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Gerbils & Hamsters/Hamster broke it's leg


Sorry about this, but my hamster isn't a Syrian Hamster. It's a grey hamster which are quite common from where I come from. My problem is my hamster's leg is broken. Or I think it is. Someone in my house told me the story as it wasn't me who found the leg broken. While walking by the cage, she saw that the hamster's back leg was stuck in between the water bottle and the cage. She tried popping out the water bottle to let the hamster free but realised that the leg was twisted between the water bottle and the cage and she was afraid she would further injure the hamster. Therefore, she used a scissors to pry the cage's metal bars apart so that the water bottle will fall off together with the hamster. It worked and the hamster was free. Unfortunately, she told me that the hamster's leg was broken and it was walking funny. She also let me see the hamster walking and the leg looks really swollen. The leg is twisted in a funny way( I can't describe it) and it can't walk for long. Also, when it tried standing up on it's back leg, it fell over to the side of the injured leg. It walks very little and spends most of it's time cuddled up in the corner of the cage. I'll also attach a picture of the hamster to show you the condition of it. I hope you can tell me the severity of the broken leg and tell me if I should bring it to a vet or if it'll heal on it's own. I would prefer not bringing it to the vet as in my place, it is very inconvenient. Thanks. Btw the hamster is very old and may pass away soon so I would not like spending a lot of money on it to let it live for maybe 2 months more. Sorry couldn't get a photo because the hamster refuses to wake up(It's not dead)

Hi Noel

thanks for your question.  I'm sorry to hear about your hamster.

Usually broken bones heal fine on their own, however, where there is a twist, or a fracture that is causing circulatory problems then a vet needs to intervene.

The important thing is that the cage is made safe and easy for him to get food and water.  The fact that his leg appears twisted is a worry.  I would strongly advise that you get a vet to look at him.  A vet may well be able to straighten the leg and give pain relief, in which case you just need a single storey cage with food and water closeby.  Remove his wheel, any platforms, or anything that would encourage him to climb as you want him to have total rest.

However, if the fracture is serious or if circulation is affected, then the vet may well advise euthanasia.  In younger hamsters the vet can amputate, and amputation usually isn't a problem as a three legged hamster in captivity is fine - you just have to be careful while the stump is healing.  However, with older hamsters then there is a great risk of them not surviving the anaesthetic.  It also really depends on their general body condition, state of health etc.

Can you get him to a vet as soon as possible?  Check that they treat hamsters as some don't want to or don't know much about them.  Also check their fees before you go.  Your vet should be able to advise whether or not they think it is possible to save your hamster, or if the kindest option is to put him to sleep.  The last thing you want is him suffering, and if he is now sleeping a lot and not wanting to rally suggests to me that he is in a lot of pain.

I hope this helps you.


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Sheila Adby


Syrian hamsters are my specialty, however, I have kept Campbells,Winter Whites and gerbils in the past. I can advise on most subjects associated with hamsters, including housing, bedding, feeding, handling, new borns and catching escapees. I have had some experience of various health problems with hamsters and can offer my opinion and advice on basic health issues, however I am not a qualified vet and therefore cannot recommend drugs etc. My website is


I have been keeping hamsters and other small animals for more than 12 years. My favourites are Syrian hamsters and I foster litters and 'difficult' hamsters for a rescue centre. My job is to tame hamsters ready for re-homing, which is extremely rewarding. I also enjoy looking after new litters and raising the pups. I have co-written a book on hamsters with my local vet and have a website:

Hamsters in Sickness and in Health - Sheila Adby and Dan O'Neill ISBN186163218-5 (Capall Bann Publishing)

Educated to A Level standard in the UK.

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