Hamsters are small and gentle animals that are very timid and are often under stress, fear, and other conditions.
You must be wondering if hamsters are prone to seizures, so I did some research on this important question.
Can hamsters have seizures?
Hamsters can have seizures due to dehydration, genetic disorders, old age, toxins, trauma from injuries, and epilepsy. Seizures usually pass without serious health problems, unless they have a lack of oxygen in the brain when they can die.
Seizures in hamsters can last from several minutes to several hours during which time they have problems with movement and balance.
In today’s article, you will learn about the causes of seizures in hamsters, how long seizures last, whether hamsters can die from seizures, and similar questions related to the topic.
Can hamsters have seizures?
When hamsters have seizures they cannot control the movements of their arms and legs and sometimes drool from their mouths. Hamsters can have seizures when they may also fall on their backs because they have trouble moving.
Apart from these symptoms, when hamsters have seizures, they can poop and urinate much more often.
When hamsters have seizures the view from the side looks a little unusual and a little scary for owners who have not had this experience with their hamster before.
Therefore, if you notice these symptoms and seizures in the hamsters, you should be calm because the seizures will pass and the hamster will be fine again.
What are the causes of seizures in hamsters?
The reasons for seizures in hamsters can be different, starting from dehydration, aging, epilepsy, genetic mutations, and other reasons.
So let’s look at the most common causes of seizures in your small pet, let’s start right away.
Hamsters can have seizures due to dehydration
Dehydration is one of the causes of seizures in hamsters. When hamsters are dehydrated they have a lack of water in their body most often if their water bottles are not working properly.
Sometimes it happens that we as owners forget to give them water, which causes dehydration and the risk of seizures.
Obviously, the water supply is very important for hamsters and we must ensure they always have access to fresh and clean drinking water.
Trauma causes seizures in hamsters
Trauma can cause seizures in hamsters.
In particular, trauma from the head and spinal cord injuries, as well as brain damage trauma, are causes of seizures.
When the spinal cord is damaged by some trauma caused by an injury, there is an inability to communicate between the brain and the body due to nerve disruption and seizures occur.
Infections cause seizures in hamsters
Infections caused by viruses, colds, and parasites can cause seizures.
The most common infections are:
- encephalitis – swelling of the brain
- meningitis – inflammation of the brain
These and other infections should be treated promptly in hamsters to prevent seizures.
Toxins cause seizures in hamsters
In addition to all other possibilities, we must emphasize that toxins can also be the cause of seizures in hamsters.
When hamsters are exposed to toxins from chemicals or cage-cleaning products, seizures can occur.
So when you use cleaning products, look for those with fewer chemicals to protect your pets.
Old age causes seizures in hamsters
As hamsters get older, they may have seizures more often, and unfortunately, aging in these animals happens very quickly due to their short life span.
As hamsters get older, they often have neurological disorders that result in occasional severe or mild seizures.
This phenomenon is especially pronounced in those hamsters that have inherited bad genes from their parents since birth.
Epilepsy as a cause of seizures in hamsters
Hamsters who have epilepsy often have seizures without warning.
When hamsters get seizures due to epilepsy then it can be noticed that they make squeaking sounds and start to lose weight quickly.
During such seizures, their legs and arms become stiff and do not move, while their eyes are open all the time. Such attacks last about 1-2 hours, and then the hamsters return to their normal condition.
But it is best to let them rest for a few days after the seizures without much physical activity because the seizures exhaust their bodies.
Genetic mutations cause seizures in hamsters
Genetic mutation is another reason responsible for seizures in hamsters; unfortunately, it happens very often.
If the hamster’s parents had seizures, then your pet has a high chance of inheriting these problems and having seizures.
Unfortunately, nothing can be done about these genetically transmitted mutations because inherited genes cannot be changed, and expect your pet to have seizures and other health problems like its parents.
Low sugar levels cause seizures in hamsters
When the sugar level in hamsters drops to a low level, seizures can occur.
Such a phenomenon will be more difficult to notice, and it will be more difficult for you to find out the cause of the seizures, but that is why you should pay attention to your pet’s diet.
