A hamster with constipation can typically be treated with an increase in dietary fiber and water. However, chronic constipation or constipation paired with changes to eating, appearance or behavior warrants a visit to the vet.
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Signs of Constipation
A hamster suffering from constipation may have a bloated abdomen and be sluggish. He may have hard, dry stool or even stool that becomes stuck in his rectum. Some constipation is a combination of hard stool and diarrhea.
A pregnant hamster can exhibit many of the symptoms of constipation. If you have a female hamster living with a male companion, this is a very likely scenario.
Constipation Causes and Cures
Dehydration is a common cause of constipation, so make sure your hamster always has fresh water. If you're using a bottle feeder, check that it's free-flowing and doesn't have any blockage. A diet high in fatty treats can also cause your hamster to get backed up. A hamster who eats nothing but commercial hamster food can become constipated as well, and adding in a tablespoon of fibrous vegetables like zucchini, cucumbers, spinach and other leafy greens every few days can help move things along.
Always remove uneaten veggies from your hamster cage if they aren’t consumed within a day. The food can rot, leading to other potential digestive issues if consumed.
Medical Causes of Constipation
Your hamster could be constipated because of an underlying medical issue, like a bowel obstruction, tumor, liver disease or parasites. If symptoms of constipation don't improve within a day or two, see your vet for an evaluation. Blood work, urinalysis and even an X-ray or ultrasound may be used for diagnostic purposes. Hamsters can succumb to illness quickly, and a vet can help determine the underlying cause of constipation and outline an appropriate course of treatment.
Take a stool sample to the vet with you to help speed the diagnostic process.
Never give your hamster laxatives or fiber supplements designed for humans. This can create additional serious health problems.