Updated: June 30, 2022
Hamsters are typical “starter” pets for younger children owing to their tiny size, simple maintenance, and general availability. But, Why Do Hamsters Die So Easily?
Many hamsters die “for no cause” or suddenly. Two hamsters confined together may die quickly or simultaneously. This is widespread and generally not the owner’s fault.
Let us analyze hamster facts to understand why they die suddenly.
Why Do Hamsters Die So Easily?
It is unfortunate that hamsters have a lifetime of just a few years. If not properly cared for, hamsters are delicate creatures prone to a variety of diseases.
Hamsters may die from a variety of health issues other than old age. That explains why hamsters die so suddenly and mysteriously.
What Is the Average Age of the Hamsters?
Hamsters are cute and cuddly pets that need little attention. Compared to other animals, they have a relatively short lifespan.
In general, hamsters live two to three years. However, if all of their requirements are met, they might survive far into their years.
What Are The Reasons Due to Which Hamsters Die So Easily?
Saying goodbye to a pet is the most difficult aspect of owning one. Even while hamsters are wonderful pets, their short lifespans make them a potential liability.
As simple as the hamsters’ criteria may seem, it is crucial to follow through on each one. Providing children with nutritious food and enough attention is essential.
Most of the time, there is no indication that a hamster is unwell or injured before it suddenly dies. Hamsters die at an alarming rate of a variety of causes, the most common of which are:
Old-Age and Stress
Hamsters die most often from old age and stress. Stress may impair the immune system, resulting in infections and diseases that can lead to mortality, even as we age.
Hamsters of all ages are susceptible to heart disease, regardless of their age. These include congestive heart failure, arrhythmogenic right ventricular heart failure, and other cardiomyopathic diseases.
Wet Tail Disease
The term “et tail” refers to a hamster’s diarrhea, loss of fluids, and decreased appetite. This disease is 90 percent lethal during the first 24-48 hours. A wet tail may manifest itself in a number of ways, including extreme fatigue, rapid weight loss, thinning hair, or a hunched posture.
Pneumonia, a lung illness, may also kill hamsters so fast because it affects the lungs. A hamster may not display any symptoms, therefore it is crucial to keep an eye out for any alterations in their behavior.
Other Infections and Injuries
There are several illnesses that may kill hamsters, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. It is also possible for injuries to get infected, which may lead to a host of health issues and even an early death.
An adorable and lovely hamster is dying:
Is There a Way to Prevent a Hamster from Dying So Quickly?
Hamsters are neat and well-groomed. Diseases still affect their health.
The hamster may not display crucial signs of most illnesses. Best techniques to keep hamsters from dying early:
- 3-6-month vet visits
- Clean and sanitize
- Properly nourished
- Reducing loud sounds reduces stress.
- Keep them entertained by playing with them.
How Can Pet Owners Improve Hamsters’ Health and Lives?
You can help hamsters live longer and healthier lives as a pet owner. To begin, provide them with a suitable living space, appropriate toys, food, and clothing, as well as enough time.
Make them feel at ease and keep an eye on their vital signs. If you notice any changes in your hamster’s health, do not hesitate to call the vet.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can Hamsters Die From Being Scared?
It is possible for them to die from a heart attack, just like a human being. To escape or return to its cage, a terrified hamster may attack you with its claws or bite its neck. You may prevent frightening your hamster by communicating with it, analyzing its body language, and establishing a low-stress environment.
2. How Do Hamsters Die of Old Age?
Thin hair, reduced activity, lack of appetite, and visual difficulties indicate an aging pocket pet.
- Low activity.
- Changes in hair/skin.
- Appetite and weight decrease.
- Changed vision.
- Dental Problems.
3. How Long Does It Take for a Hamster to Die?
Hamsters die young. Once they are 2 years old, they are considered elderly and slow down. Their little bodies can not sustain their biological processes, hence they perish within 1-2 years.
Now you know Why Do Hamsters Die So Easily and how to prevent them from dying so young. These are several illnesses and circumstances that may kill hamsters quickly.
Remember that hamsters may die in different ways, and examine each case carefully.
Do not worry about not being able to come to a solid conclusion about what occurred since it is quite frequent. If you buy another hamster, care for it well, paying attention to feeding, enrichment, and habitat design to reduce stress.
Every hamster owner should be aware of a very serious disease known as “wet tail”.
Wet tail disease is so serious that unfortunately, even when treated, there is a high chance that the hamster will die within 24 to 48 hours.
Even if your hamster isn’t currently showing symptoms of wet tail, you should read this article to learn the symptoms and find out how you can minimise the chances of your hamster being affected.
If your hamster is showing symptoms, you should urgently consult a vet and follow the treatment instructions below.
What causes wet tail
Wet tail affects hamsters kept in cages and is caused by bacteria. However, it is a stress-related disease, which means you can prevent it by minimising your hamster’s stress levels.
Stress can be caused by:
- Picking your hamster up too often or handling them in a rough manner
- Changing your hamster’s living environment
- Keeping your hamster in a dirty cage
- Making sudden changes to your hamster’s diet
- Keeping your hamster away from its family members
- The death of a mate
As mentioned above – if you can prevent your hamster from getting stressed then you have a good chance of avoiding wet tail disease!
It’s important for all hamster owners to constantly look out for the following symptoms of wet tail disease:
- A tail covered in faeces
- A bad smell
- A lack of appetite
- A lack of energy and enthusiasm
- Walking with a hunched back
- Sleeping a lot
- Folded ears
- Aggression, such as biting their owner or other hamsters
Treating wet tail
Unfortunately, wet tail can be difficult to treat. Hamsters suffering from the condition often die, even when the problem is spotted early and properly treated.
For the best chance of recovery, it is important to identify wet tail and begin treatment within 24 hours of symptoms appearing.
As soon as you see symptoms of wet tail in your hamster, you should take the following steps:
- Quarantine the hamster away from other hamsters so that the disease cannot spread.
- Seek the advice of a vet (the vet will most likely prescribe antibiotics and something to treat the diarrhoea).
- Clean all objects that the infected hamster has touched, including its cage, wheel and any other items in the cage. Wet tail is very contagious!
- Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly to avoid passing the disease from one cage to another.
- Only feed dry foods. Avoid foods that contain a lot of water as they could make the diarrhoea worse.
- Do not wash the hamster in a bath. Use a cotton ball or a q-tip to very gently clean the hamster’s tail if necessary – but only if you think you can do so without stressing your hamster any further.
- Do everything you can to minimise the amount of stress your hamster experiences.
The most important step is to see a vet as quickly as possible. You should always follow the advise of a vet above all else (including the instructions in this article and anything else you read on the internet!).
Finally, if your hamster is not eating or drinking then you can help them using a technique called “scruffing”.
Scruffing involves holding the hamster by the skin on the back of its neck so that their mouth opens, then gently feeding small amounts of food and squirting small amounts of water into their mouths.
You can try feeding mashed baby food using the “scruffing” method. Just make sure that it is free of onion, garlic and contains no added sugar. Unflavored Pedialyte may also help with wet tail disease.
If you want a friendly and playful pet, then you should consider getting a hamster.
A pet hamster is a lovely pet for but kids and adults. The pet has tons of energy and can run an equivalent of 20 miles a day.
Hamsters are nocturnal animals with poor eyesight. They make up for their low vision by having a fantastic ear that can pick up tiny sounds and a wonderful sense of smell.
If you’re considering getting a Russian Dwarf hamster, then you are on the right track. A question that might plague you will be…
How long do Russian dwarf hamsters live? Russian Dwarf hamster can live for 12 months. As such, the Russian Dwarf hamster has a life expectancy rate of 1.5 to 2 years. The more reason you need to buy a baby Russian Dwarf hamster if you seek to prolong life.
In this post, we will explore many of the information you need to know about the Russian dwarf hamster lifespan and other important details of this type of hamster.
How Long Do Russian Dwarf Hamsters Live?
On a lighter note, Russian dwarf hamsters can live for 2 years if properly taken care of. Proper feeding, bathing, watering, and medication can make your little hamster live a bit longer.
What Are The Species of Dwarf Hamsters?
Dwarf hamsters come in three different species, namely:
- The Russian Hamster
- The Winter White Hamster
- And the Roborovskii’s Hamster.
Sometimes the Chinese dwarf hamsters are usually classified as dwarf hamsters due to their similarities to dwarf hamsters.
How Do Russian Dwarf Hamsters Behave?
You don’t want to get an aggressive and temperamental hamster when shopping for a new hamster pet. You will want a friendly and sociable hamster, won’t you?
Then you should be familiar with some of the behavioral patterns of a Russian Dwarf Hamster.
Just like all Hamsters, the Russian Dwarf Hamster is nocturnal but may be active for short times during the day. They are also good-natured and less likely to nip or bite.
They can be quite squirrelly and speedy – this might be a bit challenging for children to handle.
Unlike Syrian hamsters, the Russian Dwarf Hamster is friendly and can be kept in the same housing with their species.
Common Health Problems in Russian Dwarf Hamster
Hamsters are resilient animals, but you should still hold on to the veterinarian’s number in case of any emergency. Some common health problems in Russian Dwarf Hamsters are:
- Wounds and scrapes from falling, fights with cage-mates, or run-ins with sharp objects
- Respiratory infections
- Wet tail (diarrhea) is treatable with antibiotics.
- Skin issues (mites)
How Do I Know If My Russian Dwarf Hamster Is Sick?
As a responsible pet owner, you need to properly take care of your pet, and one of the ways is by watching your pet closely to find out if he needs medical attention.
If you Russian Dwarf Hamster has some of the symptoms below, he may be sick.
- Loss of appetite
- Unwillingness to socialize (hiding)
- Sneezing and discharge from the nose or eyes
- Loss of energy
- Excessive scratching or hair loss
- Diarrhea or wetness around the tail.
If your hamster exhibits any of these symptoms listed above, please take him to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Do Russian Dwarf Hamsters Like to be Held?
Russian dwarf hamsters are friendly and nice and do not mind being held or pet. This attribute makes them a perfect pocket for you or your kids.
A Russian Dwarf hamster will nip or bite if they feel threatened and are quite fast.
What Do Dwarf Hamsters Die From?
Lots of reasons can be accounted for the sudden death of a hamster. They include,
- Old age: Hamsters have an average lifespan of 2 years with a maximum of 3 years. If you adopt a hamster without knowing his real age, his sudden death can result from old age.
