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.
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.
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.