You need to give them mild treats every now and then to make sure they don’t have problems with sugar spikes and seizures.
What does it look like when hamsters have seizures?
When hamsters have seizures, most often they do not have control of their movements, because, from a normal condition, they can suddenly appear disoriented with a confused look.
Before having seizures, hamsters usually have difficulty breathing, which is an announcer that they will have seizures.
Seizures in hamsters can be divided into severe and mild seizures, so let’s look at them in more detail.
Severe seizures in hamsters
When hamsters have more severe seizures, uncontrolled movements of their arms and legs occur, which makes it impossible for them to move properly in space.
Such seizures may cause uncontrollable pooping and urination, but they may collapse on their backs and lie on the floor for the duration of the seizure.
A truly unpleasant picture for all hamster owners as well as for the hamster itself.
Sometimes when they have severe seizures, hamsters may start screaming loudly until the seizure itself passes.
Mild seizures in hamsters
When hamsters have mild seizures sometimes is a little harder to spot, especially if you don’t have experience keeping hamsters.
That is why you should know the symptoms of such attacks, which are the following:
- walking in circles
- tilting the head to the side
Fortunately, this form of attack is not so scary to watch, and it is not so dangerous for your pet.
How long do seizures last in hamsters?
Seizures in hamsters can last from a few minutes to 4-5 hours, you never know how long the attacks will last and each attack can vary in duration.
The duration of the seizures depends on the health condition of the hamster, as well as on its DNA.
In any case, regardless of whether the hamsters will have lighter or more severe forms of seizures, you should always call a veterinarian after the occurrence of seizures.
It is important that you share any symptoms that occur when your pet is having seizures with the vet.
Hamsters can have seizures due to colds
As hamsters age, they may be more susceptible to seizures because their immunity and ability to protect themselves from various diseases weaken.
As hamsters get older, they will be less able to regulate their own body temperature, which will result in them not being able to withstand colder temperatures and they will have seizures.
This reduces the supply of oxygen to the brain and other organs in the body which eventually leads to seizures and problems.
Can my hamster die from seizures?
Hamsters can die from seizures but only when they have a lack of oxygen supply to the brain. In all other cases of seizures such as when their arms and legs are stiff, or their head is tilted to the side, they will not die.
As we said, the lack of oxygen supply to the brain still occurs most often in older hamsters, while younger ones will not have this unwanted experience.
Lack of oxygen supply during seizures can also affect hamsters that have diabetes or heart disease.
What to do when hamsters have seizures?
When hamsters have seizures you need to do two things, first, contact a vet, and secondly help your pet.
Whenever hamsters have seizures, you should immediately contact a veterinarian and explain everything you saw during the hamster’s seizures.
The veterinarian will then more easily know what to take to treat your pet, he may need to determine therapy with injections to reduce the chances of repeated seizures.
To help your pet at home you will need to give him water so that he can refresh himself after the seizures.
You will need to talk softly to him, hold him in your arms to make him feel safer, and let him rest. Remove objects that are near him so that he doesn’t get hurt if he experiences seizures again.
Read more: How Big Is a Hamster’s Brain? Let’s Find Out
At what age do hamsters start having seizures?
Seizures in hamsters begin after they are 30 to 60 days old.
However, we must mention that hamsters can have seizures at different ages, although they mostly get them when they are older.
Sick hamsters are most affected by seizures, while healthy hamsters have a lower chance of seizures. All breeds of hamsters can get seizures, whether they are Syrian, Robo, or Chinese hamsters.
Hamsters can have seizures due to various reasons such as dehydration, epileptic seizures, seizures due to genetic disorders, and so on.
Seizures in hamsters can last from a few minutes to several hours depending on whether they have more severe or milder seizures.
Seizures are usually seen after freezing of their hands and feet or uncontrollable movement and falling.
Hamsters usually recover from seizures, although they can die if the seizures cause a reduction in the supply of oxygen to their brain.
If the hamsters experience seizures, you should immediately take them to a veterinarian so that he can determine the appropriate treatment for them in a timely manner.