- Stress: stress can not lead to the sudden death of your hamster, but it can weaken its immune system, lead to illness, and then eventual death.
- Heart disease: heart failure can also lead to the sudden death of your hamster. Respiratory problems could be genetic.
- Wet tail or diarrhea: this is usually a common disease in most adult hamsters caused by bacteria.
- Pneumonia: Pneumonia and lung infections are common health problems in hamsters that can lead to their sudden death.
- Cancer: cancer in hamsters is also called neoplasia and could lead to a hamster’s sudden death if not detected on time.
How Do I Know If My Dwarf Hamster Is Dying?
If your hamster has difficulty in breathing, such as wheezing and huffing, it could mean that your hamster is dying.
Hamster suffers from respiratory problems, which are associated with noisy and heavy breathing. These respiratory problems can be life-threatening. You should take your hamster to a veterinarian immediately you notice such symptoms.
Can You Tell How Old A Hamster Is?
You can’t tell the exact age of your hamster, but some discernable features will help you determine his age range.
If your hamster’s ears are shut and his eyes closed, it’s likely he is no older than 2 weeks or so.
Hamsters are born without furs, and as they grow, their furs become more lustrous. As they grow older, the furs start thinning.
Conclusion | What is Russian Dwarf Hamsters Lifespan?
Generally, hamsters have a short lifespan. You should put this into consideration when getting a pet hamster.
However, if you can prolong the longevity of your dwarf hamsters by how well you care for them. That their lifespan averages 2 years doesn’t mean it won’t die before 1 or 2 years.
With proper care and constant treatment from a vet. Your hamsters can not only live longer but also live healthy, fun, and happy.
By: Chewy Editorial Published: September 15, 2011
Signs Your Hamster Is Sick
Healthy hamsters normally eat well, groom themselves, run and play. They also have full, shiny coats and bright eyes.
Hamsters are sturdy little animals, but poor care, an incorrect diet and an unhealthy environment can cause illnesses and even lead to death. If you don’t know what to look for, you might miss important signs of a sick hamster.
Even if you’re on top of your hamster health knowledge and well aware of sick hamster symptoms, you may not realize you hamster feels unwell.
“Hamsters hide signs of sickness for as long as they can,” says Kristin Valdes, DVM, an exotic vet at Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital in Skokie, Ill.
Therefore, it’s critical that pet parents observe their hamster’s normal appearance and behavior so they quickly notice even subtle changes that might indicate illness. It’s also essential to know the signs of a sick hamster so you know what to look for.
Signs of a Sick Hamster
The following symptoms may indicate that your hamster feels unwell.
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- A dirty or matted coat
- Hair loss
- Lumps beneath the skin
- Hunched posture
- Excessive itchiness
- Runny eyes or nose
- Dull eyes
- Wheezing or labored breathing
- Shaking or shivering
- Abnormal walk
- Wetness in the tail area
- Discharge from the eyes, ears or nose
Common Hamster Ailments
These are the most common problems hamsters experience, according to Dr. Valdes.
If you notice your hamster’s hair thinning, consider seeing a vet.
“It could be caused by skin parasites, bacterial infections, fungal disease and allergic reactions to bedding,” Dr. Valdes says.
One of the most frequent causes of diarrhea is introducing a new hamster food , including vegetables. In this case, Dr. Valdes recommends that you “stop feeding the new diet item immediately to see if the problem clears up.”
Whether the diarrhea is caused by diet or by something else, if it lasts longer than a day, contact your veterinarian.
“Diarrhea is a very serious problem,” Dr. Valdes says. “It can dehydrate and kill a small animal very quickly.”
Most common in longhaired and teddy bear hamsters, wet tail is a bacterial infection that causes watery diarrhea and dehydration. Additional signs include matted tail fur, a hunched stance and irritability.
Wounds from Fighting
These territorial rodents may fight among themselves resulting in bite wounds. After separating the fighting hamsters, Dr. Valdes recommends cleaning any wounds with dilute Betadine (antiseptic solution) and contacting your veterinarian.
To the casual observer, your hamster’s filled cheek pouches might look like abnormal growths, but this is normal behavior for these scavengers. If you find lumps and bumps in other areas of your hamster’s body, however, these swellings might be associated with abscesses or tumors, Dr. Valdes says. Consult your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.
Like all rodents, your hamster’s front teeth (incisors) grow throughout their lives. If they are not worn down properly, they can overgrow and cause severe problems.
“The teeth can be trimmed or filed to the appropriate length under anesthesia at the veterinarian’s office,” Dr. Valdes says. “This must be done every 21-30 days when malocclusion [misalignment of the teeth] is present. Do not attempt this on your own.”
Other Causes of Hamster Ailments
In addition to improper care contributing to illness in hamsters, poor genetics and old age can factor in. Thankfully most genetic problems are bred out of hamsters naturally, Dr. Valdes says.
“Most congenital problems are self-limiting in that you will see a hamster do poorly with a genetic problem and not be able to breed or continue on their line,” she explains. “These problems are infrequently seen, although some hamsters can be genetically predisposed to diabetes.”
For aging hamsters, cancers are common, Dr. Valdes says, adding that because hamsters have a very short lifespan of about 3 years, they qualify as middle-aged at around 1-1.5 years old.
When is it Time for the Vet?
“If you notice your hamster is sick, you will want to visit the vet in the next day or so,” Dr. Valdes says. “A good rule of thumb is that a hamster that is laying on his or her side and unable to move is an emergency situation, as is a hamster that is gasping to breathe. If you are not sure, call your veterinarian, and they will let you know if you need to come in right away.”
Hamsters are stealth at hiding their illnesses for as long as possible. So, any time you are concerned that you are seeing signs of a sick hamster, such as a change in your pet’s appearance or behavior, schedule an appointment with your vet.
By: Sandy Chebat
Featured Image: Via pisit38/iStock/Thinkstock
Did you know that hamsters can catch colds? Your little pocket pet can get a case of the sniffles, just like we do. Unfortunately, chicken soup and Netflix marathons aren’t going to do much for your little buddy. In this article, your local vet Welland goes over some basics about how to tell if your pet hamster has a cold.
As the saying says, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to keep your hamster healthy is to provide a clean and suitable habitat. Make sure your pet’s cage is not situated too close to any drafts, especially in winter. Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature, so you’ll also want to be sure to keep him in a room that is the right temperature, which would be between 60 and 75 degrees. Another thing which can sometimes make hamsters sick is if they are given water in a bowl, as bowl water can be easily contaminated. If you’re sick, avoid touching your pet, as your little furball could catch your cold.
Hamsters with colds will often display the same symptoms as people. Your pet may sniffle or sneeze, and his little nose might run. You may also notice your pet seems a bit lethargic: he may just curl up to sleep, and not want to do much. His little body may feel warm to the touch, and he may be thirstier than usual. Watery eyes, matted fur, and discharge from the eyes or nose are also indicative of colds in hamsters. If the cold is severe, Hammie’s fur may be very matted, and he may lose his appetite. A word of caution: it is important to note that these things can also be symbolic of other illnesses, so if you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, contact your vet immediately for a proper diagnosis.
There is still no cure for the common cold. Once your vet has confirmed that your furball has a cold, he may prescribe antibiotics, but that will help with the symptoms of the cold, not the cold itself. There are a few things you can do to help your pet recover more quickly. First, you’ll want to clean and disinfect his cage, and everything in it, and change his bedding. Next, make sure his cage is warm enough. You can also try offering your little buddy some warm milk water and honey. Ask your vet for specific amounts and feeding schedules.
Do you think your pet hamster may be ill? Call us at any time! As your vet clinic Welland, we are happy to assist.
Have you ever considered owning a hamster? They are extremely popular pets due to their undeniable cuteness and ease of care. In fact, many parents introduce hamsters as first pets to their kids as a medium for teaching responsibility and nurturing affection.
However, just because they are relatively low maintenance animals doesn’t mean they’re devoid of issues. One of the more common problems hamster owners come across is shaking.
Hamster shaking can be brought on for several different reasons. In this article, we’ll tackle the four biggest reasons why your hamster is shaking and how you can prevent or stop it.
Is it Normal for Hamsters to Shake?
Shaking and quivering are not normal in pets or humans. Most of the time, this behavior indicates that something is wrong. With hamsters, shaking could mean several different things.
Shaking is a strong indicator that your hamster is under either physical or mental duress. This can be brought upon by health issues such as diabetes or through common life processes such as hibernation. Hamsters will also shake through excess emotional stimulation such as fear or anxiety.
Regardless of the situation, shaking and quivering implies that your hamster is going through a stressful time—whether it’s normal or not.
4 Possible Reasons Why a Hamster is Shaking
As a hamster owner, it is important to recognize the root causes of why your hamster may be shaking. Some reasons aren’t as critical as others and can be very simply corrected. However, being able to differentiate between an emergency situation and less-threatening shaking is crucial.
1. Shaking Caused by Fear and Anxiety
Both hamsters and human beings alike tend to shake when in a frightening or nerve-racking situation. And these situations tend to be everyday occurrences for many hamsters. These little furballs startle very easily. This can be attributed to their diminutive size in a great big world.
However, through regular care and handling, your hamster can grow accustomed to you and become very affectionate. But for many hamsters, this is a gradual process. There’s a good chance they’ll be nervous and uneasy when you first hold them, which can lead to shaking and trembling.
Also, this is likely to happen whenever they’re around new people. Although you may be excited to show off your pet hamster, you’ll need to be aware of your hamster’s comfort level. Most hamsters are only comfortable being around people they already know well through a gradual introduction. If you notice your hamster is shaking while introducing him to new people, ask your friends to refrain from touching. This will help put your little guy at ease.
2. Climate and Hibernation Shakes
Image Credit: polya_olya, Shutterstock
Your hamster may also start shaking based on the weather and season. When the ambient temperature becomes really cold, hamsters tend to hibernate and go into a low energy condition. You’ll notice this happening when they stop doing their usual activities—running, burrowing, playing, etc.
It may look like your pet is extremely ill; however, hibernation behavior is normal. Sometimes when hamsters hibernate, they look lifeless apart from their breathing. But you can easily perk them right up. Just bring your hamster to a much warmer place. This will get them back up and moving again.
However, the sudden change in their body temperature will cause them to shake and shiver. But don’t worry — this shaking is completely normal.
When their body temperature goes from cold to warm in a short period, it produces a reflex that causes the body the shake. It’s just like what we experience when walking into a toasty home from a colder winter day.
