What are the common diseases in hamsters?

It is important to provide a healthy life to your small rodent and to monitor its health. But it is not always easy to avoid certain diseases. Here are the most common diseases affecting hamsters. Knowing them will help you prevent them and detect the first symptoms quickly. If your hamster has a healthy life and you take good care of it, it should avoid these problems. Good nutrition, activity and regular care are the basis for good health.

1/Dietary diseases

The hamster can be obese or too thin

Obesity is a common problem in hamsters that spend a lot of time in their cage and have no toys to stimulate them and help them move. This inactivity combined with a rich diet can lead to overweight. It’s easy to see if your hamster is overweight and it’s not necessary to take it to the vet. However, your veterinarian can help you adjust your hamster’s diet and food intake to suit its activity and body type. Limit the fatty foods, reduce the daily dose and don’t forget to put a wheel (or several) at his disposal. You don’t have to change your hamster’s food, just reduce the quantities.
If your hamster is too thin, add treats and increase the amount of food.

Food poisoning

If your hamster eats a toxic food, you must react quickly.
If your hamster is very thirsty, agitated, and possibly having spasms, an emergency visit to the veterinarian is necessary.
It is important to know that the hamster is physically unable to vomit and therefore, to evacuate quickly the harmful food.

2/Digestive problems


Diarrhea can be very serious in this small animal and can be fatal in less than 48 hours. If the hamster shows great fatigue, if its hindquarters are soiled, if it lacks appetite, it must be taken to the veterinarian very quickly. A sudden change of food, stress, worms, a bacterial or viral infection can be the cause of this diarrhea. Fresh food should be avoided until the droppings are firm again. It is important to make sure your hamster is getting enough water.


Hairballs are balls of hair that the hamster swallows while grooming. These hair balls accumulate in the hamster’s stomach when the hamster is bored and spends too much time licking itself. This can lead to weight loss, poor appetite and constipation. It is important to consult a veterinarian. But, to prevent the problem, give your hamster more space, more games and more time with him. He will be less bored.

3/Skin diseases


This skin disease is caused by parasites. It first affects the ears, the legs, the tail with the appearance of small pimples, scabs, patches. An acaricide must be prescribed and a complete disinfection of the environment is necessary. It is a very contagious disease.

The tumor

The hamster is quite often subject to the appearance of tumors. A ball forms in the tissue. A surgical intervention is most often necessary.


If your hamster is losing weight for no reason and is scratching a lot, it is possible that it is being bothered by parasites. Ticks, mites or lice may be present in his coat. If other animals live in the same house, the hamster may also have been infested with fleas. A visit to the veterinarian is necessary.

4/Respiratory and eye diseases


This respiratory disease can become fatal if not treated. It is caused by stressful situations, drafts, strong temperature variations but also a bad hygiene of the environment. It is a contagious disease. The veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics.


Following a draught, a foreign body stuck in the eye, temperature variations, a lack of vitamins, the hamster can develop a conjunctivitis. The affected eye is closed, sensitive, weeps. Saline solution on a compress allows to clean the eye but it is necessary to consult very quickly. Conjunctivitis can be the first symptom of a serious disease and the hamster risks losing its eye.

5/Dental problems

Filled jowls

Sometimes a hamster’s jowls may be full and he can’t empty them by himself. This problem can happen when he eats sticky food. This is very bad for him and only the vet can help him. It can also be a dental infection or inflammation of the cheeks.

Incisors that are too long

Hamsters have incisors that grow throughout their lives. If he doesn’t gnaw enough, he can’t wear them out. Too long teeth can lead to many problems. The hamster does not eat properly anymore. The veterinarian can intervene.

For your hamster to stay healthy, it needs the right food, enough space to play, games and daily attention. Many diseases can be prevented by taking care of the hygiene of his cage, the location of the cage and its size.