While hamsters are prone to a thousand and one medical conditions, one of the issues you have to deal with more often is diarrhea. While it might not seem like an issue at first, diarrhea can be very dangerous if it persists for too long.
In this article, we will discuss some of the causes of diarrhea in hamsters, and how you can determine what’s wrong with your pet. We will also answer some of the questions hamster owners frequently ask about diarrhea in hamsters. You just can’t afford to skip any bit!
Without wasting too much time, let’s get to the issue at hand.
What Is Diarrhea In Hamsters?
Diarrhea is a medical condition where there are very loose or watery stools in your pet hamster, instead of the normal firm clumps that you expect to see.
It is a very common condition in hamsters and can happen to any species of hamster. Usually, diarrhea isn’t a serious issue in hamsters, but as said, it can lead to more serious issues when it persists.
What Causes Diarrhea In Hamsters?
There are several causes of diarrhea in hamsters. The first thing you have to do is determine the cause of your pet’s diarrhea, as this is crucial to determining how to treat it.
Let’s take a look at some possible causes of diarrhea in hamsters:
Improper Diet Or Change In Diet
Sometimes, the cause of diarrhea in hamsters could be related to improper diet or a change in diet. You have to make sure that you’re feeding your pet a proper and complete diet.
If your hamster’s diet has changed abruptly and drastically (for example, if you recently switched from a seed-based to a lab block-based diet), it could be the cause of diarrhea.
In fact, sudden dietary changes are often responsible for causing diarrhea in hamsters or any other animal species. You have to make sure that you’re gradually changing your pet’s diet from one type of food to another and not making sudden changes.
Again, overfeeding is one of the most common causes of diarrhea in hamsters.
Hamsters, like all animals, need a specific amount of calories and nutrients each day to function well and stay healthy. If you feed your pet too much – either because it wants more or because you’re unaware – they might develop diarrhea as a result.
So yes, it doesn’t have to be new food for diarrhea to occur in hamsters, it can be too much of what your hamster is already used to eating.
Toxins And Infections
Your hamster could be suffering from food poisoning or even exposure to toxins. If your pet is exposed to any kind of environmental pollutants, this could cause serious damage to his health.
As for food poisoning, you need to make sure that the food that you’re feeding your pet has not passed its expiry date. Do check both the date of manufacture and the expiration date before you feed your hamster any food.
In addition, always ensure that you give your pet organic foods. They are safe since they don’t contain harmful substances such as pesticides that can cause diarrhea.
In other words, you have to make sure that you don’t put anything in your hamster’s cage until you’re 100 percent certain it is safe.
Another common cause of diarrhea in hamsters is stress. Well, hamsters get stressed extremely easily so it’s not surprising to see them get diarrhea when they’re very stressed.
In fact, if you’ve ever seen a pet store that has multiple hamsters in the same cage, you will notice that they sometimes go through bouts of diarrhea. This isn’t because of food poisoning or toxins, it’s because of the stress they’re put under by their owners.
Underlying Medical Conditions
There are certain medical conditions that hamsters can develop which will manifest through diarrhea.
For example, some diseases such as Salmonella can cause diarrhea in hamsters. Other diseases such as Tuberculosis, Wet tail, Giardiasis, and more are also known to affect the digestive system of hamsters.
Where the diarrhea is as a result of an existing disease, it should cease the more your pet recuperates. However, if the condition gets worse or persists for a long time after it should have ceased, you need to consult your veterinarian.
Allergy Or Intolerance
Food allergies are not uncommon in hamsters, just like they are among humans. If your hammy is allergic to a certain type of food, it’s possible to develop diarrhea each time you feed it that specific food.
At the same time though, sometimes your rodent might be lactose intolerant or have trouble digesting some types of food.
In that case, feed your pet with different types of foods and experiment to see what they can tolerate without getting diarrhea. Only remember to get the vet’s consultation first. Again, for new foods, always begin with small bits of food.
Can Hamsters Die From Diarrhea?
It’s very unlikely that your hamster will die from diarrhea. However, where it’s caused by serious infections such as salmonella, wet tail, and others, it’s possible for the hamster to die, not because of diarrhea itself, but because of the disease behind it.
But that doesn’t in any way intend to mean that diarrhea should be taken lightly, when it persists, it can cause more serious complications such as dehydration, extreme weight loss, and more.
How Can You Treat Diarrhea In Hamsters?
Diarrhea treatment in hamsters is pretty much the same as it is for humans. Make sure that your hamster has access to clean and fresh water at all times.
Feed him or her with watery foods such as broth, yogurt, and boiled veggies and offer them electrolytes in some juice.
You may also consider giving your pet some anti-diarrheal medications, but only if it has been recommended by your veterinarian.
In addition, give a thought to reducing the amount of fiber in your hamster’s diet, and instead offer it more watery fruits or vegetables such as cucumber, zucchini, and blueberries. More fruits include bananas and berries too.
If the diarrhea is caused by external factors such as stress, you need to reduce it in any way possible. That means offering your pet a quiet and clean space where they can rest without being disturbed.
As for the hamster’s diet, remove all foods that cause diarrhea until his or her digestive system recovers. Only then should you begin introducing new food items gradually to get the best out of your furry friend.
With adequate care, your pet should be able to recover from diarrhea easily. Remember that if you never take them to the vet’s office, they might end up getting sicker or more severely affected which can cause serious complications of its own.
That is why it has been advised that all hamsters are taken for a veterinary visit as soon as diarrhea is observed. Your veterinarian will make sure that your hamster gets back to 100 percent health in the shortest time possible and it usually won’t cost you much either.