If your hamster starts shaking while getting out of hibernation, there’s no cause for alarm. But you need to monitor their shaking closely. They shouldn’t keep shaking for a long time after warming up. Continuous shaking might be a sign of a health issue. If you see your hamster shaking after an extended period post-hibernation, call your vet immediately.
3. Nervous System Problems
Image Credit: Olena Kurashova, Shutterstock
Apart from hibernation and anxiety, hamsters can shake due to problems involving their nervous system. This type of shaking can be triggered by excessive stimulation when humans touch them.
The stimulation forces their natural muscle motion to move abnormally causing your hamster to shake and turn their body over. If you notice your hamster shakes whenever it is being held or touched, it is best to handle your little guy as delicately as possible.
Make sure to let your friends and family know about this condition of your hamster whenever you introduce your pet to them. That way, they can also handle your little one with extra gentle care.
4. Serious Medical Conditions
Lastly, shaking in hamsters can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Some known medical issues that can cause shaking in a hamster are diabetes, stroke, heatstroke, skin parasites, or congestive heart failure.
Other common signs to look out to determine if your hamster has a condition are nasal discharge, watery stools, weight loss, rough appearance, and glazed-over eyes. If any of these is occurring together with shaking, it could mean that your hamster requires emergency medical care.
Should I Worry About my Shaking Hamster?
Shaking in hamsters can be completely normal or could mean something more serious. It all depends on the situation. However, if your pet hamster is showing signs of shaking that look out of the ordinary, it’s best to contact your vet or bring it to the clinic right away.
- This next article might be of interest to you: 7 Hamster Sounds and Their Meanings (with Audio)
Featured Image Credit: IRINA ORLOVA, Shutterstock
Lead Pet Expert & Pet-ditor in Chief
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.
Hamsters are generally quiet animals that are not known for being loud, but as any hamster owner will tell you, these little animals are capable of making several unique vocalizations. There are many reasons for these vocalizations, and as an owner of a hamster, it’s a great idea to get acquainted with the sounds that they make.
While many of these sounds are not well researched and can mean different things depending on the context, getting to know these sounds can still help you get to know your hamster better and cater to their needs more accurately. Context is important when considering the sounds that hamsters make, and also getting to know the accompanying body language will go a long way toward deciphering what your hamster is trying to say!
In this article, we’ll look at the seven most common sounds that hamsters make and what they usually mean.
When you mention the sounds that hamsters make, squeaking is usually the only sound that comes to mind. This is the sound that they make most often, and they squeak to convey a variety of different emotions. Happiness is the most common, and especially when they are young, they will squeak out of pure joy when being fed, running on a wheel, or receiving a new toy to play with.
That being said, hamsters will also squeak when they get injured or irritated and are known to squeak when hungry. Again, context will usually tell you the reason for their squeak!
Hissing is the first and most common sign of discomfort in your hamster. They will often hiss if they feel threatened or angry, and this is common when introducing new hamsters to your home. After socialization, they should stop making this sound as they become more comfortable with their surroundings. If you notice your hamster hissing while they are alone, there may be something in their immediate environment that is making them uncomfortable, like a new toy or cramped living conditions. Check their cage and see if removing a new toy or changing things around calms them down.
Also known as “bruxing,” hamsters sometimes rub their teeth together, causing a clicking sound. This sound is usually a good sign of a content and happy hamster, similar to a purring cat! When you hear your hamster clicking their teeth, you can rest easy, knowing all is well in their world!
4. Crying and Screaming
A crying or screaming hamster is a sound that nobody wants to hear, especially the hamster’s owner! It is a rather disturbing sound, to say the least, and will cut right into your ears and heart. This screaming is also fairly rare, and hamsters will usually only make this sound when they are particularly alarmed or frightened or in real pain. A highly stressed hamster, a hamster that has been dropped or is in pain, or fighting hamsters will occasionally scream or cry, and it is not in any way a pleasant sound!
Just like humans, hamsters may sneeze and cough in reaction to something in their environment. Some dust or an unpleasant smell may cause them to react with small coughing or sneezing fit, and it is usually nothing to worry about. That said, some hamsters will cough or sneeze due to allergies, or they may even have a common cold and should be taken for a checkup if they are sneezing incessantly.
Just like birds, hamsters chirp too! They will usually make this sound for the same reason as squeaking: They could be excited and happy or possibly in fear or anger, and context is important to ascertain the reason.
While this sound is fairly rare in hamsters, some hamster owners report their hamsters cooing quietly at times. This is a soft, quiet, vibrating sound that is the sign of a content and happy hamster. Have you heard your hamster cooing? Please let us know in the comments!
Getting to know the different sounds that your hamster makes is an important method of getting to know them better and will help you meet their needs more accurately. Remember that context is important with the sounds that they are making, especially when squeaking, so it is up to your experience as the owner to ascertain whether they are excited or terrified!
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay
Lead Pet Expert & Pet-ditor in Chief
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.
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Male hamsters: penis, testes, scent gland (for dwarves)
Female hamsters: nipples, odour (for syrians)
Trying to identify a hamster’s sex/gender can be confusing even for experienced pawrents, so do not fret if you are having trouble.
When we first rescued Elsa (right), we thought he was a girl because his testes were not visible. After two whole months, we gradually realised that dear Elsa might actually be a Kristoff.
With this article, we hope to help pawrents identify their hamsters’ sex/gender more effectively. Of course, the anatomy of each hamster might differ, but we hope to cover as many variations as possible so that you can be sure if your hamster is a boy or a girl!
Syrians being the largest hamster species means it is also easiest one to check for sex.
However, it may still be tough to determine a baby Syrian’s sex because the anatomy might not be immediately visible.
By Laurie Hess, DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Avian Practice)
Lizards can make wonderful pets. They come in all shapes and sizes—from bearded dragons to geckos to iguanas and others—and can be fascinating to learn about and to care for. Different species have varying temperature, humidity, light, and nutritional requirements, and before taking a reptile home, potential reptile owners should learn about the needs of the particular species they are considering to ensure that they are able to meet these needs.
Since lizards (and generally, all reptiles) have such slow metabolisms, when they get sick, they often do not show signs of illness until a disease has progressed, and sometimes not until it is too late to treat. Therefore, it is critical that reptile owners know what signs to look for to tell that their pet is ill before the animal is too far gone for veterinary therapy.
What should lizard owners be watching for to indicate that their pets are ill and need to see a veterinarian as soon as possible? Here are five signs that indicate a lizard may be sick:
Lack of appetite
Lizards generally love to eat. Some lizards, such as iguanas, are herbivores (vegetable and fruit eaters); others, such as leopard geckos, are insectivores (insect eaters) or, like bearded dragons, they can be omnivores (eat insects and vegetables/fruit). Regardless of what the lizard eats, leaving lizard food after a meal can be one of the first signs of illness. Not eating at all—even once—is a sign that cannot be ignored.
In addition, if a lizard ignores insects in its tank and doesn’t eat them within a few minutes, the bugs should be removed or they may chew on the lizard, causing significant trauma and infection. Lizard owners should carefully monitor their pets’ appetites and take them to the veterinarian as soon as they notice any change.
Reptiles’ droppings have two parts: a white part made up of uric acid, or solid urine, and a green or brown portion, made up of stool. Less stool production usually means less food ingestion. Therefore, as soon as a lizard owner sees fewer droppings in the tank, he or she should pay extra attention to the pet’s appetite.
Whether the pet’s reduced stool production is due to decreased appetite or to constipation, a lizard that is passing less stool should be soaked in fresh water to keep it hydrated and checked out by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Healthy lizards are generally bright-eyed and active, moving around their tanks and, depending on their species, climbing on rocks or branches and basking in sunlight. They will respond to things they see and hear and appear alert, pushing up on all four legs in a ready-to-go posture. Sick lizards, on the other hand, often will stay stationary for hours or may even hide under lizard bedding or other objects in the tank. They may be too weak to push up off their bellies onto their legs, so if they move at all, they slither around like snakes. Any reptile owner who sees this kind of behavior or notices weakness in their pet should have the animal checked out immediately.
In general, healthy reptiles have wide-open eyes, moist gums, and supple skin. Reptiles absorb water through the food they eat and through their skin when they soak or are misted. Sunken eyes, sticky mucus in the mouth, and retained, non-shedding skin all can be signs of dehydration. A lizard showing any of these signs should be soaked/misted with warm water to provide immediate hydration and should be examined by a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause of the dehydration, such as a primary illness, causing the pet to eat less, or inadequate humidity in the lizard’s tank.
Lizards that are dehydrated from not eating should be syringe fed liquid feeding formula appropriate to their species, while those that are dehydrated from exposure to excessively dry air, such as that which occurs in cool, indoor climates during winter, should be provided with additional humidity through daily soaking and misting.
Weight loss in lizards is not always obvious until they have lost a significant amount of weight. There are some body changes lizard owners can look out for that can indicate weight loss, including thinning of the tail (a place lizards typically store fat) and prominence of the ribs. Some reptiles also demonstrate greater definition of the skull bones from loss of fat on their heads. Lizard owners who notice any of these signs should have their pets checked as soon as possible by a veterinarian to assess the cause of the weight loss and to start nutritional supplementation until the pet is at a more appropriate weight.
Since many reptiles can literally go months without eating and still stay alive, lizard owners will too often wait to see if their pets will resume eating and regain the weight. As they wait, the pet gets thinner and thinner and less able to fight the illness that is causing their decreased appetite, ultimately leading to death from malnutrition and starvation. If you suspect your lizard is gradually losing weight, don’t wait it out; have him examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
A Knowledgeable Owner Makes for a Healthy Lizard
Reptiles commonly get sick from being housed or fed inappropriately. All reptiles, including lizards, have a preferred optimum temperature zone, or range of temperature, in which they thrive. Many lizards also require daily exposure to ultraviolet light (unfiltered by glass) to make vitamin D in their skin that enables them to absorb calcium from their food. Lizard owners are often ignorant about these temperature and lizard lighting requirements, so they don’t provide appropriate environmental conditions for their pets, and the animals ultimately get sick.
Lizards housed indoors also typically should be supplemented with calcium and vitamin D and provided with varied foods, depending on their species, to ensure they are getting appropriate nutrition. Feeding a lizard just one type of food (whether it’s an insect or a vegetable) over and over—a common mistake many lizard owners make—can lead to malnutrition. Learning about the lizard’s nutritional and environmental needs and setting up its tank appropriately can help prevent illness before it occurs.
