the directory of hamster illness.

Reviewed By: Tim Winter

Tim Winter has a strong affection for pets and wildlife. His years of experience caring for various types of pets has led him to share his knowledge with others on the best practices in pet care. Tim holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications.

18 thoughts on “Treat a Sick Hamster”

  1. My sons Drwarf Djungarian hamster has a lump in her belly that we discover the other day and she hasn’t been pooping much and its very dry and she not peeing as much. I gave her a few licks of olive oil for a few days and it was a little moister but not much has changed. She not eating as much and or drinking much. We took her to the vet yesterday they did an x-ray and didn’t see anything in her belly but possibly could be constipation or blockage but nothing shows, said it looks pretty normal. They gave us lactulose to give her to see if it will help if it constipation or blockage. She was whooped last night and today she’s been up and down. Offering her what ever she would like to eat and giving her drops of water and i am starting to use some vitamin water.
    Can anyone give me some advise as to what this could be and how we can help her. She’s a little over a year and the lump / mass is kind of center and toward her left side. She’s walking a little higher too from the discomfort.

  2. My hamster is bleeding from it nose and eyes I think she doesn’t want to eat or drink water ! She sleeping a lot she move only when I wake her up please help me ? What should I do

  3. Snowny is shaky at times ate little carrot the day before now not eating wrap snowny in fleece cloth so to keep warm also put an warmer under the blanket . Not responding like usual clean the cage age almost 3 years old what should I do what wrong? ???Worried!

  4. My hamster eyes are goopy and she won’t eat she just lies in my pocket on my sweater and sleeps or curls in a ball in her cage and sleeps she drinks water if we give it to her but that’s all she has no energy and I don’t know what to do she is also not even a year old yet

  5. My hamster seems sick. She has messy fur and poop around her privates. My parents don’t want to take her to the vet because they think it’s not worth small animals. What should I do?

    • That sounds like wet tail. You need to get wet tail drops. They are like 10-15 dollars at a pet store (petsmart or petco). You will want to act fast though, wet tail can kill a hamster within 48 hours of the first symptoms.

  6. Help……My teddy bear hamster who is 1 1/2-2 yrs old has a bloated belly. Is there anything I can do before I bring her to the vet? She’s barely eating or drinking and sleeping a lot.
    Thank you

  7. My hamster is ill and not drinking properly and I have had to help feed him food and water otherwise he wouldn’t do it for him self, he’s only just turning one. He is weak and not moving often and when he does he wobbles and isn’t steady, his bottom his wet constantly and he is sleeping a lot unless I wake him up . To Touch he is quite cold so we’ve put a hot waterbottle under the cage, also her poop has been getting stuck around her bum skin/fur. Please reply quick I’m unsure whats wrong and what I should do.

  8. My 6 hamster died yesterday, day by day each hamster died. I don’t know if its because of diarrhea but that is what I see because my hamster always poop and their poop looks like wet, and they no longer eat and drink they just sleep and eventually, die 🙁

  9. My mum got a cat and he got into my room he went up on the desk and knocked the hamsters cage down the hamster now has a giant lump on his nose like the size of a small hazel nut and he walks with a limp he walks then falls it’s a repeat with his walking skills and his back right leg sticks out and doesn’t move at all what should I do please help me he’s well fed and hydrated

  10. My hamster has ben sick for a few days and I had 2 other hamsters that died from what looks like the same thing and one of the ones that died was her dad and the other was her sister.her symtoms are: messy looking fur 1 of her eyes is normaly held shut buy crust which I use warm water on a wash cloth to get off and when I pick her up her sides feal fat,but I can feal almost all her bones and for the first few days her poop stuk to her skin/hair around her anus and she only seems to drink water when I put her water bottle in front of her mouth(she lives in a 10 gal. Tank with no lid).she also sleeps a lot and never wakes up unless I waker her up or she has to pee, or eat (she is 6 months old her and her sisters wher born at my house and her mom is still alive and healthy) she doesn’t seem to eat much.pleas answer as quickly as posible I don’t know how much longer she has!

    • I’m sorry for the late reply, this was the soonest i was able to get to this. 🙁 it sounds like your hamster has the flu or a cold. When your hamster gets sick like this, you should follow the steps on this post and remember to try and keep them hydrated. To prevent things like this, if you or anyone in your family is sick, stay away from your hamsters. Also, try to keep your hamster’s room clean and free of germs.

      • my son hammster is feel the same she if feeling weak she is moving slowly she dont have any other roommats she just by here self is there any thing i could give her she just a baby still i gave her a lil piece of carrot and she nibling on it

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