Inflammation of the Kidneys in Hamsters


PetMD Editorial

Published Jul. 9, 2010

Nephritis in Hamsters

Nephritis is a medical condition that causes kidney inflammation. This may occur in one or both kidneys. Typically, the inflammation is brought on by a viral or bacterial infection. Nephritis may also be due to disorders of the immune system or high blood pressure. If left untreated, degeneration of the kidneys sets in, wherein normal kidney tissue is replaced by fibrous tissue. This is called nephrosis.


  • Dull and depressed appearance
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Dry coat
  • Abdominal pain
  • Severe thirst
  • Abnormally high production of urine, which may be cloudy
  • Elevated levels of protein and ammonia in the urine


In addition to bacterial or viral infection, high blood pressure in the kidneys and immune system disorders can lead to nephritis in hamsters.


After asking you several questions about the hamster's medical history and observing its clinical signs, your veterinarian will make a preliminary diagnosis. However, to differentiate from other kidney diseases, a urine sample will be analyzed. A hamster with nephritis will have elevated levels of protein and ammonia in its urine. X-rays may also reveal inflammation of the kidneys.


To alleviate the inflammation your veterinarian might consider the administration of fluids and corticosteroids; vitamin B complex is also sometimes recommended. And if the inflammation is due to an infection, antibiotics are given to the hamster.

Living and Management

First and foremost, your hamster needs plenty of rest in a calm, clean, and sanitary environment. Consult your veterinarian to formulate a diet that meets the hamster's special needs and follow any other instructions your veterinarian may have given.


Preventing nephritis is often not practical, except when infections is at the root of the problem. In those cases, treating your hamster quickly will help reduce the chances those infectious agents affect the kidneys and subsequently cause nephritis.

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