Gerbils & Hamsters/I'm worried


picture of his lip
picture of his lip  

second picture
second picture  
I have a male hamster called oreo, and hes around 7 month old, and today I noticed a red bald patch above his upper lip, he doesn't seem bothered by it at all, atm he's running round in his ball as normal, should i be worried or is this normal?

I'm scared at the moment because i'm unsure whats is actually is and whats caused it!

I did my best to get a good picture


Hi Bethany

Thanks for your question - I'm sorry for the delay in replying.

It is hard to know what this is but there are a few things that come to mind. Firstly he could have scratched himself which is irritating  him and become sore. It could be a cyst or worst case it could be a condition called polyomavirus. If this is a sore it should clear up on its own providing it doesn't infect. If it is a cyst it should come to a head and if necessary a vet might need to get any poison out of it. If it is polyomavirus this is contagious to other hamsters. The problem with this is that these lumps can get big and often several appear, usually around the head area. If they become troublesome they need to be surgically removed. I had a hamster with this once and he ended up having three operations but he was fine in himself and lived a full life.

If you are concerned then it would be worth getting a vet to check him out especially if he starts to show symptoms that indicate that he doesn't feel well. Otherwise I suggest you monitor him to see if anything changes.  

I hope you get on ok.


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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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