Bringing a tiny hamster into your life is a big commitment -- the same as adopting a dog or cat. Along with the wonderful privilege of owning an animal comes the responsibility of taking care of his health. Because of this, hamsters require regular veterinarian checkups -- no exceptions.
Annual Visits to the Veterinarian
To make sure everything is A-OK with your sweet hamster's health, it's important to take him to the veterinarian for once-a-year checkup appointments, according to the ASPCA. Make sure your pet sees a vet at least once annually no matter how healthy, hardy and content he seems to be. Since hamsters can't talk to you to tell you if anything is wrong, this is extremely important, so don't neglect it.
Symptoms of Health Problems in Hamsters
If your hamster's health seems normal, visits to the veterinarian once a year should be fine. However, it's crucial to take your pet to the vet immediately if you notice anything out of the ordinary. "Once a year" applies to ideal circumstances. Pay attention to any indications that things are amiss with your rodent cutie, including diarrhea, loss of weight, abnormally long teeth, runny nose, tangled coat, shivering, glazed eyes, wheezing, foot sores, bloody urine, fur loss or appetite loss. If you notice any of these things, get veterinary help as soon as possible. Hamsters usually have brief lifespans, so the sooner you seek a vet's care, the better. Do not dillydally.
If at all possible, seek out a veterinarian that has expertise in "exotic" animals rather than mostly just dogs and cats -- think hamsters, ferrets, chinchillas, parrots, salamanders, sugar gliders, gerbils, cockatoos, newts, hedgehogs and others of that ilk.
If you or someone in your household is dealing with a pesky case of the common cold, pay close attention to your hammie. Hamsters are capable of contracting colds from people. When you have a cold and are contagious to other humans, you're contagious to your hamster, too. If it's cold season, your pet may require a vet checkup sooner than you think.