11 Common Causes of Hamster Deaths

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Hamsters make adorable pets because they are friendly and easy to care for. That’s why hamster owners get so attached to them and frustrated upon their death. Like other animals, hamsters fall sick and might sometimes die. Unfortunately, there are common causes of hamster deaths.

In many cases, some causes of hamster deaths are natural and unpreventable, while others can be prevented if identified on time. However, there is always a reason behind each hamster’s death. Below, we will check eleven possible reasons for hamster death.

So, let’s dive in!

11 Causes of Hamster Deaths

1. Stress

Stress is one of the causes of hamster deaths. Stress weakens a hamster’s immune system, which, in turn, shortens its lifespan. A stressed hamster is prone to attracting deadly diseases such as heart disease and a wet tail. 

So, if your hamster pet refuses to eat and has signs of hyperactivity, excessive salivation, and constipation, it’s suffering from stress.

3. Fall

Hamster fall is also another cause of death. If your hamster falls from a high height and hits a hard object, it can die on the spot or from internal bleeding. Your hamster can break its head from falling, which can cause instant death.

3. Old Age

Close-Up Shot of a Hamster

Old age is a natural cause of death in hamsters. Hamsters have an average lifespan of eighteen months to a maximum of three years. Since they don’t live long, it’s essential to find their age before adopting one because it could be near death. 

4. Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a lung infection and a common cause of death in hamsters. Pasteurella Pneumotropica, Diplococcus sp, Staphylococci sp, and Streptococcus sp are some common bacterias that cause pneumonia in hamsters.

5. Heart Diseases

Some hamsters may be born with genetic heart diseases like Cardiomyopathy and Polymyopathy that makes your hamster’s heart fragile. Furthermore, if your hamster has chronic stress and heart disease, it might die from heart failure.

Another common heart disease in hamsters is thrombosis. This affects older hamsters, whose hearts become weak, where you might notice swelling in the abdomen, quick breathing, and bluish color on the skin and feet because the blood does not reach these places.  

Finally, congestive heart failure is another heart disease common in older hamsters or those with a genetic predisposition. The heart has weak muscles that cannot effectively pump blood. Signs of this disease are erratic movements, respiratory distress, and edema. 

6. Cancer

Cancer is another fatal disease and is a common cause of death in hamsters. For instance, melanoma is a skin cancer that primarily affects male hamsters.

In addition, Lymphoma cancer affects the hematopoietic system. Hamsters suffering from this disease experience weight and patchy hair loss.  

7. Other Pets

White and Black Long Fur Cat

Since a hamster is a little creature, other pets like cats and dogs might play with it, and in the process, your hamster might get injured. And since you might overlook the injuries, your hamster might suffer from those injuries leading to their death. 

Hamsters also get stressed in the presence of other pets, and as we discussed earlier, stress can lead to fatal diseases. 

8. Wet Tail

A wet tail is usually used to describe diarrhea in hamsters. Diarrhea in young hamsters between 3-10 weeks old is caused by a bacterium called Lawsonia intracellularis, while diarrhea in adult hamsters is caused by bacteria called Clostridium difficile. 

If you want to find out whether your pet has a wet tail, look for wetness around its genital region, messy coat, weight loss, hunched posture, anorexia, and lethargy.

9. Diabetes

Chinese hamsters from the inbred lines are prone to getting diabetes. Diabetes in hamsters is caused by high levels of sugar in the blood. Symptoms of diabetes in hamsters include frequent peeing, increased thirst, lethargy, weight loss, and strong smelly urine.

10. Cough and Colds

Like humans, hamsters are also prone to colds which can lead to mild coughing. Your little furry friend can develop sneezing or coughing. So, if you notice your hamster has difficulty breathing or with a wet nose, it’s probably suffering from a cold.

Although a cold might seem harmless to your hamster, it can cause respiratory infection leading to a fatal disease. So, taking quick action is good if you notice the above signs in your hamster. 

11. Malnutrition

Close Up Photo of Cute Hamster

Malnutrition can be fatal to hamsters. Hamsters need a well-balanced diet for the well-being of their general health. Giving your hamster one type of food is not enough; too many treats can cause obesity in them. Malnutrition causes slow death in hamsters unless something is done about the diet.

Final Thoughts

Apart from old age, hamsters also die due to stress, malnutrition, and other pets are avoidable; hence you should adequately take care of your furry friend to ensure it lives long enough. 

So, I hope now you know the common causes of hamster deaths. Although hamsters are fragile and sensitive, they make sweet and loving pets.

Jim Nero

Jim Nero

As a child, my parents got me a hamster cage and I loved my furry little friends.
So obviously when my kids were old enough I got them a pet hamster to care for.

About Me

As a child, my parents got me a hamster cage and I loved my furry little friends.
So obviously when my kids were old enough I got them a pet hamster to care for.

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