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Signs of Illness in Hamsters

September 15, 2015

Do you have a pet hamster? These little guys are super cute, but they are also very delicate. A crucial part of being a responsible hamster owner is keeping an eye on your tiny furball for any signs of sickness. Hamsters can’t tell us when feel sick, so it’s up to you to monitor Hammie’s health. Below, a local San Jose, CA vet lists some common signs of illness in hamsters.

Change In Appetite

Whenever a hamster loses his appetite, it should be considered a red flag. If your little buddy isn’t eating, he may be ill.

Tummy Trouble

Vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation can all be indications that your four-legged buddy isn’t feeling well. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for any changes in the color, frequency, smell, or texture of your furball’s waste.

Respiratory Issues

Healthy hamsters should breathe smoothly and quietly. If little Hammie is wheezing, coughing, gasping, or breathing hard, he could be very sick!

Bad Fur Days

Just like people, hamsters often don’t feel up to going through their daily grooming rituals when they are sick. Unkempt or greasy fur can be signs of sickness in hamsters. Missing patches of fur can also be a red flag.


Hamsters should be alert, curious, and playful. Just like us, however, these little ones often withdraw from the world when they are ill. If you notice that Hammie is mostly staying in his little hidey-hole, he may not be feeling well.

Increased Thirst

Excessive thirst can also be a red flag that something is wrong with your furry pal. Keep an eye on Hammie’s water consumption.

Change In Weight

Rapid weight loss or gain can also indicate illness in hamsters. One thing to bear in mind when it comes to hamster weight gain is that these tiny furballs often like to hide food, and then beg for more. Make sure your theatrical little pet isn’t convincing you to overfeed him!

Other Symptoms

Red, sunken, dull, or watery eyes are more signs of illness in hamsters. Scratching, licking, biting, or chewing can indicate sickness as well. Lethargy, limping, stiffness, and mobility issues are also warning signs. A wet tail is another sign of illness in hamsters.

If your furry pal shows any of these symptoms, or is acting unusual in any way, contact us, your local San Jose, CA veterinary clinic, immediately.