Caring for your hamster requires you to know the different aspects of its health such as the possible illnesses and conditions it might end up suffering. Diarrhea is merely one of the several health conditions that hamsters may end up suffering. But why does your hamster have diarrhea and what are the possible causes of its diarrhea?
Your hamster could have diarrhea due to a different number of factors namely wet tail, influenza, salmonella, and dietary changes. Among all of the reasons for hamster diarrhea, the wet tail is one of the most dangerous causes of a hamster’s diarrhea as it requires immediate treatment and attention from a veterinarian.
Hamsters are just like any other animal in the sense that they can be quite prone to a lot of different illnesses such as diarrhea. And in most cases, the causes of their diarrhea tends to be similar to the cause of diarrhea in most other animals. That is why you have to know how to properly care for your hamster so that you can prevent any kind of potentially dangerous disease or health condition stemming from diarrhea from developing.
How do you know if your hamster has diarrhea?
Diarrhea has always been one of the most common health conditions suffered by humans and different animals. This is when the stool becomes wet due to a lot of different conditions but diarrhea is often caused by problems in the bowel movement as a result of viral infections or any other similar causes. Of course, hamsters also suffer from diarrhea just like most other animals do.
When we are talking about hamster diarrhea, one of the most common ways for you to know that your hamster has diarrhea is when its tail is wet. The reason for its wet tail is, of course, due to the fact that its stool is also wet. Hence, that’s why diarrhea in hamsters is often called the wet tail, which isn’t always the generic term of hamster diarrhea but is actually an operative term for a more serious kind of hamster diarrhea.
You can also inspect the hamster’s stool to detect whether or not it is suffering from diarrhea. Hamsters with diarrhea will have stools that are light in color, can be soft, and does not necessarily have to be watery and wet. It is usually in the more severe cases when the feces of a hamster will become very watery and wet.
Loss of appetite can also be a good indication of hamster diarrhea but not all hamsters suffering from diarrhea will appear sick. It is only when the cause of diarrhea is a virus that you will notice your hamster looking sick, lethargic, and very tired. Hamsters that are suffering from diarrhea will eventually lose a lot of weight and may even become anorexic.
Why does your hamster have diarrhea?
Now that you noticed that your hamster is showing some of the more common signs and symptoms of diarrhea, it is now time for you to know what could have possibly caused your hamster’s diarrhea. So, why does your hamster have diarrhea?
Well, there are plenty of different reasons why your hamster has diarrhea, and those different reasons can vary from simple causes to more serious illnesses that can possibly become too dangerous for your hamster.
There will be cases where the hamster’s diarrhea is caused by changes in its diet because of how it is not used to eating a different type of food after spending most of its life eating the same meals over and over again. In most cases, when you feed your hamster with fruits and vegetables that contain a lot of water, it’s stool will naturally become watery as well. This includes fruits and veggies such as tomato, cucumber, and orange. Even though fruits and vegetables are generally healthy for your hamster, it is best to control the amount you feed to your little pocket friend.
Two other possible causes of diarrhea in your hamster are diseases and infections. The common flu and salmonella are quite common diseases and infections that your hamster can possibly suffer from.
It is quite easy for hamsters to contract the flu from humans, which can possibly lead to not only diarrhea but also to sneezing and a runny and watery nose. Weight loss, lethargy, and loss of appetite may also become possible symptoms of flu other than diarrhea.
Meanwhile, salmonella might not be very common in hamsters as they rarely infect them. However, if ever they do indeed get infected by salmonella, expect the hamster to suffer from diarrhea on top of lethargy, loss of appetite, and even vomiting.
The most serious cause of diarrhea in hamsters is the common condition called the wet tail. Stress is the biggest culprit for wet tail in hamsters due to how some of the younger hamsters may end up suffering from a lot of stress as a result of the constant movement and adjustments they have to undergo on a regular basis especially when they move from pet store to pet store and eventually to your home.
Due to the stress, the gut flora or the Campylobacter bacteria tends to overpopulate and will eventually develop into diarrhea. Wet tail is extremely contagious in hamsters and can easily spread from one hamster to another. That’s why, when you are choosing a pet hamster that’s also kept with other hamsters in a large cage, always choose the one that is most active so that the chances of it suffering from wet tail are slim.
Can hamsters die from diarrhea?
Normally, diarrhea caused by simple reasons such as dietary changes or the flu probably isn’t fatal unless the hamster is left untreated or uncared for during the time when it is suffering from diarrhea.
However, a wet tail is actually a very serious condition that requires immediate attention and treatment from a veterinarian. The reason is that hamsters can easily decline in health when they are suffering from wet tail due to a combination of a lot of different factors but mainly because it won’t be eating a lot and it’s going to end up suffering from dehydration due to diarrhea.
So yes, diarrhea in hamsters can be fatal especially when you don’t treat your hamster right away. While some forms of diarrhea are not as serious as the others and may end up subsiding over time, other causes of diarrhea such as wet tail should always be taken seriously enough that you need to get your little pal to the vet as quickly as possible.
How to treat hamster diarrhea?
Treatment for common diarrhea can vary depending on the cause of diarrhea. When your hamster is suffering from diarrhea as a result of a change in its diet, simply reverting back to its old diet while managing the symptoms such as providing enough water for your hamster may be able to help treat diarrhea.
For diarrhea caused by flu, managing the symptoms of flu while making sure that your hamster is drinking enough water may be able to help alleviate the illness. But if the symptoms get worse, that should prompt you to take the hamster to a vet.
In the case of the wet tail, immediate veterinary attention, and treatment is the only way for you to treat the hamster’s diarrhea. The vet will know what to do to help treat your hamster’s wet tail but the usual treatment involves using antibiotics that will kill and eliminate the bacteria that is causing diarrhea. Vets will also use a syringe or a dropper to feed your hamster, especially whenever it isn’t eating its food or drinking water at all.
Wet tail is extremely serious to the point that it can even kill your hamster in a matter of hours when the signs of this illness become apparent. That’s why it is important that you take your hamster straight to the vet when it is showing symptoms of wet tail. Do not try to delay the illness on your own at home because the only way for you to get your hamster treated and cared for is through the professional expertise of a vet.
Always keep it in your head that there are no natural home remedies that you can use to treat wet tail, and such an illness will not go away on its own when you allow the hamster to recover naturally. Even a special diet will not help treat wet tail. Again, the only way for you to have your hamster’s wet tail treated is to take it to the vet.