Do Hamsters Require Vaccinations?

A dedicated pet lover may try everything possible to keep their favorite animals safe and healthy. Some of them include a strict regime of proper dieting, housing and annual checkups with an exotic vet.

Like any other animals, hamsters can suffer from contagious diseases such as rabies. As a preventive measure, a vaccine may be the first thing that comes to your mind.

Unfortunately, there are no commercially available vaccines, which are specifically made for hamsters. On that note, most vets will totally reject giving your pet hamster a shot made for cats or dogs.

Common Health Issues in Hamsters

Naturally, hamsters are resilient pets and can withstand several ailments. Yet, their small size may expose them to a couple of injuries. Since they are fairly active animals, it is not hard to pinpoint something unusual with their health.

Some of the sickness signs you may notice include a ruffled coat, poor appetite, wheezing, sneezing, inactivity, diarrhea, wet tail, hair loss, paralysis, amongst others.

When that happens, you should address it before it gets out of hand. Even if you may try to keep them warm or encourage them to feed, a visit to the vet is vital.

It is important to note that the hamster’s gastrointestinal works differently compared to other animals. This means that they have a forestomach that moistens food and the second one where the real digestion occurs.

While antibiotics may help cure most hamsters’ ailments, they may lead to adverse side effects when they go through the dual digestion process.

Therefore, talk to a specialist on the best and safest alternative for your hammy. Some of the antibiotics you should avoid include amoxicillin, penicillin, tetracycline, erythromycin, gentamycin, etc.

How to Treat a Sick Hamster?

A healthy hamster can live up to three years. Some may extend till the fourth year based on the exceptional care given. This starts from instantly seeking treatment when they get sick or injured. Here are other treatment basics you should consider.

– Segregate Your Sick Hamster

The last thing you would like to witness is an epidemic on your hamsters. Therefore, you should separate your pets immediately you observe suspicious symptoms.

In a normal instance, experts recommend the separation of bigger Syrian hamsters earlier in life. So, you only need to move your dwarf breeds when sickness hits.

Apart from avoiding infecting others, keeping your hamsters apart also protects the sickly from getting injured by the playful counterparts.

– Keep Them Warm

An ideal hamster’s habitat should range from 70 to 80 °F. To achieve that, you can use a heat lamp or pad.

The main reason behind this is that heat relaxes and makes the hamster more comfortable. As a result, a contented hamster leads a healthier life compared to a stressed one.

– Clean the Habitat

As much as washing your hamster may keep away diseases, it would help if you protected yourself from contacting it. Note that hamsters may spread fungal infections and meningitis to human beings, especially to pregnant women.

Hence, prevent yourself by putting on gloves when scrubbing the cage. Then replace the bedding, litter box, food, and water container. Also, ensure that you sanitize the surfaces using bleach and soapy water.

– Contact the Vet

If you notice no improvement after the mentioned measures, contact a qualified vet. Bear in mind that if you get the right treatment early enough, it may go a long way in keeping your pet healthy or alive.

Hamster Fecal Test for Parasites

The common parasite problem in hamsters is mite infestation. Others include tapeworms and rarely pinworms. While might mites are very tiny for you to detect them easily, your pet may become irritable, itchy with red, flaky skin.

For the intestinal parasites, your vet needs to perform a fecal test. In most cases, the experts would request fresh poop from your pet’s enclosure. Some of the pathogens detected from a fecal sample include tapeworms, salmonellaLymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM), etc. 

When Should You Take Your Hamster to the Vet?

Your hamster’s well-being depends on the caution measures you follow to keep them safe. On that note, an annual checkup with a vet conversant with hamsters would keep them healthy.

The first examination should be done at least within 48 hours after you bring your hamster home. Here, the expert should check on the weight, parasites, and general well being. Also, they should advise on proper diet, housing and toys.

In most cases, vets perform a fecal test to rule out parasites and other infectious diseases. If requested, they may sterilize your hamster as well. Note that you may only take them to a vet once a year if your pet remains healthy. For older or sickly hamsters, take them twice or thrice annually.

How much Does a Hamster Vet Cost?

The cost to an exotic vet may vary depending on the state and the treatment procedure. Keep in mind that hamster’s vets are very rare to find. So, that may augment the charges compared to others.

All in all, an appointment for a common ailment like a wet tail should cost around $20. If the vet recommends an antibiotic treatment, the much you can pay for it is $15.

For a normal annual checkup, be prepared to part with $ 70 to $100. This is because some vaccine shots and tests may cost more than others.

In case of a major injury where your hammy requires surgery, a qualified vet may charge you $75 to $120.

Wrapping Up

Vaccinating hamsters is not a common practice, but it vital in keeping contagious diseases at bay. Since, there is no known hamster’s vaccine; you need to consult a qualified vet for safer alternatives. Also, ensure that you take your pet for annual checkups and get them treated immediately they get sick.

Note that hamsters may transmit contagious diseases to human beings like meningitis. Therefore, keep your hamster and everyone safe by strictly taking them for annual checkups and get them vaccinated for transmittable diseases .

avatar Jane
Jane is an experienced animal care specialist with a focus on rodents and small mammals, with over 10 years of experience in the pet industry. Her articles provide practical guidance on choosing the right pet and managing common health issues. Jane is an advocate for animal welfare and supports organizations dedicated to protecting wildlife. read more...

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