This is all about your hamster's health.
Signs of a Healthy Hamster:
Clean, bright eyes
Full, slightly rounded body
Curious, active behavior
Eats and drinks normally
Well formed dropping; No diarrhea
Signs of an Un-Healthy Hamster:
Blood in the urine
Overgrown front teeth
Bare patches in the fur
Diarrhea or wetness around the tail area (Wet tail)
Discharge (runny liguid) from the nose, eyes, or mouth
( the below was made by MrsFish, and her permission graciously given to reproduce it on this site)
NB..This list and suggested remedies are for purely homehelp ,and come from actual members knowledge and experience notably HamsterHideout,and some help from Wikipedia.To which have been tried & tested.
Common sickness and problems are listed below in Alphabetical Order,so scroll down and click on the one you need help with.
Allergies:-are where the hamster is sufferring from side effects from bedding/chemicals.
Symptoms:-skin rash,scratching a lot,breathing problems.
Help:-change bedding,use safe cleaning products which are non-toxic.Use Pure Aloe vera gel rubbed over area and increase Vit-A intake(carrots are good source).
Abcesses:-Lump filled with infected pus.
Symptoms:-lump on skin cuased by a bite or on injury / cut that has noy healed properly.Also can be found in mouths due to over grown teeth.
Help:-Veterinarain help is needed,to lance and treat with antibiotics. Teeth can be clipped by the vet too.
Balding:-loss of fur to one area or in general.
Syptoms:-patchy loss of fur,rash,red sore looking skin.
Help:-refer to Allergies,mites.
Broken bones:-as said .
Syptoms:-mis- alined bone with swelling in area,not easy on movement and limping.
Help:-most breaks heal themselfs in hamsters,however a nasty fall can sustain a broken back-which then needs vets help & most likely outcome is to put your hammy to sleep.For a broken limb remove any toys and climbing stuff to enable little movement/pressure and ask vet for some anti-imflamatory painkillers
Breathing probs:-refer to Respiratory Probs.
Bleeding:-from cuts or scratches refer to C,from penis or vagina....can be a possible UTI (urine infection)which will need to be treated with anti-biotics such as Baytril or Albon. You can also feed them dandelions which have not been sprayed with any pesticides etc.
Cuts:-from possible fights or sharp toys or loose fixture in cage.
Symptoms:-new wound or old dry scab present on body/rear end or face.
Help:-If from a fight remove the cage mate as once blood has been drawn this will then lead onto further more aggressive fighting,check toys and cage and take out or replace to safer ones.If the cut is still wet,clean with a saline sollution or cooled/salted boiled water.
Cancer:-is any type of growth or tumour that infects healthy skin and organs.It can spread quickly and can be treated if found early enough,if not then unfortunately death is the likely outcome.
Older and female hamsters seem to suffer more.
Symptoms:-undefined lump or tumor which can appear quickly.Bulges around the abdomen and throat area.Weight loss,lethargy,no appetite and possible fevers.Cancer also can be an 'open sore' that tends to bleed and have an abnormal discharge present too.
Help:-All looking lumps and abcesses SHOULD be examined by a Vet. Most cancers are treatable,however dependant on age & how long the cancer has gone undetected can result in a haredr time in recovery after treatment and surgery.
Constipation:-not being able to pass droppings/poo.
Symptoms:-little or no poo being passed .Swollen belly,looking bloated ,lethargy and not eating properly.Lack of water which is not easily accessible.
Help:-make sure water is available and easy to reach,Give extra fresh fruit/veg in small amounts that have a high fluid content .eg.Grapes(seedless) and cucmber. Also you can put a drop of Olive-oil on your fingertip and let them lick it.If they still are struggling to poo then take to the Vets and they can give a laxative.
Cannabalism:-This is not an illness/disease ,but does happen.
i. Normally this occurs in new nursing mothers who do not have enough food so she can produce the milk her young need. The weakest pup tends to be 1st to be eaten unfortunately.
Help:-Provide a good amount of food which is nutritional ,also provide the Mum with extra protein,plain yoghurt,bread soaked in milk.
ii. This again happens after 2 adults who have fought before ,though this time ending in death for the loser.The victor in this scenario eats the body as they would in the wild to hide it from natural predators.
Help:-Do NOT keep 2 adults who have fourght previuosly with blood being drawn as a result. This is more common in Syrians.
Diabetes:-This is a common illness where the hamster is unable to maintain a stable sugar / glucose balance.
Symptoms:-lots of drinking.urinating frequently ,strong smelling pee,weght loss and lethargic.
Help:-Obtain diabetic testing strips form your pharmacist. Test urine and if a high glucose content appears then this is a sign of having diabetes and the Vet must be contacted to give presribed treatment, you also can give a healthy balanced diet which does not contain a high sugar content, but rich in other minerals and vitamins.
Diarrhea:-loose poo / droppings
Symptoms:-loose lighter looking poo with them having a dirty bottom area.
Help:-give fresh clean water every day,stop feeding fresh food, give them dried food only , toast is good,and if it contnues then help is needed from the vets. You can also get some Kaolin/Kaomix form any pharmacy too.
Ear infections :-a said.
Symptoms:-General loss of balance and holding of head to one side.
Help:-Anti-biotics are needed which can reslove it in a few days, keep climbing toys out of cage area for a while as well.
Ear mites:-Notodres (specific name) hamster ear mites.
Symptoms:-Crusty looking ears & lobes,loss of fur and maybe crustiness on feet and face. Sratching a lot and irritable.
Help:-Invermectin can be given orally by the vets and a Home made solution can be sprayed onto invested area.
Recipe for; 1pt room temp water,
1tbs Listerine mouthwash(unflavoured one).
Mix in a vapourizer and spray areas ,be sure to protect the eyes. Do not drown them in it ,only a light covering used over a couple of days until cleared up.
Mange:-Contagous skin infection caused by mites.
Symptoms:-Exessive scratching,dry / flaky skin, fur loss, crusty scabs on face, ears and generally all over body.
Help:-Isolate from cagemates, Seek medical help immediately. Sterilze EVERY thing thats been into contact with infected hammy, and use anti-bacterail hand soap too.
Mites:-When small dots are visible & moving in their fur.
Symptoms:-Lots of scratching & cleaning , red and imflamed looking skin.
Help:-Use the Homemade solution listed under Ear Mites,And you can dust them in a powder called 'Pyrethrin' or spray. If Symptoms persist seek help ok.
Parasites:-as mentioned in Mange & Mites.
Pregnancy:-Again not an illness.
However to determine that your hammy is you would notice that they are starting to get fatter, more crabby,and making lots of nests and does not liked being handled to much either. They are normally expectant for 3/4 wks and have a litter a of 4/6 pups though more could be had.
Respiratory Problems:-can be caused by Allergies,in which some can be found in bedding material these are Phenols / oils that are present and irritate the respiratory system.
Symptoms:-Wheezing,difficulty in catching breath,clicking noise on inhaling / exhaling.
Help:-Remove all bedding and replace with safer alternative. Thyme(herb) can be crushed and used as a decongestant when added to boiled water - leave next to cage so they can smell the vapours. Never IN the cage.
T-Tumours look at Cancer listing.
The Proffessional you SHOULD seek if any situations worsens or you are unsure of.
'Better to be safe than sorry'.-Dont you think!!.
Wet tail:-caused by stress or bacteria affecting the intestines due to low immune-system.
Symptoms:-Sever loose droppings ,dehydration.very dirty bottom and lethargic.
Help:-Veterinarian help needed immediately.Can be treated with Baytril. Seperate from cage mates as is highly contagous, Feed dry food only , Toast is very good,fresh water with a solution called 'Pedialyte' in to brings backup their electrolyte levels. Plain organic yoghurt can also be given this helps restore the guts natural ph levels ok.
NEWLY DISCOVERED ILLNESS: Aspergillis Fungus (a deadly fungus to your hamster)
This is a very common problem, but not many hamster owners know about it. I only recently learned of its exsistence recently. It is a very deadly fungus that grows on your hamster's pee. How do you know it's there? The pee will start turning white, and in time turn black. At this stage, deadly airborne spores will go off the fungus and then can be quite dangerous for your hamster. The symptoms are breathing problems/wheezing, blood in the urine, lethargy, chromic diarrhea, and inflamed skin. If you have seen this fungus, the chances are very high that this is what is causing the symptoms. (I have recently heard of someone wondering about having blood in their hamster's pee!) A hamster diagnosed as diabetic and/or bladder problems is more likely to get this disease. Take your hamster to the veterinarian, and they will treat the hamster with anti-fungal medication. How to prevent this deadly fungus: Don't use corn cob bedding. Tests show that the fungus grows faster with corn cob bedding. Don't leave fresh food in your hamster's cage for more than one day (12 hrs) or fungus could grow on that Clean out the area where your hamster pees often. Clean the cage once a week. Fungus disinfectant (or cage disinfectant) spray will also help eliminate chances of this fungus growing. If the cage is kept completely clean, there is no fear of this deadly fungus. Please, everyone who has a website, post this there. I will post it on mine, and I encourage others to do the same. This disease is not well-known, but extremely deadly, so the more who know, the less unnatural hamster deaths there will be.
The symptoms are breathing problems/wheezing, blood in the urine, lethargy, chromic diarrhea, and inflamed skin. If you have seen this fungus, the chances are very high that this is what is causing the symptoms. (I have recently heard of someone wondering about having blood in their hamster's pee!) A hamster diagnosed as diabetic and/or bladder problems is more likely to get this disease.
Take your hamster to the veterinarian, and they will treat the hamster with anti-fungal medication.
How to prevent this deadly fungus:
Don't use corn cob bedding. Tests show that the fungus grows faster with corn cob bedding.
Don't leave fresh food in your hamster's cage for more than one day (12 hrs) or fungus could grow on that
Clean out the area where your hamster pees often. Clean the cage once a week.
Fungus disinfectant (or cage disinfectant) spray will also help eliminate chances of this fungus growing.
If the cage is kept completely clean, there is no fear of this deadly fungus.
Please, everyone who has a website, post this there. I will post it on mine, and I encourage others to do the same. This disease is not well-known, but extremely deadly, so the more who know, the less unnatural hamster deaths there will be.