Last updated on January 29th, 2023 at 07:50 pm
Hamsters constantly play and run, they are very active, but sometimes they can fall from a height or get injured during their fast movements and break a leg.
They have a very delicate structure of their bones, which leads to frequent breaking of the limbs, especially the hind legs because most of the time they fall on them first.
Can a hamster survive a broken leg?
Yes, hamsters can survive a broken leg, it’s just that the leg needs to be treated quickly by a veterinarian to prevent infections and other complications for the injured pet.
In today’s article, you will learn something more about hamsters when they break a leg, whether they will recover, how to care for them, and whether it is dangerous for their lives when they face such unwanted moments.
Do hamsters break their legs?
Yes, hamsters have a very delicate skeleton and very often it happens that they break their legs, as well as other parts of the body. Hamsters break their legs because they often fall on them, especially on their back legs.
Apart from the delicate skeleton, the food they eat has a big contribution, if it is not rich enough in calcium and vitamin D, and this contributes to breaking their legs easily.
Therefore, the diet of hamsters should always include food with vitamin D and calcium in order to strengthen their bones.
What are the most common causes of broken hamster legs?
Hamsters are very fast and active, but their poor eyesight restricts them in their review of the space in which they are.
The senses of hearing and smell help them find food and save themselves from predators, but they can’t help them much to know if they are too high to jump.
The most common ways of breaking hamster legs are:
- When they fall from a height when climbing or dismounting from objects that are in a higher position, as well as getting off the table when they are released into the room to play and run.
- Hamsters break their legs when running on their exercise wheel especially if the wheel has wire or bars on the bottom where they get their legs caught and break.
- When they are outside the cage, they can break their legs, especially when we hold them incorrectly, they can break a leg or get some other injury when they fall.
- Hamsters break their legs when they climb to the top of the cage(monkey barring) and fall because they can’t hold on long enough, this is especially true for small dwarf hamsters who don’t have as much strength as Syrian hamsters. That’s why it’s important to have deep bedding in their cage to soften their fall and prevent them from fractures.
- If you have two hamsters in one cage, they can get injured during a fight and one of the hamsters can end up with a broken leg. That’s why it is not recommended to keep two hamsters in one cage, apart from brеаking on the legs, they can get injured in other places on their body.
How to prevent a hamster from breaking a leg?
To prevent your hamster from breaking a leg, you need to take several steps to reduce the chance of breaking a leg.
Nutrition is always the first step you must take by giving them a varied diet that contains enough calcium, and vitamin D, which are necessary to have stronger leg bones and the entire skeleton.
A glass tank is another option that will ensure less chance of hamsters breaking a leg as they won’t be able to climb the bars and fall from the top of the cage.
An exercise wheel is best without wires so hamsters cannot get their legs stuck and break when running on it.
And as the last thing you should watch out for is free roaming or running and playing around your room, you will have to carefully monitor what the hamster is doing, not to climb on the table or other similar high surfaces.
All these things we have listed will prevent frequent breaking of their legs and fewer injuries.
How do you know if a hamster has broken a leg?
Whenever hamsters have an injury or illness, they hide because they think predators will come to attack them and take advantage of their current weakness.
They will hide when they have a broken leg and hide through the bedding and tubes in the cage so you don’t notice anything is wrong with them.
But there are sure signs that indicate that the hamster has broken its leg, these are the following:
- he cannot move properly and drags his hind leg
- his movement is very slow
- he doesn’t groom himself like he used to because of the pain
- bone is visible outside the fur (open fracture)
- he refuses to use the exercise wheel
- he constantly chews on his broken leg
- he shows aggression when you want to touch him and play with him
- he sleeps on his side so as not to put pressure on his injured leg
- they have less appetite for food
What types of broken legs do hamsters have?
Hamsters have two types of broken legs or fractures:
- Open fracture – when the bone protrudes beyond its skin and fur and can be easily seen. This fracture is very dangerous because it is an open wound that can lead to bacterial infection and the death of the hamster. When hamsters have an open fracture, they should be taken to the vet immediately because of the risk of infection.
- Closed fractures – these fractures are easier and less dangerous to their life because they are internal and cannot cause bacterial infections.
Of course, antibiotics prescribed by a veterinarian will be needed to reduce your pet’s pain. When a hamster has a closed fracture, it needs to rest and relax until the bone heals.
This means he doesn’t need to run on the exercise wheel so it’s best to take him out of the cage for a few days until your pet’s broken leg heals.
Can a hamster recover from a broken leg?
Yes, a hamster can recover from a broken leg, but you will have to act quickly to avoid complications with its health.
