This is a neurological and genetic disorder. The hamster eats and drinks normally, but spends the rest of the time (when he is not sleeping) running in circles. This affection is commonly found in dwarf hamsters, and in very rare cases in Syrian hamsters.

Other symptoms include:back flipping or  pacing.As the hamster gets older, he will start to run in circles more often. Some hamsters will be so severe affected as they will run and run, without stopping to eat or to drink some water.

hammy If discovered in time, this affection can be treated by a vet. The hamster will need all the support you can give him, so take good care of your hamster.

hammy You should NOT breed hamsters suffering from this disorder as this will result in hamsters suffering from the same affection.

hammy If your hamster runs in circles now and then, it doesn’t necessarily mean he has a compulsive behavior. He is  just very active and happy.


This affection is frequent among hamsters that live in community and require immediate attention.Abscesses appear when your hamster has a bite, a wound or a scratch that is infected and his immune system tries to overcome it. The pus will develop under the skin resulting in a big , ugly bump, surrounded by a swelling area.

© Catherine R.H. Houston

Sometimes , sharp objects of food items or even bedding get stuck into your hamster pouches, causing an infection that will most certainly lead to abscess. As we all know that the hamster is a big stasher, it will probably be hard for you to realize if the hamster’s pouches are infected or he just stuffed to much food in there. But if the hamsters has the pouches full all the time it will surely mean that he has an abscess. In this case a veterinarian consult is needed because the hamster could have stomach problems in the future, even if the abscess is treated. You couldn’t stay without food either,no?

The treatments consists in draining, flushing and antibiotics. But the treatment should be made as soon as possible because abscesses sometimes burst and are a great cause of infections.

If the wound which developed into an abscesses was caused by another hamster, you have to separate them before they get into another fight.


As painful as this might sound, hamsters may suffer from broken limbs. It’s very hard for both hamster and hamster owner, so it should be avoid, taking all the precaution methods. In this moments, a first aid kit for your hamster is very useful.

hamster broken limbs

How to prevent a broken leg:

hammyCarefully handle your hamster. Make sure that, in case he intends to jump or escape from your “powerful” grip, he won’t hurt himself. Try handling him by sitting in the bed, couch, on the floor or however you consider that is comfy. Remember that hamsters have very poor eyesight so they do not know if there are 0.5 meters (1.64 feet) or 5 meters (16.4 feet)! They just jump…

hammyBe careful when the hamster is handled by children.We all know how children are…And we know how hamsters are too… So we have to watch these pesky kids (yep, I am talking about hamsters, too). Hamsters are very quick and they tend to escape very quickly when handled by little kids.

hammyTell everyone in the house that the hamster is running in his ball. Sometimes, people aren’t aware that a hamster is in it and they kick it. Check to see that your hamster doesn’t have any access to stairs, steps, basements, pool (it sounds silly but it wiser to prevent).

hammyBuy a plastic wheel for your hamster. Avoid wire ones because those are vey dangerous because the tiny hamster can get his foot stuck between the bars!

hammyTry not to let him wonder around in the house.You can accidentally hit him with the door, step on him, or he can just be unlucky and something may fall on him, causing a very bad injury. Hamsters are smart rodents and if they run in the house they will easily find their way out. I am sure you don’t want that so NEVER let your hamster run in the house without supervising him.

Symptoms of a broken bone: limping, not using one leg (or more), laying on one side, slow moving or unable to move, bone poking the skin (severe cases), dragging one foot, totally or partially paralyzed.

 What to do if your hamster has a broken limb(or you suspect so):

hammyExamine your hamster carefully. Did the bone penetrate the skin?
hammyIf so, take your hamster to the vet IMMEDIATELY as he will need antibiotics treatment to prevent any further infections. Meloxicam and Carprofen are some pain medication that are prescribed in such cases. A splint would be applied to allow the bone to heal properly..* if you don’t see the bone poking the skin, your hamster is very lucky! He will need home treatment (yep, you will be his nurse and guiding angel), because no vet can treat a hamster broken limb.With proper care and devotion from you, he will recover all by himself and the broken limb will be just a bad nightmare.

hammyRemove the wheel from he hamster’s cage, along with all his toys, ladders etc. If you have a cage with multiple levels, remove them as well. Don’t put your hamster in his play ball for at least 2 weeks! All these precaution measures will help your hamster to recover the broken limb, by reducing all activities that require effort.

hammyLower the water bottle to make it easier for your hamster to reach it.

hammyWas the hamster living in with other hamsters? It is better if you let him alone in a cage, to recover in peace.

hammyIf possible, move the hamster to an aquarium or a bin. This will stop him from climbing on the bars as usual.

hammyProvide plenty of fresh bedding for your hamster to help him feel  comfortable.

hammyFeed your hamster small amounts of bread soaked in a bit of milk or dog biscuits. These two are very high in Calcium and they will help your hamster to heal the wounded bone easier and quicker.

hammySpoil him. Give your hamster treats, chew food, or any food he enjoys. Also, supply him with fresh water and food.

hammyYour hamster’s leg should be up and running in about 2 weeks. Sometimes, depending on the severity of the affection, the hamster might end with a small limp. But the little one doesn’t seem to be bother by this and he keeps his habits of running and digging.

Choose your vet wisely! Ask him if he has treated hamsters before. If he says a few, avoid going to him. Hamsters are tiny creatures and require special attention and care!

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I know! You hate when you have a cold that keeps you in the bed, away from all the fun. The hamster feels the same way! As a responsible hamster owner, you have to pay attention to your hamster health and take action at the slightest sign of  illness. In this moments, a first aid kit for your hamster is very useful.

hamster colds

Hamster colds causes:

hammyYou! Avoid handling your hamster if you have a cold. Take your medicines and you will be able to play with your hamster after you get rid of the pesky cold!

hammyIf they have the cage in a cold or draft room. Avoid putting the cage near windows, doors.

hammyIf they aren’t dried immediately after you gave the hamster a bath. Remember: bathing your hamster isn’t necessary. He does a good job grooming himself.

hammyIf their favorite sleeping place is under the water bottle.Or if you don’t use a water bottle and the hamster drinks water from a bowl. Being so active, there’s a big chance that the hamster might spill the water. This is messy for you as you need to clean the cage, but is dangerous for the hamster too as he can easily catch a cold.

Hamster colds symptoms: sneezing, runny nose, sniffling, half closed watery eyes, warm bodies, thirst, ears laid back, lack of activity, fatigue, noticeable discharge both from the eyes and the nose( this is why the nose may appear swollen). The fur might also have a fluffy, ungroomed look. Feeling not so great, the hamster would spend almost all the time curled up in a corner of his cage.

Severe hamster colds symptoms: lethargy, obvious and noisy sneezing and sniffling, refuse to drink and eat, weight loss, bad looking coat.

What to do if your hamster caught a cold:

hammyPlace the hamster’s cage into a warm, draft free area, if possible close to a radiator.

hammyClean and disinfect the cage, the water bottles, food dishes and all the toys there are in the hamster’s cage.

hammyAdd fresh and dry bedding, even more than usual because now more then ever your hamster needs to feel comfy and warm.

hammyHe needs strength to overcome the illness, so you can help  him by preparing a mixture of lukewarm milk, water and a bit of honey. If the hamster refuse to drink, feed him with the syringe or the eye dropper. Give him this home made treatment for a couple of days or so and watch how your hamster reacts to it. If the hamster get’s better, it’s time to celebrate with a snack. If, unfortunately, your hamster feels the same or even worse, take him to a vet check and antibiotics treatment.

You have to take action from the first cold symptoms you see. A cold without treatment will most likely develop into pneumonia or bronchitis. And these are not so easy to treat as the common cold!
To make sure your hamster gets the warmth he needs, put a heating pad (buy one that is specially for rodents to make sure it’s chew proof).

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If we humans have them, why shouldn’t the hamster have them as well? Symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, irritated stomach, wheezing,  red feet, hair loss, skin irritation, persistent and frequent itching or dry skin are all  signs that your hamster developed an allergy.

hamster allergies

Hamsters might develop allergies to food, bedding products or some household items.

1. Food allergy 

Hamsters are very sensible to diet changes. Every new type of food should be introduced into the hamster’s diet step by step. It’s not safe or neither healthy to stuff your hamster with packs of new vegetables and fruits every day.

The hamster must get used to the food and be able to digest it properly. In case not, he will most likely have an allergy or even worse, could be suffering from wet tail. If your hamster was allergy free before you started to feed him with a specific food item, remove that food from his diet because he doesn’t tolerate it.

You have no idea at what food your hamster is allergic? In this case put your hamster on dry food only until you figure at what food is he allergic. You do that by giving him one vegetable or fruit at a time and see how he reacts. If he starts the sneezing and other symptoms again, than that food must go.

2. Bedding Allergy

Are very common and due to the hamster’s respiratory sensibility. I  would be sneezing and have runny nose if I was kept in a cage full of dust (I imagine you would feel the same). If you have a hunch that the bedding is the one causing the allergy replace it with tissue or toilet paper and see what happens. If your hamster gets rid of the allergy, you have to get rid of something too…the bedding product.

When you buy your hamster supplies, make sure you avoid cedar and pine shavings. Some studies show that  they have a great impact both in hamsters allergies and respiratory diseases. Great alternatives to cedar and pine shavings are wood pulp fiber, aspen, eco-straw pellets, recycled newspapers and much more.

3. Household items allergy

Sometimes hamsters develop allergy to products we use, like aerosols, spray furniture polish, cigarette smoke, perfumes, air fresheners or any products we use for our hygiene or for home decoration. The only solution to this is the quickly removal of the allergen.

hammySevere allergies

In some cases, hamsters develop severe allergies from various reasons: the allergen was to strong, you found about the problem when it was already too late, the hamster was too small and he couldn’t fight it etc. If your hamsters has problems breathing or has severe allergy, you have to take it to vet as soon as you can to avoid any future complications.

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