If one of your hamsters is ill, you should understand its symptoms. Some signs include changes in behaviour and drinking less. If you spot any of these signs, contact your hamster’s veterinarian. Remember that although the below symptoms could be signs a hamster is dying, they may not be – your hamster may just temporarily be under the weather or may have a cureable disease. The key thing is to try not to panic – take your hamster to the vets immediately and seek advice.
What are the main signs a hamster is dying?
Signs a hamster is dying could include:
- Loss of playfulness or movement
- Decrease in food and/or drink intake
- Your hamster looks old, dirty and unkempt
- Shallow breathing
- Very fast heartbeat
Loss of playfulness
One of the most common symptoms your hamster is sick is sudden playfulness. Your pet’s behavior may change suddenly and subtly. They may suddenly become agitated and constantly roam away from your home. You might experience fewer lick attacks or chewing sessions. This symptom can be a good indicator that your hamster is sick or dying.
Decrease in food intake
Another important sign to look for is an increase or decrease in food intake. If your pet is not eating well, then it may be a sign that something is wrong. Keep in mind that a decreased appetite is not necessarily a sure sign of illness, but if you notice a sudden decrease in your hamster’s dietary intake you should consult with a veterinarian immediately.
Decrease in water intake
Also, a decreased water intake can be another sign of poor health in your hamster. If your hamster isn’t drinking as much water as they normally do, then this too should be on your mind as a sign to call a veterinarian right away. A significant difference in your hamster’s water intake should be investigated immediately by a veterinarian. When it comes to signs of illness in your hamster, a runny nose and excessive sneezing or coughing can be a sign that your hamster is ill.
Signs that your hamster is dirty or unkempt
Furthermore, if your hamster looks dirty and unkempt this can be a sign of poor health or illness in your hamster. As your hamster becomes sick or gets older their coat changes. They can become matted and often have loose fur around the neck and face area. Their teeth also can get overgrown and can cause them to eat less food or even stop eating altogether.
Shallow breathing or fast heartbeat
Finally, another sign of illness in hamsters can be shallow breathing or fast heartbeats. If you observe either of these symptoms, you should immediately consult with a veterinarian in your area. A fast heartbeat or shallow breathing can be a sign that your hamster is dying or sick. If you observe these symptoms, contact your veterinarians for guidance and advice ASAP!
Remember to always seek your vets advice
If you notice any of these signs you should consult your veterinarian right away. Understanding and identifying the truth about your hamster’s health can be key in saving their life.
Making the decision to put your hamster to sleep
Making the decision to put your hamster to sleep is a difficult one, but it is often necessary if it is the most humane option. If your hamster is ill or suffering, then sometimes it is best for them to not be kept as a pet anymore. Owning a poorly treated pet can lead to years of stress, guilt and frustration and creating a poor home environment for your poorly treated pet can be even more stressful and harmful. If your hamster is sick or dying then you should seek immediate veterinary attention.
Is your hamster just hybernating?!
Remember that hamsters may go into hibernation – don’t mistake this for your hamsters death! During hibernation, their heartbeat will slow right down, but this is a normal state for hamsters especially if it’s a cold winter. Always check with your vet whether a hamster is in hibernation or dead! Hard to believe, but I have a friend who had a funeral for her hamster and announced it on Facebook, only for fluffy to surprisingly spring back to life!!!
It is a sad fact but hamsters only have a short lifespan from 18 months to 3 years for Syrian hamsters.