Fractures in Hamsters

PetMD Editorial
July 09, 2010
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Broken Bones in Hamsters

Fractures, more commonly known as broken bones, are actually quite common in hamsters. They mainly occur due to accidents such as improper handling of the animal or when a hamster tries to dislodge its leg from the cage's wire mesh or exercise wheel.

Because hamsters are very small, broken bones are difficult to treat. However, healing of fractures in hamsters is quite easy, but the hamster should be properly restrained and given adequate rest to ensure complete healing.

Symptoms

In addition to exhibiting severe pain and refusing to move -- on account of the pressure and pain when attempting to manipulate the bone -- the hamster may display the following symptoms:

  • Swelling in or around the fractured area
  • Crackling or popping sound from the fractured area (due to rubbing between the broken ends of the bone)
  • An open wound through which the broken end of the bone has pierced out (very rare)

Causes

Typically, bone fractures in hamsters occur due to accidents such as improper handling and trapped legs, often in the cage's wire mesh or exercise wheel. However, some nutritional disorders like calcium and phosphorus imbalances may also make the bone more brittle and prone to fractures.

Diagnosis

The clinical signs observed can help in making a diagnosis of broken bone. Occasionally, your veterinarian will want to confirm his or her suspicions by taking an X-ray of the affected area.

Treatment

Because hamsters are small, delicate small animals, fractures are difficult to treat. Your veterinarian may try to reduce the fracture and then apply bandage to restrict movement and promote healing. If an open wound is present, it will be suitably dressed and topical antiseptics or antibiotics applied.

Painkillers may be administered to help temporarily reduce your hamster's suffering. Your veterinarian may also recommend vitamin and mineral supplements to help the hamster recover quickly.

Living and Management

Place the hamster in a small cage or enclosure to limit its movements. In addition, provide it a well-balanced, nutritious diet and supplements your veterinarian may have recommended.

Prevention

Supplying your hamster with a cage that is safe and equipped with solid floors may help in preventing any accidental bone fractures. A well-balanced diet may also prevent bones from weakening -- and subsequent fractures -- due to nutritional disorders.