Gerbils & Hamsters/Hamster is sick


Hello - yesterday I noticed that my hamster Chubby who is one year old has a very bulging eye that looks like its going to pop out, and there is blood under it.  Also, his pouch on that side is swollen.  I have tried to give him drinks every few minutes, and rub his cheek, and use saline drops to clean his eye that he cannot close.  He is wobbly and not eating.

Hi Nani

I'm sorry to hear about Chubby.

You haven't said how old he is.  Elderly hamsters (from around 18 months) are prone to getting tumors and it could be that he has something like this.  Alternatively it could be an abscess that is causing the swelling and making him feel so ill.

I would strongly advise that you get a vet to check him out.  If you don't know of any vets then you should phone one or two and see if they have anyone who specialises in hamsters or small animals. Also check their fees before you go as most will offer a lower consultation fee for a hamster, but it is always worth checking this beforehand.

If this is a tumor, then euthanasia might be the kindest option.  If this is an abscess then it might be possible for the vet to drain this and treat with antibiotics.  If this is an abscess then this would explain why your hamster is appearing ill, as poisons from the abscess will be getting into his blood stream.

There could be other explanations, but without seeing him it is difficult to know for sure.  Hopefully you will find that this is treatable with a course of antibiotics, but your vet would need to prescribe these.

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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