A hamster kept in a good enclosure, fed a well balanced diet, and given the attention he needs, will be a healthy hamster. But there may still be times when he's unwell. Minor health problems can be treated at home, but you should always seek veterinary advice if you're unsure of the problem, or if the hamster is very obviously ill.
Hamsters may fall ill, just like any other pet
Hamster Tummy Upsets and Loose Droppings.
Remove all treats, greens, extras, etc, and only feed the dry hamster mix. Seek advice if there is no improvement in the hamster's condition within 24 hours.
Hamster Overgrown Teeth or Claws/Toe Nails
As with many rodents, a hamster's teeth and claws grow continuously throughout their lives. If these have become overgrown, seek veterinary advice. Unless you're expert at the procedure, don't attempt to trim them yourself.
Hamster Colds and Coughs
If your hamster remains hunched up and seems to find breathing difficult, keep him warm and contact the vet. Note: hamsters can actually catch colds from humans, so if you have a cold it's best to keep your distance and get someone else to feed the hamster until you've recovered.
Hamster Lumps and Bumps
These should be monitored, and if there is no improvement seek veterinary advice.
Note: The 'lumps' at the rear end of a male hamster become more prominent when he is mature, especially in hot weather. These are nothing to worry about! Male Chinese hamsters' rear-end lumps are already very obvious at an early age.
A note on scent glands: The dark spots on the hips of male Syrian hamsters are scent glands, and once the hamster is mature he will spend lots of time grooming them. This makes them visibly obvious, especially on short haired hamsters. Males of the Dwarf species have a scent gland on the belly, and as they get older it can become a bit 'crusty' looking.
Giving hamsters a regular visual check-up will help you spot any possible external health problems
How Long Will My Hamster Live?
The average life span of a hamster is around two years for A Syrian or Chinese hamster, with Dwarf species living slightly longer. As with all animals, some will live longer than this, and some a little less.