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Linda Simmon
Linda Simmon, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 5623
Experience:  MVB MRCVS
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My hamster is grooming and scratching himself a lot more

Customer Question

hey my hamster is grooming and scratching himself a lot more today compared to any day. additionally he’s being quite lethargic tonight and lying out flat and doesn’t seem fully with it. i read that the lying flat can be over heating and perhaps dehydration but i’m not sure why he’s grooming so much. also he’s twitching quite a lot
JA: I'll do all I can to help. How has the hamster's appetite been? Any changes in his stool?
Customer: he isn’t eating his favourite food tonight and less stools than usual but not majorly
JA: Could he have eaten something unusual?
Customer: no not at all just his hamster food
JA: And what's the hamster's name and age?
Customer: he doesn’t have a name yet! haha he’s about 3-4 months old
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know?
Customer: ummm no not at all except it was very warm today and the window was open so maybe something flew in?
Submitted: 17 days ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Linda Simmon replied 17 days ago.

Hi there, this is Dr Linda, a UK based vet.

I'm sorry to hear he is not himself today and understand your concern.

Hamsters are generally good at 'pretending they're fine' even when unwell. So, when we can tell something isn't right, they are usually quite poorly.

The fact that he isn't eating as much as producing less stool is a red flag. Rodents can develop 'gut stasis' whereby their gut slows down and fills with gas. They need to be constantly eating to prevent this.

Given all you have said, I would advise a vet visit now if at all possible.

Ideally, he needs to be examined and will probably be started on medicine such as pain relief and gut motility drugs as well as fluids.

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
okay thank you, ***** ***** just finally eaten one seed from me so i’m going to try more of his food and see. if not i will take him to a vet now. also, is him grooming himself excessively tonight something to worry about?
Expert:  Linda Simmon replied 17 days ago.

It may be that he is unwell and that this has led to a flare up of mites. All hamsters have a few mites but these are usually kept in check by their immune system. When poorly, they can develop a mite infestation that makes them very itchy.

We would also consider a bacterial or fungal skin infection.

Another possibility would be an allergic reaction or contact dermatitis from something in the environment.

Certainly, the vet will examine his skin when checking him over, to determine what may be going on.

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
okay he’s not eating any more i think i will take him to a vets. thank you x
Expert:  Linda Simmon replied 17 days ago.

Not at all and wishing him all the very best.