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Traumatic Injuries in Hamsters

Traumatic injuries are very often seen in the hamster. These injuries include cuts and grazes and more seriously fractures of the bones.

Hamsters are very small and can easily fall or be dropped from high surfaces. They also may injure themselves during exercise and I have seen many nasty fractured legs caused by the hamster getting caught up in the wheels sometimes provided for play. Of course hamsters will also inflict injuries upon each other during fighting. Hamsters will sometimes cause self inflicted injuries to themselves (self trauma) but this is usually a sign of an underlying pain.

Obviously cuts and grazes need to be kept clean so it may be necessary to replace any bedding which would stick to the wound with newspaper for a while. If the wound looks large, dirty or is weeping etc always consult your vet. It may need sutures and/ or treatment with antibiotics to prevent or treat infection.

Fractured bones are very difficult to fix in hamsters due to their small size so are best left to heal naturally. It will probably take about 3 - 6 weeks. During this time it is best to remove toys and additional levels from the cage keeping the hamster as rested as possible until the bones heal. Unfortunately the limb may not always heal perfectly and the hamster may be left with a slight limp. This is not usually associated with pain but may be of concern to owners.

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