Our hamster doesn't seem to be as active as it used to be. We never see it up running in its wheel anymore and it seems to breathe at a rapid rate. She still is eating a little but mostly sleeps. When she wakes up she always has problems opening her one eye. It looks like she has a lot of sleep in it. Any suggestions or information you could give us would be greatly appreciated.
Type = Female teddy bear hamster
Age = approx. 2 years
Number = 1
Food = hertz hamster food
Treat = carrots, lettuce, apples
Experience = Novice, Intermediate, breeder or expert? Novice
Housing = 10 Gallon glass cage with tunnels
Hamsters that become lethargic, do not eat well, and have problems opening one or both eyes are almost certainly ill.
Check the underside of the hamster for any sign of "wet tail" or discharge. Call your own small animal veterinarian as soon as possible for advice. Common problems in established pets include upper respiratory infections and abscesses, kidney and liver failure caused by amyloidois, and cancer, especially reproductive system.
Take this note along to your veterinarian if you wish. In the meantime, keep the hamsters cage on an electric heating pad. Keep the eyes and tail area clean, use electolytes such as "Pedialyte" in the water bottle (50:50), and use an over-the-counter antibiotic such as Dri-Tail (from the pet store) unless you can get your hamster to the veterinarian right away.
Advice provided by: L Bauck BSc, DVM, MVSc.