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Gerbils & Hamsters/syrian hamster illness


looking for some hamster advice...Barnaby all of a sudden was not pooping and was lethargic....changed bedding to shredded paper towels for the moment because I think the apaper bedding that was stuck to his fur was injested...not sure what to use anymore...have gone to the vet for possible blockage issue from paper bedding 2 days hamster is taking a laxative and antibiotic for 2 days now and im still not seeing any poop...I think he is just pooping liquid.. he gets up and excersizes a little and sleeps a lot and today I had to hand force some water because I did not see him drink...also vet told me to give fresh pineapple juice...maybe it will break down you think that the next step of an enema should be performed urgently or should I wait a few more days for laxative to work??and what are his chances of recovering from this issue...I just played and pet him for a few inutes and now hes sleeping again...was hoping if there was a blockage it would pass...would an enema flush the paper out??

Hi Jackie

Thanks for your question  - sorry for the delay in replying. I've never known paper bedding to cause a problem (just the fluffy type).

Constipation can be serious in hamsters. It is therefore important to get the bowel moving normally. One of the dangers is that the hamster strains to go to the toilet and this can cause a prolapse of the intestine - if that happens you will see the intestines coming out of the rear of the hamster. In some cases the vet can put this back and put a stitch into keep it in place. However if it backs up on itself this can result in euthanasia as there is little that can be done. Veterinary advice must be sought immediately in cases like this.

I suggest that if there is no sign of normal bowel movement by now then you need to see a vet again. Lettuce is a good laxative. Also try to make sure he is rehydrated - if necessary syringe feed some water. If there are signs of diarrhoea then it is worth adding some rehydration powder to his water and also give a probiotic such as Avipro (you can get this from a vet or you can buy a powdered variety from a health store such as acidophilus.

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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