Hamsters are pretty resilient, however, due to their tiny size, active lifestyle, and the fact that not many veterinarians are experienced with hamster care, when you need medical help that can’t be solved with home remedies, it can get challenging.
One of the most common hamster health issues is an eye infection. This is one of the reasons why having a vet fund for your hamster (or any pet, for that matter) is vital.
In this article about a hamster eye infection, we will discuss the causes, home remedies, when to go to the vet, and how to avoid this from happening again. It’s very rare that eye infection can be a hamster’s cause of death, but you don’t want to risk it.
READ: Cost of having a hamster pet; from supplies to vet fund
I understand that it’s scary when our pets don’t seem like themselves and clearly show signs of infection or disease. The first thing you need to do is not panic. Your hamster pet needs you to be focused on being able to help them bounce back to their healthy, happy self.
If you landed on this page, it’s proof that your hamster is lucky to have you because you care for them a lot.
SYMPTOMS OF HAMSTER EYE INFECTION
The most common symptom of hamster eye infection is the swelling of the eye or area, the apparent presence of puss (green or yellow), cloudy eyes, sticky eye/s (when your hamster cannot open their eyes properly), puffy eyes, and redness around the eye.
Usually, it would start looking reddish, and the next day it would begin to swell, then oozing of puss or the inability of the eyes to open wide or properly.
TOP TIP: Never touch your hamster’s eyes, if you must (when cleaning), wash your hands properly and wear clean gloves.
CAUSES OF HAMSTER EYE INFECTION
There are a few hamster eye problems, but the most common issue is an infection. But what causes an eye infection in hamsters? Here is a list:
- bacteria/mould built up – if the room or cage is moisty, bacteria can build up through the bedding or hamster toys/sleeping den that are made of wood, if your hamster uses a water bowl and accidentally tips it off, without drying properly, mould can easily build-up
- a foreign object inside the eye – it could be a tiny piece of egg or vegetable or anything that can spoil which accidentally ends up inside your hamster’s eye
- injured eye – perhaps your hamster bumped onto something, scratch its eye area and injured the eye accidentally
- allergic reaction – could be from food, bedding, stones not cleaned properly, toys,
- your petting – every time you touch, cuddle, or hold your hamster, remember to wash your hands properly, especially if you are sick
WARNING!!! Disturbing images of eye infection below
WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT YOUR HAMSTER HAS AN EYE INFECTION
Before anything else, if you start to suspect that your hamster has an eye infection, don’t panic but you have to act fast. Here are things you have to do before anything else.
Use the list above for things to look for when diagnosing a hamster eye infection. If you are convinced that your pet might have an eye infection, even if you are not a hundred per cent sure, it’s best to take extra precautions, which leads me to the next point.
First and foremost, you must separate your sick hamster from other pets and other hamsters. Even if you are not sure yet, separating them now is best to avoid spreading the disease among other hamsters and pets.
This is another reason why you must never house more than one hamster in one cage. When a viral disease breakout, there’s a high chance other pets will catch the disease.
When separating your hamsters, wash your hands and use clean gloves since you are most likely to touch all of them. In this way, you can avoid spreading the illness amongst other hamsters.
You can use the hamster playpen or hamster travel carrier as a quarantine cage. Make sure it’s escape-proof and has food, water, and clean bedding. You don’t need to add wheels or tunnels, as long as they have some chew toys, it should be enough.
Look For Treatment or Contact the Vet
Depending on how bad your hamster’s eye infection is, you can either solve this using some home remedies, however, after trying your best or if the disease looks too bad or you are simply uncomfortable treating them yourself, it’s best to contact a vet.
When looking for a vet, make sure they specialise in exotic animals. Most vets are only experienced or specialise in common pets like dogs and cats. You want a vet with experience with rabbits, parrots, rodents, and snakes.
TREATMENT OF HAMSTER EYE
If you are able to diagnose that your hamster has an eye infection, then a home remedy should work before it gets worse. But if you are too late, for example, the puss starts to form, or the swelling is too much, it’s best to leave the treatment to the professional.
Home Remedies of Hamster Eye Infection
Here are tips on how to treat hamster eye infections at home:
- create a saline solution – get a tiny bowl or teacup, fill it with a cup of warm water (8 oz), then dissolve 1/2 tsp of salt
- get a clean cotton ball or Q-tip, dip it in the solution and test it on your hand the temperature, it should not be too hot – do not soak, it should not be dripping
- hold your hamster still without squeezing them, and wipe the infected eyes with the cotton ball/Q-tip (you may use some treats to get your hamster to cooperate
- do not re-dip the same cotton, get a new one until the eye area is clean
- let the eye area dry before letting your hamster back in the cage/quarantine cage
- do this every six (6) hours or whenever there’s puss forming around the infected eye
Go to the Vet
After a home remedy for 48 hours, it’s time to contact a vet if nothing has improved. Let them know the symptoms and the home treatment you have done. Ask for an emergency appointment.
The vet might decide to keep your hamsters for 2-3 days or they will instruct you to use an antibiotic to use at home.
If your hamster is allowed to go home with you and you have to use the antibiotic yourself, try the medicine first directly. If that doesn’t work, you can add this to food or bribe them with their favourite treats.
ONCE THE HAMSTER EYE PROBLEMS ARE CURED
If 24 hours have gone by and your hamster acts like its normal self and has no more visible infection around the eyes, they are safe to return to its normal home. But before that, you should do a complete clean of the cage to avoid any leftover bacteria causing eye problems in hamsters again.
If you can’t figure out what caused the eye infection, consider the changes you have made before. If you recently changed bedding brands, perhaps your hamster developed an allergy, or maybe it’s time for a deep hamster cage cleaning.
Like wet tail or hamster fur loss, hamster eye problems are inevitable. What’s important is that you know what to do and that you are observant enough to see if an eye infection is building up so you can take action before it’s too late.
One last tip, make sure you have at least two (2) different vets on your phonebook to call in case one of them is busy, closed, or moves away.
I hope you found this hamster eye infection article helpful. We hate to see any of our pets in pain but remember that your hamster is lucky to have you. If you have been in this situation before and have tips that we haven’t mentioned, feel free to share them with our readers below and us.