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Black Growths On Hamster’s Feet

What could cause black growths on a hamster’s feet?

Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
Posted: October 15, 2015, 9 p.m. EDT

hamster sitting in jar
Via hamsterH/Flickr 
Healthy hamster feet do not have black spots on the bottom.

Q: My hamster has black growths on her feet. What are these?

A: Seeing black growths on hamster feet is very unusual. If these are multiple, raised growths, a superficial bacterial infection could cause this. If these are multiple areas of black but not as raised, it is possible that these represent fungal infections. Or these may be entirely non-infectious. 

Is it possible that there are areas of ink on the substrate in the cage where the hamster lives? This could be another explanation for them.

Whether this is due to infections or some other cause, the black spots are likely due to something in the environment. This means that the substrate is not being changed frequently enough, that the moisture concentration is too high, the air flow is not adequate, there is too much build up of ammonia or uneaten food pieces are accumulating in the cage. 

Although it is best that you visit your veterinarian to see what is wrong with your hamster, you can be proactive to help your hamster’s health by cleaning the cage thoroughly, removing the substrate frequently and making sure there is improved air flow. Remove any sources that would possibly increase moisture in the environment, these include dripping water bottles (replace with ones that do not drip) and urine-soaked substrate. Also, improve the air flow to stop humidity from building up in the cage.

Posted: October 15, 2015, 9 p.m. EDT

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