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Gerbils & Hamsters/Dwarf hamster - gangrene of the foot



I wonder if u could advise me. The other day i found my dwarf hamster hanging up sidedown in her cage - she had somehow got her little foot caught in between the wheel where it connects to the cage. I found her like that in the morning and freed her however im not sure ho long she had been that way. Her foot has since turned black and looks like its shrivelling up. Gangrene?
Do you think the foot will fall off naturally, is there anything i can  do to help her? She is still running around and eating and drinking as usual. What do you think?

Hi Vivien

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

The foot might well fall off or she might chew it off.  However, I suggest you keep a close eye on it - in many ways it would be better if it was amputated as you might find that the stump needs removing too. If it looks like it is infected or swollen I would definitely get her to a vet otherwise you could let nature take its course.

She should be fine with 3 legs however  you need to permanently remove the wheel as you don't want her getting stuck again nor do you want her over using the stump as this can cause infection. If you want to offer her other forms of exercise you could get her a mini exercise ball. This won't put as much stress on the stump as it isn't repetitive exercise.

I've had three legged hamsters in the past and they have been fine - just make sure her cage is easy for her to get around.

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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