Hamster Breathing Fast and Heavy? Causes and Treatment of Respiratory Illnesses
Hamster Breathing Problems
Probably the most common illness in hamsters besides wettail is a respiratory infection. It's most common among hamsters that come from pet stores the stressful environment can weaken their immune system, making them more susceptible to infections.
If you notice that your hamster has breathing problems (they're breathing fast or breathing heavy), and their condition doesn't improve, see a veterinarian that is knowledgeable about small animals so that you can either rule out or diagnose the illness. You don't want to sit and wait hoping that it will just goes away. A simple infection can potentially lead to pneumonia, which can be fatal if not treated.
Cause of Respiratory Infection
Respiratory illnesses are very contagious and can spread easily from hamster to hamster. If your hamster came from a pet store that had other sick hamsters—whether they showed symptoms while you were there or not—more than likely, your hamster will also be sick.
Hamsters can also catch some diseases from humans. If you're sick, you can actually get your hamster sick, so if you have a cold or other respiratory condition, stay away from close contact with your hamster.
Other common causes include:
- The hamster being located in a cold or drafty room
- If he gets wet and isn't able to dry himself properly
- If there is a leaking water bowl in the cage
Signs of Respiratory Infection
Basic signs are those that are respiratory related- sneezing, wheezing, and labored breathing. But, you may also see discharge from the eyes and/or nose, loss of appetite, and lethargy. If you notice that your hamster is in a stretched out position or gasping for air, these are signs of a more severe case of a respiratory infection, and you need to see a veterinarian soon.
Your hamster may also collapse in exhaustion after just light or mild exercise.
A sneeze here and there typically won't be that big of a deal, but when it's is accompanied by the other signs, you'll definitely want to seek veterinarian assistance.
A respiratory infection can lead to pneumonia, which is why it is important that it is diagnosed and treated as soon as you think something is wrong with your hamster.
Treatment for Hamster Respiratory Infection
A veterinarian should diagnose the illness. In most cases, the vet will prescribe an oral antibiotic. This will help treat the infection so that your hamster will make an easier and quicker recovery.
It is very important that you separate the sick hamster from any other hamsters, as the illness is very contagious to other hamsters.
If you're looking for a natural treatment, consider HomeoPet Nose Relief. I've also used HomeoPet Nose Relief to ease congestion and runny nose often caused by respiratory infections.
You may also want to consider removing the exercise wheel and reducing the amount of exercise and play that your hamster gets. Also, remove any dusty bedding. You may want to use a paper towel bedding until the hamster has overcome the illness.
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.