Hamster First Aid Kit

I was tidying through my ‘hamster health’ drawers today and it got me thinking about hamster first aid kits. They can be as big or as small as you want and need.
With 53 cages of small furries, I have 2 drawers of health supplies  and another drawer of wet food and supplements. As a minimum, I would recommend having the phone number of a good small animal vet, a vet fund to cover unplanned vet expenses and a carrier to take your hamster to the vet.
A first aid kit at home should never replace vet attention if your hamster is unwell

These are some of my hamster first aid supplies:

List of things that could be included in a hamster first aid kit
Equipment

  • 1ml and 5ml syringes (for mixing meds, and giving oral meds and water)
  • Snugglesafe or hot water bottle/wheat cushion (not to be placed in the cage or used with unconscious animals)
  • Digital scales that read to 1g
  • Cotton buds and cotton pads (for wiping cuts or sticky eyes)
  • Glass dropper bottles (for storing mixed medications)
  • Comb and/or brush (for any fur issues especially with longhaired hamsters)
  • Small glass bowls (for water bowls or soft foods)
  • Hamster carrier
  • Towel (for covering carriers on the way to the vet or wrapping up grumpy hams for meds/injections)
  • Nail clippers
  • Pill cutter/crusher
  • Vet’s phone number

Over the Counter Health Supplies

  • ProC Probiotic (for hamsters on antibiotics)
  • Diastix  and/or ketostix (if Chinese/hybrid/Campbells)
  • Johnson’s tea tree cream (for dry skin or wounds)
  • Small lip balm-sized Vaseline pot (various uses including squeaky wheels and emergency treatment of paraphimosis in male hamsters)
  • Virkon (or other strong disinfectant for cleaning infected cages)
  • Spot-on (I don’t use this regularly, but use it on rescue hamsters when they arrive)

Tempting Foods

I use wet rich foods for building up poorly hamsters, hiding medications in or tempting sick hamsters to eat. Normal hamster mix should make up the majority of their diet, but extras are helpful short term.

  • Wet cat or dog food
  • Lactol and powdered baby porridge
  • Baby food jars
  • Ratrations mash mix

Supplements

These supplements/herbal remedies are things I have used. Please make sure you are familiar with their use and side effects yourself if you choose to use them, and make sure you seek vet advice to ensure that the condition you think you are treating is actually what your hamster is suffering from. I’ve seen harm come to hamsters incorrectly treated with supplements/herbal remedies where vet advice should have been sought.

  • Arrowroot powder (for diarrhoea – after seeing a vet)
  • Fenugreek powder (for diabetes – can cause harm in non-diabetic hamsters)
  • Turmeric paste (for arthritis)
  • Cod liver oil (for arthritis)
  • Vitamin paste (for hamsters in need of a boost)
  • Pro-C probiotic powder (for hammies on longer courses of antibiotics)

Books

I have many hamster health books but the ones I’ve found most useful are:

  • Hamsterlopaedia
  • Diseases of Small Domestic Rodents
  • BSAVA Manual of Exotic Pets

Quarantine

Something that can be forgotten when thinking of hamster first aid, is quarantine. This is important if you have more than one hamster. A sick hamster should be isolated away from other hamsters. This is to prevent cross-infection to the other hamsters, and to allow the unwell hamster to have closer care and attention in a quiet environment. I could write a whole blog post on quarantine alone!

 

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. kimlck says:

    Would you mind doing your quarantine procedure?
    I’d be very interested in it.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. vectishams says:

    I have it on my list of things to blog about! Thanks for the suggestion 🙂

    Like

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