If your hamsters has begun to show signs of diarrhea, you may be concerned for their health. Below is a general overview of the causes of diarrhea in hamsters, how it's typically treated, and how it can be prevented from reoccurring.
What Causes Diarrhea to Occur in Hamsters?
Hamsters have sensitive digestive tracks, as many small animals do, so the possible causes of diarrhea in your furry little friend can be numerous.
Bacteria is perhaps the most common causes of diarrhea in hamsters – stress is the main factor of infection, as bacteria can more spread among the stressed and ill. If your pet was recently transported, recently separated from its usual group or added to a new one, or experienced surgery or illness, it's important to watch for signs of diarrhea. Such signs include runny stools and wet tails and bellies. Another common causes of diarrhea can be a simple virus – while the virus itself isn't fatal, the dehydration resulting from the diarrhea can be, so your hamster should be checked out immediately.
How is Diarrhea Treated?
The diarrhea your hamster is experienced will be treated according to its cause.
If the cause is viral, there isn't much that can be done except to keep your little friend hydrated and clean. Viruses usually pass quickly and shouldn't be cause for alarm. If bacteria is the cause, however, it's likely that an antibiotic will be prescribed as well as an increase in fluids. In severe cases, your hamster may be kept overnight for observation, but diarrhea and dehydration can usually be treated at home if the owner is vigilant.
How Can You Prevent Diarrhea From Occurring Again?
If it seems that your hamster is prone to diarrhea, there are a few things you can do to ensure its prevention.
It's important that any sick hamsters be kept separate from their healthy counterparts. While this may cause more stress, it's important that the bacteria or virus doesn't spread to the home environment. This spread can make it harder to treat, as the hamsters can continually be reinfected. For some hamsters, the cause could simply be a weak stomach – in this case, keeping an eye on your hamster's diet should do the trick. Other things to do include regularly cleaning and sanitizing of your hamster's home environment, food bowls, and water bottle.
To learn more about diarrhea in hamsters and how to best treat and prevent it, consult with your small animal veterinarian (like those at Riverside Pet Hospital).