Pneumonia in Hamsters

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Pneumonia in hamsters needs to be treated right away.
Pneumonia in hamsters needs to be treated right away. (Image: "merenda" image by Silvia Ottaviano from Fotolia.com)

Hamsters are excellent, hardy pets, but respiratory issues are one common problem that hamster owners need to consider. Pneumonia is defined as any inflammation of the lungs, and if left untreated, it could be fatal to the hamster. Becoming informed on pneumonia in hamsters can help you take fast action if this issue affects your pet.

Causes

As pneumonia is considered a set of symptoms rather than a illness in itself, there are a number of things that can cause pneumonia in hamsters. Viruses and bacteria can cause pneumonia in hamsters, as can the micro-organism mycoplasma. In some cases, more than one cause is at work.

Identification

There are some symptoms that may suggest that your hamster is suffering from pneumonia. Sneezing, watery eyes and nasal discharge can point to pneumonia, as can a high temperature and lethargy. The hamster may also seem like it is having issues with breathing.

Warnings

Make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly before handling your hamster if you have a cold. Viral infections like colds and flu can be transmitted from humans to hamsters, and they can quickly turn into pneumonia. It is best to limit handling your hamster until you are healthy.

Prevention/Solution

When you think that your hamster might be dealing with a respiratory illness that can turn into pneumonia, it is best to isolate it from other hamsters. Keep the hamster warm and make sure that its quarantine cage is out of drafts. If the hamster does not improve within a day or so, it is important to take it to the veterinarian.

Treatment

If a case of pneumonia does not improve on its own, the veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics that should kill any bacterial infection. Similarly, medications may be prescribed to keep fend off secondary infections.

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