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Gerbils & Hamsters/Female hamster odour


Hi Sheila
Hope you're well; haven't asked a question in a while. I have an adult female syrian hamster (black and white)who was diagnosed with open pyometra. She smelled terrible, a really rotten smell but she also has times when she smells a bit like a skunk. (I don't think you have skunks there but it's a really musky, almost like burnt rubber sort of smell, very strong) After the surgery to remove her uterus,the rotten smell was gone right away, she's been on antibiotics for over a week and is eating peeing and pooping normally. But she still smells very strongly of a skunk, especially if I handle her. I was wondering if they will emit an odour if stressed. I haven't been the most fun person to be around for the last week as the medicine tasted awful :(  I've had females in the past that had the same odour, but not this strong. Her pee does not smell, so I'm kinda stumped, any thoughts???  Thanks for your time :)


Thanks for your question. Some females really smell - I've had them before. They all have a scent that they give off around the time they are in season but they can also release a strong scent if they are scared.  Some of mine that were smelly I thought might have an infection but they didn't - it was just normal for them. I would have to really wash my hands after handling them to try and get rid of the smell and I hated it if they got on my clothing.

The antibiotics should have done the job and this smell should settle. She's been through a lot and a very painful illness - she might just be spooked or her body just needs time to settle. Have you given her a probiotic? If not it might be worth doing this as the illness and treatment could have upset the balance of friendly bacteria in her gut. You can get one called Avipro or there are others - if you can't get one for animals you can use acidophilus which you buy in health stores and add a capsule to her water bottle each day for the next week or two.

I hope you get on ok with her.

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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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