Does your favorite hamster have a skin injury? If so, you are likely worried about whether it is causing them pain. You may also wonder if the injury is life-threatening especially if you have no idea how it happened. Sometimes when hamsters stay in the same cage, they may fight each other or even engage in rough play. This is something you may be unaware of. The type of cage materials you use to house your hamsters may also cause injuries. For example, a sharp wood chip or piece of plastic could cause a skin injury that eventually becomes infected.
Signs of Infection
Pus is one sign of an infected skin injury. If the pus is contained in a pustule, do not rupture it. It may contain contagious matter that could contaminate the cage or expose any other hamsters to bacteria from the wound. Sometimes pustules may rupture on their own, and this is why you should quarantine a sick hamster away from others you own. Another sign of infection is redness around the hamster's wound. You may have also noticed that your usual touch is not comforting to your pet. This may be due to pain or sensitivity in the injured area. Swelling around the lymph nodes of your hamster is indicative of white blood cells attempting to fight infection.
You should never attempt to make a diagnosis of what is wrong with your pet hamster's skin. This is because a number of other issues may cause similar signs. Instead, use the signs as your determining factor for seeking medical attention for your pet. For example, hematomas and cysts are skin conditions that may appear as swollen skin, but they may not be infectious. Tissue or fluid samples from the skin injury will be used to determine whether your pet has an infection.
It is imperative to ensure that your hamster receives prompt medical attention at an animal clinic like Northwest Animal Hospital. If not, they could go into shock or die from the infection. Depending on the degree of the infection, a vet might decide to perform small animal surgery. This would involve incising the wound, draining, and lancing it as needed. Think of it as a similar process to lancing a boil on human skin. A minor skin infection may be treated using a wound cleaning and antiseptic technique.
Your vet will provide care instructions for you to follow at home. The injured "hammy" might be prescribed antibiotics. Hamsters clean themselves, and you may be advised to keep the known grooming areas covered until your pet heals. It is also advisable to keep the injured animal separated from others during the healing process. You can protect your hamsters by identifying aggressive hamsters and keeping them in a separate cage. If cage materials caused the injury, consider changing materials or upgrading your cages.