Diarrhea in Hamsters: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
Hamsters are curious and energetic pets that everyone admires having. However, these adorable pets are vulnerable to common hamster illnesses such as diarrhea in hamsters.
A healthy hamster’s poop is small, firm, dark-colored pellets shaped like rice grains. Contrary to this, there are chances your hamster experiencing diarrhea. This means the pet will have overly loose poop and a dirty anus.
In this article, we will discuss the following;
Signs & Symptoms of diarrhea in hamsters
The symptoms of hamster diarrhea are similar to that of a wet tail infection. However, unlike a hamster suffering from a wet tail infection, your pet will remain energetic.
These are the common signs of diarrhea in hamsters;
This is the easiest sign to notice when a hamster is suffering from diarrhea. As we stated earlier, a healthy hamster will have pellet droppings.
However, when the hamster is suffering from diarrhea it will have runny poop. This may end up leaving the hamster’s bottom dirty due to the streaks of poop.
A hamster suffering from diarrhea will have a bad odor. This may be coming from the poop that will stick near its anus. How strong the stink is will depend on what you are feeding your hamster. If the smell is too strong then it might be a sign of bacterial infection.
Dehydration is a common symptom of diarrhea in hamsters. This is due to the amount of water lost when the hamster is pooping.
A hamster suffering from dehydration will have loose skin and his eyes will appear sunken or droopy.
The hamster may also start consuming more water than it normally does.
Hamsters suffering from diarrhea may end up losing some weight. This is because the pet is losing a lot of nutrients during the process. This may also be because diarrhea is associated with digestion problems. However, when you notice weight loss in hamsters this is a fatal sign.
Loss of appetite
A hamster may show a significant loss of appetite when suffering from diarrhea. Loss of appetite is a fatal sign and the pet may be suffering more than just diarrhea.
When a hamster is consuming less food than it normally takes, it will eventually become weak and may end up dying.
Change in posture
Unlike a healthy hamster which will stretch when relaxing, a hamster suffering from diarrhea will sit in a hunched position.
Causes of diarrhea in hamsters
Diarrhea in hamsters is mainly caused by digestion problems. The following are some of the causes of diarrhea in hamsters;
Change in diet
An ideal diet for hamsters should consist of hay, nuts, pellets, and small amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables. Your hamster will also need a constant supply of clean water.
When you feed your hamster too much fruit and vegetables, it may suffer diarrhea. This is because the food has a high water content. Fresh fruits and vegetables also lack roughage which is necessary for the digestion process.
Unlike most pets, hamsters do not demand a lot of hygienic maintenance. However, this does not mean you leave your pet in a dirty cage for weeks.
Hamsters may suffer from diarrhea if they live in a dirty environment. When the hamster’s cage is not kept in the proper hygiene it may end up ingesting bad objects. In an attempt to get rid of the objects, the hamster will have diarrhea.
Diarrhea in hamsters may be a result of other serious infections such as wet tail, salmonella, and flu. These infections may be caused by parasites, bacteria, or a virus.
It should be considered a fatal sign when hamsters have diarrhea caused by an infection.
Hamsters may have diarrhea after you introduce medication for another illness. When you notice antibiotics are resulting in diarrhea in hamsters, you should immediately inform your vet so that the medicines are changed.
Healthy hamsters carry protozoa in their digestive system and will not show any signs of illness. However, when hamsters are stressed or under pressure, they may develop protozoal infections
Treatment of diarrhea in hamsters
Treating a hamster that is having diarrhea depends on what caused the infection in the first place.
Take these steps to successfully treat diarrhea in hamsters;
Regularly clean your hamster’s cage
A hamster cage should be cleaned at least once per week. But if your hamster is having diarrhea then you should clean it more often to avoid the build-up of infection-causing organisms.
These are the proper hygiene measure;
- Get rid of leftover food
- Clean the feeding bowl and water bottle
- Change the beddings
- Disinfect the cage
Try alternative medicine
If diarrhea in hamsters is caused by a new medicine you recently introduced, then you should consider another option. You should consult a veterinarian to recommend you the best option in line.
Gradually reduce fresh fruits and vegetables
If you have been feeding your hamster lots of veggies and fruits then you should reduce these. You should instead feed it more dry food such as hay, pellets, and nuts. You should also ensure there is enough clean water for the hamster to drink.
What does it mean if a hamster has diarrhea?
Diarrhea in hamsters is a common sign of digestive problems. The infection may be because you are feeding the hamster too soft foods such as cucumbers. Similarly, the pet could be suffering stress releasing more protozoa in the digestive system.
Should I be worried if my hamster has diarrhea?
You should not be worried when your hamster has diarrhea for a single day. However, from the second day, you should visit a vet since it could be a sign of a fatal infection.
What common bacterial disease causes diarrhea in hamsters?
Tyzzer’s disease is a common hamster infection caused by Clostridium piliforme. Clostridium piliforme is a gram-negative and obligate intracellular bacteria bacterium that is common to young and stressed hamsters. Watery diarrhea is one of the signs of Tyzzer’s bacterial infection.