Having your pet checked by a reptile-savvy veterinarian when it is first obtained and then annually after that not only may prevent problems from happening, but also may catch illness when it first occurs, before it is too late to treat.
By: Chewy Editorial Published: July 27, 2011
Home / BeWell / Wellness / Hamster Suddenly Drags Its Rear Legs
Hamster Suddenly Drags Its Rear Legs
I have a wonderful panda bear hamster (Syrian) that is 2 to 3 years old now (The pet shop didn’t tell me how old he was when I got him, but he appeared to be fully grown). Recently, he has been doing a rather strange thing. Instead of walking like normal, he drags his two hind legs behind him after he takes a step with them. The steps he takes with his hind legs seem to be very weak, and once he is finished he just drags them behind. He is basically dragging the entire back half of his body. But he still performs his bodily functions normally. I am not sure what is happening. He seemed very healthy until recently. He went on his exercise wheel A LOT, and we would always take him out to play. He is also eating and drinking normally as well. Can you fill me in on what is happening, why it is happening and what I have to do?
A Syrian hamster that is between 2 and 3 years of age is getting up there in years and could be considered a senior citizen. For that reason, when older animals get sick, the diseases we rule out first are the common conditions found in older animals.
In hamsters, some of the conditions we find include heart disease, pneumonia, kidney disease and cancer. What you are describing in your hamster is evidence of weakness. Weakness is considered a nonspecific sign of disease, meaning that it does not point to a blatant disease process.
Obviously, the first question someone would ask is, “Has there been any trauma to the legs or spine?” Trauma to the spine, muscles or bones of the lower part of the body could cause what you are describing. But since you have control over the conditions in which your hamster lives, it sounds very unlikely that trauma caused what you are seeing, because you have not observed any trauma.
Heart disease, pneumonia and renal disease can all cause overall body weakness, and the first sign that you might see is a dragging of the hind legs. Even certain types of cancer can cause overall body weakness.
My suggestion is to find a veterinarian who has an expertise in small mammal medicine. The physical examination may provide your veterinarian with enough information to give you an answer as to the cause of your hamster’s problem and there may be no need to proceed to advanced diagnostic testing.
The veterinarian will listen to the heart and lungs to determine if there is disease in these organs. By testing the urine, your veterinarian should be able to tell you if the kidneys are functioning properly. Finally, palpation of the legs and an examination of the nervous function of the limbs can let you know if this is whole body weakness or if a more specific neurologic disease is present. If after the physical examination the cause of disease is still not clear, your veterinarian might recommend tests such as blood tests and radiographs.
By: Karen Rosenthal, DVM, DABVP
Featured Image: Via Unsplash/Pixabay
I came to this website seeking advice because I am desperate. My little female Black Syrian hamster, Peaches, is less than year old. I found her on Sunday at approximately 8 pm in what appeared to be a hibernating state. However, her whiskers weren’t moving. We waited overnight and we realized that she probably died, and we buried her. However, when we were burying her, we realized that her body was still VERY limp and that her mouth wasn’t open. We decided to dig her back up since we had doubts about whether or not she was really dead. We have always heard that hibernating hamsters are usually cold and stiff, and a woman at the local petshop told us that hamsters are not dead unless they are stiff.
Peaches is currently sitting in my room, a few feet away from a small heater where I am trying to warm her up. Her feet and arms are not clustered together like my previous hamster who passed away (he had his mouth open too, and he was very stiff), but she is not breathing and her whisker are not moving. Her hands and feet still have some color, although she doesn’t have any color in her lips or her hands (except for the pink/yellow on her paws and feet). Her body is still soft and limp, and I am keeping her as comfortable as possible until I find out whether or not she is really dead (and that means stiff right?)
Please, I am begging anyone with sound advice to please hand me their advice. I am desperate and I do not want to lose my hamster. 🙁
from what you say, the limp limbs do sound like a sign of hibernation, according to this article:
i hope things turn out okay with peaches
but after rigor mortis (when a dead body stifens) it DOES go limp again afterwards, it depends how long she has been dead before you found her.
i really really do hope she is hibernating, but even hibernating hamsters still breathe.
DO read the article miss pixy has posted, start about half way down, it has some very important points about waking a hibernating hamster, like DO NOT heat it up.
Edited by purplelotus, 09 November 2004 – 10:33 PM.
warm up the hamster slowly.
it shouldnt take long before they do wake up. i nearly took one of my first hamsters dead when in fact it was hibernating
#8 litte hammie boo
Action Hero Ham
oh dear, i wonder if i’ve buried some of my hamsters alive. it’s so hard to distinguish a dead hammy from a hibernating hammy
A hamsters body goes stiff(why does this happen?) and if you pick a dead hamster, that died when sleeping, up then it would most likely be be curled up.
Ultimate Hamster Clone
Ultimate Hamster Clone
Sadly, hamsters only live for an average of 2-3 years. This of course depends on many factors, such as breed, lifestyle, illness and possible injury. The small breeds of hamster, such as the Russian Dwarf are only expected to live between one and two years, whereas the larger hamsters such as Golden hamsters are expected to live around two to three years. Of course, this can differ quite a lot, and if cared for correctly, hamsters can live up to five years.
Hamsters are timid creatures and should be kept in an area away from loud/ frequent noise to allow them to sleep during the day and ensure their cage is away from draughts and direct sunlight. A wire care is the best for hamsters as it allows air to circulate and gives them something to climb on (small hamsters may be best kept in plastic cages in case they squeeze through the gaps). In terms of floor coverings, pine shavings are advisable as they are absorbent but comfy for the hamsters, plus then can bury in them easily. For bedding, used specially designed hamster fluff as this is non toxic and won’t get stuck if they put it in their pouches. Ensure they have access to clean fresh water at all times, and ensure the water bottle doesn’t touch the bedding as this can make your hamster sick.
Hamsters should be given a small supply of dry hamster food each day (it will most likely take this to a store in its pouches). In addition to this, hamsters enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables and so should be provided with a small quantity each week. Any fresh food which hasn’t been eaten should be removed the following day to prevent it from decaying.
If your hamster is not walking well, it’s likely that you’ll need to take your pet to the vet. Below we’ve outlined some potential causes for this symptom, but it’s likely you’ll need to take your pet to the vet for a proper diagnosis.
Falls and accidents – has your hamster has suffered a fall recently? If so, your hamster may have a paralysed or broken leg (or legs), which mean it needs to be taken to a vet.
Scurvy – if you don’t provide enough vitamin C to your hamster, then it may develop the condition known as scurvy. In serious cases, this disease can paralyse your pet’s back legs or cause them to seize up, forcing your hamster to hop around. Make sure you’re giving your pet foods containing enough vitamin C, as well as all the other nutrients your pet needs.
Sometimes a hamster’s gait can indicate health problems
Strokes – if your hamster is rocking backwards and forwards when it’s sitting down, or is swaying as it walks, then your hamster may have suffered a stroke. Some damage caused by strokes can heal, but some is permanent. If you take your hamster to be checked by a vet, then they may be able to tell you how extensive the damage is, and to what extent your pet will recover. If your hamster has had a stroke then it can lead a full life, but sometimes it may need help eating and drinking. We recommend taking your hamster to the vet if you think it’s had a stroke, not necessarily to get treatment, but in case your hamster now has some specific requirements that it will need you to fulfill.
Dehydration – if your hamster is suddenly listless and not walking around much, then there’s a strong chance that your hamster is either severely dehydrated, or has a serious illness. If your hamster is showing these symptoms and you don’t think your pet is hibernating, we recommend taking these hamsters to see a vet.
Old age – if your hamster is slightly older, and the tendency to walk around less has been very gradual, then this may be simply because of old age. As hamsters get older, like humans, they become a little less likely to be quite as active as they once were.
Posted on Published: January 26, 2019 – Last updated: February 5, 2022
Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
You asked for it, hamster humor. so here it is! We researched and found the 15 funniest family-friendly jokes about our furry little friends.
Now, a few of these jokes actually talk about hamsters dying so please use your judgment before sharing them with very young kids.
We all love our hammies and we’re here to celebrate their lives and educate owners about the best possible hamster care practices.
Here at Hamsters101.com, we believe that it’s ok to share a laugh with hamster jokes too, as long as we are committed to the welfare of our pets.
That’s why we added links to articles that can help you learn more about hamsters after some of the jokes.
1. The origins of hamsters
Q: Where do hamsters come from?
2. Bedtime Story
Q: Why does the mother hamster never tell her babies a bedtime story?
A: She doesn’t have a tale!
3. Bad Weather
Q: Why do hamsters stay inside in bad weather?
A: Because it’s raining cats and dogs!
4. Weight Problem
I was wondering why my hamster was so fat…
Then it became a parent!
5. Black Tie Attire
Q: What do you call a hamster with a top hat?
A: Abrahamster Lincoln
Q: Why did the hamster run away on foot?
A: Because he didn’t have a wheel!
7. Job Satisfaction
Q: Why did the hamster quit his job?
A: Because he wasn’t happy with the celery they gave him.
Q: When does a hamster take a bath?
A: Just like us – when no one’s looking!
9. The Hamster Show
A down and out, a grungy man walks into a swanky restaurant desperately needing a meal. He asks the waiter if he can have a free meal and the waiter says, “Absolutely not! This is an upscale establishment and I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
The man says, “If I can show you something amazing that you’ve never seen before will you give me a meal?”
The waiter replies, “Ok, only if it is truly amazing and not crude.”
The man pulls a hamster out of his pocket. It jumps off the table, runs across the room to the piano, and plays songs. And, it is really good!
The waiter is amazed and brings a hot meal to the man while the hamster plays.
When the man finishes, he is still hungry and asks the waiter for a free dessert and coffee. The waiter says, “No, sorry, unless you have the money or another miracle, that’s all you get.”
The man says, “Ok!” and pulls a frog out of his pocket and sets it on the table. The frog begins singing the song that the hamster is playing on the piano!
A man at another table rushes over and offers $200 for the singing frog.
The man makes the trade and the fellow runs out of the restaurant with the frog to get him on The Tonight Show.
The waiter says, “Are you crazy? That singing frog is worth millions, not just $200.”
The man replies, “Not so. The hamster is also a ventriloquist. Now, bring that chocolate torte and coffee, please.”
10. Dark Humor
My hamster died today…he fell asleep at the wheel!
