Do Hamsters Have Rabies?

One of the things that people often consider when wanting to adopt a pet is the frequency or likelihood with which that particular animal may contract certain diseases. And because hamsters are rodents, a common question is whether or not hamsters have rabies in the same way that mice or rats can have rabies in the wild.

Will your pet hamster contract rabies? In short, it’s very unlikely.

Do Hamsters Have Rabies

But this article will touch on how a hamster might contract rabies, and the symptoms of rabies in hamsters so that you can recognize if your hamster ends up with the condition.  

How Do Hamsters Contract Rabies?

The good news is that your pet hamster living in the cage in your bedroom will likely never have a case of rabies. And the reason that’s the case is that in order to contract rabies, a hamster will need to be bitten by an infected animal.

Rather than rabies being the thing that kills your hamster in that instance, it is far more likely that the attack from the bigger infected animal will be the thing that does Fluffy in.

But if you have another pet that has been exposed to rabies, you should keep your exposed animal away from your hamster until the all clear is given or treatment is administered from your vet.

Symptoms of Rabies in Hamsters

In the unlikely and unfortunate event that your hamster should be exposed to rabies – and survive the bite that exposed them – there are some symptoms that you should be on the lookout for.

  • Sudden change in temperament – Rabies infection will dramatically alter the hamster’s demeanor. The hamster may be listless and lethargic and then suddenly become manic and aggressive. This aggression may provoke hamsters to bite. During this phase, you should be cautious around your hamster to avoid being bitten. Along with these aggressive actions may come aggressive squeaking noises.
  • Hydrophobia – Rabies in hamsters may induce a certain hydrophobia, and this avoidance of water will impede your hamster’s ability to drink water. Your hamster may also salivate more, which may result in that characteristic foaming at the mouth rabies symptom.
  • Paralysis – End stage rabies may result in paralysis that begins in the hamster’s back legs and works its way through the whole little body.
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After the hamster passes away, discuss the situation with your veterinarian to determine if rabies was, indeed, the cause of death. If your hamster bit you at any point – especially during the later stages of infection – discuss the situation with your own doctor and monitor your health.

Do Hamsters Get Rabies – A Final Word

The chances of your hamster contracting rabies is very, very small, mostly because your hamster is safely protected from any creature that might be infected or exposed to rabies.  But even if the chances are small that your hamster would ever come in contact with rabies, it is important to know the symptoms of rabies so that you can easily identify the condition in your hamster.