If your hamster starts to limp or has trouble walking, consult the vet. These are some of the possible causes of the problem:
- Falls and accidents - If your hamster has suffered a fall recently, he may have a paralyzed or broken leg (or legs). Your pet will need to visit the vet.
- Scurvy - If there's not enough vitamin C in your hamster's diet, it may develop the vitamin deficiency known as scurvy. In serious cases, this can paralyze the hamster's back legs, forcing the poor pet to hop around. Scurvy can be avoided simply by providing foods containing plenty of vitamin C, (as well as all the other nutrients a hamster needs). Small amounts of fruit and veg will help. Make sure the hamster food you buy online or in the pet store is sufficiently fortified with all the vitamins and trace elements a hamster requires.
Sometimes a hamster's movements can reveal a health problem
- Strokes - If your hamster rocks backwards and forwards while sitting, or sways as it walks, it may have suffered a stroke. Some of the damage caused by strokes can heal, but some is permanent. A vet should be able to tell you how extensive the damage is, and to what extent your hamster will recover. Stricken hamsters can still lead a full life, but sometimes it may need help eating and drinking. Ask the vet for advice.
- Dehydration - If your hamster becomes listless and not doesn’t walk around as much as usual, he is probably either severely dehydrated, or has a serious illness. It may also be an attempt at hibernation, as a result of a drop in temperature. If you are able to rule out the hibernation option, make sure the hamster has plenty of water available, and then consult a vet for a diagnosis.
- Old age - In older hamsters – over the age of 18 months – walking and exercising less, along with sleeping more, are simply part of the ageing process. Like humans, as hamsters get older they start to slow down.