11. Quite a Crowd
Two nuns, a pirate with a parrot on his shoulder, a dog, and a hamster walk into a bar. The bartender says, “What is this? Some kind of joke?”
Funny hamster gif’s
GIF’s are short animations that people make to show their funny hamsters. Here are our favorite funny GIFs and why we love them so much.
This adorable white hammy looks so surprised! We think he just realized someone was taking his picture.
13. Nom nom nom!
Don’t you love watching your hammy stuff his cheek pouches like that?
Here’s another hamster making the most of his cheek pouches – only this one is wearing a hat!
Maybe that’s Abrahamster Lincoln from the other joke?
14. Following the food trail
15. Mama hamster wants to sleep!
Hamster pups are so active! This one interrupts his mama while she’s asleep.
Remember, Syrian hamsters are solitary animals. If you ever deal with a mama hamster with babies, they need to be separated by the time the pups are a month old.
16. Evil hamster lurking
He looks busy plotting his plan to take over the world!
17. Dancing hamster
Just for fun, and because GIFs can be used to manipulate images without harming a hamster.
There you have it, a collection of family-friendly jokes and funny gifs about hamsters.
What do you think? Can you come up with any of your own hamster jokes? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Tuesday 19th of October 2021
these jokes are high-quality I love hamsters I love this website it’s the best place ever for me when I have free time
Have you ever asked yourself ‘when will I die?’, our advanced life expectancy calculator will accurately* predict your death date for you depending on where you live, how much you smoke and your lifestyle to show your own death clock countdown. To predict your death date, simply input your date of birth, sex, smoking habits, your BMI and the country you live in. If you don’t know your BMI simply use the BMI calculator form.
Your BMI Results
We have calculated your BMI to be:
- Under 18.5 – Underweight
- 18.5-24.9 – Normal
- 25-29.9 – Overweight
- 30+ – Obese
- 40+ – Seriously Obese
Please select a measurment for your height and weight
As your BMI is a good indication of a healthy lifestyle it has the biggest effect on your prediction. It is never too late to adapt to healthy living, a diet intake that balances out your physical excersions is the key to weight loss!
Ready? Hit submit and our hamster slaves will spin up their wheels and report your personalised death clock so you can make a note in your diary.
*should be used for fun only, this calculator is unlikely to predict your actual date of death.
Our top tips for a longer life
1) Maintain a healthy bodyweight
2) Perform reguar exercise, get up and move!
3) Stop smoking
4) Eat a healthy, balanced diet & reduce consumption of processed foods
5) Drink less (or no) alcohol
6) Aim for 7-8 hours sleep each night
7) Prioritise happiness and have a purpose
8) Avoid or manage stress
10) Avoid unprotected & prolonged sun exposure
It can be tempting to acquire a hamster on impulse. After all, these little guys are the picture of cuteness: small, round, furry, and inquisitive. A great starter pet, right? Not at all! Here are some important questions to consider before you dive headlong into a relationship.
Adopt, don’t shop
Small animals like hamsters are often mistreated and forced into deplorable conditions when they’re bred for pet stores to sell — look for a local rescue first when you’re considering adopting a hamster, and skip the pet stores.
Suit your schedule
Hamsters are nocturnal, which means they will be most active at night. If you’re a light sleeper who is disturbed by the smallest of sounds, a squeaking wheel at 2 a.m. might not be a good fit. If you work a graveyard shift and are looking for furry companionship during the day, hamsters are bound to frustrate your expectations. But if you’re a night owl, a hamster could be the perfect companion when you’re burning the midnight oil!
Children and hamsters
Because of their small size, hamsters are often purchased as pets for children who want to play with them during the day. However, just when it’s time for your child to go to sleep, it’s time for a hamster to wake up. A hamster awakened suddenly from a nap during the day may bite. Therefore, hamsters need to be handled only with adult supervision by children under 8 years old.
Hamsters require a gentle touch and may be easily startled by sudden movement and loud noises.
The motor skills of children under 8 are usually not refined enough to make a hamster feel comfortable being handled. Young children who lack fine motor control and self-restraint may inadvertently drop a hamster, squeeze them, or scare them into biting.
Young children are also at greater risk for zoonotic diseases (diseases that are can be passed from animals to humans) because of their undeveloped immune systems and because of their tendency for close contact with pets without proper hand-washing. Children under 5 are particularly vulnerable to the effects of salmonella, a type of intestinal bacteria that hamsters can carry. Although rare, hamsters have been known to carry Lymphocytic choriomeningitis, a virus that can seriously sicken young children.
Sign up to receive our exclusive e-book full of important information about caring for your pet, including training techniques and answers to frequently asked questions.
The purpose of Hubba-Hubba Hamstery is to provide healthy, tame, ethically bred show quality hamsters as an alternative to pet store animals produced in rodent mills. As with puppy mills, pet store hamsters come from rodent mills where hamsters are breed by the tens of thousands in horrific conditions with no regard to their health or genetic traits. Many people buy pet store hamsters only to have them die young and unexpectedly from genetic defects. Even a pet store hamster which appears healthy is likely to asymptomatically carry parasites or diseases due to the conditions they are housed in prior to arriving in the pet store. Many of these contagions can be spread to both people and other animals. Besides potentially putting both people and other animals at risk, purchasing a hamster from the from a pet store funds rodent mills, which continues the cycle of inhumane treatment. We are currently the only ethical hamstery in the Pacific Northwest and one of only a small handful on the west coast.
Despite their small size, we believe hamsters can be furry family. We aim to provide up-to-date care information. Aside from breeding our hamsters to be healthy, happy and humongous we are focusing on specific colors and patterns: black/rust/chocolate and yellow as well as dominant spot pattern and rex coat.
Do you want a hamster sooner but do not want to support rodent mills? Consider a rescue hamster! We have adoptable rescue hamsters on occasion and are in close communication with rescues in the Pacific NW. Let me know what you’re looking for and I’d be happy to help find you a hamster!
At Hubba-Hubba Hamstery we commit to always meeting or exceeding the ethical guidelines for breeders set out by the California Hamster Association. Our hamsters to bred to British Hamster Association (BHA) show standards, focusing on health and excellent temperament. To achieve these goals we cherry pick hamsters from the best breeders worldwide and fly them here to add to our lines.
What It Costs and What You Get
The fee to adopt a Hubba-Hubba Hamster is $55. Here’s what you get:
- A pedigreed hamster with a certificate of lineage
- A hamster who comes from a long lineage selected for health, temperament and type (looks)
- A hamster who’s been well fed and supplemented since conception, handled daily from a young age and is accustomed to family life
- A hamster accustomed to using a sand bath/litter box
- Lifelong support for your hamster
- A care package containing one pound of lab blocks, treats your hamster likes and a sack to handle your hamster in that smells like home. These items help ensure a smooth transition for the hamster
- An extensive care sheet (both printed and digital) covering everything you are likely to need to know
- A take back guarantee. Should you become unable to care for your hamster, we will take your hamster back (please provide their enclosure)
Applying to Adopt A Hamster
We have a wait list to adopt hamster pups. It can be hard to predict exactly how long it will take to be able to adopt your hamster, but our goal is to keep the wait time under 3 months. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram for updates on litters and pictures of pups.
Please note that we do not ship hamsters. Hamsters must be picked up in Portland, Oregon during pre-arranged weekend adoption events.
To be added to the wait list please read the care section of this website. If the care requirements sound doable, click the button below for the adoption application. I try to respond within 1-2 weeks.
Selecting and Picking Up Your Hamster
I begin contacting adopters 2-3 weeks before the pups are ready to go home to confirm supplies. Please have supplies ready before this time.
I begin contacting approved adopters to choose their hamster pup approximately 1 week before the pups are ready to go home. You will be given a list of hamsters which are available along with descriptions and pictures. Choice of hamster pups are offered in waiting list order.
If we do not receive a response within 48 hours of reaching out to choose your pup, we will move onto the next adopter.
Portrait of a murderer:
A Siberian dwarf hamster, Phodopus sungorus.
I just learned that a lawsuit was recently filed in Massachusetts Superior Court on behalf of a man who died one month after receiving a transplanted liver that was later determined to be infected with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). Apparently, the organ donor purchased a pet hamster from a PetSmart in Warwick, Rhode Island, and this hamster was later shown to be infected with this deadly virus.
LCMV is spread by the common house mouse, Mus musculus, and causes a potentially lethal disease in immunocompromised humans known as lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM). The symptoms of LCM in immunocompromised humans are serious; either aseptic meningitis, encephalitis or meningoencephalitis. However, testing has revealed that only 5% of house mice and hamsters actually carry this virus and they are infected asymptomatically. These rodents shed LCMV in their urine, feces and saliva, which is how most humans become exposed to it. However, exposure to LCMV cannot cause health problems in humans unless they already are in very poor health and are unable to mount an effective immune response. Further, epidemiological evidence shows that rodent-to-human transmission occurs only between house mice or — very rarely — pet hamsters.
According to the papers filed in Superior Court, an unnamed woman purchased a hamster from Petsmart in 2005 and died of a stroke shortly afterwards. She was an organ donor, so her liver was transplanted into Thomas Magee, who died of LCMV one month later. The transplant was performed at Massachusetts General Hospital in April 2005. Five days after the transplant occurred, according to the suit, Magee “was exhibiting high blood pressure and a fever.”
The immediate cause of Magee’s death was “determined to have been the dissemination of LCMV in the liver he received,” according to the court papers.
Tragically, two other people who received organs from this same organ donor subsequently died and another one became seriously ill, according to the court papers. The organ donor’s pet hamster was later tracked down and found to be infected with LCMV.
While I sympathize with this woman’s loss, I do not see how this hamster can be “proven” beyond reasonable doubt in court to be the definitive source of LCMV when there is so much more potential for a common household pest to be the source instead. For example, both the hamster and the deceased organ donor could have been infected by a house mouse or two that was living undetected in the donor’s house, but since infected rodents remain asymptomatic, it is impossible to know if they are infected with the virus or when this infection occurred, unless there is a lab somewhere that is doing some serious DNA fingerprinting studies (but who knows, maybe there is?).
What do you think about this case?
Center for Disease Control’s Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Factsheet [PDF].
Many people pick a hamster as the first pet for their children, to teach them about the responsibilities that come with taking care of life. Hamsters are also great for people that aren’t ready for bigger companions or lack the time needed to own a more demanding pet.
