Why Do Hamsters Get Diabetes?

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. Diabetes is a disorder that can affect hamsters just as easily as it can affect humans.

But this article will touch on what factors put a hamster at risk for contracting diabetes, the symptoms of diabetes in hamsters so that you can recognize if your hamster ends up with the condition, and how the condition is managed and treated.  

Why Hamsters Get Diabetes

What Factors Put a Hamster at Risk for Diabetes?

Similar to humans, hamsters are not born suffering from diabetes, but certain breeds of hamsters are more predisposed to contracting the disease. Dwarf hamsters have a greater genetic predisposition to diabetes than Syrian hamsters do, for example.

While genetics are a factor, the sort of food a hamster might eat and the amount of exercise your hamster gets can also play a role in the development or potential worsening of diabetes.

Foods that are high in in fat, sugar, or carbohydrates can contribute to Hammy’s diabetes, so be very discerning when giving your hamster any fruit to eat.

If your hamster gets regular exercise, that will ease its diabetes considerably.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Hamsters

In the unfortunate event that your hamster should be acting strangely, there are some symptoms that you should be on the lookout for to determine if you’ll need to take your furry friend into the vet to be tested for diabetes.

  • Excessive thirst – Similar to humans, the extra glucose in the diabetic hamster’s system can cause the kidneys to malfunction, leading to excessive urination, which in turn leads to an increased thirst as the hamster tries to make up the amount of water its lost due to its increased need to pee.
  • Frequent urination – The catalyst for the excessive thirst mentioned above, the glucose that builds up in the diabetic hamster’s kidneys needs to be expelled somehow, and the way that happens in via urination. And if a hamster drinks more water to compensate, then that leads to more urination still, and thus the vicious cycle continues.  
  • Change in temperament – A hamster’s energy levels may fluctuate as their body tries to make do with the current state of its glucose levels.
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How Diabetes is Treated in Hamsters

If you suspect your hamster may have diabetes, make an appointment with your veterinarian. The vey may perform blood tests or urine analyses to determine if Fluffy is diabetic.

And if the test comes back positive, the doctor may suggest one or all of the following treatments:

  • Medication
  • Dietary regimens

A Final Word on Why Hamsters Get Diabetes

The chances of your hamster contracting diabetes can vary depending on its breed and the sort of food it eats and exercise it gets. But now that you know the risk factors and the symptoms of diabetes in hamsters, you’ll know when to properly seek treatment and thus, help your hamster live as long and comfortable a life