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hamster help please?

Question Posted Sunday June 26 2011, 6:25 pm

my hamster is not as active as usuall he has wet fur around his mouth though he has not had a drink of water for awhile iv also noticed that he is not eating as much nor cleaning himself as much as usaull anymore we cleaned his cage not that long ago but it has a strange smell and earlier though he washed it off there was dirt/mud on his head though he has not been outdoors i dont know where it came from need help asap!!

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Want to answer more questions in the Health & Fitness category?
Maybe give some free advice about: Illnesses?

Peeps answered Wednesday June 29 2011, 12:44 am:
Usually when a rodent, such as a hamster or a chinchilla, has been drool and has "wetness" around the mouth typically means their teeth have grown and they are dying from something called malocclusion. This, for rodents, typically means the teeth have grown so rapidly that they are expanding inward of the skull as well as rapidly outward.

Rodents need to grind their teeth down. That's why it's important they have lots of wooden chew toys and hay. If you don't supply them with these objects frequently then their teeth can overgrow. Even if you do, there is a genetic trait that can cause the overgrowth anyway--even when you've done nothing wrong.

If caught early on, a vet can help grind the teeth down to prevent pain and the overgrowth. Eventually though, most rodents with this illness will pass away from it. It's just so aggressive.

Please know that when the teeth have been growing so much and the animal cannot grind them down fast enough then it does become extremely painful. After awhile it's too painful for the little guy to eat.

If he has become fairly lethargic and is not eating or drinking then he is likely to be dying.

Hamsters only have a lifespan of about three years. The chances of you having purchased a petstore hamster is extremely high. You probably have no idea of his age, really. Additionally, you don't know his genetic traits and heritage and, as such, you don't know if the malocclusion is something that he was genetically prone to developing over his lifespan.

The "dirt" on his head may have been fecal matter. Hamsters, and other animals, can have loose stools just like humans do when they are ill. If the case is that he is just sick with a minor illness then sometimes diarrhea can be stopped by giving him blackened/burnt (burned as black as you can get it) toast. The odds of this JUST being a minor illness is extremely low though. He needs to see a vet if you want a proper diagnoses and to see if he can be saved.

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