So how much should you be willing to spend for your pet hamster to make sure it has a wonderful life around you? When you plan to bring home a hamster, this is how much you will pay, as an initial cost for the pet itself and throughout its life.
- If you want to buy an adult Syrian hamster of around 6-inches long that comes in multiple colors, be prepared to pay $5-$20. If you buy multiple hamsters of this type, you should know that they are very territorial and they should either have each their own cage, or each their individual space in a partitioned cage. They have a life expectancy of 2 to 3 years.
- Adult Dwarf hamsters are smaller, will only reach 2-3 inches long, and cost just $4 to $13. They like living in pairs and are usually sold in pairs. They only live 1 to 2 years.
- You can also get a Robvorski Hamster, that is smaller even than dwarfs at 1-2 inches and will cost $13-$30. If you get this type of hamster, don’t let it out of its cage, because these hamsters are very fast and difficult to catch. Inside a cage their temperament is easygoing.
Are you More of a Dog Person? This is The Cost of a Golden Retriever
The initial price of the hamster is only a small part of the full costs of owning it, so let’s break the other expenses into categories:
Upfront Costs For Your Hamster’s Environment
To have a happy life, hamsters need to be in an environment that offers them safety but also challenges their bodies and minds. You should get a hamster cage, toys, an exercise wheel, bedding, food, and a food bowl before you buy the actual hamster.
Any pet shop worker or veterinarian will tell you that you should budget at least $200-$250 as an initial investment, to get everything your hamster needs. This will cover the costs of chew sticks and toys, nesting material, a chew-proof hamster cage, a food bowl with food, a water bottle, and bedding. If you want to reduce expenses, you can use unscented, undyed toilet paper for nesting material and paper rolls and unpainted woodblocks cut in smaller pieces as play items.
Ongoing Costs Associated with Feeding Your Hamster
As soon as you finish setting up the environment for your hamster, the next logical step is to provide it with food on a regular basis. Like for most small pets, a happy hamster is one with a diversified diet.
Do You Want to Have a Special Pet That Will Stand Out? Then Get a Teacup Pig
As most people already know, hamsters are omnivores, meaning they eat almost everything, from fruits, nuts to seeds. If you have a hamster as your pet and you don’t want to give it fruits or seeds, you can buy pelleted foods, available in most pet shops. In fact, it’s a lot better to feed your hamster with pelleted foods, because they are balanced and give your pet exactly the nutrients it needs. With seed-based diets, your hamster might pick out only what it likes and will ignore important nutrients. They can’t do that with pelleted food.
You shouldn’t spend more than $5 – $10 for a bag of pelleted foots, and it should last one month to six weeks, depending on how many hamsters you have. If you want to offer your hamsters a treat from time to time, you should know that they really enjoy fresh foods, like carrots, walnuts, broccoli, or raisins.
Keeping Your Hamster Healthy and Costs Involved
As you’d probably expect, even a small pet like the hamster needs to be seen by a doctor from time to time. You should find a good veterinarian as soon as you’re sure you want to own a hamster. The doctor should specialize in exotic and small animals, including or especially hamsters. The cost of an examination will vary, depending on multiple factors, like where you live, the purpose of your visit, and medication that is prescribed. It’s usually a good idea to book a veterinarian consultation right after you buy your hamster, to know exactly where you stand. After the first consultation, yearly visits to the doctor should follow.
Veterinarians usually suggest an initial exam within a week after the purchase, and then yearly, to prevent common diseases that could put your pet, you, or your family in danger. Along with common health concerns like respiratory diseases, teeth problems, or even diarrheal infections, that could have a strong impact on your pet’s life, your hamster could also carry something that can be transmitted to humans. Most of these conditions can easily be avoided with periodical veterinary visits.
For Other Articles About Pets, Check Out Our Pets Category
In addition to routine check-ups, be prepared to take your hamster to the vet as many times necessary to make sure you keep it healthy. One of the most common medical problems involves teeth issues. Their teeth keep growing constantly and will need to be trimmed down by a specialist.
Should the average working Joe get a hamster?
You shouldn’t get a hamster based just on the fact that they are small, thus they must be cheap to own. Although they may be small, a hamster can add a variety of expenses to a new home, so before you decide to add a hamster to your family, make sure you are prepared to add their routine care to your household budget.
Dr. Alejandra Vasquez, JD, CT
Certified Grief Counselor
When having to face the reality that your loved one is dying, you may not know about proper deathbed etiquette and what to say to someone who’s dying . There are no manual guides you on what to do in these situations and how to best prepare for them. The best that you can do is learn from your experiences, hope someone writes a book about theirs, and do your best to say your goodbyes in a way that best honors your loved ones.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- How to Say Your Last Goodbye In-Person
- How to Say Goodbye to a Dying Loved One If You Can’t See Each Other Face-to-Face
Learning how to say goodbye to your dying loved one is one of the biggest challenges you’ll ever face. If you’re lucky, your loved one lived a long and fulfilling life before crossing this threshold.
Sometimes, life surprises us with sudden and unexpected losses that force us to contend with death even when we’re not ready.
How to Say Your Last Goodbye In-Person
You’ll likely always remember your last goodbyes. It’s never easy letting go and nothing can truly prepare you for death.
Some things you can do to help you through this difficult time are to reach out to others who have faced similar circumstances, read books on grief , and prepare yourself spiritually for the strength that you’ll be needing to carry you through. In the end, death can be a beautiful thing for your loved one who may be suffering. Not every last goodbye has to be a somber occasion.
1. Spend quality time
When someone’s dying, they may feel scared, isolated, and lonely. It’s hard to imagine what it feels like to know that you’re dying and that your final days are near. None of us know when we’re going to die. If we try and calculate our life span and account for all of the what-if scenarios, it’s enough to send us into a bout of anxiety.
Your loved one who’s dying probably feels much the same way. Taking the time to visit with them and asking them how they feel will likely make them feel better. Some things you might consider as ice breakers can be:
- Asking them about the greatest adventure of their life
- Exchanging stories of all the bad things you each had to overcome
- Talking about past loves and the one that got away
- Asking them to tell you about their greatest fears and regrets
2. Touch often
Most people who are in nursing homes, live alone, or are in hospice care will tell you that one of the things they miss the most is being touched.
Touch has a certain power to heal emotional wounds. It can comfort, relax, and offer you relief from pain. It’s the transfer of healing energy from one person to another that makes this possible. Without touch, we miss out on these benefits that modern medicine cannot replace.
3. Ask questions
If you are shy or unable to openly express your feelings, it helps you to come prepared with a list of questions each time you visit your loved one.
It may feel a bit awkward to pull out a notepad filled with 20 questions, but assure your loved one that this is the best way for you to make it through this emotionally tough time. Keeping open and honest communication is the best way for you to continue with your visits. Anything less robs you both of meaningful time together.
Sometimes we ask questions and out of habit, we talk over the person who wants to respond. When saying your last goodbyes, this is the time to be attentive and focus all of your attention on your loved one who’s dying.
This may be the last chance you get to have meaningful conversations with them. If you ask a question, be fully present when your loved one is speaking. You might learn a thing or two about who they are and what they stand for.
5. Bring books
Please don’t bring me anything to read, said no one ever who has been confined to a bed. Books have the magical power to take you out of your existence and into a world of fantasy. You may want to ask ahead what types of books they like to read, or what’s on their reading list so you can bring a few on your next visit.
Consider adding to the list books on grief, death, and dying to help your loved one understand what they’re going through.
Hamster fact file
There are several different breeds and varieties of hamster, varying in size and temperament.
Hamsters usually live for up to two years, although some may live for longer.
Here are some top hamster facts:
- There are 24 species of hamster and they belong to the family Cricetidae. The Syrian, Russian Dwarf Campbell and Roborovski breeds are the most popular for pets.
- Hamsters enjoy exploring and use their whiskers to help them sense objects in their environment.
- A hamster’s teeth never stop growing and they have a ‘self-sharpening’ system where the incisors grind against each other while gnawing, which wears the teeth down.
- Hamsters are nocturnal, with large eyes and a retina dominated by rods – the part of the eye that can function in lower light.
- Not all hamsters are sociable – in the wild, Syrian hamster adults generally live on their own in their burrows. Other species, such as the Russian dwarf, naturally live in groups.
Why not have a read of our full Hamster Fact File?
Understanding your hamster’s needs
Find out everything you need to know about keeping hamsters as pets in our series of handy guides to hamsters, including their environment, diet, behaviour, company and health and welfare. You can find even more about looking after your pet hamster in our guide to how to take care of your hamster.
Hamsters are very versatile in what foods they can eat, but it is important not to feed your hamsters citrus fruits, these include lemon, oranges, etc. Suitable foods are banana, apple, nuts, rice, beansprouts, pasta, chicken, egg, and hamster food . Feed your hamster a small amount of vegetable and fruit each day. Hamsters are omnivores and will accept meat and plant material, but it is not wrong to bring your hamster on plant material only. Hamsters must have a water supply nearby by means of a bottle or bowl. Without water a hamster will dehydrate quickly and could die. When feeding your hamster see how much it eats out of one bowl and then feed it the amount it ate the next day. The normal amount to feed them is one tablespoon for a Syrian. Feed your hamster a small amount of veg or fruit each day. Food will get stale if left in the cage too long and will lose their vitamin content, so store hamster food in an airtight container in a dark dry place. Typically a hamster should be fed on a diet containing over 19% protien.
Important Feeding Rules You Must Know!
Feed a varied diet.
Have food and water not only avaliable just in the evening but also when the hamster is sleeping. ( Hamsters love to snack .)
Give only fresh food of high quality.
Rinse fruits and vegetables and allow the water to drip off before giving it to the hamster.
Don’t give a hamster cooked or fried food (and that means table scraps!).
Avoid sudden changes in diet.
Keep the portions small (cut fruit and vegetables small); otherwise too much spoils.
All food should be at room temperature when given.
Dry food is the most important thing on your hamster’s menu. It should always be available as a main item. Commercial dry food found at pet stores is best because you can be sure that your hamster is getting all the important nutrients it needs. Don’t fill your hamster’s food bowl to the top. Fill it about halfway because that gives your hamster a chance to dig inside it and pick out what grains it wants. The next day if your supply is almost gone, just add more dry food.
