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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22457
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My hamster smells extreamly bad, but the cage doesn't so I

Customer Question

My hamster smells extreamly bad, but the cage doesn't so I don't think it's a urine infection, but he has something coming out his eye/nose which looks like blood, any ideas what it could be and is there anything I can do?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
What does he actually smell like?
Does he feel greasy, have any skin changes, or have any wetness or inflamed skin around his genitals?
How are his stools?
Any changes to his breathing or does he seem to smell from his mouth?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The only way to describe it is a bit like the smell of sick but it is a very strong odour! No skin colour or wetness, I think it's coming from his mouth area but I'm not sure if the reason why he has the blood like substance on his nose is because it's coming from his eye or if it's because it's coming from both, he does have it down the front of him though tracking from his nose
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you,
When you say blood like, does it look more rusty then pure blood?
Has he had any struggles eating at all?
Do his cheeks look distended at all?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ye looks like dried blood so that rusty way, and no he's not eaten but he did drink when I woke him up earlier, he didn't come out his bed last night or the night before but he looked normal until today. His cheeks don't look noticeably different either
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you again,
Now as I am sure you can appreciate, we can see these situations for a range of reasons.
In regards ***** ***** rusty blood-like discharge, this sounds to just be porphyrin. This is a red pigmented tear like material that we usually don't see because healthy hamsters groom it away. When we do see it, its not a specific signs of disease but instead a clue that they feel unwell (since they aren't grooming). The staying in bed is another subtle clue that he feels unwell. And these are quite significant since prey species do instinctively try to pretend is all well when they aren't since it would make them a target for predation.
Now in regards ***** ***** odor, the two concerns that could appear in this way and be localized to the mouth are cheek pouch issues (abscesses, impaction with rotting food, infected tumors, etc) or a bacterial pneumonia. All of these can cause this odor, reduce the appetite, and cause a hamster to feel unwell generally.
With this all in mind and if he isn't eating, we need to tread with care. This species doesn't do well off food for the long term. Therefore, do tempt him with favorites. Or if he refuses those, we'd need to think about syringe feeding veggie baby food. We can even mash his pelleted feed into this to make it more balanced for him.
Otherwise, we'd really want to have a check with his local vet. They can make sure there no issues lurking in the cheek pouches, listen to his lungs, and start antibiotics to clear any lung infection lurking. If his appetite doesn't pick up with this, then they can also dispense a hamster specific critical care feed for you to use.
Finally, just to note in case you were keen to have him seen today (since it sounds like he has been hiding this from you for a wee bit already), some veterinary practices in our country have office hours today. As well, I wanted to mention that most veterinary practices here do have contingency plans for emergency care for their patients even when they are not open. Therefore, it is worth ringing the practice. If they are open, you can get him seen today. If they aren't, then they will likely have a message to direct you on how to contact their out of hours service. And if you don't have a vet you can find one local to you, you can check the RCVS Register ( to find your local vets or Vets Now ( ) who are open all nights/weekends. In any case, if you wanted to get him checked out sooner then there are options to have him seen today too.
Please take care,
Dr. B.
If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. *Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need, as this is the only way I receive credit for helping you today. Thank you! : )
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
That's great! Thank you very much, I think my mum is phoning someone just now because our vets are closed on a SundayThanks for the help, very much appreciated
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
You are very welcome,
I am glad I could be of help to you both. That sounds like a good plan of action there and hopefully we can just get this nipped in the bud for him.
All the best,
Dr. B.
*Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need, as this is the only way I receive credit for helping you today. Thank you! : )