Sick Hamsters: Signs and Treatment of Abscesses in Hamsters

Updated on September 9, 2019
Whitney05 profile image

Whitney is a hamster parent. She hates to see her furry friends suffer and enjoys educating others of best husbandry practices.

Diagnosing Lumps on Hamsters

If your hamster has an abnormal lump anywhere on the body, you should definitely find a veterinarian that is familiar with small animals so that you can have the lump diagnosed. It may be a simple abscess caused by an infection, but it could also be a tumor. Without veterinary assistance, that's something that you won't be able to have diagnosed over the internet.

For the most part, if your hamster has a lump, a veterinarian is your only solution. Even an abscess caused by an infection is pretty important to have treated. If you don't get your hamster treated, the prognosis isn't going to be on the positive side, but with treatment, your hamster should heal within a few weeks.

What Causes an Abscess on a Hamster?

Abscesses can be caused by many different things and most often occur when hamsters are housed in groups. The most common cause is a bite, wound, or scratch that has become infected; this is typically caused by another hamster. Remember that teddy bear hamsters (Syrian hamsters) are best when housed by themselves, whereas most dwarf species can be housed in groups.

Another common cause of an abscess is when sharp objects get stuck or scratch the pouches in your hamster's cheeks. Basically, when the immune system tries to heal the infection, pus will start to develop underneath the skin, which results in a bump surrounded by swelling. So, whether the hamster received a scratch from another hamster, pet, or sharp object, an abscess can develop while the body is trying to heal the wound.

Signs of an Abscess

An abscess is generally pretty easy to spot. It's a bulge or bump on the hamster's body that is not normally there. It may be hard or soft, depending on what type of abscess it is—cancerous or just irritated.

If it looks like your hamster has his cheeks full all the time, it may actually be an abscess which should be looked at, as a cheek abscess can potentially cause stomach issues later on if left untreated. Plus, it's probably a little painful, which can lead to lack of appetite.

You may notice that your hamster isn't eating as much—he may look ill in appearance. He may be more lethargic, and he may not exercise as much. Depending on where the abscess is, the effects may vary. Hamsters with lumps around their legs may have trouble moving, whereas lumps in and around the mouth may cause trouble eating and drinking.

How Are Abscess Treated?

A vet will need to diagnose the abscess to determine if it is cancerous or not. Your vet will more than likely drain the abscess and flush it with a saline solution to clean it out and ensure that all of the infection was removed. Then your hamster will probably be prescribed an antibiotic to prevent further infection.

Get the abscess treated as soon as possible because if it continues to grow it can rupture and can cause an infection.

If your vet determines the lump to be a tumor, they may be able to remove it if it's an external tumor. If it's an internal tumor, it may be too late, as internal tumors are usually diagnosed very late in the game. Removal will depend on whether the vet feels like your hamster will be able to survive the surgery and make a good recovery. In some cases, the lump may be a fatty tumor, which is benign. Your hamster will likely be fine without having surgery unless the tumor starts to hinder eating, drinking, urinating, and defecating, or if the tumor starts to drag, which can potentially become infected.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      2 months ago

      Just noticed my hamster has a massive lump above her leg, its gonna cost a fortune, i have red up that it could be an abcess or tumour.....its 60 quid just to see a vet which is madness....can i have some advice please

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      My granddaughter just got a teddy bear hamster and we noticed that it has a lump on its left side just below its ear. It feels like a bumpy kind of lump not smooth and it moves quite freely. It also appears that there may be a small one on the right side. Does anybody know what this might be?

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      my hamster has a bump on his eye that sounds just like this but he also has los of eating and is slow he is a very old hamster maybe 3 or 4 years old but he still moves whe he is hapel like he is 1 year or when they are still growing.

    • profile image

      gareth [my hamster has a bump under its mouth] 

      3 years ago

      hi my hamster has a bump under its mouth she is not even one yet and i am wondering how bad it is . It tarted a mabey 4 houres ago on 9\19\16 pease help I would love it.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      my hampster is sick, me and mom are taking chewy to the vets he is ok

      monday, they are not open today. he has a big lump. i hope he is ok.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Im 12 and iv had my dwarf hamster for about 3 years and I need help. Theres a like a big bump on the side of his body and it keeps getting biger! I put medicane on it but he wont stop bitting or scratching it!! I don't know if it's a tumor or If its absessed but hes had it for a while....please help me

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      my dwarf hamster called ash has and abscess in her cheek and it is making her eye pop out! she keeps bleeding from her eye and I don't know what to do! i am only 12 and my old hamster died of an abscess! the vets costs a fortune so i really need help as fast as possible! thnx! i would love to be happy again, that is only possible if ash gets better though! thnx

    • Anthea Carson profile image

      Anthea Carson 

      8 years ago from Colorado Springs

      Thank you for this helpful hub. My daughter has a hamster with an abscess, and we went to the vet. the hamster is still on antibiotics but once she was off the pain medicine she started biting it again. Should we just keep her on the pain medicine a little longer? We called the vet, but I wondered if you had any experience with this.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      hi im victoria im 11

      my hamster whitey is really fat and when i carried her i felt a bump. i flipped her over and it was like a yellow bump but it was a little red is this an abcess plzz tell me. thnx

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I am scared I don't know if my hamster has a tumor or not help me it is spongy it's a small ball near it's cheek my dad said we will get it checked up if it does not get better I am scared if it is too late help me!!!!!!!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      his ive got a hamster that has got abscess i am very upset and i cant take it to the vet what should i do please it will help me be happy agin

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi Zagorka,

      Did Archibald get well again? I just noticed an abcess on one of my beloved roborovski hamsters, probably due to a bite from his brother, and am taking him to the vet tomorrow. Any advice?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      it's preety hard to deal with this disease.(abscess) My hamster suffers and I am helpless. The vet told me to have to cut his leg.I can+t beleive. Is there any treatement to help my sweet Archibald do get well?

      Many thanks


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)