You may notice that hamsters don’t drink much water. That is because most hamsters get all the fluids they need from fruits and veggies . Now, don’t get me wrong! You still need to give your hamster fresh water everyday. What is harmful for your hamster is water that is strongly chlorinated or mineral water that is carbonated. The best kind of water for your hamster is filtered water or uncarbonated mineral water. If you cannot supply that, cooled down (previously) boiled water is fine. (Tap water is not good because it may contain too much chlorine.)
Hamsters live on average for two to three years. As their thrifty existences peak, they’ll exhibit many of the same signs of aging as their human owners. Thinning hair, decreased activity, loss of appetite and vision problems are among the indications that a pocket pet is in the midst of his golden years.
One of the first signs of old age in hamsters is a decrease in energy. An aging hamster will not spend as much time running in his exercise wheel or around his cage as he did in the past. This decline in activity will accompany an increase in the amount of time he spends sleeping; you will notice that he rises later in the day and retires earlier as well.
Hair and Skin Changes
As your hamster ages, his hair will become more fine and sparse. You may be able to see sections of his skin through his thinning coat, which will appear dry and flaky over time. These conditions are normal signs of the aging process. You can help keep your pocket pet more comfortable and warm by providing extra bedding to his cage once you notice these fur changes.
Decreased Appetite and Weight
As he ages, your hamster will lose interest in food to a certain degree; you may notice he makes fewer trips to his food dish. When he does grab some food, he will likely place fewer items in his cheek pouch to hoard for a future meal. As a result of his lower caloric consumption, your hamster will become thinner and more frail as time goes on. The Hammy’s World website suggests offering some softer foods to supplement your hamster’s diet, such as small amounts of scrambled and hard-boiled eggs and even cucumber.
Older hamsters can develop cataracts, which the Hamsters as Pets website says are recognizable by a milky appearance of the eyes. Hamsters are naturally nearsighted, so the slow decrease in vision due to cataracts does not impact the quality of their lives much. To prevent a stressful situation you can try not to make any quick movements when handling your elderly hammie. Cataracts can eventually render him totally blind.
Arthritis is a common sign of old age in hamsters, just as it is in most mammals. It is characterized by swollen and painful joints; you may notice that your hamster seems to be having difficulty walking, with slower and jerkier movements. If you have items in the cage that your hamster used to climb, remove them so he doesn’t injure himself.
Your elderly hamster may experience dental problems as he ages. For example, his teeth may become crooked, lose, brittle or overgrown. His teeth growing too long can interfere with his ability to eat; seek veterinary care.
Last Updated : January 19, 2022
Written by Don
It’s no secret why hamsters are so popular as pets. Cute and adorable, these little busybodies bring much joy with their engaging personalities. If you’re thinking about keeping a hamster, one of the main things to think about is how long do hamsters live for?
The average hamster lifespan ranges from 2 to 2.5 years – the key here is average because it’s important to take into account factors that can influence the lifespan of a hamster.
Check out the following information to help you get the most from your pet hamster experience.
Table of Contents
Nature is ingenious and because hamsters are small, they can be vulnerable in the wild – therefore, hamsters become fertile at a young age, producing several litters to ensure species survival.
Hamster size is interlinked with their lifespan and how they age. Mammals age through a process of wear and tear and as time advances, the physical body proves less efficient.
Compared to larger mammals, the biological mechanisms of small creatures like hamsters aren’t as efficient. Here’s where nature’s ingenuity comes in – because wild hamsters often live in risky habitats, bodily processes are focused on procreation.
The hamster life cycle
Females will come into oestrus relatively early, usually between 6 and 8 weeks old, the males around 8 to 9 weeks.
Litter sizes vary dependent on breed but, as a rule, produce 4 to 12 pups. In the wild, hamsters will breed seasonally but in captivity, it’s wise to keep sexes separate unless going for hamster world domination.
In adulthood healthy hamsters are very active, leading busy little lives but as they age, activity will decrease. Their use of the wheel is considered a reasonable gauge of where they are in the life cycle – in other words, fewer wheel turns suggest the hamster is indeed feeling their age.
How long do hamsters live for – Some factors affecting hamster lifespan
Although the average lifespan is 2 to 2.5 years, there are several factors that may influence how long a hamster will live. Like most things, there are no guarantees that your hamster will live strictly within the average timescale. Some hamsters will live 1.5 years, while others might reach three. Here are some things to consider.
Hamster species have varying lifespan averages – again, there are no hard and fast rules to apply, but they’re useful as baseline figures.
How long to Russian Dwarf Hamsters live?
Campbell’s Russian Dwarf Hamsters and Russian Winter White Dwarf Hamsters have similar lifespans.
Russian dwarf hamster lifespan – they live on average between 15 months and 2 years.
How long do Robo Hamsters live?
The Robo Dwarf hamster or Roborovski dwarf hamster is the smallest breed of hamster, yet have a very good life expectancy.
Roborovskis hamster lifespan – relatively long-lived at 3 to 3.5 years.
How long do Syrian Hamsters live?
Syrian hamster lifespan – between 2 and 3 years [males usually outlive females].
How long do Chinese Dwarf Hamsters live?
Although not officially a Dwarf hamster, Chinese Dwarf hamsters are often categorized with their smaller cousins due to their size and appearance. Again they have a relatively long life expectancy.
How Long do Siberian Dwarf hamsters live?
Siberian dwarf hamster lifespan – from 18 months to 2 years.
What is the longest living hamster?
There is a lack of definitive information on the longest living hamsters, with anecdotes of a Syrian hamster living over 6 years! According to the Guinness Book of Records, the longest living hamster reached the grand age of 4.5 years. True or not, you can give your hamster the best chance to have a healthy life – whatever age it reaches – by providing it with optimal care. Before looking at diet, environment and other factors, it’s important to consider the genetic component to lifespan.
Unless you know the history of your hamster’s parentage – and perhaps, beyond that – it’s very difficult to know if there are genetic predispositions to health issues.
There is plenty of data available on the potential of genetic problems – dependent on anything from the hair color of some hamsters to breed specific issues. Ultimately, existing genetic problems are beyond your control, so let’s talk about what you can do to help your hamster stay happy and healthy.
Diet and health
Apart from feeding your hamster a nutritional diet, limiting food access might help improve hamster lifespan. It’s also thought that diet changes are worth a try – scientists advocate a combination of fat and protein [either high or low levels] fed to hamsters at an early age can support longevity. Ensure your hamster has omega-3 rich foodstuffs for a healthy cardiovascular system – lean meat, eggs as well as fruit and vegetables are all suitable. Add oats or similar for fiber, giving your hamster the healthiest diet possible.
Environment and exercise
Hamsters thrive in clean, well-ventilated environments. Replenish bedding regularly, avoiding potential health hazards from accumulated dirt and droppings. Situate the hamster enclosure dependent on the needs of your hamster.
For example, some breeds feel the cold easier than others, so avoid draughts and chilly rooms – similarly, direct sunlight might be harmful. Always try and tailor to your hamster’s specific needs.
Provide plenty of stimulus for exercise and natural behaviors – add tunnels and sufficient space to burrow and hide, as well as the iconic hamster wheel. Hamsters in safe enclosures that give adequate scope for exercise tend to be healthy, busy little creatures.
This isn’t about ticking hamsters, but their Circadian clock. Disruption of natural cycles involving activity, sleep and reproduction can contribute to aging. Generally, hamsters kept as pets will be most active at dawn/dusk and during the night.
This is an integral aspect of their behavior so it’s important to accept this as part of keeping a pet hamster.
To ask how long do hamsters live for is clearly dependent on many factors. Being alert to any changes in your hamster’s behavior can help keep it as healthy as possible.
Pre-emptive veterinary care may prevent problems from arising – regular checks are recommended. Providing a secure and quiet environment can only be of benefit.
Inevitably, your hamster will age. Watch out for reduced activity, and less interest in food and/or treats. Make things easier by placing food bowls and water near to your hamster, in case their sight, smell and vision are affected.
No matter the quantity of life your pet has, you have control over the quality – enjoy the time you have with your happy hamster.
Whether you’re a hamster veteran or just welcome a new furball into your home, these tips will help you keep your hamster healthy and happy!
Let your hamster eat well! However, what they eat is just as important as how much they eat. Hamsters like to pick out the tasty fattening food first out of the dish. Often you’ll see the sunflower seeds disappear first, followed by the less fatty (and less tasty) seeds. It’s very important that you provide your hamster with well-balanced food. Just because they love sunflower seeds doesn’t mean that’s all they should eat! Kids like cookies but need their fruits and vegetables, too.
Speaking of fruits and vegetables – hamsters need them too! The best treats for hamsters are foods that are similar to what they might eat in the wild. Fresh (rinsed with water) veggies are good, and examples include carrots, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, romaine lettuce, spinach and other greens. Fresh fruits (rinsed in water) are good too, such as apples, pears, bananas, grapes and most berries. But remember never to give any citrus fruits like oranges, limes, lemons or grapefruit. Only give small amounts at a time.
In addition to fresh fruits and veggies, hamsters love whole grain breads and cereals . Also, protein is an important part of a hamster’s diet as well. Plain scrambled or boiled eggs are a nice treat. The thing to remember when fixing your hamsters’ dinner is that moderation and variety are very important. Always provide the standard seed and pellet mix daily, and only offer some of these treats in addition to it.
Make your hamster’s bed. Choose your hamster’s bedding carefully. Some times of bedding, such as cedar shavings, can cause skin irritations because of the oils in the cedar chips. Change your hamster’s bedding regularly, and while you’re at it, give his cage a hearty scrub. Also, be sure to rinse his water bottle, as room temperature water can grow algae and acquire bacteria that will make a hamster sick. Your little furball will by much happier (and less stinky) in a clean cage.
Hamsters appreciate spacious and exciting living quarters as much as we do. Your hamster needs space to exercise and keep fit in his own cute way. Paper towel tubes, plain brown boxes and other items are cheap entertainment and provide your hamster with something to chew on regularly. There also many great toys you can buy for your furry friend.
When it comes to cages, you can go with plastic or wire, but be aware that hamsters chew, so you’ll want to keep an eye on your hamster and make sure he isn’t successful in carrying out his own version of “The Great Escape.”
Speaking of chewing, did you know a hamster’s teeth grow like fingernails? Amazingly, hamster teeth never quit growing and they are one of the few furry creatures who are born with a full set of teeth! Hamsters usually take care of their own teeth by chewing on hard items (such as paper towel tubes or wooden treats). Dog biscuits are also a great treat as they are hard and help keep a hamster’s teeth short while providing a good source of calcium! If you ever notice your hamster has trouble eating it could mean his teeth need to be trimmed by a professional!
