Stroke In Hamsters: Causes, Signs & Treatment

Stroke in hamsters occurs when blood is not sufficiently supplied to the brain. This could be because something has blocked the arteries or the blood vessel bursts.

Hamsters stoke is more common in old age than in young ones. However, pet owners should be on the lookout for signs of brain attack as they can occur at any age.

In this article, we will focus on the following;

Causes stroke in hamsters

There are two types of stroke in hamsters; Hemorrhagic and Ischemic stroke. A hemorrhagic stroke happens when a blood vessel bursts, causing bleeding on the surface or inside the brain. On the other hand, ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot limits the supply of oxygenated blood into the brain.

The main causes of stroke in hamsters include:


It is likely that a hamster may experience a stroke when it is older. When the brain of a hamster gets old, it becomes more susceptible to brain attacks.


Your hamster is at risk of a stroke attack if you feed it a high-fat diet. High-fat foods may lead to weight gain and eventually obesity. Excessive fat accumulation in a hamster may reduce blood flow through the body, leading to a stroke.

Cardiovascular diseases

These are disorders of the heart and the blood vessels that limit efficient blood flow to the heart or the brain. These disorders include thrombosis, whereby there is a blood clot, and atherosclerosis, which is the narrowing and hardening of arteries.

Kidney diseases

Kidneys remove toxic waste from hamsters’ bodies and conserve water. When a hamster’s kidney is not functioning well, cases of diabetes and renal failure may emerge.

These infections affect the quality of blood that gets into the brain, which may cause stroke in hamsters.

Brain tumor

A hamster with brain cancer is at a high risk of stroke. The brain tumor is a different hamster illness and it is not common that the pet gets a stroke. However, brain tumors may reach levels when blood vessels burst. If that happens, the hamster will suffer a hemorrhagic stroke.


Sometimes hamsters may get stroke by inheriting genetic disorders. Genetic disorders that may cause stroke in hamsters include high blood pressure and diabetes.

Common signs of stroke in hamsters

Hamsters suffering from stroke will show signs of lethargy after a short while of their normal activities. They will then become unresponsive.

The following are the common signs of stroke in hamsters; 


The most common sign of stroke in hamsters is paralysis. In this state, your pet will neither move nor respond to anything. It is simply a loss of consciousness.

Breathing difficulties

A hamster suffering stroke will show signs of difficulties in breathing. Respiratory problems may be exhibited if the part of the brain affected is responsible for such functions.

Head tilt

When a hamster is experiencing a stroke, its head will tilt to a certain angle due to neurological imbalance. This tilt will remain permanent even after the hamster is cured of the infection. The tilt can also lead to facial deformities.

Unequal pupil size

If one of the hamster’s pupils is larger than the other, then this is a sign of a stroke. This condition is known as anisocoria, whereby the black part of an eye appears to be uneven. 


Temporary abnormalities, sensations, and lack of consciousness can also identify stroke in hamsters.


Limping is a common sign when a hamster has a stroke. You will notice uneven walking due to brain injury. This can lead to more physical injuries if the pet’s environment has a lot of objects or distractions.

How to help hamsters recover from a stroke

As a pet parent, you may get confused about what to do when your hamster has a stroke attack. These as some tips to help your hamster recover from a stroke;

Clear the cage- The first thing you should do when you notice stroke symptoms in hamsters is clear its cage. Remove climbing toys and the running wheel to avoid physical injury to the hamster.

Syringe feed the hamster– Make an effort to blend your hamster’s favorite meal when you notice a drop in appetite. You can go ahead and feed it using a needless syringe.

Keep the cage warm– When a hamster is in stroke, some body functions may be hard to execute. The pet may not even generate its own heat, so keeping the cage warm will greatly help the hamster.


How do I know if my hamster had a stroke?

You can know your hamster had a stroke if you notice uneven walking, paralysis, and head tilt.

What does it look like when a hamster has a seizure?

When a hamster has a seizure, you notice it jerking, stiffening, and twitching while lying on the floor.

What can be done to prevent stroke in hamsters?

One of the ways you can reduce the chances of stroke attacks on hamsters is by regularly checking their weight. You should regulate the hamster’s diet accordingly to ensure it does not accumulate a lot of weight.


Regularly check the hamster’s heartbeat and breathing behavior. You should contact a vet for further diagnosis if you notice irregular behavior.

Watch the video below (Credit: Muna Bruzon).

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