Constipation in Hamsters: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
While diarrhea in hamsters is associated with watery feces, constipation in hamsters is identified by dry feces. This is mostly due to reduced water concentration in the hamster’s digestive process.
Constipation is a common hamster illness more susceptible in young ones who are just starting to eat solid food. However, this does not rule out mature hamsters who may experience digestive problems.
In this article, we will focus on the following aspects;
- Symptoms of hamster constipation
- Causes of constipation in hamsters
- Diagnosis of constipation in hamsters
- Treatment of hamster constipation
- Frequently asked questions
Symptoms of constipation in hamsters
Symptoms of constipation in hamsters can be observed in abnormalities in fecal composition and frequency of passage.
A hamster suffering from constipation will pass fewer feces than it normally does. The poop intervals may also be bigger than usual. You may also notice the hamster straining to discharge poop.
The feces discharged will be hard and lack any moisture at all. The poop will therefore have a rough texture on the surface. In some cases, you may notice worms in the feces.
A bloated abdomen is another sign of hamster constipation. This may come due to the accumulation of poop that is not discharged yet. The hamster may also show signs of pain in the abdomen.
In a nutshell, these are the signs of hamster constipation;
- Dry and hard droppings
- Worms in feces
- Bloated abdomen
- Fewer feces
- Difficulty in discharging poop
Causes of constipation in hamsters
Constipation in hamsters is likely if the pet consumes inappropriate food or in improper proportion.
These are some of the causes of hamster constipation;
Dehydration: Dehydration is considered the main cause of constipation in hamsters. This is mainly because the pet feeds more on dry food. If you do not make clean water for the hamsters, then they may end up constipating.
Intestinal blockage: The ingested food may block the intestines due to a lack of water in the digestive system. This may give the hamster a tough time when trying to poop.
Intussusception: This is a situation when a part of the intestines slides into an adjacent part of the intestine. In other words, intussusception is the folding of the intestines thus blocking the passage of food and fluids. This means that digestion will not be complete as the food cannot go to other parts of the abdomen.
Worm infestations: Hamsters, like any other animals, have worms in their digestive system. However, if hamsters are infested heavily with worms, then they may suffer from constipation. Common worms that attack hamsters include pinworms and tapeworms.
Liver infection: Liver infections are common among older female hamsters. When the liver is not properly working, some chemicals that help in digestion are not released into the digestive system. This may result in feces becoming harder.
Diagnosis of hamster’s constipation
Diagnosis of constipation in hamsters can be made at home by physically observing the droppings. Healthy hamsters’ poop should be small, firm dark-colored pellets depending on what you feed them. If you notice an inconsistency in the color and firmness of the droppings then your hamster could be suffering constipation.
You should also observe how often the hamsters discharge feces. If defecation intervals have lowered, then this is a sign of hamster constipation.
Further tests can be taken at the lab by testing the feces, blood, and urine to be sure that the hamster is suffering from constipation.
Treatment of constipation in hamsters
Treatment of hamster constipation depends on what has caused it in the first place. If the cause of constipation in a hamster is due to dehydration, then you should make clean water accessible to the pet.
Adding foods that have high fiber content to the hamster’s diet can also help soften the feces. This may include feeding the hamsters more fruits and vegetables. You should also consider adding oily foods to the diet.
In the case of intussusception, well you should visit a vet to perform surgery. The veterinary may replace the folded part of the intestine or create a bypass to create a passage for the food and fluids.
Finally, if you notice worms in hamsters’ feces, then deworming is the solution.
How can I help my constipated hamster?
You can help a constipated hamster by giving it more water using a bottle to ensure the purity of drinking water. You should also give the hamster more fresh fruits and vegetables.
How many times should hamsters poop in a day?
Hamsters poop quite often and in small amounts. Due to their fast metabolism, the pet can poop at least once per hour.
How many times should a hamster drink water a day?
The amount of water hamsters drink depends on what food they are eating. A hamster may consume more water when they are eating dry foods such as pellets than when they feed on fruits and vegetables. Overall, a hamster can drink an average of 20mm of water per day.