When hamsters have a closed fracture, it is easier to heal and it only needs rest, while when they have an open fracture, they must be taken to the vet immediately.
In any case, when hamsters have a broken leg you should take care of them, and be very careful to help them heal their broken leg faster.
How do you treat a hamster with a broken leg?
When hamsters break a leg it can be treated with veterinary care and home care.
Initially, when a hamster breaks its leg, regardless of whether it is an open or closed fracture, it must always be taken to a veterinarian. He will make an examination and tell you how and what you should do to treat your pet.
The most important thing is that you never try to fix the broken leg of the hamster yourself because you can only cause even more pain and discomfort for your pet.
When you transport the hamster to the vet, it is necessary to carry it in a comfortable box or carrier and inside there should be very soft bedding that will provide the warmth and comfort that your pet needs in such moments.
Be careful and wear gloves when transporting the hamster because it may bite you due to the pain of the broken leg.
Veterinary care of a broken hamster leg
When you take your hamster to the vet he will examine your hamster and his broken leg. When your hamster has an open fracture the vet may need to do surgery to put the bone back in place.
In doing so, the hamster’s leg can be held in place with a splint or with a cast made of cotton wool.
If the broken leg cannot be healed, in the last alternative the veterinarian may recommend euthanasia or amputation of the hamster’s leg.
When hamsters have a closed leg fracture then the vet will prescribe appropriate antibiotics to reduce the pain and discomfort of your pet.
How much does it cost to treat my hamster’s broken leg?
Treatment for a broken leg in a hamster varies depending on what exactly will be done with the leg, whether it will just have an examination, whether a cast will be applied, or surgery will be required.
Most veterinarians charge $40-$100 to treat a hamster with a broken leg.
However, it also depends on the place or location where you are, because the price can vary from city to city or country.
Home care for a broken hamster leg
Home care for a hamster with a broken leg requires attention and care for your pet.
You need to clean the cage and change the bedding but leave some old bedding as well because the hamsters love the smell they leave on it.
Remove the exercise wheel and other props such as climbing stairs so the hamster can rest and not stress the broken leg.
If you are able it is necessary to move the hamster to a glass tank while it is healing because, in a wire cage, it will try to climb which it should not do with a broken leg.
Food and water should be easily accessible and close to him so that he does not tire when he has to eat. Food should be enriched with vegetables and fruit with more calcium and vitamin D so that your pet’s leg can heal faster.
If you notice that the hamster is trying to bite the broken leg then take it to the vet immediately because it is obviously in pain that is causing it to bite the leg.
The vet will prescribe stronger pain medication to stop biting the broken leg.
How long will it take for a hamster’s broken leg to heal?
It takes 15 to 30 days to heal a broken hamster’s leg. However, if the hamster has an open fracture, this time can be extended for a few more days until full recovery.
When the hamster and its leg heals it can have consequences such as a crooked leg when it moves, this happens if the leg bone heals incorrectly.
However, hamsters will get used to living even if the leg does not heal properly, although, of course, it will not look pretty.
Can a hamster die from a broken leg?
Yes, unfortunately, hamsters can die from broken legs. This is especially true for older hamsters who can get a heart attack from the shock and stress they will get from a broken leg.
The most dangerous for the life of hamsters is when they have an open leg fracture because infections and poisoning of their blood in the body can occur.
That is why the most important thing is to act quickly and take the hamster to the vet, the faster you take it, the greater the chances that it will heal without having fatal consequences for its life.
Frequently asked questions
Can a hamster live with 3 legs?
Yes, hamsters who have lost one leg can live with 3 legs. At first, they will need a certain period to get used to it, but they can continue to live with this disadvantage.
Why is my hamster dragging its hind leg?
When hamsters drag their hind legs, it can be due to an injury or a broken leg, and it can also be a consequence of heart disease, pneumonia, and kidney failure. When hamsters have cancer, this can also cause their legs to drag.
Can hamsters break their backs?
Yes, hamsters can break their backs from uncomfortable falls. When hamsters have a broken back, they need to be taken to a veterinarian immediately to examine them and start treatment to treat your pet.
Hamsters can heal when they break their leg, but it is necessary to get it treated by a veterinarian immediately to prevent infections and danger to your pet’s life.
There are two types of leg fractures in hamsters open which are dangerous and closed which are less risky for your pet.
Hamsters should rest when they have a broken leg and receive antibiotics for pain. In 15-30 days the broken leg of the hamster will heal, although sometimes it takes a little more time when it is an open fracture.
Hamsters can survive a broken leg, and in the last case, if amputation is required, then they continue to live without one leg.