How a hamster reacts to a heat wave and what you should do

Heat Wave

There is no real “ideal” temperature for the hamster (between 15 and 20°C for its well-being), it is the sudden rises or falls of temperatures, and also the strong heats which can be fatal to it.

In case of extreme heat, make sure if possible to place the cage in a cool room (bathrooms in particular are often adapted), close the shutters, if you have any, before the sun comes to keep the freshness of the night. You can place the cage on the ground if the air is cooler. Keep sufficient ventilation in the cage (especially terrariums, aquariums and plexi cages). Never point a fan at the cage, hamster can catch cold. Be careful with all forms of draughts! When you open a large window near you of the cage, do not hesitate to cover the parts of the cage exposed to the draught.

Some tips to keep the cage cool :

  • Place a damp cloth or towel on the cage. It must be replaced on a regular basis.
  • Place a bottle of water in the fridge for a few hours, then wrap it well with a cloth and place it in the cage.
  • Place a piece of tile, previously placed in the fridge, in the cage. The animal will sleep on it if it has too much hot. A low plate or cup may also be appropriate. Do not place them in the freezer so that the animal can stand on it.
  • Change the water as often as possible to keep it fresh.

Note : It is essential to check that the tissues used in these methods are not eaten by the animal.

How to react in case of heat stroke?

How do you recognize it ?

The animal is weak, its breathing is difficult, it no longer reacts, or only slightly, to stimuli (it is often inert). Often the tail and ears are warm, and for hamsters with clear pigmentation, the veins on the ears are more visible.

What to do about it ?

First of all, you must always be careful; do not over cool the hamster! Its temperature must be stable, and do not go below normal. A cold snap can very quickly turn into a serious health problem.

If you have the opportunity to see a good rodent veterinarian very quickly, don’t hesitate, and come by urgently! The shorter the reaction time, the less the animal can die. Yes and only if, it is not possible, then do this:

Lower the body temperature by bathing the animal in water. It should be warm, at body temperature, not cold. So do not use ice packs. The animal should be kept in the water until its body temperature has returned to normal (this is long, sometimes within 10 minutes). Be careful; do not to put his head under water, be careful with ears too.

The consultation is a way to manage heat stroke that could not be solved at home, the most careful is to consult as soon as possible so as not to waste time on an unsuccessful attempt at home. If the episode has been solved at home, an “after-the-fact” consultation makes it possible to verify that there are no implications of this crisis (renal failure, neurological damage, etc.).

Heat stroke can have repercussions several hours later, it’s the brain that’s damaged and it takes time to degrade.

Take care of your hamster

The sick hamster should always be kept in a room at a good temperature (20°C minimum), not too hot or too cold. The less the animal moves, the warmer it must be.

Place his cage in a quiet place and if possible in semi-darkness. The hamster that moves little must have everything to proximity: food, bottle, nest. Sometimes the bedding has to be adapted, sometimes replaced by paper towels or “Dry Bed” for hamsters that could injure themselves on the stomach, or that move too much at ground level. You should not wake the sleeping hamster, so it is more prudent not to put a roof over his head. Try to keep an eye on him without disturbing him.

Do not modify its diet, except to remove what may be bad. Changes result in stress that would be bad for healing. However, the food must be adapted, the animals that are weak should not receive large seeds or granules, consider crushing the harder ones first. Avoid giving him eating habits that will turn out to be bad in the long run. We may, however, give a treat regularly for taking medication.

For regular antibiotic doses, the veterinarian will show you how to proceed. Wait until the animal wakes up.  We may, however, give a treat regularly for taking medication.

For regular antibiotic doses, the veterinarian will show you how to proceed. Wait until the animal wakes up on its own, if possible. Never stop the antibiotic before the time prescribed by the veterinarian, this would make the animal resistant to the antibiotic for the next time and can lead to relapses.

Avoid over-handling a sick animal; it needs, like us, a lot of rest. When it is a more benign disease, such as a skin disease, for example, we can continue the outings.

Note:  the exit area must be disinfected after each use.

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