Can an Abscess Kill a Hamster? [Guide]

Yes, An Abscess can kill a hamster, if left untreated. An abscess is a type of infection that is usually localized to a specific area. A hamster’s cheek pound or legs are the most common locations. If the infection manages to spread beyond a localized area or enters the hamster’s bloodstream it can cause life-threatening complications or even death.

can a hamster die from an abscess

The good news is, that when detected early and treated with antibiotics, most hamster abscesses can be treated and cured without serious consequences. However, if not addresses quickly enough and the bacteria and infection spread there is a chance the infection becomes systemic. This means it has spread throughout the body resulting in a much more dire prognosis.

If you have a pet hamster that appears to have an abscess or any infection, you should take them to the vet as soon as you can. An untreated abscess can cause your hamster a great deal of pain and suffering and will often prove to be fatal.

In short, an abscess or inflammatory lesion can indeed kill a hamster if left untreated, but if you spot it early enough and get the correct treatment from your vet the chances of your hamster making a full recovery are quite high.

How to Prevent Your Hamster From Getting an Abscess

There are a couple of things you can do to decrease the risk of your hamster developing an abscess. The most important thing you can do is ensure there is nothing sharp in your hamster’s cage in which it can cut or harm itself. This includes ensuring the cage has no sharp objects or edges that your hamster can scrape against. Additionally, if you have multiple hamsters that are prone to fighting it might be better to separate them in order to prevent bites and scratches from occurring.

hamster at the vet [cartoon style]

You can also ensure that your hamster’s bedding is soft and clean. Infections usually occur because of unhygienic environments. Ensure you keep your hamster’s cage as clean as possible. Following these steps can give your hamster a better chance of avoiding illnesses including life-threatening abscesses.

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Symptoms That Your Hamster Has an Abscess

If your hamster has an abscess there are a few common symptoms that might become apparent. These can include Lethargy, Lack of appetite, and a foul smell coming from the affected area.

You may also notice pus or blood on the fur near the swelling. It’s important to note that food in the cheek punches can look similar to an abscess but will decrease in size once consumed. An abscess will obviously not show the same behavior.

Diagnosing and Treatment of Abscesses in Hamsters

Your vet will perform a physical examination to confirm the presence of an abscess. Once diagnosed, the abscess needs to be drained and flushed with saline solution or other anti-bacterial agents. Antibiotics will also most likely be prescribed for you to administer at home. It’s essential to follow the direction given to you by your veterinarian to ensure that the infection does not spread or cause further serious complications.

Your vet may also suggest removing the abscess surgically if there are significant complications when draining it initially. Surgery should obviously only be performed by a qualified professional in order to reduce the risk of spreading the infection and complications associated with it.


Abscesses can be life-threatening and indeed kill hamsters if left untreated. However, if you act quickly and get a diagnosis and treatment from a veterinarian it’s more than likely that your hamster will make a full recovery. To decrease the risks of abscesses occurring in the first place it’s important to make sure you keep their cage safe from sharp objects and clean their bedding frequently.