Put your hamster’s cage in a safe place– not in direct sunlight or on a heater, not in the dark, cold basement, and not in an exposed place where his cage can be knocked over by other pets or wobbly toddlers.
Exercise! Hamsters need to move about, or they’ll have can have digestive problems, get big and fat, and have other health problems. Make sure your hamster has access to toys, like a running wheel or things to climb on and in. Tubing additions to a plastic cage allows you to expand his stomping grounds by building onto his cage – if it’s the right kind of cage – and you can also let him take a spin in a hamster ball.
Decide on whether or not your hamster wants a friend right from the start! Hamsters are not always the friendliest with others, especially hamsters introduced later in life. If you decide on more than one hamster make sure you get the same sex. Hamsters are prolific little creatures. A litter of hamsters can range from 3 to 18 and moms can give birth approximately every 30 days. Female hamsters tend to have 2-3 litters in their lifetime.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
For centuries, doctors and care givers have listened to the different types of cough in search of clues to help diagnose underlying disease.
Coughs are a valuable diagnostic tool, but how do you know if you’ve got a relatively harmless cough, a coronavirus cough – or something else altogether?
An occasional cough is healthy, but one that persists for weeks, produces bloody mucus, causes changes in phlegm colour or comes with fever, dizziness or fatigue may be a sign you need to see a doctor.
If you’ve gone to see a doctor about a cough, he or she will want to know:
- how long has the cough lasted? Days, weeks, months?
- when is the cough most intense? Night, morning, intermittently throughout the day?
- how does the cough sound? Dry, wet, barking, hacking, loud, soft?
- does the cough produce symptoms such as vomiting, dizziness, sleeplessness or something else?
- how bad is your cough? Does it interfere with daily activities, is it debilitating, annoying, persistent, intermittent?
COVID-19 cough: dry, persistent and leaves you short of breath
The most prominent symptoms of COVID-19 are fever and fatigue, and you may feel like you have a cold or flu. Cough is present in about half of infected patients.
Considering that COVID-19 irritates lung tissue, the cough is dry and persistent. It is accompanied with shortness of breath and muscle pain.
As disease progresses, the lung tissue is filled with fluid and you may feel even more short of breath as your body struggles to get enough oxygen.
Wet and phlegmy or dry and hacking?
A wet cough brings up phlegm from the lower respiratory tract (the lungs and lower airways, as opposed to your nose and throat) into the mouth.
The “wet” sound is caused by the fluid in the airways and can be accompanied by a wheezing sound when breathing in. The lower airways have more secretory glands than your throat, which is why lower respiratory tract infections cause a wet cough.
A dry cough doesn’t produce phlegm. It usually starts at the back of the throat and produces a barking or coarse sound. A dry cough does not clear your airways so sufferers often describe it as an unsatisfactory cough.
Nose and throat infections cause irritation to those areas and produce a hacking dry cough with sore throat. These types of cough are often seen in flu or cold.
Sometimes a cough can start off dry but eventually turn wet.
For example, the lung infection pneumonia often begins with a dry cough that’s sometimes painful and can cause progressive shortness of breath. As infection progresses, the lung air sacs (alveoli) can fill up with inflammatory secretions such as lung tissue fluid and blood, and then the cough will become wet. At this stage, sputum becomes frothy and blood-tinged.
What about whooping cough?
Whooping cough is caused by bacterial infection that affects cells in the airways and causes irritation and secretion.
Symptoms include coughing fits that end in a loud, “breathing in” noise that often sounds like a long “whoop” and leaves you gasping for air. Mucus is often expelled.
Prolonged, forceful coughing can damage your airways, or cause rib fractures or muscle tears – so it’s important to know when medical help is required.
So whatever your cough sounds like, keep an eye on it and see a doctor (either in person or via a telehealth appointment) if it doesn’t go away or gets worse.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
If your pet hamster nearly bites off your finger as you try to stroke its fur, don’t assume it hates you. Maybe it’s just in a bad mood.
Even hamsters have good moods and bad moods, scientists have found – and a hamster’s emotional state can influence its outlook on life. A hamster in a sunnier frame of mind is more optimistic, while a gloomier hamster is inclined to a darker view of the world, the researchers learned.
Fortunately, the results confirm that a hamster doesn’t need a pay raise or a shopping spree to cheer up. Little things — a bigger pile of wood chips, a roomier running wheel – will do.
Both pet owners and scientists who work with the creatures should heed the findings, say the authors of the new study, which appears in this week’s Royal Society Open Science. Some 1.1 million hamsters are kept as U.S. pets and another 120,000 live in U.S. laboratories.
“Although hamsters are cute, and happy hamsters sounds fun, there are very serious implications,” says study author Emily Bethell, an animal behaviorist at Britain’s Liverpool John Moores University. If scientists’ lab hamsters are stressed, “the animals … aren’t actually very good models for their scientific research.”
Bethell and her colleague Nicola Koyama worked with Syrian hamsters, the orange-sized fur balls common in pet stores and classrooms. The hamsters were mum about their inner lives, so the researchers had to infer their moods through clever experiments.
The animals were allowed to roam a test area equipped with a single water bottle. If the bottle was to the far left, it held sugar water; if the bottle was to the far right, it held water laced with bitter quinine. The sweet-toothed hamsters quickly learned which was which.
Then the researchers deprived some hamsters of the comforts to which they’d grown accustomed, such as chew sticks. Luckier hamsters, however, got extra wood chips, little huts for snuggling and other perks.
Then hamsters were placed in a test area where the water bottle was confusingly positioned in the middle. The animals living in the nicer digs were more likely to approach the ambiguous bottle, hoping for the best. Many of the hamsters in the more barren homes, on the other hand, didn’t bother.
The results suggest that more contented hamsters – like happier humans – are more optimistic. This connection between sunnier mood and optimism has been found in other animals as well, from rats to sheep, so it’s no surprise it should be found in hamsters, says neuroscientist Rafal Rygula of the Polish Academy of Sciences, who has done similar work.
“Knowing that hamsters have emotions, and that a small, unenriched cage could make them unhappy and even pessimistic, will for sure make people think twice before deciding on the size and equipment of homes for their little friends,” Rygula says via email.
The hamsters involved in Bethell and Koyama’s experiments must now be some of the most optimistic animals in existence. They’ve been adopted by people who know how to treat a hamster right: students specializing in animal behavior and the like.
“They have happy endings here,” Bethell says, in “very loving homes.”
Dr. Marie replied:
I’m guessing that what you are seeing on your hamster is a scent gland. Here is a picture of a scent gland on a hamster:
(Note, the hamster pictured above had some serious health issues that caused him to lose his hair, so he does not look well. But, I took the picture to be able to show people that a black spot on the side of a hamster is likely a scent gland.)
These glands are normal on Syrian hamsters. They are present on all males. Females do have them, but they tend to be much harder to see.
Sometimes scent glands can become infected which could cause the itchiness and balding. If this is the case, then the vet can prescribe a topical antibiotic cream that may help.
It’s also possible for these glands to become cancerous.
And finally, it’s possible that the problem is not with the scent glands, but as in the hamster in the picture above, there could be another condition that is causing hair loss such as cushing’s disease or parasites such as demodex.
—This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.—
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There is no doubt that pets can teach our kids so much about life. They can bring much joy and also much heartbreak.
Death is inevitable for all living things and is a part of life we must learn to accept. Having pets can help kids learn more about this concept and how to cope.
Pets are often considered a part of the family and are a companion kids turn to in a time of need. Helping kids learn to deal with the loss of a pet will help them learn to deal with other losses throughout life.
Breaking the news to your kids can be tough. You should choose a quiet time, free from distractions when they’re in a familiar place.
Adapt your language and details according to your child’s age and maturity level. Be guided by their questions as to the degree of information you give.
Explain that your pet will soon be at peace. Try not to say that the pet will be “put to sleep”. This can confuse young children and they may fear going “to sleep” at night themselves in case the same thing happens to them!
- If your pet is old or ill, talk about the possibilities of your pet dying in the near future. Prepare them for what may soon happen, but encourage them to enjoy time with their pet while they are still here.
- If your pet has to be “put down”, explain that your pet was never going to recover, it is the kindest way to stop the pet’s pain, that the vet has done all they can to help and that the pet will die without feeling any hurt.
- If kids request details of the euthanisation process, explain that the vet will give it a needle that will firstly put the pet to sleep, which will then stop its heart from beating.
- If children are emotionally mature, they may wish to be with the pet when it dies. It is fair to let them if they wish, but only you can judge whether your child will be able to cope with this.
- If a pet’s death is more sudden, tell your kids truthfully and calmly what happened. Details do not need to be in-depth however be guided by their questions.
- Never say that the pet has run away, been taken or tell some kind of lie. It gives the kids a false hope of the pet returning again, plus they may resent you if they found out you have lied to them.
- Try to explain the concept of ‘dog years’ and how they are much shorter than ‘human years’.
- Bury your pet with a special ceremony to help finalise the dying process. Allow your kids to plan this and what they may like to include in the burial.
- For example, they may wish to bury the pet with its favourite toy or a goodbye letter they have written. They may like to plant a special tree in their pet’s favourite spot in the garden. This will help them with the grieving process.
- At the burial, take the time to share some fun times and experiences they have had with the pet, fond moments and even create a scrapbook in memory of the pet.
- Create a unique memorial for your pet in your home. Your kids could draw pictures to hang, write about the wonderful experiences they have had together and display their favourite photo of their pet.
- Some books are available to read with your kids about dealing with the loss of a pet. Ask your librarian or bookstore for an age appropriate book to read together. This can sometimes help kids to open up and talk about how they are feeling.
- Be there to talk to your kids and let them know it is natural to feel all sorts of emotions when something special dies.
- Express your feelings and emotions about the death too. It shows your kids that it is okay to talk about the death and that you feel the loss as well.
- Share stories about when you were young and some of the special pets you had, and lost. Explain how you found it hard to say good-bye to them also, but as time passed by the pain decreased.
- Give your kids as much affection and comfort they desire.
- Talk about your pet often and with love. Always remember the happy memories together.
- As you notice the pain starting to go away and the shock has faded, it might be time to move on. Consider getting a new pet to add to your family.
While you would never want to replace your last pet, you may wish to welcome another animal in to your lives to love and enjoy.