10 Common Hamster Health Issues (And Their Causes)

Hamsters are normally healthy small animals. They are very active and playful which keeps them in good shape.

They do not require a lot of maintenance and as long as you provide their basics like food, water, chew toys, and clean up for them, they will be just fine.

However, just like with other animals and humans, hamsters will fall ill sometimes. Because of their small sizes, immediate action is required to prevent fatalities.

Hamster diseases can deteriorate very fast and you should always seek a vet when you see any unusual signs. Let’s look at 10 of their most common health issues.

1. Teeth Problems

Hamsters are rodents and rodent teeth grow throughout their lives. If the teeth are not worn down, they overgrow.

Long teeth will pierce through the roof of their mouth and block the nasal cavity. They can also make the mouth unable to close well or piece the lips.

A hamster with long teeth has to get them trimmed. To avoid this, always provide something for them to chew on like wood blocks.

Other teeth problems are tooth breakage and tooth decay which are painful. A good sign of teeth problems is constant drooling.

2. Skin Disease

Skin diseases are mainly brought about by untidy living environments. A dirty cage encourages fleas, mites, fungi, and ringworms.

They may populate certain parts of your hamster’s skin leading to bald patches. Symptoms of skin disease in your pet are scratching themselves constantly, skin inflammations, skin peeling off, and hair loss.

If you suspect that your hammy has a skin disease, take them to a vet right away. A vet will be able to ascertain the type of skin condition they are having by scraping the skin.

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If not treated, it could be fatal. To prevent skin issues, make sure your hamster is living in a clean cage and disinfect their cage accessories too.

3. Eye Conditions

Hamsters have very poor eyesight and do not see well. This does not mean that their eyes will not become sick.

Some eye conditions your hamster is at risk of getting are cataracts, blindness, pink eyes, and eyes that cannot open properly.

Their age will also get into the picture because as they get older they can become blind. Eyes are very delicate and apart from getting infected they could get injured.

If you notice your hamster with eyes that look sick, unusual, have a discharge, or constantly being pawed at, take them to the vet. They could have something stuck inside the eye.

4. Ear Problems

Hamsters have very good hearing. They rely heavily on their sense of hearing more than any other sense.

If your pet develops a problem with their ears, they will have trouble moving around. Your hamster could have parasites get into their ears, develop ear tumors, have ear infections, or have a lot of wax that affects their hearing.

Hearing loss can be very stressful for hamsters. You should take them to a vet immediately you see any signs of ear problems as they are easy to treat.

5. Stomach Issues

Hamsters are small and their stomachs are just as tiny and not well developed. This makes hamsters prone to digestive issues if they do not eat the correct diet.

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Some of these digestive issues are stomach upsets, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and gas. Constipation is prevalent in older hamsters whose digestive system will not work as well as it used to.

Stomach Issues will be caused by several things like feeding unsafe foods, giving too much of some foods, or new foods. Always make sure that the food you are offering is safe for them, is in small amounts, and that new foods are given in small quantities at first.

6. Wet Tail

Wet tail is another common and fatal condition in guinea pigs. It’s brought about mainly by stress, diet, and untidy living conditions. Signs will include a wet tail, soiled anal region, and too much diarrhea.

It can lead to death in a few hours. To avoid wet tail, keep your pet’s cage clean always, give them the correct diet, and put your pet away from stressors like loud noises and other pets.

7. Diabetes

Small animals will get diabetes just like humans. Diabetes is most common in dwarf hamsters and it leads to further health problems in your pet.

Its main cause is feeding on the wrong diet like too much sugar and fatty foods. Signs of diabetes are drinking too much water and urinating often.

8. Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

Hamsters can contract respiratory infections. They will get colds and pneumonia which can become fatal fast.

Infections can be caused by a virus or bacteria. They can be transmitted by coming into contact with sick hamsters or humans.

Signs are sneezing, wheezing, nose and eye discharge, rough coat, and inactivity. Take them to a vet right away.

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They will be given antibiotics and you can prevent the infections by avoiding handling your pet when having colds.

9.  Nails

Hamsters use their nails to scratch and dig as they enjoy burrowing. This trims the nails on their own and sometimes your hammy will paw on hard surfaces like wood too.

Other times the nails may grow long or even become infected. Infections can go away on their own.

Long nails though may curve into the paw and become very painful or even chip off. If you notice your hamster’s nails growing longer, trim them and provide them with something that they can use to wear them down.

Exercise wheels are great as the nails are trimmed down as they run in them.

10. Lumps on the body

Sometimes hamsters will develop lumps on their body. Some will be quite painful for them.

Lumps can be cancerous and if you spot or feel them, you should take them to a vet. They will diagnose them and know what to do about it. They can even be removed through surgery.


Hamsters are tiny and some health problems are highly fatal for them. You should keep a keen eye on your pet for any unusual behaviors or appearances and take them to a vet as soon as you spot something.

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