Select Page

We love our hamsters, and caring about their health is of the utmost importance if we want to spend as much time with them as possible. One of the biggest dangers to our pet’s health are tumors, which can cause serious damage if not treated. A lot of people want to know what to do in a situation where their hamster has a tumor, as well as knowing how long a hamster can live with a tumor. This article plans to answer this question and many more.

We will be looking at what tumors are, as well as the different kinds. This post will then look at how hamsters get tumors and what you should do if your hamster gets one. Finally, we will look at how to prevent them and how long your furry friend can live with a tumor. We hope that this article is informative for you and answers any questions you have.

What are tumors?

Tumors are clumps of cells that grow from normal tissue. They are a symptom of cancer and can either be benign, which means that they are non-cancerous, or malignant, which are. These cells serve no purpose and grow quickly. The fast growth of these cells can damage other parts of the body which they grow in. They can also spread to other parts of the body and cause problems in those areas. This is why they can be really damaging for your hamster. The good news is that only 4% of hamster suffer from these tumors.

What kinds of tumors are there?

There’s three types of tumor and this changes if they are dangerous for your hamster. The three types are malignant, premalignant and benign.


This is the worst kind of tumor and one that can cause serious issues for your pet. These are the type that spread around the body and cause problems around it. If your hamster has this kind of a tumor, it needs to be removed quickly to prevent it from spreading and causing havoc.


This kind of tumor is safe at first but can grow into something that because dangerous for your pet. Your hamster could live all the way through their life with this kind of tumor, but it can become a problem at any time. Therefore, it should still be removed as fast as possible. Before it becomes even more of a problem.


This type of tumor can still be dangerous for your hamster, but it won’t spread and won’t cause any form of cancer. therefore if there is a tumor you should hope that it is this type. However, it is still recommended that this is removed as can be dangerous for your furry friend in different ways.

Why do hamsters get tumors?

Hamsters get tumors like humans do, which means the same reasons for tumors happening are present for hamsters. Some of these reasons are:

Old Age

Old age can accelerate tumor growth as cell division becomes more of a problem. This means that an older hamster is much more likely to have a problem with tumors than a younger one. There’s nothing you can do to change this reason, it is just a fact of life.

Poor Diet

A poor diet for your pet can reduce their overall health. This means that you can have problems as overall health can effect cell growth, increasing the risk of problematic tumors growing from your furry friend

Toxic Substances

Toxic substances can cause serious issues as they can cause toxic growths on your pet, such as tumors. Keep substances like paint and glue away from your hamster.

How to tell if your hamster has a tumor

The primary way of figuring out if your pet has a tumor is to check for lumps. The good thing about having a small pet is that it can be easier to tell if there is something wrong. Check for lumps on the belly, which are a good sign of Lymphoma, a type of cancer especially if you can feel them. Lumps in the armpit and neck are also similar problems.

Lumps can be something else, they could be abscesses, but this should be something that your vet deals with. Other symptoms include:

  • Hair loss
  • Tiredness
  • Digestive problems
  • Increased thirst
  • Strange walking

If your hamster has any of these problems and a lump, your hamster may have a problematic tumor.

What to do if your hamster gets a tumor

If your hamster has a tumor, then the first port of call must be going to a vet. This isn’t something you can treat at home, and a vet can give you all of the advice that you need for protecting your hamster’s health. If you are asking the question “How long can a hamster live with a tumor?” then it really does depend on what you do during this time. Whilst you are waiting for the appointment, some of the things you can do include:

  • Giving your hamster lots of water. This will help combat their thirst.
  • Being careful with them. Only take them out if necessary.
  • Ensuring that your hamster has a healthy diet.
  • Booking the appointment as fast as possible, this will increase chances of removing the lump

After you get to the vet, make sure to follow their advice fully. They know the best care for your furry friend. Your vet may perform surgery and after that, you need to follow their advice. You will have to give your hamster lots of care and attention, as surgery can be dangerous and traumatic for them due to their small size! Some of the aftercare will include:

  • Removing levels from your cage, to ensure that your hamster doesn’t climb too much
  • Giving your hamster lots of healthy food, and plenty of water
  • Cleaning your furry friend’s scar and making sure that it is healing properly
  • Monitoring your hamster to ensure that new lumps are not growing.

Following these rules will make sure that your hamster doesn’t have any problems in the future, and will keep them nice and healthy!

How can you prevent tumors?

There’s a few ways that you can help prevent tumors. However, you need to remember that old age isn’t something that can be changed. You can’t fully prevent tumors, but you can take action to help out. These include:

Ensuring a healthy diet

Feeding your hamster a great diet, full of antioxidants, is a great way of helping to protect against cancer. Instead of sugary pet store snacks, consider snacks such as cabbage and cucumber.

Keeping toxic substances away

This is normal obviously but toxic substances can result in cancer issues. Just keep your pet away from things that are toxic to humans, simple!

Going to a vet

Going to a vet when you spot a lump is a great way of stopping that lump from developing into a full-blown tumor. As soon as you spot the signs, go to your local vet!

How long can a hamster live with a tumor?

Your vet will be able to give you a better idea, but a tumor that has spread too far to be removed will normally leave your hamster with around 2-3 months to survive. This is because of how small your hamster is. Your vet may put forward the idea of having your pet put down, depending on how much pain they are in. This is obviously a decision that you have to make with your family and vet, to see what is best for your hamster.

Keeping your pet nice and healthy will help prolong their lifespan as much as possible, so you should work to improve their diet and ensure that they get lots of exercise.


Finding out that your hamster has a tumor is undoubtedly a shocking moment, but you can take actions to lower the chances of it happening. This article has told you about what a tumor is, what kinds there are and how to lower the chance of your hamster getting one. We’ve also given information on what to do if your hamster gets a tumor and how long they will live.

Has your hamster had a tumor before, what did you do? Let us know in the comments!

Related Articles: