Veterinary care is an important consideration for any pet owner. Any animal will need health checkups and occasional treatment throughout its life.
Hamsters are said to be a cheaper pet option. Compared to many other pets, it’s true — they aren’t that expensive.
However, veterinary care for your hamster does still cost something, so you still need to set aside a budget for its health and wellbeing. Below, we’ll cover the average health expenses for your pet hammy, a few illnesses and treatments you may encounter, and how to best plan for necessary veterinary care.
- Your Hamster’s First Vet Appointment
- How Much Does an Emergency Vet Visit Cost?
- How Much Does Medication Cost for Hamsters?
- How Much Does it Cost to Treat Wet Tail?
- How Much Does it Cost to Trim My Hamster’s Teeth and Nails?
- Average Veterinary Costs for Hamsters
- Is It Worth Getting Pet Insurance for Hamsters?
- Preventative Hamster Care Will Reduce Your Vet Bill
Your Hamster’s First Vet Appointment
When you first purchase a new pet hamster, it’s important to take it to its first annual checkup within one week. The sooner the better — if the seller (like the pet store) has a health guarantee, they often require owners to get their hamster checked within 48 hours of purchase.
Keep your new pet isolated from any other hamsters until a vet says it’s healthy.
How Much Does an Annual Checkup Cost?
If your hamster is healthy, expect the appointment to cost between $35 and $100.
If your hamster needs treatments, additional costs may apply for extra tests or medications.
What to Expect at Your Hamster’s First Annual Checkup
Unlike other pets like cats and dogs, hamsters don’t require any vaccinations.
They also don’t need to be neutered. Neutering can be done, but it’s a complex process for small animals like hamsters. It’s easier to keep the sexes in separate cages than to spay or neuter your hamsters.
Your vet will check for common illnesses like respiratory diseases, diarrheal diseases like wet tail and teeth or skin problems. They’ll also test a fecal sample for parasites.
How Much Does an Emergency Vet Visit Cost?
Urgent care is often more expensive than an appointment made in advance. Expect an emergency visit to cost around $100 or more.
Additional charges could occur if your hamster needs extra tests or treatments. A vet will always discuss options with you before moving forward with any treatment plan.
How Much Does Medication Cost for Hamsters?
Medications can cost as little as $10, and supplementary treatments are sometimes less.
- Antibiotics cost between $10 and $25.
- Recovery foods are in the $7-to-$35 range.
- Flea and parasite medications cost around $10 or $15.
Exact prices will vary depending on individual treatment, brand and other factors, but this is a good overall indication of cost.
How Much Does it Cost to Treat Wet Tail?
Wet tail is a contagious disease in hamsters that causes excessive diarrhea, resulting in dangerous dehydration. It is most common in recently weaned hamsters between 3 and 6 weeks old.
Wet tail treatment could cost between $100 and $200, perhaps more in severe cases.
What to Expect When Treating Wet Tail
Wet tail requires an emergency vet appointment.
Most likely, your hamster will be prescribed antibiotics. Depending on its level of dehydration and inactivity, your vet may also recommend subcutaneous fluids and recovery foods.
How Much Does it Cost to Trim My Hamster’s Teeth and Nails?
You should expect to pay right around $20 for a trimming appointment.
Not all hamsters require manual trimming. Hamsters can often self-manage the length of their teeth and nails by chewing, gnawing and scratching on their toys and enrichment items in their cage.
However, hamsters that are ill or elderly may need their nails or teeth trimmed.
If your hamster’s nails start to curl toward their paws, this is a good sign they’re in need of a trim. Similarly, if your hamster’s front teeth (incisors) begin to curve and stick out between its lips, they’re too long.
Teeth that are too long are especially dangerous, because they may grow into the roof of your hamster’s mouth.
Average Veterinary Costs for Hamsters
Annually, expect to spend between $35 and $250 on veterinary care for your hamster.
Over your hamster’s lifetime, you should expect to spend between $200 and $900 on your hamster’s health. Hamsters live between 1 and 3 years.
The following table summarizes what we’ve learned.
|Annual wellness checkup||$35 to $100|
|Emergency appointment||$100 or more|
|Medication||$10 or more|
|Wet tail treatment (appointment plus medication)||$100 to $200 or more|
|Nail or tooth trimming||Around $20|
|Annual total||$35 to $250|
|Lifetime total||$200 to $900|
Is It Worth Getting Pet Insurance for Hamsters?
Since veterinary care for hamsters is low compared to most other pets, you’re much better off saving money aside for possible expenses.
Preventative Hamster Care Will Reduce Your Vet Bill
Every hamster needs:
- A spacious and secure cage
- A sanitary living area
- A well-balanced diet
- Clean water and bedding
Investing a little more up front will reduce overall veterinary costs and keep your hammy health and happy!