Your hamster getting themselves hurt is your worst nightmare, they are fragile creatures so you often don’t know what to do with them. Vets can be expensive, and common sense with humans may not be applicable for a hamster. So there’s a lot to look at! This article will be looking at all of the questions that you might have in relation to your hamster’s back legs. We will tell you what to do if your hamster breaks their leg.
We’ll be looking at how to figure out if your hamster has a leg problem, how it is caused and how you can try to fix it. We will also be looking at the difference between an open and a closed fracture, and what this can mean for your hamster. If you have any further questions afterwards, don’t hesitate to post a comment!
How can a hamster break their leg?
Hamsters are fragile, we all know this. So therefore there’s a lot of ways in which they can hurt themselves by breaking their leg. Here are some of the ways
Catching their leg in a wire wheel
One of the main ways in which a hamster can break their leg is by catching it in a wire wheel. Wire wheels are common in hamster cages, but they shouldn’t be! Wheels made out of wires have unacceptable levels of holes, which your furry friend could trap their leg in. This means that a fracture is likely to happen, and it will be extremely painful for your pet. Replace your wire wheel with a plastic wheel to stop this from happening.
The primary way in which a hamster will break bones is by falling from a great height. This can especially be a problem if your hamster cage is on top of a high surface. A hamster’s vision is not great, which means that they could jump from it if they escape. Hamsters can fall a great distance, but they can still seriously damage themselves. A fall from this height is likely to be made worse if they land on something hard such as a wooden floor, or stone. Carpet can still hurt your pet though.
This shouldn’t be an issue for your Syrian Hamster, as they should be put separately from each other. However, dwarf and robo hamsters can socially fight if they are put together. This fighting, however, can become aggressive and your pet may aim to do serious damage to the other hamster. If this is the case, broken bones are possible. Make sure to separate your hamsters if they fight, to prevent this from happening
Whilst not the primary cause of bone breakage, this can absolutely be a secondary factor. A lack of calcium or phosphorus can become an issue for your furry friend as it can make their bones brittle and more likely to break. Therefore a small fall can become a big issue for your hamster. Make sure to feed them the correct foods.
How to figure out if your hamster has a leg problem
Hamsters are unlikely to show any real weakness to you, this is because they are a prey animal and therefore any sign of weakness could get them eaten. To know what to do if your hamster breaks their leg, you need to first know if it is broken. This means that you have to spot signs that show that your pet is hurt, they won’t squeak or come up to you. Some of the signs include:
One of the most telltale signs of your hamster breaking their leg is that your furry friend will begin limping. They won’t want to place any weight onto the leg, and they will try their best to avoid using it altogether. This can become an issue if it is one of their front legs that has been fractured.
As a consequence of the limping, your pet may move slower and be more cautious in their movements. Their leg may drag behind them and they may be less likely to climb or use their wheel.
Laying on one side
Your hamster may sleep awkwardly or in a strange position. This may be hard to notice if your hamster likes to burrow to sleep, but more obvious if they sleep on the floor. They won’t sleep on the area affected due to the pain.
Your hamster may not want to move around, due to not wanting to put weight on their foot. This can result in them simply not moving or only moving to get food and water.
Bones sticking out
One of the worst symptoms of a fracture is the actual bone sticking out of your pet’s skin. If this happens then take them to the vet immediately as your hamster is likely to be in a lot of pain.
Types of fracture
There’s two types of fractures that your hamster can get. An open fracture and a closed fracture. This is important if you want to know what to do if your hamster breaks their leg.
An open fracture is fairly obvious. Your hamster will have bone sticking out of their skin, this can cause obvious distress to you and your furry friend. This is the worst kind of fracture and can cause serious problems for your pet.
A closed fracture is less obvious. This means that the bone is not sticking out, and this is therefore much better for your pet. Look for the other signs above.
What to do if your hamster has an open fracture.
If your hamster has an open fracture then you need to take your hamster to the vet immediately to ensure that they don’t die. An open fracture can quickly get infected and your hamster can go through a lot of pain. Even if you can’t tell that your pet is in pain, this is because of them being a prey animal that is unlikely to want to show any weakness to potential predators.
Your vet will be able to understand the problem and proscribe a solution. This may come in the form of a pot on your pet’s ankle, but if your hamster is in too much pain you may need to consider putting them down. This is something you must discuss with your vet though.
Once you have come back from the vet. You can follow the instructions for a closed fracture.
What to do if your hamster has a closed fracture.
If your hamster has a closed fracture, it is at lot safer for them. You can therefore treat them at home, but you can take them to a vet to be safe if you wish. Some of the measures that you should take include:
Removing the wheel.
Removing the wheel is very important, as you need to stop your hamster putting weight on the bone. So remove the wheel, and this provides your hamster with the rest they need to get back to normal. Unfortunately, your hamster won’t just stop going on the wheel even if injured, so you need to take action!
Avoid taking them out.
Try to avoid taking your hamster out as much as possible. You can take them out to stroke them, but don’t let them run around that much. We already don’t recommend putting your hamster in a ball, however, please ensure that you don’t put your hamster in a ball during their recovery.
Remove all intensive toys.
Remove all tunnels, ladders, and other intensive toys. This means that hamsters won’t sprain their leg again trying to play with the toys. Chew toys are fine, but anything with too much intensity should be avoided.
How to prevent broken bones
Knowing what to do if your hamster breaks their leg is all good but the best way of helping to stop broken bones is to work to prevent them. Here’s some tips on how to do that:
Get a plastic wheel
Wire wheels can be dangerous for your hamster’s health, so get a plastic wheel instead. This will stop your pet from trapping their legs in the bars, which can potentially be fatal for them.
Don’t let your hamster fall
Consider placing your hamster cage on the floor, this means that if they escape then they cannot fall a large distance. Always have a close eye on your pet when you are supervising them as well to ensure that they don’t jump from your hands.
Feed your hamster the correct nutrients
Make sure to feed your pet the correct food. This means that they would have the correct nutrients to ensure that their bones don’t go brittle.
House your hamster by itself
If your hamster is clearly fighting with other residents, you should ensure that you place them by themselves. This means that they are safe from other hamsters who might harm them.
Conclusion – What to do if your hamster breaks their leg
This article has hopefully answered all of your hamster related questions when it comes to what to do if your hamster breaks their leg. We looked at how to figure out if your hamster has a leg problem, how it is caused and how you can try to fix it. We also looked at the difference between an open and a closed fracture, and what this can mean for your hamster. The most important thing to remember is to go to a vet if you think that the fracture is dangerous.
Got any questions? Let me know in the comments!