Cold is a common illness among mammals including hamsters. The illness is caused by a virus that causes inflammation of the membranes that line the nose and the throat. The virus is spread through the air or by touching contaminated surfaces.
These are the areas we will focus on under colds in hamsters;
Symptoms of colds in hamsters
Colds in hamsters are indicated by signs of respiratory problems just like in humans.
You may find your hamster struggling to breathe using the nose due to mucus congestion. The mucus could eventually drip from the nose which counts as another symptom of colds in hamsters.
Hamsters suffering from colds may also make wheezing sounds. Wheezing is identified by a coarse whistling sound the hamster makes when breathing. This is because the airway is partially blocked.
Your hamster may also sneeze if it’s suffering from a cold. Hamsters sneeze in an attempt to get rid of irritants that are blocking the respiratory system. The pet will involuntarily bust air through the nose or the mouth.
In some cases, cold in hamsters is identified by watery eyes. However, discharge from the eyes should be accompanied by other signs that suggest the hamster has a cold. This is because watery eyes could be a sign of other common hamster illnesses.
When the cold has lasted more than just a few days, you may start noticing a loss of appetite. The hamster may start eating less food than it usually does therefore become weak. At these levels, your hamster may not be as jumpy as it used to be. It will instead curl up in a corner of its cage trying to get warm.
When the hamster gets weak, it may not even have the energy to comb its fur. You will therefore notice matted fur in a hamster having a cold.
Prevention of colds in hamsters
Someone once said that prevention is better than cure. There are some measures that you can undertake to prevent your hamster from contracting a cold.
The most effective way to prevent colds in hamsters is to keep their environment clean. You should thoroughly clean and disinfect its cage, bedding, feeding bowl, and water bowl if you use one. I would however recommend using a water bottle instead since there are lower chances to contaminate the drinking water.
In the spirit of observing hygiene, you should always clean your hands when handling a hamster. More so when you have a cold or flu, you should as much as possible to come in contact with your pet. This is because you can easily spread the cold virus to your hamster.
Your hamster’s cage should be placed in a well-lit room away from doors and windows. This will reduce the chances of cold from outside reaching the pet inside the cage. The best position to place our hamster’s cage should be next to an inner wall where there are no chances of the outside environment affecting your pet.
Treatment of colds in hamsters
Even though there are some antibiotics for reducing the effects of colds in hamsters, there is no outright cure. Unless it is a serious infection such as pneumonia, hamsters naturally develop immunity to the cold.
However, there are some efforts you can make to improve your hamster’s condition.
This will include providing your hamster with a mix of warm milk, water, and a teaspoon of honey.
You should also move your hamster’s cage further away from the door and windows to reduce the chances of your pet catching a cold. Other attempts to keep the cage warm are providing more bedding, a heating pad, or warming up the whole room.
Will my hamster survive a cold?
Hamsters suffering from a cold can eventually recover after developing immunity. You can consult a veterinarian for recommendations on the best antibiotics to reduce inflammation.
Can hamsters get flu from humans?
Hamsters can get flu from humans through contact or when they cough into the air. Common cold is mainly spread among mammals through the air. You should therefore avoid contact with hamsters if you are suffering from the flu.
What do you feed a hamster with a cold?
The perfect home remedy for cold in hamsters is a mix of hot milk, water, and a little honey.