Injured or Sick Hamster: Signs & Symptoms

Last Updated: April 14, 2020.

If you are concerned that one of your pet hamsters is sick or injured, let us help you diagnose the problem. By closely observing your pet’s behavior and physical appearance we can begin to narrow down the issue(s) of your sick hamster.

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General Signs

Specific Illnesses
sick hamster treatment care

Signs and Symptoms

Change in Your Hamster’s Behavior: Good care involves observing your hamster often to see how it acts on a good day. Understand what a typical day is for your little pets. Watch the wake-up routine; does the pet in question stretch and yawn like it usually does? Is your hamster eating and drinking the usual amount per day? Has the interaction it has among other hamsters roommates changed in any way? If you answered yes to any of these, it’s possible your little guy or gal is under the weather, injured or sick.
Interaction Between You and Your Hamster: Next observe how they interact with you. When you open the cage door, are your hamsters responsive? A normal reaction would be for it to perk its ears up and look towards your direction. A sick hamster might be completely out of it and not have any reaction when you open the cage. It might also cower or get nippy as it might feel vulnerable when it is sick or injured. Of course, if your hamster is new, it might be a bit shy until it gets familiar with being handled. The CDC offers advice on how you and your hamsters can stay healthy.
Cute hamster standing

Coat and Fur: A healthy one with a satin coat should have a sleek coat or fur. If it looks dull or wet, it might be a sign that it is sick. If a coat that is normally rex, now has a ruffled or dried out coat appearance, it can also be a sign of illnesses.
Eyes: Healthy eyes are bright and alert without redness. There should be no discharge or crusty parts. They should not be dull or sunken in appearance. Some hamster breeds have reddish eyes, to begin with so it’s important to observe what the eyes of this hamster normally look like.
Nose: The nose should be dry and not runny. A runny nose can be a sign of a cold or some other virus.
Mouth: Two common symptoms of a health issue include overgrown long teeth known as malocclusion and impacted cheek pouches. An impaction occurs when food or debris becomes stuck in the sides of the mouth. Both of these are capable of limiting a hamsters food and water intake which can become a serious matter if the issue is not resolved.
Tail: A wet hamster tail is not a good sign. This is wetness can either be fecal matter or urine. If you notice your sick hamster not moving away from where it just did its business, this is a strong indicator that there is a real health issue going on. Wet tail drops might help.

Syrian Hamster Breed

Once you spot all the behaviors and symptoms that are out of the norm, go to the next section below to help determine the ailment that most closely resembles your hamster’s problem.

Within the following articles we provide additional information on specific problems including signs, causes and treatment approaches of the given ailment. Some of the treatment solutions we provide might include things you can do yourself or medications you can get from the pet store.

If you ever have to ask yourself the question, “is my hamster dying?” or if your hamster looks sick to the point that it needs immediate attention, we always recommend consulting a professional vet. A vet can conduct medical procedures and or prescribe medications and antibiotics.

External Resources

For diagnoses and treatment of specific illnesses & injuries, see:

What’s Wrong?

You can narrow it down by counting the symptoms listed next to each illness. It’s important to make a correct diagnosis so you can treat appropriately. If a treatment calls for a medication, you should be certain your hamster is suffering from said issue. If you have any strong doubts, consult a vet.

General Health CareAnimal GuidesPet Hamster Care

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.

504 thoughts on “Injured or Sick Hamster: Signs & Symptoms”

  1. Hi, my hamster was over 2 years old tonight when I came home from work he didn’t look himself he was still alive breathing sleeping away. He was moving and breathing i did see him doing so.
    I had my dinner checked on him again maybe 10 mins later and he was dead flat skinny thats the only way I could describe him it was like a balloon deflated.. hes now in a box with with towel and will be buried tomorrow. My question is why would he die so quickly like that.

  2. Hi, I got my hamster a about a month ago and she had pups, but she doesn’t look too good. She’s been laying on her side or her back in a corner and she doesn’t want to eat, I put the nozzle to her mouth and she only drank a little. Her coat looks a bit dull a wet. She doesn’t want to eat food or treats. Her pups keep laying on her or next to her and she just lays on the opposite side of the cage. This happened once but my friend said that her blood sugar may have been low, so I did what he told w to do last time but she looks worse than she did that day.

  3. My hamster keeps climbing to the top of her wire cage and dropping down. She hits her head on the way down. She does this multiple times in a row. Why does she do this??

  4. hi i have had 6 hamsters only 2 were are female,my little one is 6 mnths old and she has been stuffing her cheek pouches the past 2 nights. any idea of what is wrong all the boys never did this in the 2yrs i had each of them.

    Can you help me

  5. My sons hamster was chewing on the bars of the cage, when I startled her, she got her teeth stuck, she was squeaking in pain. I saw some blood. It stopped . She is calmed down now, but I’m worried, will she be alright

  6. My sons hamster was chewing on the bars of the cage, when I startled her, she got her teeth stuck, she was squeaking in pain. I saw some blood. It stopped . She is calmed down now, but I’m worried, will she be alright

  7. Hi, could I get some advice for my Hamster Lemon…
    I adopted him about 5 months ago so I’m not sure about his age but he was really friendly and active. 2 days ago my dog (who sleeps over every other week since I’ve moved for Uni) Managed to pull off the blanket covering his enclosure and break through the top ( it’s a huge old fish tank with the lid on top when the dogs are here), I found my dog digging in the enclosure and when I got to Lemon he had smartly burrowed to the bottom of the deep tank and gotten away, but he emerged with a bloody eye and damp fur (I think this was from the water bowl being upturned since if my dog did grab him he probably wouldn’t have gotten away?)

    Ran to vets *hysterically*, and he’s now on painkillers, antibiotics and eye drops, however, there are some other things I want to ask about – He seems to have lost his balance and is stumbling and falling when he does rarely come out now. His eye looks clear and clean now so I no longer think it is just from not using one of his eyes.

    > I truly did not think the dog could ever get into the enclosure, and I completely understand how this is on me and should not have happened, but I want to help him as much as I can.

  8. I just got my hamster about 4 days ago, she is a Syrian hamster if that helps, we don’t know how she got hurt but it was in her cage either on her wheel or from her water bottle, her left hand got hurt and it has spots of a darker shade then what color her paw is, I have done my research and this is my last resort because I could not find anything anywhere, she does not have a limp at all and uses her hand on an average basis to pick up her food I am very worried for her, also, she does not seem to be in pain, she lets me pet her but not pick her up and she seems happy.


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