You would think it would be easy to spot a sick hamster from a healthy hamster, and sometimes it is, however if you are new to hamsters, it’s not so easy to spot. So I figured I’d write this up so you can see the signs, signals, and such to be prepared that either your hamster was sick when you purchased it, or sick after several years. You can use these tips on how to spot a healthy hamster in the store as well. I have had to tell a pet store (now out of business for animal abuse), that they were selling hamsters infected with Wet Tail, and I needed a hand sanitizer ASAP.
The obvious signs of a sick hamster is diarrhea, which is usually a sign of poor diet, and or Wet Tail. If you are feeding your hamster fresh vegetables, and fruit, stop, if the diarrhea doesn’t stop, it’s Wet Tail.
If your hamster is thin, slow moving, not eating, or drinking, it’s near death, or just really very sick.
If your hamster is cold, it’s dying. Hamsters are normally very warm.
If your hamster has a high arch in their back like the Saint Louis Arch when walking around instead of a soft curve like a cursive m, there is something badly wrong with your hamster, you may need to take your hamster to a vet.
If your hamster has puss filled eyes, it’s a sickly hamster.
If your hamster is limping, it’s not a healthy hamster.
If your hamster doesn’t run in the wheel much at all, it’s not just a “lazy” hamster, something is wrong. Perhaps the hamster wheel is too small, or the noise could be too loud for their ears. Look into a Silent Spinner Wheel from Super Pets.
If your hamster isn’t keeping their teeth trimmed, something is wrong with your hamster, you may have to trim them for your hamster. Get plenty of wooden toys for them to chew on, and place a toilet paper roll in their cage. This will help them not chew on bars, damaging their teeth.
If your hamster bites you, there is something wrong, perhaps not that your hamster is sick, but you are too rough, or you have had food on your hands before handling them. Hamsters don’t bite unless taunted, upset, hungry, or in pain. If your hamster has never bit you before, and suddenly starts, chances are your hamster is in pain.
If your hamster is losing hair, it’s a sick hamster.
Due to inbreeding of hamsters their life spans could be greatly effected, shorter lives, disabilities, aggressiveness, or even death. You want to make sure wherever you end up purchasing your hamster from, isn’t a place that allows males, and females to be caged together like Pet Supplies Plus. Pet Smart separates their hamsters, so that’s a good place to start looking for hamsters.
If your hamster has scabs, or scars, that’s a sign of an abused hamster which could be aggressive, and tend to bite. Take your time entering the cage, speak softly, let them know they are safe.
If your hamster has a thin layer of what looks like plastic crinkled over their eyes, or eye, that hamster is sick, and possibly infected with Wet Tail.
If your hamster is pooping, and it’s green, or shiny, these are signs of Wet Tail. Healthy hamster poop is black, and dry.